And if you want to learn how to scale a profitable campaign, you’re about to get luckier – because in this article I’m going to tell you 13 ways that I’ve used to scale my GDN campaign.
Many of these tactics aren’t widely known, so grab a pen and paper and take some notes!
“Delivery method” simply refers to how quickly Google shows your ads.
The default setting in your account is “Standard”, which means that Google will try to show your ads evenly across the day, based on your budget. The downside of this setting is if you have a small daily budget, your ad will only be shown a fraction of the time that it potentially could be shown.
If you change the delivery method in your Adwords account to “Accelerated”, however, Google will show your ad every time. The downside of this setting is your budget could become depleted early in the day, and your ad won’t be shown for most of the day (the solution: increase your budget!) To change the delivery method go into Settings > Delivery method (advanced).
Check the Search Query report to see which keywords are converting for you. If they’re high-volume keywords, add them to your GDN campaign. And if they’re not high-volume, consider lopping off part of the keyword and adding that “head” term to your GDN campaign.
Follow the tips in this article to add keywords to your campaign to get more traffic. Here are two good tips from that article:
A lot of advertisers start on GDN with text ads, because text ads are easier to set up than image ads.
To set up a text ad on GDN, all you have to do is type the ad text into your Adwords account; no need to have image ads created by a graphic designer.
And that’s often where a lot of advertisers stop – with text ads. Big mistake! There’s a crapload of ad inventory on GDN (one trillion ad impressions per month, to be exact), and a lot of that inventory is image ads. The rule of thumb for text versus image ads is:
Make sure you create image ads that match the full set of ad sizes that Google allows for the Display Network.
While some websites only allow the most popular ad sizes (i.e. 300×250, 336×280, 728×90, and 160×600), you’ll want to test all sizes.
** Tip: when starting a campaign I’ll have 8-10 completely different ads created in the most popular GDN ad size (300×250). By “completely different”, I mean I’ll make the same offer in every ad, but each ad will have a different style, colors, and text. Once I’ve found the ad that gets the highest CTR (which tells me that that particular ad resonates most strongly with my audience), I’ll have that ad created in all sizes allowed by Adwords. **
Here’s a handy infographic showing the image ad sizes allowed on GDN (courtesy of Hall Internet Marketing):
If you already have a campaign that’s making money, you probably haven’t maxed out its potential. Why? Because your ads are probably only getting a fraction of the maximum impressions (i.e. views) that they could.
Before trying to fix this problem, you need to find out what your campaign’s “impression share” is. Google says that “Impression share” is “the impressions you’ve received on the Display Network divided by the estimated number of impressions you were eligible to receive”.
In other words, it’s the percentage of impressions you’re actually getting compared to the total impressions you could be getting.
To add impression share metrics to your Adwords dashboard, go into Columns > Customize columns > Competitive metrics and add “Display Impr. share”, “Display Lost IS (rank)”, and “Display Lost IS (budget)”: Here’s what the Impression share stats looked like for my campaign before I followed the steps in this article to increase it: As you can see from the screenshot, I was missing out on a TON of impressions. For my most mature campaign (the Display Campaign Optimizer campaign, called “DCO” in my dashboard), I was getting less than 10% of potential impressions.
Current Daily Stats (what I was currently getting, with <10% Impression Share)
Potential Daily Stats (what I could get with 100% Impression Share)
Holy crap! And that’s just for ONE of the campaigns in my account! Google said 88.38% of the impressions were being missed due to “rank”. This means my ads had a low “Ad Rank”. The remaining 11.27% was being missed due to “budget” (which obviously means my budget was too low).
Increasing your bid is straightforward – you already set a bid when setting up the campaign, so just go into your account and increase it.
** Quick note on bidding: I recommend you increase your bids in increments of no more than $0.05 – increase by $0.05, then wait a day or two and see what happens to the amount of clicks you’re getting, and your CPA.
In my experience, increasing bids by more than that can suddenly increase your CPA by a lot, as Google starts showing your ads on a lot of unrelated sites. Increasing your bids more slowly will allow Google’s algorithms to adjust slowly. **
Improving your Quality Score (QS) is a little more involved. Google says that these factors are used to calculate QS for ads on the Display Network:
But wait, it gets even more confusing! QS also depends on the placement and bidding settings in your campaign:
So to improve the QS of a campaign that uses CPC (cost-per-click) bidding – which is probably most campaigns – you need to: a) Improve the CTR of your ad on all sites you’re advertising on b) Make sure you’re advertising on relevant sites to your offer c) Make sure you have a high-quality landing page
Depending on the niche you’re in, there might be a handful of sites you can target that are both related to your product AND get a ton of traffic.
For example, if your product is in one of the evergreen niches, you might have a product that relates to…ahem…”male chest fat”. To see if there are high-volume websites that are related to your product, you could go to Adwords’ Display Planner and enter the keywords “man boobs” into the search box. The Planner would then tell you:
Here’s what I found when I typed in that provocative term: So Google is telling us that it thinks the sites AskTheTrainer.com and PlasticSurgery4U.com are most relevant to the topic “man boobs”. It’s also saying that if we advertise on those sites, we could expect our ad to be seen 10k – 15k times per week on the top site (if we get 100% Impression Share).
I sell information products in a health niche, so when I started advertising on GDN and started making sales on sites like ebay.com.au, I was pretty surprised. The point is this: if you have an offer that appeals to a broad audience (for example, a particular demographic group), you might be able to make sales on sites that are not directly relayed to your niche.
Here are a few high-volume websites that are probably suitable for any niche (some of which I’ve made sales on with my health info products):
There are a couple Google-owned properties that are worth targeting as separate campaigns in your Adwords account:
Some suggestions from this Adwords thread on optimizing Gmail-targeted GDN campaigns include:
If you’re a real baller, look into Gmail Sponsored Promotions. This program requires you to set up an IO (insertion order) with Google, and it doesn’t look cheap, but if you’re serious about using Gmail as an advertising channel, it’s worth looking into.
For more info on Google Sponsored Promotions, check out the stellar results Wordstream has had with program, and Elite SEM’s blog has an excellent tutorial on Gmail Sponsored Promotions implementation and best practices. 2. Youtube. Advertising on Youtube could be the subject of an entire course, so I’ll just mention a few things here:
Here’s a breakdown of the types of ads you can place on Youtube:
Check out Marketing Mojo’s blog for an excellent explanation of video advertising choices on Youtube.
Here’s a diagram showing all the different types of ad formats available for Youtube (which I personally find frigging confusing!): Wordstream has a great tutorial on How to Advertise in Youtube Videos that outlines all of the advertising options.
When you set up your campaign you probably selected only a couple of English-speaking countries for your campaign. How about broadening that scope to include ALL of the English-speaking countries, as well as countries that have a growing middle class that speaks English?
I would start by targeting all countries in Europe, because most European countries are wealthy and have a large number of people who speak English as a second (or third) language. Here are some countries that have a large absolute number of English-speakers and that you’ve probably never thought of advertising in:
Here’s something that’s even more interesting: a language training company has an index that ranks countries by the average level of English skills among adults.
To target your country-based campaign even better, I would start with the countries that have a high level of English proficiency. You can see the ranking here. I would also add whatever GDN layering is appropriate for your campaign (i.e. keywords, demographics, topics, interests, etc.)
Another setting to test in your GDN campaign is languages. As alluded to in the previous section, there are a lot of people who speak English as a second or third language, and some of these people don’t live in countries that are normally associated with English-speakers.
So in addition to targeting the countries that those people live in, you can also set up a new campaign targeting popular languages, as a way to target people who would otherwise never see your ads. Why this might help you capture an additional, relevant audience is that Google uses the browser language settings to determine a user’s language.
So if a user has Spanish as their browser setting, and they live in a Spanish-speaking country, they would never see your ad – unless you specifically target their language. You can try this out even if your ads (and website) are in English.
The Display Campaign Optimizer (DCO) is Google’s way to rake in more money for themselves automatically ramp up your campaign by using their algorithms to find more placements for you.
Why use the DCO, instead of just increasing the budget on your existing campaign? Because the DCO automatically finds more placements at your target CPA. All you have to do is go into the Display Network tab of each ad group and click the “+Targeting” button. Then under “Targeting optimization” select “Let Adwords automatically find new customers”: Wondering if DCO is for you? Here’s a good article by former Google employee Kristina Cutura: Should You Try Google’s Display Campaign Optimizer?
Retargeting (also called remarketing) is a HUGE trend right now in online marketing.
If you’ve ever visited a website, then found yourself followed around the internet by that site’s ads, you’ve been “retargeted”. When a site retargets you, they drop a cookie in your browser so they can serve ads to you as you visit other websites. It’s a way to get people who have been to a website – but have not converted – to take whatever action you’d like them to.
You can sign up for Adwords’ retargeting, depending on the niche you’re in (read the policy on who can use their retargeting service here). Because I sell information products in a health niche (which they consider a “sensitive” topic), Adwords disabled my retargeting list shortly after I opted in to their program. So I now use a popular third-party retargeting service called Perfect Audience.
You’ve probably heard that mobile is the future (and present) of marketing. Here are a few mind-blowing stats to prove the point:
Like Youtube marketing, mobile marketing could be a course unto itself. I’ll just mention a couple of important points:
If you have a profitable Google Display Network campaign, you’re a lucky dude. Now what you need to do is SCALE the crap out of your campaign. In this post I’ve outlined 13 ways you can scale a GDN campaign:
I’ll be implementing these tips in my own GDN campaign and reporting what I’ve learned in my Niche Sherpa private forum. If you haven’t found a profitable niche yet, or are struggling with your online business, my Niche Sherpa course can get you up and running in less than 60 days. Click here to learn how the Sherpa can help you!
I emailed Kristina when this post was published and asked if she’d review it and provide feedback. Here are several points she added:
(1) One thing I might recommend to keep the campaign profitable is to continue to review placements that are generating traffic and exclude those that generated spend without any conversions. You could be spending a lot of money on placements that are not converting at all, so this is especially important if you have a limited budget.
(2) For your top converting placements, you can se unique bids, so that each placement has a different bid depending on conversions and cost to convert. Most advertisers use ad group level bids, but placement specific bids are an advanced way to manage GDN.
(3) You can also use negative keywords in the same way as search to exclude irrelevant, non-performing pages from triggering your ads. For example, if you sell B2B software and are looking to get B2B leads from prospective buyers, you can add “jobs” and similar negatives toe exclude people looking at job postings from seeing your ads.
(4) Finally, for most brands using retargeting, I recommend opting out of sensitive sites at the site category level in the Display Network tab.[/feature_box]
I've been making money online since 2009 and have a passion for research. My focus is niche research: finding profitable niches, keyword research, and competition analysis, as well as creating outstanding content.