You’re about to learn how to avoid one of the most common and costly mistakes businesses make with Google AdWords.
What is the mistake I’m referring to?
Targeting Both Search & Display Networks With the Same Ad Campaign
First, it’s important to point out why so many businesses make this mistake.
Google AdWords encourages advertisers to set up campaigns that target both the Search network and the Display network. The first option when creating a new campaign is to target both networks and AdWords provides “advice” that this is the “Best opportunity to reach the most customers.”
Sure, targeting both networks will give you more reach, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Buying a TV commercial during the Super Bowl will also get your business in front of more prospective customers, but that’s probably not the best tactic for your business either. :)
Unfortunately, Google’s advice in this example is self serving. The reality is that Google makes money when businesses spend more in advertising so it’s in their best interest to encourage businesses to expand reach (aka expand budgets) regardless of whether or not the ad spend is profitable.
Keep that in the back of your mind whenever you read Google’s advice or talk to one of their reps. Hey, they are a business and they didn’t become the #1 search engine by shying away from tactics that increase their revenue. :)
Alright, let’s get back to why targeting both the search and the display network is such a bad idea…
Search vs. Display 101
When you think of Google AdWords, you probably think of the ads that show up when you search in Google.com.
Those ads are on the Search Network. Makes sense, right? The Search Network gives advertisers the opportunity to display ads at the precise time when prospects are searching for their products or services.
You can think of the Search Network like the old Yellowpages. Prospects used to “search” in the Yellowpages when they were about to make a purchase and businesses could prominently advertise their products and services. Now most prospects use Google.com to search and the Search Network is the new Yellowpages.
However, the Display Network has nothing to do with searching on Google.com!
Display Network ads are displayed on other websites across the internet that are trying to make money from Google AdSense. Any website can add AdSense ads to their website and then advertisers can use the Display Network to target those webpages. According to Google, over 2 million websites use AdSense, which gives you an idea for the enormous size and reach of the Display Network.
Again, the key difference is that when you target the Display Network, you’re not targeting prospects searching for your products or services; You’re interrupting people as they visit one of the over 2 million websites in the Display Network. That’s why display advertising is sometimes referred to as “Interruption Marketing”.
That leads us to the first key takeaway in this article…
Takeaway #1: Each Network Requires Different Ads
When a prospect is searching in Google.com for a product or service, then there is an immediate need. For example, if someone searches for a “math tutor in NYC” then guess what that person wants? Obviously, that person wants to find and likely hire a math tutor in NYC. Why else would anyone search that phrase in Google?
With that in mind, your ad copy for the Search Network should precisely match the keyword searched so that you’re presenting the best option. If the keyword searched was “math tutor in NYC,” then the ad should mention that you are a math tutor in NYC and encourage the prospect to contact you.
Pretty straight forward, right?
Now let’s switch gears and consider someone surfing around online and reading an article about how to study for a the math section of the SAT.
This person is clearly interested in learning more about math, but it’s not 100% clear if she wants or needs a math tutor. There is no indication of an immediate need like there is in the Search Network.
See the difference? In this case, to be effective, your Display Network ads may need to make the case for why a tutor is the best option to ace the math section of the SAT.
As you can see from these two examples, your ad copy for the Search Network will almost always need to be different than your ad copy for the Display Network. If you try to use one campaign for both networks, then it’s impossible to match your ad copy to the network. That’s one reason why it’s never a good idea to target both networks in a single campaign.
Next, we can take this concept of matching ad copy a step further…
Takeaway #2: Each Network Requires Different Targeting
With a basic Search campaign, your primary targeting option is to use keywords. When you target a keyword, then whenever a prospect customer searches for that particular keyword, then your ad will be displayed.
With a basic Display campaign, you have many more options…
First, you have contextual targeting. In the Display Network example above, I assumed the ads were targeting a contextually relevant article about how to study for the math section of the SAT. This is the most basic targeting option which relies on Google to match your keywords and ads to relevant webpages across the over 2 million websites.
Another option in AdWords is behavioral targeting. Behavioral targeting is a method of displaying your ads to prospects who appear to be interested in your product or service based on their internet browsing history.
For example, if I visit a lot of test preparation and tutoring related websites, then over time Google learns that I’m interested in this topic and will place me into the audience group called “Test Preparation & Tutoring.” That allows advertisers to then target prospects who based on their browsing history appear to be a good fit for their products or services.
And yet another option is demographic targeting. With demographic targeting you can select male or female, parents, and different age ranges to laser target your ideal customers.
Now that you understand contextual, behavioral, and demographic targeting, can you guess where I’m going with this?
That’s right, you need to match your ad copy to the targeting options you select! When you create separate Search and Display campaigns, then you have the ability to perfectly match your ad copy to your target audience, which ultimately leads to better ad performance.
Ready to Learn More?
Join us for our upcoming LIVE Google AdWords training…
“How to Create a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign”
Thursday, April 21st at 12pm – 1:30pm Eastern time
When you attend this 90-minute online workshop, I’ll show you exactly how to create a profitable Google AdWords campaign from scratch…. so you attract a steady flow of new customers to your business every month!
This is one of our most popular courses, and we’ve updated it for April 2016 with our latest best practices.
Main Street ROI is a digital marketing agency based in New York City.
Our mission is to help small businesses thrive. With our services and training, we help small businesses succeed with marketing regardless of their budgets.
Since 2010, we’ve helped thousands of small businesses create profitable digital marketing campaigns.
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