How Google Display Network (GDN) Can Boost Your Advertising Efforts

How Google Display Network (GDN) Can Boost Your Advertising Efforts

Google started selling ads on its Google Display network (GDN) a year or two after Google AdWords began. The GDN is a great avenue to display your bra

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Google started selling ads on its Google Display network (GDN) a year or two after Google AdWords began. The GDN is a great avenue to display your brand to a wide range of audiences on various websites.

How it works

A website owner regularly publishes content and attracts a lot of traffic. He is willing to take advantage of it and earn money. He places a code on his site, similar to an invisible box, and allows Google to screen and manage advertisers. Interested parties contact Google and pay to have their brand displayed in the invisible box on the publisher’s site. The income is shared at an agreed percentage between Google and the publisher.

This agreement saves the publisher from contacting advertisers and managing clients on a one-on-one basis.

As a marketer, there are four ways you can take advantage of the GDN:

  • Behavioural targeting
  • Keyword targeting
  • Topic targeting; and
  • Managed placement targeting.

Keep reading to see how you can reach 90% of web users through a single ad network, the GDN.

However, you should keep in mind that a fast loading and user friendly website is key if you wish to successfully convert your leads. Using a trustworthy web hosting service is crucial to your marketing efforts. Options in New Zealand include Open Host and

Behavioural targeting

Google observes its users and keeps record of the sites they regularly visit, items they purchase, videos they watch, the kind of emails they receive, and many more. This targeting method enables them to create an accurate profile of interests and display your ad to users who are more likely to take an interest in your brand.

There are two ways you can use behavioural targeting:

  • Targeting based on individual user behaviour on your site. Consists of customer match and remarketing. Customer match allows marketers to upload email addresses from their CRM data to AdWords. Google matches the email addresses to its list of signed-in users. This benefits the advertiser by:
  • undermining the need to build a cookie list
  • scale current remarketing lists
  • reach more audiences across mobile
  • Display ads for a related product and upsell to users who have just completed a purchase
  • Serve the best offers and deals to loyal customers.
  • Interest targeting: Google observes user’s short or long term activity across the wider web and gets a sense of overall interests. There are two types of interest targeting you can start with:        


  • Affinity targeting: Google has differentiated about 100 market types such as music lovers, car enthusiasts, and avid investors. Based on the long term behaviour of users, usually over many months, you can target people according to the category they fall in.
  • In-market targeting: to discover what a user is likely to purchase in the near future, Google takes note of searches they perform, sites they’ve visited, and the emails they have received within one to two weeks. They then target your ads accordingly.


Keyword targeting

Keyword targeting is a very precise targeting method. The GDN has over 2 million sites and every page on every one of those sites has a central theme. As an advertiser, you can select broad match keywords that enable Google display your ads on pages that match the chosen keyword.

Keyword targeting has three main types:


  • Competitor keywords: Google discovers pages in their network that mention competitors in your niche and incorporates your ad into those pages.
  • Brand keywords: Google finds pages on their network where people are talking about your brand and displays your ad on those pages. This is good because whether the discussions on those pages are positive or not, displaying your ad will get people curious to visit your ad.
  • Non-brand keywords: you make use of keywords that represent your products and services to target web users. Google will display your ad on pages that are about those keywords, for instance men’s wears.


Topic targeting

Here, you use topics to target rather than keywords. It is a good way to reach out to a broader audience and make an impression but may not lead to much user conversions. However, if you choose more specific topics, your targeting will be much better. For instance Mobile Apps is a broad topic but can be drilled down to something more specific like Music Player for more precision.

Managed placement targeting

This option gives you control over your ad placements but may limit your reach. You choose the sites on which you would like to place your ads and if they are available, Google will display your ads. You can even choose the particular section of the site where you want your ad to be placed. For instance in a health and fitness site you may decide to have your ad placed on the sporting gear section.