Display Advertising Demystified: Part 2 #HEROCONF

Display Advertising Demystified: Part 2 #HEROCONF

9th May 2014

Matt_Display_HeroConf_Part 2

Often we hear Display is not meant to be part of a search campaign…. Even though Google has gone out of their way to offer, now as default, search and display together in one campaign. This is still not a wise choice. Matt Van Wagner of FindMeFaster revealed that there are some companies who need to break out display campaigns into their own account because the structures can get just as complicated and involved as search advertising, with similar CPA results when done appropriately.

If you are keeping all of your display targeting cooped up into one campaign, you are not running a fully optimized account.

The Perfect Placement

After you find a page that really is leading to high quality traffic and conversions for you, you can start to drill into the specific content they have and create complimentary copy to their content. Match as closely as possible the website fonts, the branding colors, the layout & design of the site. Then set up that specific placement with this specific imagery and see how it performs in comparison to your older campaigns.

Yes, this is more work than the way you’re likely running campaigns now, but you can start to justify costs when it works like doing a direct media buy or native contextual ad on any other website. As an industry, we need to get better about delivering better results from Display because it really is our untapped and ignored market.

Mining, Refining, and Minting Campaigns

I’ve only heard once before that display campaigns should be broken out into two or three different campaigns and Matt reconfirmed for me that this is absolutely necessary. He breaks his campaigns out into three different types of focus.


There are over 2 million sites in the GDN. There are a lot of poor quality pages, and then there are a lot of really good pages, and quite a few pages that are not being targeted as appropriately as they should be. Set up one campaign that is going to be your discovery based campaign. You’ll have quite a few negative placements here. As you find placements that consistently work for you, they will also become negatives and you’ll need to move them to a Refining campaign.


This is your managed placements campaign. It’s going to be pages that drive better and more consistent returns. You can start testing placement-specific advertisements here, but this campaign is just to keep the good stuff away from your mining campaign. It’s easier to see when separated from the discovery process and will help you reach your targets. However, when you get a page that is really churning out good returns for you, you’re going to need to give it more detailed attention.


Matt said he thinks of this as his “Money Making Campaign,” just like minting your own money – thus the name! This campaign needs to be where you own these placements. To do this right, you need to have customer-tailored landing pages and ads. This is the only way to really start to improve your ROI and increase conversions.

After you are so attuned to the nature of the customer and are delivering a positive experience in the ad copy, you will see CTRs increase significantly and the not so frequently mentioned Display Quality Score. Ad CTR is the determining factor in your GDN quality score and helps you get cheaper traffic. Once you’ve built up that CTR and you have a specific ad bidding in a specific location, you can increase your CPM, still see conversions, and it’s going to be very unlikely that someone will be able to unseat you from that placement.

AdGroup Level Organization

Display is quite a bit similar and simultaneously different than search when we start to look at the adgroup level organization. Matt mentioned to me after the presentation that we no longer need to break out text from image into two different campaigns, as we might have done in the past. Because a lot of the targeting has moved to adgroup level targeting, this makes it a lot easier to manage at the adgroup level and not need additional campaigns to make your structures murky.

Targeting Metrics


Generally, you’re going to want to start with keyword level targeting. This is extremely similar to search campaigns. Use no more than 15 keywords per ad group and make sure these are 2-3 word phrases. Unless you are listing Latin names of medical diagnoses, you don’t need the vague head terms.

Use negative keywords sparingly. Google will only pick up a total of 50 negative keywords from both the adgroup level targeting and the campaign level targeting. So get inventive and start making exclusions at topic, interest, and placement levels. (Hint: You don’t need all those celebrity names and job searcher keyword level negatives. Use a topic negative instead and save the precious keyword level ones for things that are very specific).


Your foundation should be built in keyword level targeting, but the placements should come next in building these campaigns. But remember the campaign structure above: your Mining campaign should not have any managed placements. Managed placements are for Refining and Minting campaigns.

Topics, Categories, Interests, and Demographics

Topics will help you continue to refine your campaigns and should be used on top of keywords and placements. Categories should be treated the same way. We started running out of time at this point during the breakout session, but Interests were mentioned as really good pre-marketing targeting, so they are layered on top.

Demographics and persona specific information should be the icing on your cake. Unlike Facebook advertising where we start with this information, Google’s demographics are not as precise. Use bid modifiers and negatives to help hone in on your specific demographic, that way you won’t be missing out on any of the unknown data.

About the author

Jasmine Aye Jasmine works at Distilled in their Seattle office specializing in paid search. She has managed accounts in several verticals including finance, ecommerce, non-profit, and travel. She has a fierce determination to achieve excellent growth for her clients and is a passionate people person


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