The Swiss Army Knife of Digital Marketing – Google Display Ads

January 5th, 2019 by Cameron Collins

You may have noticed that Google has recently changed the name of their advertising platform from Google AdWords to Google Ads. Name changes can be risky, but in this case we think it makes perfect sense.

Google first offered text ads at the top of their search result pages in October 2000. These ads are still popular today. For our clients, they offer those in competitive industries to opportunity to achieve exposure and traffic in relevant but hotly contested searches.

While visibility in relevant search results is highly valuable, gained by search engine optimisation, this often won’t guarantee a sufficient level of online leads or sales generated from your website. For example what if:

  • There are very few relevant Google searches for your product or service.
  • You wish to encourage your website visitors to return to your site (especially if you have a lengthy sales process).
  • You have a new and unique offering and wish to gain brand awareness.
  • Your product is visually stunning – you know your target audience will be interested if only they could see it.

Google gradually expanded their ad network offerings, with search ads being joined by display, shopping, video and universal app ads.

What are Google Display Ads?

Display ads appear throughout approximately 2 million websites and apps which are part of the Google Display Network. News websites with ads in the right side column are an example of this. Other options include ads underneath YouTube videos and at the bottom of the screen in apps.

Display ads have taken off in recent years, and for good reason. These can be used to reach your target audience at all stages of the sales funnel.

They’re highly cost effective, with the average cost-per-click at $0.63 (compared to $2.69 for search ads).

What really makes these ads stand out from other advertising channels is the unique audience targeting options which are available. You have the ability to request that Google displays these ads to:

  • Previous visitors of a particular page or pages of your website (these are the ads that “follow you” across the internet).
  • People who have recently conducted a Google search for search terms which are relevant to your product/service.
  • People who have recently visited websites similar to yours (i.e. your competitors).

This makes Display ads highly versatile. They can be used to encourage visitors back to your website, particularly when they have demonstrated a level of interest, even added a product to cart but not completed the transaction. Products which are more complex or have a higher price tag are often not purchased spontaneously and involve a longer decision making process. These ads ensure your brand isn’t forgotten about during the decision making process.

Display ads also attract visitors who are interested in your product/services but have been visiting your competitors and not your website. Again for purchases which are not made spontaneously (e.g. a new car), or product/services which are not purchased as a once off (e.g. a chiropractor appointment), this is a great way to reach your audience, alongside organic and paid search results.

If you have a new brand or product that is visually stunning, display ads provide a great way to increase brand awareness at a low price, and draw visitors to your website, when they would otherwise be searching for more established brands (e.g. a stylish new brand of watch).

Misconceptions about Display Ads

A common misconception regarding display ads is that ad blockers will eventually render this format to be useless. As of 2018, the display network has been able to reach approximately 90% of global internet users. While Google makes their money from advertising, they understand that harassing internet users with obnoxious ads doesn’t benefit anyone. Google have begun to enforce standards from the Coalition for Better Ads. These standards aim to eradicate ad formats which annoy internet users the most – such as pop up ads which block the main page content, auto-playing ads with sound, countdown ads which delay the loading of main content.

Display Ad Case Study: Select Kitchens

We were recently approached to review the effectiveness of a Google display ad campaign for Select Kitchens. Select Kitchens offer prestige, high end kitchen renovations in inner-east Melbourne localities such as Toorak and Camberwell. Their display ad campaign was failing to attract leads for their sales team. At closer inspection we found that the ads were not being clicked on. After being displayed 61,258 times (impressions) their ads had only been clicked on once.

And as you can see in the cost column, that one click costed $17.33! These ads operate on a pay-per-click format, where you pay Google each time someone clicks on your ads. Without regular PPC management, you may find that Google makes more money from these ads than you do.

After reviewing the display ads in use, we found that they failed to describe the high-end products which their target audience seek. The ads appeared dated, cheap and more representative of a low-cost renovator.

In December we paused the existing ads and implemented a new style of ad. To gauge the effectiveness of the new ad design without influence of other factors, we didn’t change the campaign targeting and displayed the ad to the same audience. The only other change we made was to reduce the allowed maximum cost-per-click from a staggering $40 to a more reasonable $3.00.

The new ad comprises a slow-scrolling animation of a modern kitchen, displaying simple key messages and ending in a call-to-action. It’s simple, elegant and stands out to those who have been searching for high-end modern and contemporary kitchen renovation companies.

The ad looks like a video, but really it’s an image which is being slowly displayed from left to right. Its design tactics like this which make ads stand out without resorting to obnoxious and tasteless behaviour.

As you can see, the new ad has resonated with the target audience. It received 188 clicks at an average cost of $2.02 per click. Select Kitchens received their first ever conversion from display ads, and with some adjusting to the audience targeting, we look forward to seeing many more quality leads.

If you would like to find out how Google Display ads can help your business, send us a message and we would love to have a friendly chat with you. Contactpoint has 14 years’ experience in providing lead generation and e-commerce solutions for Melbourne businesses through a range of digital marketing channels.

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