Display Keywords – A Quick Explanation

June 20, 2013

Keywords for Google’s Display Network are tricky things to wrap your head around sometimes. Here I will try to demystify how these keywords work so you can set up the best targeting for your campaign.

Display Keywords

If you are reading this, chances are that you have used adwords to target Google’s search network and have experience with those keywords. At this moment you will need to forget what you know about search keywords. Thinking about Display keywords as Search Keywords will only mess up your campaign.

Display keywords are different in one big way. Since there are no search queries to match on the display network, display keywords are matched based on the theme of the page that’s up for auction and your keyword.

So, when building a display adgroup use 5 – 20 keywords that are based on a theme. There are no match types to deal with here so just don’t worry about keywords overlapping and competing. Remember the goal is to serve the adgroup’s ads to pages with a certain theme.

There is no need to be too tight on how you theme the adgroup. Think about what people might be looking at if they were in the mindset to buy your product. Also think of other names that your product may have

Good Adgroup Structure
Tennis Shoestennis shoes
casual shoes
everyday shoes
comfortable shoes
Brand 1 Shoesbrand 1 shoes
brand 1 running shoes
brand 1 sports shoes
brand 1 shoes for men
brand 1 shoes for women
Brand 2 Shoesbrand 2 shoes
brand 2 formal shoes
brand 2 casual shoes
brand 2 dress shoes

Display Network Targeting

There are many ways to target different audiences using the Google display network. The display keywords are just one type of targeting that you can use. I want to talk about the other types of targeting for just a second. You can use display keywords with other types of targeting there are just a few things to consider that I will go over here.

The other main form of targeting for display campaigns is Placements. These are sites that you choose to show ads on that have opted into the Google display network. You can also target based on Topics that Google has categorized, interests that Google has detected, gender, and age.

The way that these targeting options work together is best explained with a diagram.

When you have to separate adgroups with different types of targeting things really are separated and simple. If someone goes to a site that our keywords match, then our ad will show and the data related to that (impression, click, conversions) will be assigned to that adgroup. The same will happen if someone navigates to a site we are targeting with placements.

However, things get trickier when you use multiple types of targeting in the same adgroup.

When you use different types of targeting in the same display adgroup you only show ads where the criteria for all of your targeting types are met. For example, if you take the Brand 1 example adgroup that I used above and added about.com as a placement, then ads for that adgroup would only show on pages on about.com where the theme of the page is related to our keywords.

Be Careful

Be careful using multiple types of targeting. It can be a powerful way to narrow the focus of your adgroup. But if you accidentally add a placement to an adgroup, that before only had display keywords, you will see your impressions fall to a tiny fraction of what they were before.

One tip for when you start building a campaign is to use the Display Planner tool in the Tools and Analysis dropdown in Adwords. This is a great tool to start building a display campaign. It would be a bad idea to take everything that the tool gives you and run with it but it is a great, easy way to get started.

That is it for display keywords. The Google Display Network is a great way to add some more reach to your online advertising and knowing how to effectively use the targeting options available is key to success.

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