GDN Placements – A Quick Explanation

September 12, 2013

Again I am going to try to explain the complexities of the Google Display Network or GDN. Todays topic will be display placements. However, if you haven’t looked at my article on display keywords, please check it out here. I will be referring to some of the ideas that I wrote about in that article.

What are display placements?

Placements is the GDN term the simply means ‘the websites that your ads have showed on or that you have picked for your ads to show on’. The key part of this definition is that the placements that Google shows you are not all of the sites that your ads could show on.

The reason for this is that there are two types of placements. The first type is automatic placements. They are called automatic placements because Google chooses them for you automatically based on your display keywords or other GDN targeting methods. The second type of placements are managed placement. These ones you choose manually.

How to use display placement?

Placements are different from the other forms of targeting in the GDN. If you are using other forms of targeting, then those will create automatic placements. In a sense, by choosing display keywords or topics you are choosing the placements you want to use.

Managed placements give you the ability to refine where you ads are shown and really help you to focus your advertising to places that work for you. Just pick placements that work for your account and then you will be able to manage them more effectively. Keep in mind what I say next because you need to be careful where you put your managed placements.

Even though I am repeating myself and reusing a bit from my post on keywords, this next section is important. It is a problem that I have seen several times in GDN campaigns that I have taken over and I don’t want you to be bitten by it too.

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.

How to improve my GDN campaign with placements?

The main thing that you need to do to optimize a GDN campaign with placements is to remove (exclude in Adwords language) the bad ones. With automatic placements Google is reaching out trying to find all sites that fit your targeting criteria. Inevitably, some of the sites that Google finds really don’t fit what you want.

For example, a lot of joke sites end up in your automatic placements. This was likely because the joke or a comment on the joke contained one of your keywords or fit other targeting that you are using. It is also likely that the people that visit this joke site don’t click on your add or convert. A placement with a lot of impressions yet few clicks needs to go and just like with search network keywords placements with a high click volume and low or no conversions need to be excluded.

If you are constantly weeding your placements, you will see constant improvement in your display campaigns.

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