Google Display Network Updates

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This March, the Display Network, also known as the Content Network, turned 9 years old.  Just in time for the 9 year anniversary, Google announced significant changes will be taking place on the Display Network.  Some of the features are already available, and the rest will be rolled out over the course of the month.  You definitely need to take note of the new changes because they will significantly impact the way you use the Display Network moving forward.  In this post, we will take a further look at what Google is doing and how you can effectively utilize the changes.

The New Display Tab

The new display tab shown in Adwords

Google is creating a new Display Network Tab to join the host of other tabs in your Ad Center Interface. The new Display Network Tab interface has been rebuilt from the ground up to help you efficiently run your Display Network campaigns.  It will enable you to bid, target and optimize your display campaigns all from the same interface.  The new Display Network tab will combine the current “Networks”, “Audiences” and “Topics” tabs and allow you to bid, target and optimize your campaigns all within the new tab.

Contextual Engine Upgrade

The contextual engine has been around for a while.  The engine matches your ads to pages within the paid search network based on keywords you specify within each ad group.  With the addition of the new Display Network Tab, the contextual engine is receiving its biggest enhancement ever – the ability to combine the reach of the Display Network with the targeting precision of the Search Network.  The new engine accomplishes this feat by using “Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting”.  In layman’s terms, this means that you can fine-tune the performance of your contextually targeted Display Network campaigns down to the individual keyword level.  If utilized correctly, the new targeting options will help you take the performance of your Display Network marketing campaigns to a completely new level.

Visual Diagram

Some of us are visual learners, and I am just one of the many.  Google is finally giving some love to those of us who are visual aide fans with the introduction of a new Venn diagram.  Now, whenever you are adding or editing your Display Network targeting options, you will see a Venn diagram that shows how your targeting methods interact with each other.  The diagram will include placements, interactions, and keywords, and the overlapping sections will show you what methods are currently being used to target your ads.  The diagram introduces a new and improved way to how the reach of your campaigns is impacted by combining multiple targeting types.

Keyword Level Data

We saved the best update for last.  Google will be implementing a new feature that offers users the ability to see keyword level performance on the Display Network.  FINALLY!  I know many of you have shared my frustrations in not being able to see and utilize this kind of data in the past.  The new feature will allow you to see the performance of display campaigns at the individual keyword level.  If you are brand new to the Display Network, marketers previously had to use themed ad groups each with their own keywords in order to try and optimize the targeting of the Display Network.

Do not confuse the Keywords Tab with the new functionality of the Display Network Tab.  The new keyword performance statistics for the Display Network will only be available in the Display Network, and the Keywords Tab will continue to show keyword statistics for the Search Network.  If you choose to add or edit keywords in the main Keywords Tab, any changes made to those keywords will affect both your search and display network targeting.  This means it is more important than ever to keep your Search Network and Display Network campaigns separate.  However, the new feature will improve the effectiveness of extending your search based campaigns over to the display network.

As a professional in the Search Engine Marketing field, I believe these changes will dramatically change the effectiveness of the Display Network in the future.  While some of these changes would have been welcome years ago, I applaud Google for implementing the new features sooner rather than later.

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