All your display planning and targeting needs, all in one place

For some time now we've been working to unify all our helpful AdWords display tools in one easy and streamlined location. Today we're taking another big step in that direction by integrating three of our classic tools — The Contextual Targeting Tool, the Placement Tool and the Google Ad Planner — into the new Google Display Planner. As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, Display Planner is our new unified research and planning tool, bringing you targeting ideas and estimates that can help you build better display campaigns.

All the functionality you're used to is now part of Display Planner — and with all the tools in one place, everything's easier. Display Planner is built into AdWords, so with one click you can add all the keywords, placements, or other targeting ideas you choose directly into your campaigns. Display Planner also makes them easy to download and share with your team members.

The Contextual Targeting Tool and the Placement Tool will be sunsetted in the next few days, and Google Ad Planner will be deprecated in early September. If you use Google Ad Planner and have existing media plans and site lists, you should export and save them in the next few weeks.

Learn More
For more information on transitioning to Display Planner please check out the Guide to Display Planner for AdPlanner users and make sure to sign up here for our Display Planner Webinar on September 18th, 2013 1pm EST!

Ready to start using Display Planner now? You'll find it in the Tools and Analysis menu in your AdWords account.

Posted by Max Cohen, Product Manager Google Display Network

Google Catalogs in Lightbox -- a scalable way to distribute eCatalogs

Google’s Lightbox ad format -- a part of the Engagement Ads family, which consists of interactive ad formats that let advertisers create and scale brand messages across the web, while only paying when a user engages with the ad -- has seen a great deal of momentum since its launch in March.

Today we are announcing a brand new capability within this format – Google Catalogs in Lightbox.

Brands invest heavily in creating beautiful stories in their printed catalogs, and we want to make it easy for our users to connect with relevant, digitized versions of these catalogs around the web. With Google Catalogs in Lightbox, users can easily flip through the digital catalogs, to see the latest product selections, check product prices, and visit product pages without ever leaving the original page they were browsing. Advertisers pay on a Cost-per-Engagement (CPE) basis -- meaning that they pay when a user chooses to read their catalog. And with access to metrics like page flips and product views, advertisers have more customer insight than ever before.

We have received positive feedback on this format from users, advertisers and publishers. Users have responded well to the beautiful, immersive catalog experience. Advertisers have found it easy to create online catalogs within hours, using their existing PDFs and Google Merchant Center feeds. And finally, our publisher partners that have run Lightbox formats have seen their CPMs as much as double.

One of our beta partners, Brand USA, an organization that promotes international tourism to the United States, used Google Catalogs in Lightbox to showcase an interactive US travel guide to Canadian tourists. They digitized their existing print tourism guide and achieved massive distribution of their catalog online, reaching a fifth of the Canadian population, and actively engaging 1 in 40 Canadians.

To get started, including help with digitizing your catalog, contact your account team today.

Posted by James Beser, Sr. Product Manager 

Introducing a new way for brand advertisers to reach their ideal customer

Brand Advertisers often know who they want to reach, but connecting online with the audience that matters most to their brand at scale has proven to be a challenge. To help address this, we’re excited to announce the launch of Affinity Segments in AdWords and YouTube, which have been designed with TV-style audiences in mind to help solve the problem of connecting with ideal customers online. To understand someone’s affinity, our system takes into account the types of pages a user visits, along with how often and how long they spend there, associating interest categories with each person’s browser. Optimized for reach and frequency, Affinity Segments helps advertisers reach those most likely to enjoy their brand.

Make life easier
With Affinity Segments, we make it easy by helping brand advertisers reach their ideal audience via 80 unique lifestyle segments based on Interest Categories and Demographics . Brands can now reach their target audience at scale based on their interests – such as green living, fashion, or travel – and watch engagement grow.

And it doesn’t stop there. We know that as an advertiser you’re probably used to buying audiences offline for TV, and we know how challenging buying an online audience can be. To make life even easier for you, we defined our affinity segments the same way you target your TV audiences, so you can achieve massive reach online using the same segments you use on TV.

Mazda Canada drives success using Affinity Segments
Like most advertisers out there, Mazda Canada has been on the lookout for a solution that would enable them to reach precise audiences at scale. Over the past decade, the Mazda6 has undergone a few key redesigns – 2013 marked the launch of an all-new model combining Mazda’s signature design style with SKYACTIV Technology, its cutting-edge performance and fuel-saving technology, as well as some innovative safety features including Smart City Brake Support and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The launch of this flagship vehicle demanded an innovative marketing approach: to build awareness of these technological advancements, inform consumers of the car’s new features, and drive them to the Mazda6 website to engage directly with the brand.

They knew their target audience: male urban professionals who are typically interested in technology and up-to-date on all the latest gadgets and automotive advancements.

Mazda Canada decided to give Affinity Segments a try, selecting the “technophile” segment to connect them with their ideal tech-savvy customers, who have demonstrated an interest in technology through visits to various websites focused on new gadgets.  By targeting the technophiles segment across Google Display, Mazda reinforced the messaging and impact of its television campaign geared to the same type of audience. Mazda saw impressive results and reached 10X more users than they were able to with previous campaigns, greatly exceeding their expectations.

“Affinity Segments delivered perfectly for this campaign in allowing us to reach many users in a short period of time who we knew would have a predisposition to appreciate the Mazda6’s technology upgrades.” said Michael Tsang, Interactive Marketing Manager at Mazda Canada. As a result of their overwhelming success, Mazda Canada decided to integrate Affinity Segments into their online media mix for their other car models and as a vital component for their advertising efforts.

Connect with the people who care
Affinity Segments offer broader reach by encompassing the broad passions that reflect a user’s lifestyle rather than niche curiosities.  Our wide variety of segments let you reach your perfect audience – from hardcore gamers, to foodies, to luxury shoppers, we have a high-reach segment designed to connect you with your ideal customers. If there isn’t a segment that is a perfect fit for your brand’s needs, you can contact your account manager to create a custom segment just for you.
Consumers can also update their own interest categories through Ads Settings – which gives users control over the ads they see online.

Learn More
Just like Mazda, you too can use Affinity Segments to expand your reach across the Google Display Network and focus on engaging with individuals who match what your brand is all about – delighting customers and creating future brand advocates.

To find out how to get started with Affinity Segments today, visit our Help Center for more information.

Posted by Diya Jolly, Senior Product Manager

Enhanced Campaigns for Display: Powerful Bidding Tools for a Multi-Device World

Last month we announced enhanced campaigns to help advertisers more simply and scalably reach their customers in a multi-screen world.  Today, we’ll look more closely at how enhanced campaigns work with your display campaigns.

Why Enhanced Campaigns For Display
In this constantly connected world, our customers are accessing information across multiple devices, and might look at 10 different sources - online reviews, newspaper and magazine articles, recommendations from friends and more - before making a purchase. Display advertising captures these signals and is an important part of connecting with consumers in this multi-screen world.  But determining the best way to reach the right person with the right ad is more complex than ever. Enhanced campaigns for display help you reach people with the right ads, based on people’s context like their location, time of day and device type -- all from a single campaign.

Key Features
Search and display use very different signals. In search, we use keywords to capture users’ intent. For instance, a travel booking website knows that a user searching for ‘Rome Vacation Packages’ is looking for a vacation in Rome. In Display campaigns, advertisers use a variety of other signals to reach their target customers with the right ad. In this example, a travel website may use:
  • Interest Categories: to reach customers interested in “Rome”
  • Demographics: to reach people 35-44, who have historically spent 3x the average
  • Topic Targeting: to reach people browsing travel websites
  • Remarketing: to reach customers who booked a vacation with them last year
In today’s constantly connected world, someone's intent and the actions they're looking to take may differ depending on their context, signals such as time of day, location and device:
  • Time of day: Travelers typically book between 9am and 6pm
  • Location: “People in the US” who may convert more often than people in Italy
  • Device: Mobile users tend to browse on their smartphones, then book on their desktop
With enhanced campaigns, instead of having to create multiple campaigns, this travel website can easily manage all of this in one place. In a single campaign they can adjust bids across these various signals to reach the right people with the right ads.

Learn More
More tips on how to use enhanced campaigns for display are available in the AdWords Help Center. To learn more on how you can take advantage of Enhanced Campaigns for Display, register for our upcoming webinar this Thursday March 21st, at 10am PST.

Posted by Christian Oestlien, Product Management Director for the Google Display Network

Enhancing AdWords for a constantly connected world

Today we’re upgrading AdWords, by rolling out enhanced campaigns. This is a first step to help you more simply and smartly manage your ad campaigns in today’s multi-device world.

Why enhanced campaigns?
People are constantly connected and moving from one device to another to communicate, shop and stay entertained. In fact, a recent study of multi-device consumers found that 90% move sequentially between several screens to accomplish a task. There’s also a proliferation of new devices — PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, hybrid devices, mini-tablets, televisions, and more. And there are many more digital screens and devices to come, with the lines between them continuing to blur. For example, as devices converge, consumer behaviors on tablets and desktops are becoming very similar.

This creates great opportunities for businesses, but can also make marketing more complex and time-consuming. For example, a pizza restaurant probably wants to show one ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 1pm on their PC at work (perhaps a link to an online order form or menu), and a different ad to someone searching for “pizza” at 8pm on a smartphone a half-mile from the restaurant (perhaps a click-to-call phone number and restaurant locator). Signals like location, time of day, and the capabilities of the device people are using have become increasingly important in showing them the right ad.

With enhanced campaigns, instead of having to cobble together and compare several separate campaigns, reports and ad extensions to do this, the pizza restaurant can easily manage all of this in one single place. Enhanced campaigns help you reach people with the right ads, based on their context like location, time of day and device type, across all devices without having to set up and manage several separate campaigns.

Key features
Here’s an overview of some key features.
  1. Powerful marketing tools for the multi-device world
    People want search results that are relevant for the context they are in — their device, location and the time of day. Enhanced campaigns help you better manage your campaigns and budgets for this multi-device world. With bid adjustments, you can manage bids for your ads across devices, locations, time of day and more — all from a single campaign.

    Example: A breakfast cafe wants to reach people nearby searching for "coffee" or "breakfast" on a smartphone. Using bid adjustments, with three simple entries, they can bid 25% higher for people searching a half-mile away, 20% lower for searches after 11am, and 50% higher for searches on smartphones. These bid adjustments can apply to all ads and all keywords in one single campaign.

  2. Smarter ads optimized for varying user contexts
    People on the go or near your store may be looking for different things than someone sitting at their desk. With enhanced campaigns, you’ll show ads across devices with the right ad text, sitelink, app or extension, without having to edit each campaign for every possible combination of devices, location and time of day.

    Example: A national retailer with both physical locations and a website can show ads with click-to-call and location extensions for people searching on their smartphones, while showing an ad for their e-commerce website to people searching on a PC — all within a single campaign.

  3. Advanced reports to measure new conversion types
    Technology is enabling people to take action on your ads in new ways. Potential customers may see your ad and download your app, or they may call you. It’s been hard for marketers to easily measure and compare these interactions. To help you measure the full value of your campaigns, enhanced campaigns enables you to easily count calls and app downloads as conversions in your AdWords reports.

    Example: You can count phone calls of 60 seconds or longer that result from a click-to-call ad as a conversion in your AdWords reports, and compare them to other conversions like leads, sales and downloads.
Upgrading to enhanced campaigns
Enhanced campaigns will roll out to advertisers as an option over the next few weeks, and we plan to upgrade all campaigns in mid-2013.

Enhanced campaigns are designed to help you succeed in a multi-screen world, but we know that transitioning may involve some initial changes. Here are some resources to help you:
Over the coming weeks we’ll dive into the new features with tips and best practices on the Inside AdWords blog and on our Google+ page. We’d love your feedback.

More control with "mute this ad" [x] icon

We’re investing in many ways to give users control over the ads they see. On YouTube, our TrueView ad products enables users to skip video ads. On Google search, you can click “Why this Ad?” and stop sites you’re not interested in from showing you ads. Our Ads Preferences Manager, available with one click on the AdChoices icon on ads on the Google Display Network, enables you to edit your interest categories, or opt out of all interest based ads including remarketing ads on our Display Network.  

Over the next few weeks, we’re introducing a small [x] which will appear in the corner of some display ads on the Google Display Network. When a user clicks the [x], he or she will no longer see ads from that campaign. We’re starting by showing the [x] in ads that are based on remarketing and interest categories.

Users who click the [x] on an ad will be shown a confirmation page explaining that the advertisement has been muted, along with a link to the Ad Preferences Manager. The feedback this provides will also help improve our ads over time.

The muting is not a 100% guarantee you won’t see that ad again  -- for example, the same ad could be shown by a different ad company, or the marketer could run a separate campaign targeting specific web content.  But we believe it’s an early step in the right direction of giving users control over ads, while helping marketers and websites deliver ads that perform better.

We believe this early-look feature can bring benefits to the entire ecosystem: users have a way to control their experience and signal that they aren’t interested in certain ads; advertisers are no longer paying to show ads to people who aren’t interested; and publishers will receive better performing (and potentially more valuable) ads, and spend less time filtering out ads they think won’t be of interest to their audience.

Online advertising underpins the web and supports millions of businesses. It’s already unique in the level of control it can offer users. We’re at the early stages of these innovations, with much more to come in months and years ahead.

Posted by Michael Aiello, Product Manager

Building Display Creatives for Your Audience

If you’re audience targeting (or considering it), customizing your ads for your audience can yield better performance. Here are the top tips for audience targeted creatives learned through the collective experience of hundreds of Google AdWords account teams.

1. Make your ads a helpful step in the user experience
Make audience specific recommendations, differentiate yourself from the competition, and provide new information. For example remarketing ads could show complementary products that an existing customer may need. If you’re targeting new users, feature positive testimonials and reviews to highlight your good reputation.

Make better use of audience targeting by addressing different stages in the buying cycle within your ad.

2. Be Transparent
This is particularly important if you’re using remarketing. Your audience may wonder how you knew they were on your site or interested in specific products. Be upfront; link to a description of why they’re seeing your ads and how they work from your landing page. Showing a variety of ads helps minimize overly-specific targeting and repetition.

3. Tailor ads to your user
To drive better performance: personalize ads based on the product or service your audience would be interested in. If you’re remarketing to a user who browsed your site, match your ads to content they viewed. For example, if a user viewed a variety of smart phones, you could show ads promoting individual phones, phone plans, or phone accessories.

4. Landing Page Relevance
Seamlessly link your audience-relevant creative message to a landing page on your website with content pertinent to the product or service the audience is interested in.

To improve your audience campaign performance, ensure that your landing page is optimized for conversions. Tools like Website Optimizer or Google Analytics can make optimizing your landing pages much easier.

5. Call-to-Action
A compelling call-to-action is crucial for any targeting type or advertising goal. Use your knowledge of your audience to match your call-to-action to the user in both content and style.

Phrases like ‘See Offers’ perform double duty by communicating next steps and highlighting a promotion or benefit in clicking.

6. Use All Ad Formats & Sizes
Not every site will offer every ad size and format – if you’re missing ad sizes you could be missing out on thousands of impressions. Remember, you want to reach your audience wherever they are online. Maximize your opportunity to reach your audience anywhere on a network and increase volume by utilizing all ad formats, text ads, and display ad sizes available.

We’d love your feedback. Let us know if this was helpful or how it can be improved at

Display ads on Google Images trial

As part of our Google Images redesign this July, we introduced Image Search Ads, which include a thumbnail alongside your ad text. We learned that on Google Images, image-based ads provided great results for our advertisers. They are also a highly useful format for users because they show commercial content directly related to the user's query.

Today we're expanding the image ad formats available on Google Images by testing rich media leaderboard units that appear above Google Images search results and invite you to try new products and services. With the introduction of this display ad format on Google Images, you now have a great opportunity to reach users with engaging ads, whether your goal is to build brand awareness, or to drive clicks and conversions.

Ad by Converse on Google Images, designed to gain awareness about their new shoe model.
Ad placed by Range Online, an iProspect Company.

click for full size image

Advertising on Google Images allows you to reach hundreds of millions of users around the world who use the site to find relevant photos and images every week. Today display ads on Google Images are available on a small fraction of queries in the US and UK only. Over time, we hope to make display ads on Google Images available on more queries globally.

Display ads on Google Images work the same as they would on other sites in the Google Display Network. They're triggered by the content on the page - in this case, that’s defined by the category of the search term that the user enters. If, for example, you target your ad to appear on Google Images on travel-related content, your ad may appear on Google Images if a user searches for related terms like [travel], [vacation], [beach] or [summer holiday].

It’s easy to start running display ads on Google Images. Just use the AdWords placement targeting tool to target Google Images like any other site on the Google Display Network, and choose the type of content you want to advertise alongside. You can upload your own leaderboard format ad or create one using Display Ad Builder. Pricing can be either CPM or CPC, depending on your goals. If you want more information about the advertising options on Google Images, visit the Help Center.

We’re invested in making display advertising work better for both users and advertisers. We look forward to introducing new, innovative placements and formats on the Google Display Network to help you reach your advertising goals.

YouTube Homepage: Promoted Videos advertisers can get it while it's hot

Cross posted from the YouTube blog.

Get design tips to boost the impact of your display ad

While the right text and placement of your display ad are always crucial, you should also make sure that your ad is well designed. But how exactly can you ensure that your ad stands out on a web page, looks professional and is consistent with your overall brand message?

On Thursday, September 2nd, we’ll be holding a short one-off live course on effective display ad design. The session will give you a set of practical design tips including key insights on using color, font and images. The focus will be on the Display Ad Builder tool, although the tips are applicable to display design in general. The course is suitable for anyone interested in display advertising.

The course will be held on Thursday, September 2nd at: 3pm - 4pm BST / GMT+1 (London), 10am-11am EDT (New York), 7am-8am PDT (San Francisco).

Sign up here to attend.