Reach, Relevance and Trust: The 'Big Three' in Display Advertising

Google Display Network offers a powerful blend of advanced targeting, innovative formats and best-in-class optimization tools that work across screens to help you reach and engage with your perfect audience. Today we’d like to take a closer look at our our reach and our partner sites that help you scale your message to precisely the right people – wherever they are.

According to comScore, 210 million unique visitors see ads served by the Google Display Network each month in the US alone. That’s as many viewers as all of the Emmy-nominated dramas put together! It's hard to visualize the full Google Display ecosystem in terms of numbers alone, so we've created an infographic to show some of our great partner sites and the metrics (like the 1 trillion monthly impressions) they generate:
Even given those big numbers, though, marketers know that sheer volume isn't where successful ads start. The real magic lies in the connection one ad makes with one consumer at a moment that counts. That's why the place where the brand meets the consumer is so important. When a publisher has a close relationship with users, it's like the ad is being introduced by a trusted friend.

Today we'd like you to meet three publishers in the Google Display Network who help make those introductions happen: Men's Health, Apartment Therapy and Serious Eats. Their stories embody what we think is special about GDN: the way it balances those big reach numbers with relevance and trust.


"One of the biggest advantages of working with Google is obviously the reach, and most importantly for us, the trusted reach, that Google brings to the table."
- Ronan Gardiner
Publisher, Men's Health
In Men's Health, a story about diet and nutrition might be matched with an ad for a healthy oat cereal or a video of a celebrity chef offering low-cal recipes. That kind of match is made millions of times a month. These days those connections happen more and more on mobile screens. Men’s Health now has more than 125,000 subscribers on tablets, enabling them to bring, as Ronan explains, “a totally cross-platform, synergistic opportunity to advertisers to speak to our guys whenever and wherever they’re engaging with our content.”  But on a personal device like a smartphone, the trusted reach that Ronan Gardiner talks about is all the more important.


"Our audience is 60% women, 40% men, between the ages of 25 and 45. If advertisers know who they want to reach, we’re perfect for them.”
- Maxwell Ryan
CEO & Founder, Apartment Therapy
Apartment Therapy is "saving the world, one room at a time." Here you might see ads for handcrafted wood furniture matched to a photo essay titled "Organic Modern Dining Rooms." Maxwell Ryan, the founder and CEO of this ├╝ber-cool home design collective, attributes his site's success to its ability to make an emotional connection with his readers: "We're addressing a very personal space for people in a very focused way."  A personal connection with a very focused group: that's the kind of relevance that marketers really aim for.


"Our audience is very passionate about food and they've come to trust us. So advertisers who advertise on SeriousEats develop that same credibility with our audience and their product."
- Ed Levine
Founder Ed Levine says that "every post is the start of a conversation," and we believe you should be able to say the same for every ad. The Google Display Network portfolio includes 65% of comScore’s top 100 sites, so you can feel sure that your brand conversation will be happening on a site that has earned viewers' trust.

That's our goal, after all: to make sure that your great ads get matched to the right audience on great sites like these. The Google Display Network makes those introductions, one match at a time, millions of times each day. We'll keep working hard to make sure the GDN continues to grow with full measures of reach, relevance and trust. To become part of the Google Display Network with your site, sign up today!

Posted by Brad Bender, Director Product Management

Create beautiful, engaging display ads in seconds with Ready Creatives

Building on VP of Product Management Neal Mohan’s presentation to the Mobile Marketing Association about building cross-screen creative in HTML5, and Product Management Director Brad Bender’s keynote speech about advances in creative formats at IAB MIXX yesterday, we’re excited to announce the launch of Ready Creatives – our groundbreaking new solution to make display ad creation easier than ever. Ready Creatives consists of two powerful tools: Ready Image Ads and Ready Ad Gallery.

Display ads today need to captivate consumers with rich creative and dynamic messaging. But creating an engaging, beautiful ad takes time and effort. High quality ad creation – until now – has been a big challenge, putting it out of reach for small to medium businesses. Ready Creatives puts the power back in your hands – and makes it easier than ever before to create beautiful ads that can be consistently displayed across screens.

Instantly build IAB Standard, HTML5 compatible ads with Ready Image Ads

With one single click, take advantage of Ready Image Ads flexibility by simply adding your website URL to automatically construct display ads based on images from your website.  You can customize further by adjusting the text, font, color, images, headlines, URL and more – in a way that best tells your story. Our friendly user-interface and streamlined process enables you to build display ads in minutes, automatically creating IAB standard ads in HTML5 formats using your existing elements from your website or your own uploaded images. And these HTML5 ads can be viewed across mobile devices as well as desktops!
Provide your website URL and Ready Image Ads automatically builds a variety of beautiful ads for you to use in your campaigns

Beautiful ads at your fingertips in Ready Ad Gallery

Ready Creatives doesn’t just quickly cobble together the elements you want included in your ad – it helps you build campaigns that engage customers with stories they love, remember and share. Our Ready Ad Gallery features pre-built templates you can easily customize based on your campaigns goals.

Choose from the following formats and watch your display ad come to life:
  • Dynamic Ads – Dynamic Ads deliver tailored creative across the web that combine the layouts, products, messages and offers that your customers are most likely interested in, based on what they viewed on your website.
  • Engagement Ads – Engagement Ads captivate consumers with rich creative messages. They fit in standard display units, allowing to scale across the web, and then expand to a larger format after an innovative two-second hover delay. 
  • Video Ads – Videos are as effective as TV in building awareness of your business.  Create a quick video ad in seconds that showcases your brand.
  • General Purpose Ads – if you need a simple display ad, browse through our hundreds of template options and customize in our easy-to-use editing tool.
Building display ads has never been simpler, and we’re making this capability accessible to all advertisers at no additional cost, and as part of the AdWords campaign workflow. No matter what type of ad you choose, you can be sure you will not only have saved time and money but also have created an ad your customers and prospects are sure to love.

To get started using Ready Creatives today, log into your Adwords account and click on the Ads tab. For more information, visit

Posted by Ashley Jiang, Product Manager, Google Display Network

Modcloth and Inflection Drive Performance with Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting

Advertisers use contextual targeting on the Google Display Network to reach new customers as they browse content related to their products and services. In March we launched Next-Gen Keyword Contextual Targeting, which enabled our display advertisers to manage their contextual campaigns with the same level of precision and granularity as search. In a few short months we’ve been delighted to see how it’s translated into real results for our customers, and today we’d like to shine a light on two specific examples.

Modcloth, an online retailer selling vintage inspired clothing, had been using contextual targeting on the Google Display Network as a way to scale their message across a wide variety of sites. Their challenge was figuring out which keywords were triggering which conversions across their multiple product lines. With keyword level reporting and optimization levers, Theresa Rockovich, Modcloth’s SEM Manager, was excited to finally put her SEM skills to work. “Before the ability to target and bid on keywords, we were barely making these campaigns profitable. Now that we’ve been able to adjust our bids and see which keywords are driving performance, margins are the healthiest they’ve ever been.” In nine weeks, their keyword-level optimizations helped turn three unprofitable contextual campaigns into some of their highest performers. Their jewelry lines saw a 460% increase in click-through-rates and their dresses campaign saw a 700% increase in ROI.

Andrew Wong, Marketing Director at Inflection, similarly took a search-focused approach to managing their contextual campaigns. “We took the shell of our search campaigns and copied them onto the Google Display Network” and created specific page URLs for each product line. After a few weeks of generating traffic, they turned on the Display Campaign Optimizer – the Google Display Network’s auto-optimization tool that automatically manages targeting and bidding – and the results were phenomenal. With the help of DCO, they increased conversions by 480% at a cost-per-action 10% lower than the rest of their display campaigns.

Keyword level targeting is one of the many reasons why our Display Campaign Optimizer  has improved in both accuracy and efficiency the past year. We've seen advertisers are usually able to reach their target cost-per-acquisition (CPA) in about two weeks, versus the two months it often took before these changes. Coupled with new bidding capabilities, such as real-time bidding, MaxCPC and Enhanced CPC, DCO is now available to use on ‘hybrid’ search and display campaigns.

And it gets even better
In addition to keyword targeting, bidding and reporting, today we’re announcing  new keyword status messages to assist advertisers troubleshoot for more effective and consistent keyword matching and delivery. Now you’ll know if a keyword is pointing to a suspended site, has been disapproved, or if it matches too few pages (Few Page Matches). We’ve also added a notification that alerts users with display-only campaigns when a Display Network bid - which overrides keyword bids when ads are shown on the Google Display Network - is in place. We recommend removing the Display Network Bid in display-only campaigns to take advantage of keyword level bidding. Click here to learn how.

Learn More
We look forward to seeing even more success stories as we continue to roll out these new features! To learn more about how to implement these strategies into your display campaigns, download the Google Display Network Guide here!

Posted by Katie Hamilton, Product Marketing Manager Google Display Network

Creative Sandbox Gallery. Now open for play.

At Google, we're amazed by how the ad industry is using the digital canvas to bring brands and ideas to life. Whether it’s enticing viewers with video, evoking a smile with a mobile phone, or reconfiguring the typical ‘test drive,’ when digital advertising works, it can not only be informative, but emotional and dazzling. That’s why we've created a space where everyone can see this great work, talk about it, and roll around in it like a big happy dog.

Today, we’re launching the Creative Sandbox gallery. It’s a crowdsourced collection of global campaigns that push the boundaries of creativity and technology from across digital platforms -- a place to flash your brilliance, spark new digital ideas, inspire and be inspired. We're asking the creators to share a little detail on how they made the magic happen and the tools they used to do it, exposing us all to new ideas and new ways to improve our own work.

As with any sandbox, looking and playing are required. Vote to push your favorite projects to the top. Tell other creators what you admire. And if you've done something amazing lately, send it in. We'd all love to see it.

Jump in. Explore. And play.

Agency Marketing Manager

Today’s Webinar: Google and Forrester Present New Research on the Value of Combining Audience with Contextual Targeting

In the past 10 years the number and variety of new technologies in display advertising have more than doubled, effectively creating new - and better - ways to buy display across the web. With this influx of new display targeting technologies available to advertisers (contextual, remarketing, demographics, interest categories to name a few), our clients often wonder which targeting method performs better: audience or contextual advertising? We've said in the past that the combination of audience and contextual buying work better together, and now we have some new insight into how advertisers are thinking about these tools.

We worked with Forrester Consulting and surveyed 150 interactive marketers to evaluate their perceptions on the effectiveness of combining audience & contextual targeting with respect to display buying. The findings from the new whitepaper, Display Media Buyers Value Audience in Context, will be presented today (10AMPT/1PMET) during a special joint Learn with Google webinar featuring Forrester’s Joanna O’Connell and Google’s Woojin Kim. Register here!

Key findings from the research include:
  • 50% of respondents use a full range of targeting types including: Remarketing, Demographic, Behavioral and Contextual
  • Contextual and behavioral targeting dominate: Used by the vast majority - 82% in the case of contextual, 71% in the case for behavioral
  • 94% of marketers combine contextual & audience buying for higher performance and greater accuracy
  • Audience targeting has become the norm in display buying: The majority of marketers se bullish on audience targeting, and few see it as overhyped.
  • Most marketers plan on maintaining increasing spend on combined audience & contextual targeting.
Interested in learning more? Download the whitepaper on Think Insights with Google and tune in to the webinar today!

Posted by Katie Hamilton, Product Marketing Manager Google Display Network

Finding your audience with demographics

Marketers have long looked to get a better understanding of the audience make-up of different print and broadcast media to help them better tailor their message and deliver more relevant ads to consumers. This audience insight is equally important in digital advertising, which is why, more than a year ago, we introduced a beta enabling you to show ads based on certain demographic categories, like age and gender.

Since 2011, we’ve been hard at work making this available to more advertisers.  Marketers have been getting great results. For example, Blue Nile used demographics in a campaign to reach potential engagement ring buyers and saw a click through rate of 10x higher than the U.S. national average for online display campaigns.

Today, we’re happy to share that this feature is now widely available within AdWords for campaigns targeting 39 countries; if available in your region, it will start to appear in the Display Network Tab as Age and Gender targeting.

Demographic categories complement other AdWords targeting features, such as interest categories, remarketing and keyword contextual targeting. The ultimate goal is to help you better refine your marketing message and reach the right audience with the right ad. For example, if you sell yoga gear and know that your core audience tends to be women between the ages of 25 and 34, you can set your campaign to show mostly to that audience, rather than showing your ads to people less likely to be interested in the product.

Our goal is to help you better connect with your audience, meaning more effective marketing campaigns for you. This is an important part of our efforts to make our ads better for users, which helps to fund content across the web. To get started using demographics in your campaigns, visit our help center.

Posted by Jon Krafcik, Product Manager

More ‘Flexible’ Targeting on the Google Display Network

Last month we introduced the Display Network tab, a new interface in AdWords dedicated to making display buying easier and more efficient by combining your targeting, bidding and optimizing in one place. To give you even more control over your display ads, we’re pleased to announce the new Flexible reach targeting setting on the new Display Network tab.

In the next couple of weeks, the Networks and devices section of your Settings tab in AdWords will include a new targeting option called “Flexible reach.” Flexible reach enables you to fine-tune where your ads show by choosing your settings at the ad group level instead of the campaign level. This will give you more control over where your ads appear and who sees them.

Why the Change?
Today, you can manage your display targeting on the campaign level by selecting Broad reach or Specific reach.
  • When you select Broad reach, your ads are shown on pages that match your primary targeting method.
  • When you select Specific reach, your ads will show on pages that match all of your targeting methods.
Flexible reach allows you to select any combination of multiple targeting selections at the ad group level, plus the control to combine different methods for targeting and bidding at the ad group level. It also provides transparency into how your targeting selections are affecting the reach and impression volume of your campaigns.

How will this affect my campaigns today?
The Flexible reach campaign setting will appear as an optional setting in AdWords accounts in June and will eventually replace the Broad and Specific reach options later this year.

Once you’ve selected this option in an existing campaign, you can’t revert back to Broad or Specific reach and any new ad group will have Flexible reach by default. Your current targeting and bidding selections will remain the same, but you’ll now have the control to select how to target and bid on an individual ad group basis.

Learn More!
To find out more about how to take advantage of Flexible reach, visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Subha Subramanian, Product Manager, Flexible Reach

Webinar: Bringing the power and control of search to display

Join us tomorrow, June 19, 2012 for the Learn with Google webinar, "Bringing the Power and Control of Search to Display,” to learn from the experts about Google’s major update to contextual targeting. The webinar starts at 10amPST / 1pmEST.

It’s now possible to target, bid and report on keywords on the Google Display Network, which means that you can fine-tune the performance of your contextual campaigns with the same level of control you’re used to in Search. It’s now easier for you to extend search campaigns to display and more efficient to run the two types of campaigns together.

Key areas that will be covered include:
  • The benefits of combining display with your search campaigns
  • Step-by-step campaign set-up guide
  • Campaign optimization tips and best practices
This webinar will be presented by Charlie Vestner, Global Director of Display Solutions and will include Q&A. The session is suitable for advertisers who are already running campaigns on the Google Display Network, as well as those who have not yet tried it.

Register now!

Posted by Katie Hamilton, Product Marketing Manager, Google Display Network

New In-Ads Notice Label and Icon for the Google Display Network in Europe

Last year in the U.S., we launched the AdChoices Icon on the Google Display Network. AdChoices is an industry standard "i" icon that expands to “AdChoices” when users move their cursor over the icon. Giving users clear notice about the ads they see is a high priority for Google and for many in the online advertising industry at large. Users who click this label are taken to a page where they can learn more about online advertising and the ads they see.

We’re now rolling out the AdChoices feature across Europe, supporting industry-wide efforts to provide more information to consumers. We'll soon start to change our “Ads By Google” in-ads notice icon to a new icon that expands to an "AdChoices" label. These notifications were developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Europe)-led Self-Regulatory Program for Online Behavioral Advertising to proactively give users notice and choice about the ads they see. With the adoption of a common icon users will see on ads across the web, we hope to show our support for the industry-wide initiative and to increase users' understanding about their choices.

Over the next few weeks, we'll start showing the new icon and label on most ad formats across the majority of European-language sites. Over time, we’ll expand the notice to ensure that all European-language publisher sites in the Google Display Network come within the Self-Regulatory Framework. This will be the single largest rollout of the "AdChoices" label to date, and we're encouraged that others in the industry are also adopting the label.

Users who click on the "AdChoices" label will be taken to a page where they can learn more about online advertising and the ads they are shown. This page will also link to the Ads Preferences Manager, where users can control the types of interest-based ads they see on the Google Display Network. We think this rollout will help users better understand the ads they're seeing, and we look forward to seeing widespread adoption of this label throughout the industry.

Posted by Jason Bigler, Product Management Director

The key to success on the Google Display Network

Small businesses are realizing that they can go beyond search ads with the Google Display Network, reaching new customers and leads with engaging and relevant messages. In the past year alone, the number of small businesses running ads on the Google Display Network has almost doubled, and this growth trend is just beginning!

To help propel other small businesses to win the moments that matter with display, we decided to learn more from our customers, highlight their success, and share the strategies they’ve employed to achieve successful display campaigns.

Making display work for you
The key to being successful on the Google Display Network is understanding the mix of targeting types you should use to achieve your marketing objective. While there is no one-size-fits-all strategy, we know there are recurring themes among businesses who have set up successful display campaigns.

We found three small businesses that are great illustrations of these different approaches to display: Julian Bakery, Legacy Learning Systems, and Bedder Way.

Let’s take a closer look at their successful display network strategies:
  • Drive sales online and in stores – Since ramping up their GDN campaign to drive online and offline sales, Julian Bakery has grown from 40 distributors and 100 customers to 1000 distributors and 300,000 customers nationwide.
  • Control and understand every dollar you spend – Legacy Learning System achieves, on average, 1M impressions per day on the Google Display Network and 150 online sales per month by maximizing their ad performance using conversion tracking data.
  • Harness the power of an image – Bedder Way has increased their display network conversions by 50% and decreased their cost per conversion by 25%, by using image ads on the display network to visually showcase their murphy beds.
To help inspire you, we’ve compiled these companies’ strategies into three short videos and downloadable guides on our revamped Google Display Network website. The videos provide an overview of each company’s strategy and the PDFs act as a guide to help you follow their lead, developing your own successful campaigns on the GDN.

Take a look, browse the site, and try out the Google Display Network for yourself!

Posted by Brad Bender, Director, Product Management - Google Display Network