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How to Setup and Optimize AdWords Display Network Campaign?

It is not a secret that running any AdWords campaign requires a lot of knowledge, time and effort, but Display campaigns are in the league of their own. Most of the accounts that I manage include Search, Shopping or Call-Only campaign, along with Search and Display remarketing, but almost never a purely Display campaign.

It seems like regardless of the company, product or service, I could never get positive results and high enough ROI no matter what I’ve tried. Unfortunately, Google AdWords targeting doesn’t make it very easy to find the right placement for your ads and show them to relevant users.

In my last attempt, I set up a very straight forward display campaign to generate leads for my marketing business, I’ve selected very specific keywords, added interests and topics highly relevant to my service and set up geo targeting along with demo targeting to get in front of business owners on websites related to AdWords and PPC.

It didn’t take long to get my first clicks, but the results were less than worthless. First of all, the placement report analysis revealed that my ads showed up on the websites that had absolutely nothing to do with my service, keywords or interest targeting, they were all over the place, from adult websites to news and gossip websites. Not one placement that had impressions contained a single keyword from my keyword list or interest that I picked. What’s worse is that 99% of the clicks resulted in 100% bounce rate and 0 seconds on site, so the traffic and clicks that I’ve got were absolutely worthless and most likely weren’t even real users.

Naturally, I picked up the phone and called Google rep. They assured me that if I use keyword targeting, my ads would only show up on the pages that contain those keywords OR they could also be shown to users who recently searched for similar keywords. None of that was the case, ’cause all of my placements with impressions were completely random. I asked Google about 100% bounce rate and 0 seconds on site and they promised me that their sophisticated algorithms will determine invalid clicks and I won’t get charged for them, however, only 3% of all clicks were deemed invalid and I did get charged for the other 97% of useless clicks.

I didn’t want to give up, ’cause GDN clicks are anywhere from 10x to 20x times cheaper than my search network clicks and I couldn’t believe that there was no way for a GDN campaign to general clicks from real users and relevant placements. So I changed the strategy a little bit, I kept all of my keywords, geo and demo targeting, but instead of interests and auto placements, I picked websites and page placements manually that I knew were highly relevant to my service and to my marketing persona. The traffic volume did drop quite a bit, but the engagement rate improved instantly, now I could see that users who clicked on my banner ads actually stayed on my website long enough to read my marketing message. They visited several pages to check out the pricing for services that I offer and I’ve started to receive form leads and phone calls pretty much on the next day.

So to sum up, I can say that it is possible to set up and run a successful Display Campaign, but just like with Search campaign, you will have to spend a lot of time on the research and run your ads only on those websites that you select manually. Which is kind of similar to Express AdWords, if you let Google use all broad match keywords that they pick for you, chances are you’ll spend a lot of money on search terms that have nothing to do with your ads and end up throwing money away.


Google tried to stop click fraud and clickjacking

Everybody knows that any AdWords campaign will generate anywhere from 3% to 40% of invalid or fraudulent clicks, Google doesn’t charge us for those clicks, but it doesn’t really do anything to prevent those clickers from clicking our ads again … While it’s not ideal, it’s still better than nothing and there are great ways to prevent fraud clicks altogether and any Adwords Expert will be able to do it for you.

Here’s what Google has to say:

At Google we defend our ad systems from fraud using technology in a variety of ways. Often our investment in these defenses goes beyond protecting against only known threats. Our engineering and operations teams are continually working to identify new and emerging threats. Once a new ad fraud threat is found, we move quickly to defend our systems against it using a combination of technology, operations, and policy.

Recently we identified “Clickjacking” (aka UI Redress) as an emerging threat to cost-per-click display ads, and we’ve rolled out new defenses to protect advertisers against this threat. Clickjacking is a type of web attack where the appearance of a website is changed so that a victim does not realize they are taking an important action, in this case clicking on one or more ads. For example, a user may intend to click on a video play button or menu item, but instead clicks an invisible ad unit.

Moving quickly to thwart Clickjacking attempts 
Earlier this year when our operations team identified Clickjacking activity on our display network, they moved swiftly to terminate accounts, removing entities involved in or attempting to use this technique to trick users. Our engineering team worked in parallel to quickly release a filter to automatically exclude this type of invalid traffic across display ads.

This approach delivered a one-two punch to publishers who violated our policies: our operations team, which forms an early line of defense against invalid traffic, cleaned out publishers from our ad systems, while engineers built a new filter as a durable defense to protect against Clickjacking traffic.

Even as there are ongoing attempts to perpetrate this type of attack, our ongoing and proactive hunt for emerging types of invalid traffic has enabled us to move early and quickly to address Clickjacking threats on several occasions.

A combination of defenses
Our Clickjacking defenses operate at considerable scale, analyzing display ad placements across mobile and desktop platforms, evaluating a variety of characteristics. When our system detects a Clickjacking attempt, we zero-in on the traffic attributed to that placement, and remove it from upcoming payment reports to ensure that advertisers are not charged for those clicks.

This latest effort also is a great example of how our work against invalid traffic is at the intersection of technology, operations, and policy. Each piece plays a key role in keeping our ad systems clean and defended against ad fraud.

We’re proud of our work to protect our ad systems against emerging threats like Clickjacking, and we’ll continue to be vigilant as we fight the good fight against ad fraud.

New Merchant Center Feed Rules – Finally!

Finally an improvement from Google … After several recent failed attempts to make AdWords better, this new feature is actually going to make our job a little better. The biggest problem with feeds was always formatting and you’d have to do it manually in Excel or use third party tools, but now we can do it right in the GMC!

Here’s the article from AdWords Blog:

Finding the right customers on Google Shopping starts with your Merchant Center product feed: it contains all the information about the products you sell to help online shoppers find just what they’re looking for. But we know that creating and maintaining a complete and compliant data feed can be challenging. To make feed management easier, we’re excited to introduce Feed Rules, a self-service tool to help you transform your existing data from your inventory management systems into the format accepted by Google Shopping. Feed Rules helps you streamline your data feed uploads, whether you’re already running Shopping campaigns or you’re just getting started.

Use Feed Rules to set up and maintain your feed in Google Shopping format 
Feed Rules allows you to perform basic transformations of your existing product data — making it easier than ever to get your data feed up and running. You can export and submit your product data in your own format, and use different rules to transform it into product attributes and values that follow the Google Shopping feed specification, directly in Merchant Center:

  • Map your column headers to the attribute names supported by Google Shopping. For example, if you have an existing feed with the unsupported column header “main title”, you can set up a rule in Merchant Center to have it recognized as the supported attribute name, “title”.
  • Transform the values in your feed to values supported by Google Shopping. For example, to submit gender specifications for your products, you can transform the unsupported value “for women” in your existing feed to the supported value “female”.
  • Populate missing attribute values with a fixed value, or with different values based on conditional criteria. For example, if the “condition” attribute is missing and you’re only selling new products, you can set up a rule to have this attribute automatically set to “new”.

Once you specify new rules for a feed, all future uploads of this feed will be processed according to those rules.

Pay-per-Click for Small Business or PPC for SMB

PPC is a proven and working method to generate leads or sales for your small business. The concept is very simple, you pay for every click your ad receives from Google search, Bing , Yahoo search or banner ad.

It is safe to say that in this day and age if you’ve not in on PPC you are OUT, ’cause your competition is taking most of the leads. The professional set up of all of SMB accounts and campaigns does not take a long time, you can be up and running in as little as 3 days or a week. The hardest part is actual conversion optimization. It takes time and a lot of hard work, simply because you’re competing against at least a dozen of similar companies at any given time.

Let’s take a quick look at all the good and bad that comes with PPC marketing:


Quick results – your first accounts and campaign can be set up in as little as 3 days and from the moment you go live, you will start getting targeted traffic to your website.

Timing – you don’t have to run campaigns 24/7, if you only want to promote your service or product during Holidays, then all you have to do is to schedule your campaigns to run during specific time.

Stand Alone – Your PPC campaigns have nothing to do with your social media campaigns or SEO efforts, so feel free to experiment as much as you want!

Full Control – You control every single aspect of your campaign; from keywords to geo locations and times of day.


Education – it will take months, if not years, for you to master the most basic and necessary strategies, control elements of your campaigns and chances are you will be losing a lot of money while you learn, so it’s much more cost efficient to hire a PPC specialist.

Time Consuming – running a successful and profitable AdWords campaign takes a lot of time, on avg. anywhere from 5 to 10 hours per week for just a handful of small campaigns in AdWords.

Costs – paid search campaigns can be very expensive, some keywords will only cost you $0.20-$0.40 per click, but others will be closer to $50-$90 per click! It is very important to manage your costs effectively and only pay for keywords that convert at or below your cost per acquisition.


Every SMB must have online marketing, without PPC campaigns, your business is as good as dead and your competitors will rip all the benefits. Should you run your own campaigns and spend endless hours and countless dollars or hire a specialist is up to you!

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