How to Create a Google Display Campaign

In this lesson, we’ll show you how to build an effective Google Display Campaign that aligns with your business objective, whether that is generating brand awareness or generating leads or sales.

32 minutes

Key points you can
learn in this lesson.

Campaign Goals

Create relevant and strategic campaign goals. 

Brand Awareness

Understand the build of a Brand Awareness Display Campaign.

Lead Generation

Develop and understand when to deploy a Lead Generation Display Campaign.

Our key metrics increased. More importantly, we implemented a lot of new tactics and test scenarios, which will boost our company’s future prospects.

Dave McCue
Digital Marketing Manager at Allstate

Lesson Preview

In this lesson, we’ll be walking through how to build your campaigns to run on the display network and some of the different options available.

What is a Display Campaign?

A display campaign utilizes banner ads to reach audiences on the Google Display Network (GDN). These campaigns are different from search in the fact that a user does not need to be searching for one of your target keywords to be shown an ad. Instead, you create audiences based on Google’s targeting criteria and have your ads displayed to said audiences. Display ads are often compared to billboards in the sense that you can reach your ideal audience whether or not they are in the market for what you offer using both images and text. 

Why is this important?

Search campaigns are very dependant on the search volume of your keywords, whereas display has a much wider reach, allowing more users to see you and be aware of your company/brand. Display targeting options take into account user behavior, meaning you can “strategically show your message to potential customers at the right place and the right time” according to Google. The display network consists of many websites, YouTube, Gmail, and mobile apps/devices. 

What you’ll need:

  • A Google Ads Account
  • Display Ads (Refer to Lesson 8)
  • WhatRuns Chrome extension: Click Here
  • SEMRush free trial: Click Here

The Process:

Step 1: Identify Campaign Goals

There are many different ways to build an effective display campaign. You’ll want to shape the way you build your display campaign based on what you hope to accomplish. If you have specific goals, you’ll need specific campaigns dedicated to those goals. The audiences you choose based on these goals and the settings used will likely be very different for different goals. For this lesson, we’ve decided on two goals we’re going to focus on for building our campaigns:

  1. Brand Awareness
  2. Lead Generation

Step 2: Building a Brand Awareness Campaign

With brand awareness, we want to make sure our ideal customers, though maybe not in the market, are aware of our presence. 

1. In your Google Ads account, navigate to “campaigns,” then click the “+” button: 

  • A small window will pop up. Click “New Campaign.”

2. Then, you’ll get a list of goals to choose from. We’re going to select “Create a campaign without a goal’s guidance.” This will give us more control over the settings.

  • If you have a goal other than the ones we are discussing today, you can select it from above to get provided more guidance. 

3. Here, we’ll select our campaign type. Click “Display” and then “Continue.”

4. Now, we’ll be prompted to select a campaign subtype. Select “Standard display campaign. Then click “Continue.”

5. You’ll then be taken to the campaign settings. Input your campaign name, then proceed to input your location settings. You can type in the desired location in the search bar to either include or exclude from your campaign targeting:

  • Click on “Location options” to trigger a drop-down with more settings. For target, we recommend “People in or regularly in your targeted locations.” This ensures the people seeing your ads are likely in the locations you decide. “People who show interest in your targeted locations” means that someone in Paris, searching about California, might be served your ads if your target location is California, despite not physically being there. This is a good option if you are advertising for something travelers would likely be interested in, like hotels, tours, museums, etc. Unless someone is coming from out of your location for your service, we recommend choosing the option above for both “target” and “exclude.”

6. The next option will be to select your language. You can search it in the search bar:

  • Below, we’ll need to select how we want to bid with our campaign. You can use Google’s guidance here if you are not comfortable/do not plan on managing your bids regularly. For this example, we are going to go the manual route and “select a bid strategy directly”:

  • The above window will now have different options and allow you to choose your own strategy. We’re going to move forward with “Viewable CPM” to give us the most amount of impressions for our spend, which is a good option for brand awareness.

  • Other bid strategy options include:
    • Target CPA: Google will automatically bid to try and get conversions at a cost-per-acquisition you set.
    • Target ROAS: Google will automatically bid to help you get more conversion value based on your target return on ad spend, if you have values set on your conversion actions.
    • Maximize Clicks: Google will automatically bid to get as many clicks as possible within your budget. 
    • Maximize Conversions: Google will automatically bid to help you get the most conversions within your budget. 
    • Manual CPC: You’ll be in control, and set your own bids to ensure you do not overspend in auctions. 

8. Next, input the budget you’d like to have for your campaign. Click on the “Delivery method” button to choose “Standard” or “Accelerated.” We recommend standard as your ad delivery will be more spaced out throughout the day. With accelerated, you run the risk of running out of budget before the day is over, meaning there can be periods of time where your ads are not showing at all:

9. When choosing your ad rotation, you’ll have various options depending on your campaign objective. We recommend starting with “optimize,” which gives Google a bit of control and shows the ads that perform better more often, which can improve the performance of your campaign. If you’d like to run more controlled A/B testing, we’d recommend selecting “Do not optimize: Rotate ads indefinitely”.

10. Clicking on “Ad schedule” will bring up a drop-down menu where you can choose what times of day you want your ads to show. So we do not limit our exposure, we’re going to have them running all day and night. However, if you only want to run them during your business hours, you can choose to do so. Just remember, this will affect how people in other time zones see your ad and may limit your reach:

11. Below, you’ll have “Start and end dates” options. We want to run indefinitely, so we won’t select an end date. However, if you are advertising a promotion/event that ends on a certain day, you’ll want to end the campaign on that date so people will not see an ad for a previous promotion/event that has already passed. 

12. Next, we can choose our device settings. We’re going to choose “Show on all devices” but you do have the option to select specific devices (mobile, computer, tablet), operating systems, device models, and networks.

13. Now, we can select our “Frequency capping” options. This sets a limit on how many times a single user can see your ad in a given time period. A good starting point we’d recommend would be 5-7 per day to avoid a user getting fatigued from seeing the same ad too many times a day.

14. Next, make your way down to “Content exclusions” and click. This will bring down a category of sites that you can choose to opt-out of. We recommend the following selections as a starting point for most businesses to help prevent your brand from advertising on inappropriate or spammy sites:

15. Now, we get to make our first ad group. For this brand awareness campaign, we’re going to separate our ad groups based on the different types of targeting we use. We’ll call this ad group “In-Market” as we plan on targeting people Google deems to be in the market for advertising and marketing services. Click “Browse,” then “What they are actively researching or planning,” then scroll through and look for the relevant in-market audience for your business. We want to reach people actively looking for advertising and marketing services and make sure they are aware of our company:

16. Next, scroll down to “Targeting expansion” and click to open the drop-down. Here, we’ll want to move the widget all the way off. If not, Google will find people outside of the audience you have chosen to show your ads to. This can be costly and you have little control of who Google decides to expand to:

17. Below, we’ll decide how we want to set bids for this ad group. Depending on the audience, your bid will vary. With manual, experimentation is key. Start off low, and move higher if you are not getting the exposure you’d like. A good starting point we’d recommend would be the following:

18. Finally, it’s time to upload/build the ads we made back in Lesson 8: Creating Display Ads. Click on the “+” to either upload your customized banner ads (“Upload display ads”) or create your own responsive display ads (“ + Responsive display ad”). We recommend different ad formats to see which performs better for your business. Use the box to the right of the screen to get a final look at your audience size estimates and impression estimates to ensure everything is up to par. If everything looks good, you can finally create your campaign:

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