Skip to content
google display network

How To Advertise On The Google Display Network

The Google Display network is a network of websites and apps that have partnered with Google to display advertisers’ ads. There are over 1 million websites in the network and over 600,000 apps and so it is the biggest network and reaches over 90% of internet users.


These placements are third-party websites and apps that offer significant visitor traffic and allow advertisers to target these visitors.


Some placements are Google-owned like YouTube and Gmail and you can advertise on these in your Google Ads account. For YouTube you can create a Video campaign and target people as they watch videos that relate to your services or products. And you can create ads to target people in their Gmail accounts which come up in the Promotions and Social tabs.


And you can also setup a Search campaign with Display select. This allows your ads to appear on display ads when you have budget left over from your Search ads.


However, the best way to advertise on display sites is to create a Display campaign. This will help you to choose actual placements to advertise on and also choose your audiences like affinity and in-market audiences which I describe below.



Google Display Network Campaign


First thing you’ll need to do to advertise on the Google Display network is to create a Display campaign. Like other campaign types in Google Ads including Search and Video, you’ll need to provide things like budget, locations, a bid strategy and so on.


And you’ll see these as you create your campaign and set them. But first, you’ll need to decide what your objective for the campaign is. Is it to drive sales, leads or website traffic? Or are you trying to promote your business and looking to raise brand awareness and reach, by running different kinds of ads across the web.


Whatever your objectives and goals, the campaign setup process will guide you through the creation of your campaign. Here are some important features to consider as you create your campaign:


⁃ budget – your budget is the average amount you want to spend each day in your campaign. You’ll need a good budget to be able to achieve your objectives. It’s often hard to know what budget to set for display campaigns because there is no way to do keyword research like Search campaigns. But it’s ok to start with a small budget and then increase it each month as performance improves.

⁃ bid strategy – there are at least six bid strategies to choose from and each helps you based on your goal. For a Display campaign I would recommend starting with an automated bid strategy like Maximise Clicks to try and get as many clicks as possible for your budget.

⁃ locations – this is about targeting the locations your audiences are in. For example, if you’re interested in people in London, then add that only and not the whole United Kingdom. When you focus on the correct locations, your messages will be more targeted and ads will achieve good conversions.


Also, you can create a campaign without a goal’s guidance and then set the features however you like to meet your goals. This is for more experienced users that have been running ads for a while and understand the campaign controls better.


Google Display Network Adverts


To advertise on the Google Display network, you’ll need to create responsive display ads.


Responsive display ads are a key part of advertising in the Google Display Network. They are one of two ad types you can use and the other is uploaded image ads that you create outside of Google.

responsive display ads headlines


responsive display ads descriptions

The benefits of using responsive display ads over other formats is that they appear in more settings because they are able to change to different sizes based on the context. They are responsive, so they update to the device being used and the website or app or other placement that is being viewed on.


With uploaded ads on the other hand you can upload them as GIF, JPG and PNG formats. And also in HTML5 or AMPHTML Ads as ZIP and you can work with a graphic designer to create these for you. However, they are limited in where they can appear at times and that depends on the sizes that are accepted by the websites and apps they are eligible to appear on. But one of the main benefits is that they give you greater control over your branding and how you appear.


Google Display Network Audiences


Display advertising has more targeting options than most other campaign types. This can help you to reach people that are relevant for your business or organisation on many different channels and across the internet.


Google Display Network Audiences


Basic demographics – this targeting allows you to reach people based on their age, gender, household income and parental status. This is usually more important for business to consumer (B2C) industries that target end users. When you first setup your campaign, I would recommend targeting all the available demographics unless your products or services are for a particular demographic only, like females. Later, when you have more data, you can adjust your demographic settings and narrow them down to the best performing ones.

Detailed demographics – these are more detailed and allow you to target people based on parental status, marital status, education and homeownership status. And you can combine this with other audience types like basic demographics to narrow it further and reach your specific market.

Affinity audiences – reach people based on what they are passionate about and their habits and interests. For example, you can reach people based on lifestyle and hobbies like art & theatre aficionados or fashionistas. There are hundreds of affinity audiences and you are sure to find at least one that is relevant for your business.

In-market audiences – target people who are actively searching for your products or services online and are ready to purchase. There are hundreds of in-market audiences to choose from and you’re likely to find at least one that is relevant for your business. An example is targeting people who are looking for specific jobs in accountancy, education, healthcare and many others.

Life events – this covers areas of great change for many prospects like creating a new business, marriage, purchasing a home, retirement and others. For example, an accountancy practice can target people who’ve recently started a new business.

Placements – placements are specific websites and apps that you choose to advertise on. This can be very effective because you can look for sites that closely match what you do and place your ads there to target people that are relevant to your business.

Keywords – you can also add keywords in display campaigns like you would in a Search campaign. However, you are not bidding on them but are letting the system know which websites and placements are relevant for you based on the keywords. So, it will automatically find sites that relate to your keywords and place your ads there.

Remarketing – reach people who have been on your website before and looked at your products or services but did not convert. So, you can retarget them as they browse third-party websites across the Google Display network, with your responsive display ads and image ads.




Advertising on the Display network is an effective way to promote your business if you want to drive sales, leads or website traffic. And you can also use it effectively to raise awareness for your business with your target audiences.


Get in Touch


Need help advertising on the Google Display network? I’m a Google Ads specialist with over 12 years experience setting up and managing Display campaigns. Get in touch with me below to discuss your requirements.


    I'm a Certified Google Ads Expert and Marketing Author and in this blog I share my latest tips and secrets on how to promote your business successfully on the web and increase customer loyalty, retention and advocacy on Google Ads.

    Back To Top