Lots of people think that Google AdWords advertisements are just the small ads which appear above and to the right of Google search results. And of course they are. But that’s not the only place where Google can put your ads …and we actually have a couple of clients who don’t even use those slots at all! They use the other half of the Google AdWords offering: the “Display Network”.
Ads booked on to the Display Network don’t appear on Google’s site at all. They appear on tens of thousands of other sites around the web where Google has effectively booked space. As with the ads which appear on the Google results pages, you only pay if someone clicks on your ad, so it’s the same situation for you as an advertiser, but behind the scenes, your money is split between Google and the site owner. When you set up a Google AdWords campaign, you can run your ads on the Google results pages, the Display Network, or both.
In their most basic format, the ads are identical to the ones on the Google results pages. Here, for example, are Google AdWords ads running on Sensorland.com:
However, this isn’t the only option. Google also allows “image advertisements” (or “banner” advertisements) to run in those slots, giving you the opportunity to run your banner ads on a pay-per-click basis, rather than the usual fixed-fee arrangement offered by most industrial and scientific websites. In fact, many of the banner ads you see around the web are actually run through Google AdWords – the only clue is that they’ll normally have a tiny “Ads by Google” label underneath.
Where do the ads run? You can leave it to Google: it’ll match the copy on your ads to relevant sites automatically. Or you can specify the sites where you want your ads to run. One of our clients is getting excellent results from the Daily Mail website, and neither of us need to have any dealings with the publisher there.
If you know what you’re doing with them, Google Display Network ads are a fantastic opportunity so spread your ads and brand around the web. Having your ad appear on hundreds of sites, on a pay-per-click basis, without having to negotiate with any ad reps? Hands up who likes that idea! Just remember, as with all online advertising, it’s essential to measure the response closely, so never just mix Display Network ads with ads which appear on the Google results pages (which is unfortunately the default setting on Google AdWords). We use the Display Network extensively for many of our clients, and it’s something which we offer as standard in our normal “leave it all to us” AdWords management package.