Websites to avoid on the Google advertising Display Network

The Google advertising “Display Network” is an awesome thing. It consists of over 2 million websites where the owners have given some or all of their advertising space to Google to run. They just leave a space with a bit of code in it, and Google works out which adverts to put there. The proceeds are shared between the publisher and Google.

From an advertiser’s point of view, this is amazing. It allows you to advertise on over 2 million websites with a single booking. Better still, the adverts are all pay-per-click – none of that “give me a fixed fee and who knows what’ll happen” rubbish offered by many websites. So what’s the catch?

Well, probably 99% of those websites aren’t relevant to what your company sells, nor are they ever visited by anyone who might buy your products. You might say: “Well, who cares, because it’s pay-per-click, right? If the website is irrelevant, and the visitor isn’t interested, they won’t click on my ad and it won’t cost me anything.” Unfortunately, they will click on it, even if only by accident (something which it’s very easy to do on mobile devices). Such clicks might not happen often, but your ads can easily show tens of millions of times if you’re not careful, and even if only 1 in 10,000 people accidentally click on your advert, you could end up paying for hundreds of unwanted clicks.

Naturally, your ads don’t run everywhere by default. You specify relevant topics, or audiences, and Google does a very good job of placing your adverts on relevant pages. But the campaign will still be far broader than you’ll want. So we use the Google Display Network with great care. For most clients, if we use it at all, we start at the most fundamental level and list, by name, only those sites where we want the ads to run. We may build it up slowly from there. We certainly don’t ever advertise in mobile apps, although thousands of companies do without realising it.

However, there might be times when you want to explore the Display Network more broadly, particularly when you’re using it for a “remarketing” campaign. In that case, this list of 429 placements to block on Google Display Network on the Seer blog will be useful. Top work by the agencies which have made it available.

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