Keeping Your Purchase Path Covered With the Google Display Network

Your Display Plan Must Go Beyond Remarketing

Display advertising is more than just remarketing. It is so much more that the two should rarely even be mentioned in the same blog post (unless it is to explain their differences, of course). Retargeting display advertisements to your customers is important. In fact, it is an integral part of any comprehensive marketing plan, but too many companies just stop there and then pretend to have a Display channel. Well, if all your company does is retarget then I’ve got some bad news for you: You are missing out on a large segment of potential customers.

Why is Remarketing So Different Then Display Marketing?

Yes, I know, they both put banners on your screen. But the question is why are those banners are on your screen, and what are their goals? The goal of a good Display plan is to feed the top, middle, AND bottom of your purchase funnel. A well-executed plan will generate interest through its broadly targeted campaigns, and push that potential customer straight along that purchase path until you’ve got yourself a new sale or a fresh client. Remarketing, on the other hand, can only chase those who have already visited your site. It cannot generate interest among people who are unfamiliar with your brand, and most importantly it cannot seek out new customers to feed the top of your purchase funnel. So to put it simply, if you run long enough with only a remarketing strategy, you will eventually be limiting the amount of people available to remarket towards.

So How Does Google Push Users Through The Purchase Path?

First let’s take a look at the purchase path and where Google’s targeting options fit within it:

And here is a quick rundown on what each of these bullets mean to your targeting capabilities:

  • Interest Category Marketing: This is generally the broadest form of display targeting. You can target people based on the websites they tend to visit. This method will follow the user wherever they travel in the World Wide Web.
  • Topic Targeting: Now we’re getting a bit more specific. This targets users on websites across the Google Display Network (GDN) that have content about specific topics you think would interest your target customer.
  • Keyword Contextual Targeting: The next level down targets users on websites across the GDN based on select keywords. Google will seek out websites related to your keyword groups and display your ads on those pages.
  • Placement Targeting: Now we’re throwing darts. With this method you can target users on websites or even on sections of websites that are hand-selected.
  • Remarketing: And here it is. Remarketing is the FINAL step of a good Display campaign. Now you can target all of the users who have visited your website because of the great campaign you designed that lead users all the way down the funnel and onto your site. Google recommends starting with an Abandoned Cart strategy, but there are many different ways to do this (and there are more to come in the near future).

So That’s It?

Of course that’s not it! Google is always trying to stay a step ahead in its targeting capabilities, and if you pay close attention you will see little tweaks and changes on your Adwords menu on a near-monthly basis (I hope everyone is comfortable with the Display Networks tab by now). Recently, display advertisers have been presented with the option to begin bidding on individual search terms much in the way that their paid search cousins can do. And soon, you will begin to see the full effects of the efforts Google has been putting into mobile display advertising. But before you venture into these areas, make sure you have a firm grasp of the basics, and make sure you have your whole purchase path covered – from the moment someone discovers your brand, right up until that discoverer becomes a customer. And to do this, you should now realize that it will take a little more strategizing than throwing money at your remarketing campaign.

Now go find yourself some new customers!

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