Paid Search (PPC)

PPC advertising – an effective and highly targeted way to drive traffic to your website.  But here is one tip for all Adwords users to get more out of your daily budget.

Make sure your ads are not showing on the Google Display Network.

Previously known as the Content Network, the Display Network is a collection of websites on which Google adverts are displayed.  You will have seen them at some point – they often look a bit like this:

PPC on Google Display Network

Although really creative ones feature multimedia, images and creative copy to encourage their users.

The Google Display Network can be a really excellent way to increase the visibility and recognition of your brand.  But, the audience that you reach by advertising this way is less targeted, usually not as far along in the buying cycle and potentially less likely to convert meaning you’ll spend more money to acquire each customer.

For example, say I decide that I really want to buy red shoes.  I go on to Google and run this search:

PPC Ads on Google

I’m shown a variety of ads that all relate directly to my search – Office in particular is really shouting about red shoes in their ad.

Now imagine I’m reading my friend’s shoe blog.  Yes, I have an interest in shoes, but I’m not actively looking to buy, I just want to keep up with my friend’s blog.  If any of these adverts were to appear on her site there is a chance I’ll click on them, but unless I’m prone to impulse buying I’m much less likely to become a customer.

You need to advertise to potential customers in subtley different ways on Search Engines and the Display Network.  So if you are displaying the same ads on both, chances are you are wasting your money.  Not only will you get less conversions for your cash, but a drop in the Click Through Rate (CTR) of your ads can drive the cost of your ads up so you get less for your daily PPC budget.

The real danger here is that many Adwords users aren’t aware that their ads are showing on the Display Network. To find out if yours is, go to your campaign settings and look for your network settings:

Adwords Tip: Networks Setting

If it is set to All, click Edit, and choose where you want your ad to be displayed.

Adwords Tip: Turn off Display Network

Simply untick the Display Network box, and your ads will only appear on Google, and other search engines powered by Google.  For anyone on a limited budget you may also want to untick the Search partners option, so that your ads only appear on Google itself.

As your understanding and use of Adwords grows and you have more to splash out on PPC, it’s worth exploring the Display Network.  There are many great things that you can do with it and you can even select specific sites to appear on, to target your ads more effectively.

But, if all you want right now is the most conversions, and the most clicks at the right price, stick to Google Search and you’ll get much more from your budget.


Katie Saxon

7 responses to “Adwords Tip: Get More Out of Your Daily PPC Budget”

  1. Clarie says:

    There are a number of interesting points in this article, the most important customers are those that want or need your product, these customers are likely to buy from you time and time again. I totally agree it is really important to direct advertising and put your money where there is most likely to be a return in the long term. Great advice for those currently undertaking PPC campaigns, unclick the option that only gives little return.

  2. Susan Hallam says:

    I think it is a bit cheeky that for any new advertising campaign, AdWords has the Display Network default set to “On.” Most new advertiserse expect their ads to appear in Search, and are suprised (and sometimes disappointed) to learn their ads are also appearing on the Display network…

  3. Indeed – it can come as a nasty shock to find out that the reason you’ve been burning budget and have a disappointingly low CTR is all down to a setting that you didn’t know existed!

  4. Sarah says:

    Thank you very much for this information. I’ve immediately turned off display network ads. I was aware that I was advertising here but didn’t realise that the quality of ad placement was of a lower standard and that a drop in the CTR could drive the cost of ads up. Thank you!

  5. Happy to help Sarah!

    It is important to say though that the Display Network isn’t lower quality – it’s simply that users viewing your ads on external websites have different needs to those viewing your ads on Google search.

    The Display Network is an excellent way to increase brand visibility and recognition, and whether you use it or not should depend on the aims of your campaign. If your aim is to get the most traffic for the least money, you’re better off sticking to Search for the moment. Good luck!

  6. I also found that I was wasting a lot of time and money answering calls from customers for a service that I did not offer (Auto Locksmithing)

    I now use Negative keywords to stop my Ads showing up when a customer does a search for Auto Locksmith related searches.

  7. Liam says:

    Personally I believe it is down to the individual PPC campaign – we run image adwords across the content network for a client and get as many conversions as we do in the normal search PPC campaign but for much much less cost.

    We are also able to take advantage of the Google remarketing and have seen clients convert days and even weeks after first clicking on the Image AdWords

    If it is a small campaign with a tight budget then I would agree with you.

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