Finding New Business with Advanced GDN Targeting


Every day, the Google AdWords Display Network (GDN) serves up ads to 90% of all global internet users on more than 2 million websites – that’s 1 trillion estimated ad impressions per month! For businesses looking to expand their product, service, or brand awareness, advertising on the Google Display Network is by far the easiest and most cost-effective solution if done the right way. There are literally hundreds of ways to set up your GDN campaigns but before you go out and start experimenting, let’s try understanding one of the most important aspects of your AdWords campaign: Targeting.

Targeting Types

GDN targeting is responsible for matching and then delivering your ads to the right audience. AdWords provides users with a number of targeting methods but each one effectively falls into either website-based targeting or User-based targeting.

Website-based Targeting

Website-based targeting or Contextual targeting incorporates user-defined keywords and topics that are relevant to your products and services to help Google find eligible websites to display your ads in. Google checks both the content of each GDN webpage and URL for text, language, link structure and page structure to determine a page’s central theme and relevance. In addition, user language, location, and browsing history are other metrics that Google uses to identify the apps and pages to display your ad in.

User-based Targeting

User-based targeting, also known as Audience targeting, helps advertisers find people who show interest in similar products and services to that of your business. Once Google identifies these users, it then shows your ads on all the websites that they visit. Through this type of targeting, you can reach people based on their interests, how they interact with webpages, apps, and content across the Display Network, including YouTube.

SCI’s Top GDN Targeting Methods

To get you started with your GDN campaigns, here are some of our recommended targeting methods to try:

  1. Keyword Targeting

    Keyword targeting delivers relevant messages to users based on the type of content they consume. When applying this type of targeting, it’s best to use general terms or phrases that are focused on the products and services you offer.

    If you need keyword ideas, try looking through your website, searching Google for related terms, identifying synonyms, or using AdWords’ “Find Related Keywords” feature on your targeting setup page.

    Keep in mind that the position of your Display Network page depends on your maximum cost per click value, keyword quality score, and landing page quality. Google assigns higher quality scores to keywords and ads when they relate more to available landing pages.

  2. Topic Targeting

    Topic targeting shows ads on pages that talk about specific subject areas related to your products, services, and business. To set this up, head over to the targeting section of your AdWords account and select the relevant topics you want to use from the available list.

  3. In-Market Targeting

    In-Market targeting connects advertisers to customers who are already actively doing research on products or are close to completing a purchase. Google determines a user’s intent to buy based on the website content being browsed, proximity and frequency of user visits, account clicks on related ads, and subsequent conversions.

    There is a wide selection of available In-Market audiences that you can utilize. Simply access this by clicking on the dropdown menu on your targeting section.

  4. Affinity & Custom Affinity Targeting

    Affinity audiences are ideal for reaching potential customers at scale and building awareness for your business. This type of targeting factors in user interests, lifestyles, and passions to get a better sense of your overall audience identity. While Google already provides a list of Affinity audiences to choose from, you can also set up your own Custom Affinity audience by defining a set of keywords and URLs for Google to use. Custom Affinity audience lists are especially useful for advertising products or services that belong to niche markets.  

  5. Remarketing

    Remarketing reconnects advertisers to visitors who may or may not have taken a desired action on your website such as making a purchase or submitting an inquiry. This targeting method allows advertisers to position ads in front of a defined audience that has previously been to your website while they browse through other pages online.

    Remarketing works by adding cookies to each of your visitor browsers when they meet the specific remarketing criteria that you set up on AdWords and/or Analytics. A few examples that you can try would be setting up remarketing tags for page views on important pages on your site, visitors who set a certain amount of time on a page, or for users who visited but didn’t make a purchase or inquiry. Keep in mind however that Google requires you to have at least 100 cookie IDs on each remarketing list before the campaign can become active. 

  6. Similar Audience Lists

    Similar Audience Lists looks at data on your existing remarketing audiences and finds new, qualified consumers who have shared interests. While Remarketing helps bring back previous visitors to your site, Similar Audience Lists will expand that pool of people to capture a much larger audience, increase clicks, and improve conversions among new prospects. 

Need More Help?

SCI Global Services Inc. provides monthly paid search management services for Google AdWords to help you gain quality traffic that converts into sales leads. We also host exclusive Clever Clients Webinars every week where we discuss valuable strategies and marketing tools to help our clients achieve their business goals.


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