3 Reasons To Switch Off Google Display Network

Google Display Network is a hotly-debated topic among PPC experts. I received a bit of a backlash on the #ppcchat Twitter hashtag last week when I suggested that the GDN was a waste of money. The problem is that in 140 characters you can’t say all you want to say, and maybe my post was misconstrued. What I meant was that compared to Google Search and Search Partners, the Display Network was a waste of money. I’m also aware that many #ppcchat contributors are agency-based, and this may have a bearing on their opinions. Here are 3 reasons why I believe you should switch off the Google Display Network right from the start of any PPC campaign.

1) Search will always convert better

This is pure common sense. With Google Search, someone has gone to their computer, tablet or smartphone and actively searched for a keyword that you have chosen to show an ad for. As long as your product or service is relevant to what they have searched for, you stand a pretty good chance of converting that customer. For instance, they may want ‘cloud storage’. They have searched for it, and they probably have their credit card handy ready to apply and pay for it.

Google’s Display Network is very different. Yes, the potential visitor may be seeing your cloud storage ad on a tech blog or something similarly relevant, but the odds are that they are not on that tech blog to actively search for cloud storage. They are unlikely to be in a position to buy there and then as they were not expecting to see your ad. Your ad may pique their interest, causing them to click on it, but there is no active search for your product taking place here. Clicks are doubtless cheaper than Google Search, but the success of a PPC campaign is judged on conversion from click to sale, not volume of traffic.

The odds are you have a set budget for paid search traffic – you’re almost always better off using it all on Search and Search Partners.

2) Accidental clicks

People are unlikely to click on your search ad by accident. On GDN, they are. I was playing the latest app phenomenon ‘Flappy Bird’ the other day and in my frustration I accidentally clicked on an ad for a Chiropodist. I have never had any intention of getting my feet treated by a Chiropodist, but they paid for my accidental click. I’ve lost count of the times my 3 year old son has passed me the iPad saying ‘Daddy, get the game back’ because he has accidentally clicked on a display ad whilst playing a game. When I used AdSense I tried to make my ads look like and blend into my site content as much as I could because the experts all told me that this increases your CTR. Think of the number of accidental clicks you’re getting on GDN, and then become frustrated because you have no way of finding out whether they were accidental or not.

3) Your ad needs to be more enticing on GDN

In order to stand out on GDN, to get people to click your ad, you need to serve up a very enticing offer that is enough to divert people from what they were doing (reading a blog, playing a game etc). Your ad needs to be more enticing than a search ad because with a search ad you know they have already searched for your product. The more enticing your ad, the less likely your product or service is to deliver what you are promising. The last thing you want to do is incentivise clicks with false or misleading promises, but how else are you going to attract a purposeful click from someone who wasn’t originally searching for what you sell? This all impacts the conversion rate, and as mentioned previously, conversion is king when it comes to PPC. Don’t waste your money on brand awareness – only serve ads to those people who are likely to turn into paying customers. This is the secret of PPC success, and the GDN doesn’t generally help you achieve this.



About The Author

Michael Madew

PPC expert with over 10 years' experience in creating and managing highly profitable PPC campaigns on Google Adwords, Bing Ads and other paid search platforms.

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