How to Revive a Google Display Campaign in 5 Proven Steps

4 Min Read

You’ve left your Google Display Network (GDN) campaign to run without checking on it. A few days has become a few weeks. The ad campaign’s still plodding along, but it’s not completely alive. More than 72% of accounts go longer than a month without attention, according to Kissmetrics. If this sounds familiar, you may have a zombie campaign on your hands. Not to worry, we’ve got your back. Keep reading and take the following five steps to bring that Google Display Campaign back to life.

1. Check your Placement Targeting

Using placement targeting, you have the option to choose any website on GDN. Ideally, you’re looking for places where your customers spend time. Do a run-through of all the sites you use for advertising. If a site isn’t performing well, consider a new approach. If you’ve been hand-picking your sites, try some targeting options, such as topic targeting or by demographic group. Or if you’ve been using targeting, try looking for placements. Mix it up.

Let’s take placement targeting a step further. You also have the option to choose a section of a website. Here’s where it gets interesting. Let’s say you’re selling gardening tools in the New York Times. With placement targeting, you can choose to only run your display ads in the Home & Garden section to target your most valuable audience.

2. Put Paused Keywords Back in the Game

At first glance, pausing low-performing keywords seems like a great idea. But sometimes the keyword isn’t the weed in the garden that needs to get pulled out. The problem is that when targeting contextually, keywords are often the first place people look when trying to pinpoint spiraling cost-per-conversion rates. There are a few intermediary steps to try before shutting down the keyword and missing out entirely. First, try excluding some of the placements being triggered. It might be the place the keywords are running, not the keywords that are the cause of your rising conversion costs.

3. Breathe New Life Into Your Campaign Structure

It’s important to look at the specifics of your placements and keywords. They’re vital to your account performance. But sometimes, you’ve got to step back and look at the big picture. In the course of your AdWords account, your Search and Display campaigns may have become entangled. It’s time to break up that zombie horde. Search campaigns and Display campaigns perform wildly differently. In general, Display campaigns are generally more effective for high funnel marketing activities (branding and awareness). For best results, move Search and Display into separate campaigns.

Once that’s squared, look at the structure of your campaigns. Your business evolves; make sure your campaign structure changes and grows with it. Have you added new products that deserve their own Ad Groups? The general best practice is to create an Ad Group for each of your products or services. Google recommends using your website architecture as a starting point.

For example, let’s say you sell pet products. The main tabs on your navigation are Cats, Dogs, and Bunnies. In AdWords, Cats, Dogs, and Bunnies would each get their own campaign. The Ad Groups within that campaign would be the products you sell for each animal (like dog collars for Dogs).

Then take a more granular look at keywords if you’re using contextual targeting. Make sure each AdWords Ad Group is tightly themed. Weed out any words that aren’t closely related, and don’t go too big. It’s better to break AdWords into smaller groups than to have a bigger group of more loosely related keywords. Test out negative keywords, especially if you’re getting high visibility with low conversion rates.

4. Get On Board With Remarketing

What are the odds someone will buy from you the very first time they visit your site? The short answer is: not very good. According to a 2017 survey by Episerver, more than 92% of first-time website visitors are not ready to buy. What if there was a way to take a second crack at them? (Or a third, or fourth.) Remarketing gives you a way to continue to engage and eventually capture people who visit your site but aren’t ready to buy yet. If you’ve ever been to a website that sells shoes, and then you see pictures of the shoes you were looking at all over new web pages you go to – that’s remarketing.

Ready to get on board? Get best practices to setting up remarketing with Google’s official guide, “Reach Past Visitors with Display Remarketing: Google Best Practices.”

5. Be Bold, Be Creative, and Test More

AdWords offers a dizzying number of options to control who sees your ad and how your ad runs. But you have to pinpoint what’s working; otherwise you’re wasting money and holding back your business. There’s almost no limit to the improvements you can make, from geographic performance and devices to varying the hours and days of the week your ads run to switching up your demo targeting. While all these options are important, creating different ad versions is one of the most dramatic ways to see results. Make sure your ad creative is fresh, bold and designed for performance.

Unlike zombies, you can jolt your display advertising campaign back to life. You don’t have to settle for an account that dwells in the world of the undead. Make the five smart moves here, and keep testing them. You’ll find new ways to bring life to your account and unleash your true potential.