Learn how to sneak in the back door and target premium websites as placements through your AdWords display campaigns.
The crème de la crème of the display world are often expensive placements. Expensive, or slightly more complicated. Direct buys, different ad networks or in some cases these placements have their own ad platform. As the saying goes, "Ain't nobody got time for that!"
What is the alternative, you ask? Fake it until you make it!
Many premium websites are a part of either the Google Display Network directly or a part of the Double Click ad network. Either way, this means you can sneak in the back door and target these websites as placements through your AdWords display campaigns.
Much of the work involved in creating plans for display advertising used to be far easier with the old placement research tools and even Ad Planner.
The new Display Planner is, well, not my favorite thing in the world. So perhaps out of sheer stubbornness, I roll up my sleeves and do a little bit of manual labor to find premium placements.
Strategy 1: Go to your website of choice and find ads. Hover your mouse over the ad and look at the URL structure in your web browser. Does the URL say doubleclick.net? You are in luck! Add this site to your placement targeting list.
Strategy 2: This strategy gets a little more specific. Go to Google and do searches on keywords related to your product or service. Are there any really popular websites that have content ranking organically for these keywords? Go to these pages and look for ads and repeat the steps from Strategy 1.
Strategy 3: Good ole placement performance reporting! Review your existing contextual, category or topic based display campaigns. Are there any surprise placements that are performing well? Capitalize on that fact and run them as isolated placements.
Create Placement Targeted Ad Groups
This is the easy part! Head back to AdWords and your placement targeting campaign. Create new ad groups for your new premium placements. My recommendation is to isolate each of these placements for optimal bid management and ad segmentation.
But wait, there's more... and it is the most important piece. Layer contextual keywords over these placements to ensure that your ads are appearing on pages relevant to your product or service. Otherwise, you will effectively tell Google that you want to advertise run-of-site!
Proof of Concept - Now You've "Made It"
One great use of this process is to prove to your client, boss or other decision makers that a particular placement is worth pursuing as a direct buy or through another display provider (for additional options, etc.).
You can build a case based on actual data that paints a picture of impression, click, CTR and conversion performance. Now that ridiculous title for this article doesn't seem like such a stretch (ok, moan away, I don't mind)!
A Few of My Favorite Things
There is a wide world of placements out there. That being said, there are a few that I keep coming back to for my clients. A few are obvious, some not so much.
The Obvious: Gmail, YouTube. These are Google properties and have been a part of the GDN for quite some time. Left to broad contextual targeting or just run-of-site targeting, they can be unwieldy. When layered with highly relevant contextual keywords these can be high-volume and high-conversion rate placements.
The Not-So-Obvious: Yahoo, LinkedIn, Facebook. All three of these websites can be targeted as placements on the GDN. Competition is tight and CPCs can be high, but in my experience it has been worth it!
So there you have it. Fake it on premium placements with the GDN until you can make it by proving performance data. Do you already target premium placements in this way? If so, what are some sites you've had success with?
Do you have any similar strategies for utilizing the Google Display Network? Leave a comment!
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John A. Lee is an Internet marketing jack-of-all-trades with experience managing PPC, SEO, and social media campaigns. He is a Managing Partner for Clix Marketing, a marketing agency specializing in PPC, display, and social media advertising. Before joining Clix Marketing, John worked as Paid Search Manager for Wordstream and was a Senior Search Marketing Consultant for Hanapin Marketing in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was instrumental in the success of Hanapin's two search marketing blogs: PPCHero.com and SEOBoy.com. John's writing has also appeared on SearchEngineWatch.com, Acquisio's Blog, Wordstream's Blog, and within Website Magazine.
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