Display Network – a money sucking black hole (for my service)

Adwords display networkYes, I know, I should have paid more attention to the way I was spending my money on Google AdWords but when you’re a one man band it’s difficult to be everywhere (fortunately, we are now four people so beyond revamping the site and preparing the launch of a new product, to be announced soon, I can now start for a change focusing on the marketing aspects of the business).

Well, with one simple change I’ve been able to keep the same level of conversions using only 20% of the budget I was spending before. This simple change was switching my campaigns from “Search and Display Network” to “Search only”. I took this decision based on a series of factors:

  • It turns out that 99% of the time my ads were shown in the display network and I couldn´t find a way to force a more reasonable spread between the two (I´d like to be able to say something like “make sure that at least 25% of the impressions come from search” even if this reduces the number of ad impressions overall. The control you have on the display network is quite limited (in terms, for instance, of where your ads are shown) so you may not want all your budget to be spent there (and yes I know I could have different bids for the search and the display network parts but still…)
  • I have no idea why Google chose most of the placements in the display network. Many of them are mobile applications (completey unrelated to WordPress) and many others were in countries were I had said I didn´t want the ads to be shown (maybe this settings only applied to the search part but I find strange that you don’t want your ads to be shown to people searching from the country X but still you´d be happy to show them as contextual ads to people from that same country)
  • IMHO, the display network is only useful if your product can be an impulsive buy (ours is not and in fact we even forbid you to buy it in your first visit). I don’t think anybody would decide to migrate to wordpress just because in his/her gmail account an ad about our service pops up.

So, the Display Network may work great for you (and I´ll give it another try with our new product) but don´t give it for granted. One hour checking some basic stats may save you tons of money!

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