Google's Display Network has two types of targeting options. The first, automatic placements, we've talked about already. This is where you create keyword-themed ad groups and Google makes your ads eligible to appear on web pages whose content theme matches the theme of the keywords in your ad group. Now, we'll talk about the second - managed placements.

This type of campaign is useful for two purposes:

1. Targeting specific websites that you've already found have performed well for your ads in an automatic placement campaign to maximize your exposure on those sites.

2. Targeting specific websites that you've found through research.

With this campaign, you do not choose keywords because you are telling Google exactly which sites you want your ad to be eligible for auction, so they don't need keywords to come up with a theme to match to websites. The way to create this campaign is to choose "relevant pages only on the placements and audiences I manage" under "Networks" in the "Network and Devices" option of your campaign settings.

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The easiest way to pick some websites where you want your ad to be shown is to run and analyze a Placement Performance Report of your Automatic Placement Campaign once a significant amount of data has been collected. You can export the data in this report to Excel and find some websites that have historically met the marketing objectives you have set for your ads. Once you add them to your new Managed Placement Campaign, make sure you exclude them from your Automatic Placement Campaign by selecting the placement and hitting "Exclude Placement" above the list -

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Then, you go in to the Networks tab of your new Managed Placement campaign, click on "show details" next to managed placements and then click "add placements." This is where you enter and submit the sites where you want your ads to be shown.

If you are not as patient and/or you would rather not rely on Google's imperfect algorithm to find some websites you'd like to test, once you hit "add placements" and choose an ad group, you can click on a link to take you to the Placement Tool. Here, you can look up sites by category, keyword, ad type or size, and URL and the tool will spit out all sorts of options for you to pick from to add to your ad group.

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You'll want to monitor these choices over time to weed out the bad and maximize the good. Remember, just because you think something in marketing will work doesn't mean it will. It has to be proven with data. Take a look at the sites that are suggested and decide on some that are locations where your target audience frequents, select them and add them to your campaign. Once you start to find some websites that are working for you, you can start to develop themed ad groups with your managed placements and write more targeted ads for similar types of sites.

For instance, if you sold guitars and you are finding that guitar lesson sites work well for you, group all of the sites about guitar lessons together and create targeted ads for those sites. You should see click-through and conversion rates improve significantly. This makes it easier to identify sites and themes that work best for your business.

Now, you've got one campaign that is going out to hunt down sites that will work for what you're advertising (automatic placement) and one campaign that contains sites that work for you that you can optimize for the long-run (managed placement). As time passes and data is collected, continue to add keyword-themed ad groups to your Automatic Placement Campaign to replace themes that aren't working for you while pulling the sites that work to place into your Managed Placement campaign. Frequently, you should go in and apply standard optimization techniques to your ad groups and placements similar to how you would optimize search campaigns with keywords.

Hopefully, my short introduction series to the Display Network will allow you to take your online business to new heights! Down the road, we'll get into some more advanced Display Network strategies. Hope you'll hang around.

August 22, 2010

Mike Fleming specializes in Analytics and Paid Search for Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @SEMFlem. Mike enjoys playing, writing and recording music along with playing basketball to get his workout in. He resides in Canton, Ohio with a girl who threw a snowball at him one day…then married him.

Mike and the team at Pole Position are available to help clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Contact them via their site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Fleming > Take Your Online Business to New Heights With the Display Network - Part 5