The Google Display Network 64 Comments

Recently I’ve been using Google Adwords more for my campaigns, as I think its important to diversify your traffic sources, and relying 100% of SEO for your traffic is risky business. In this post I discuss using the Google Display Network, which used to be known as the Google Content network.

I think a lot of internet marketers have a fear of paying for their traffic, however the fact is that no traffic is free as SEO takes time and resources to get it to work. I know that Google has changes their guidelines in recent years on what they will allow to run in Adwords, with most affiliate marketing sites being banned, however you still can use Adwords for these sort of sites and many others too, you just have to play by Google rules.

Banner Ads

The thing I’m focusing on right now is running all the sizes of banner ads that the Google Display Network allows, which you can see in the shot below:

Getting banners made for your sites is easy too. All I do is hire a designer over at and give them examples of what I like and it’s done.

The advantage of using banners is that you can show your banner ads inside YouTube videos, which is part of Google Adwords, not the YouTube ad network. Not that many people are taking advantage of banners in YouTube videos, so its a great time to get it there.

What I also like to do with Google Display Network is tell Google the sites I want my ads to be shown on, you can do this using their placement tool, where you input a list of specific URL’s you would like to show up on. This can include YouTube videos also. Below is a screen shot of the placement tool:

Good Banners

It pays to make sure you have good banners, because if your click-through-rate is low for your banners, you won’t do very well. One trick I learned from Jackson Lim from Product Moguls, is to make your banners look like they are in 3D by adding a slight shadow behind them. The key things you do need to make sure of is that you make very good use of the text in the banner, as you won’t have room for much. Be sure to have catchy headlines, and list the benefits of your offer not the features. Also I like to have banner with a flashing call to action button that is very easy to see.

Google Guidelines

You really do have to follow Google’s guidelines though, as I got a site rejected just today, which I’m now working on fixing so that it gets approved. You absolutely cannot have what Google refers to as ‘Bridge Pages’ which are sites that add not value and just send the traffic to another site straight away.

Therefore if you’re doing affiliate marketing then you have to go for collecting the email address first. However with that said, if your site looks like it primary goal is just to collect email addresses and contact information, then it will also get rejected, so you have to do more to make the user experience better, by providing articles and make them easily accessible too.

Tracking Your Conversions

Don’t forget with anything you do online, especially paid traffic like this, you absolutely must track what you’re doing. What I do is use Google Analytics and set up goal conversions. By doing this you can see how much of your traffic is turning into a sale/lead for you and adjust your campaigns accordingly.

Also you need to use Google’s URL builder to create links that are trackable. This is really easy to do, all you do is follow the steps and use the URL the tool creates for you on all your banners. Below is a screen shot for the URL builder:

The key with Google’s Placement network is to remove your ads from sites that are not performing, and focus on where they are, so that overtime your campaigns become more targeted and hopefully more profitable.

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43 Comments to The Google Display Network

  1. Itu Molotsi's Gravatar Itu Molotsi
    September 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    I’m surprised to see you doing paid advertising being that you are a master of SEO.

    I have been running ads on the display network for a while and one thing i have been using is placement targeting. To sum it up in a few words the conversions on placement targeting is amazing.

    I hope to see a display advertising product from you soon. I love the way you teach things…

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Yeah I don’ do just SEO as its too risky these days, got to mix it up!

  2. September 18, 2012 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Hi, thanks for this thread! I think that google adwords is a good way to drag targeted traffic. But the problem is that you may drag traffic or just lose your money. Choosing the right keywords is essential to avoid that. Moreover, having an experience with adsense may help. But I recommend for beginners not to use adwords because I know many bloggers who lost a lot of money with adwords.
    So, Before going to Google Adwords, before even considering any aspect of SEO, take these three factors under close, careful consideration:

    1- What does your site offer – There is no limit to how many correct answers you can have to this question. Try to be as general for some and as specific for other answers as possible. Cover everything.

    2- What ideal audience is your site for – Does your site provide more basic knowledge for beginners to your topic or does it go in-depth for the knowledgeable gurus? Essentially, you want to refine your ideas from the previous step to get a general picture of who your readers mostly are.

    3-What is your potential audience – Look beyond your target audience in this step, and think about how you can make your content more valuable and accessible for those who don’t know exactly what they’re looking for (in other words, those who are just Googling the type of content you provide). Look beyond your industry jargon, and think of general (usually uninformed) keywords that would attract guppy readers.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks for adding your insights Charles

  3. September 18, 2012 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Don’t just go after collecting email addresses… I got SLAPPED hard for sending traffic to a capture page on my own site because google calls it information harvesting… Make sure you have quality content like a great review or article.

    Even being banned on google I still get traffic to my sites, I just have to find ways around it.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Yes good point you do have to add additional info content to the domain.

  4. Joe's Gravatar Joe
    September 18, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the great info.. We really need to diversify, dealing with google is like dealing with a person with ten different personalities..Even with all these updates i’m still seeing a lot of garbage sites on the top pages.. Poorly written and repetitive, then further down comes what seems to be higher quality..

  5. Bryan's Gravatar Bryan
    September 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    how many articles should you have on your site so that google wont consider it a doorway site?

    Matt Carter Reply:

    I think 10 is a good number

    Matt Carter Reply:

    I think about 10

  6. September 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I have been sitting on the fence for a long time about paid traffic. And after reading your post, i think i should go for it.

    I always believe in whatever you say – because you preach what you really do. 🙂

    Thank you for coming up with wonderful and informative posts.

  7. September 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Diversification should always be part of any advertising strategy, so you’re spot on there.

    But, you don’t mention whether you’ve had success yet on the Google Display Network or you’re still testing ?

    If you’ve been successful, how long did it take.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    I am testing it now.

  8. September 18, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I see that you talked about Google Guideline “Bridge Pages”, does that mean we cannot use any type of squeeze page for Adword?

    Besides “providing articles and make them easily accessible…”, what about putting a video on the page instead; is this a good user experience in Google’s eyes?

    Thanks for the post:)

    Matt Carter Reply:

    You can use video if you want, but you don’t have to, just having articles is enough.

  9. September 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    I think Facebook is a better option as I have been tracking both side lately but depends on your audience and markt

  10. Norman Holden's Gravatar Norman Holden
    September 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    If you are not prepared to “proceed with caution” regarding anything to do with Google Adwords then be prepared to lose your shirt along with your bank balance

    Believe me I have been there and it is not a nice place to be.

  11. September 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    G’day Matt,
    First of all , congrats to your quality blogs, they’re a great help.
    But one thing I’ve noticed is most marketers talk about getting traffic but hardly anyone talks about how to get that traffic to convert, something I’m struggling with at present.
    Could you please be kind enough to do a blog on this subject?

  12. September 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Matt for the info about the Google Display Network. I’ve only used the search network in the past, but I think I will test this out to see how it goes.
    Sounds like the key is to create enticing banners that get noticed. Then focus advertising dollars only on the sites that are consistently performing well in the tracking.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Yeah you got it, and use the Placement tool to select highly specific sites to place your banners on

  13. September 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Interesting article Matt but it sounds like another learning curve for me judging by the comments about properly targeting, risk of loosing a lot of money and getting banned by Google. As a novice to internet marketing I’m not sure I’m ready for this!

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Yes anything worth doing does take learning to get it right.

  14. Sterling's Gravatar Sterling
    September 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    Thanks or this article. I use Adwords but haven’t had much luck with banners. Do you have any examples of banners that got decent clicks?

    Matt Carter Reply:


    I don’t want to show my banners here as they will give away too much of what I am doing. The key is to test test test…

    Jhoecannon Reply:

    That’s a shame…I think many of us would love to actually see the type of banners that you are talking about.

  15. September 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Im glad you have mentioned the display network,

    I am about to dive into ad networks and would like more info on which you would recommend for testing ads to begin with?


    James Reply:

    Have you been using Bing?

    I like their cost per click at the minute.

  16. Stephen's Gravatar Stephen
    September 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt

    I’m a member of super elite. Just letting you know the image verification to registrar onto the forum is not working I have not been able to contact anyone via the website for the same reason, Sorry to bring this to your attention on you blog.



    Matt Carter Reply:

    That’s because it is not meant to work, we set up forum access and we also have a support ticketing system for all customers to use.

  17. September 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Matt, I totally agree with you that you need to mix it up and Adwords is excellent in many ways. However I would caution anyone using it to tread carefully as there is, in my experience, a steep learning curve.

    I have used Adwords Search very effectively for several years to promote high cost products into a niche industrial sector. I have also tried several times to develop a successful Adwords display campaign for the same product but it has never worked.

    I have also tried Adwords Search for other products and failed.

    There are so many variables involved you really need to be patient and as you say test, test, test. There is work involved, it’s certainly not “set it and forget it”

  18. September 18, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for this post about the Google Display Network and your latest email marketing tips post.

    A few questions:
    What types of landing pages are you using for your Display Network campaigns? Are you targeting posts on your site or are you creating dedicated landing pages for your campaigns?

    With regards to your email marketing post. The Leave a Reply comment box is no longer appearing so I’m having to leave me comment here. Good post and thanks for the reminder to set up goals to track the opt-in conversion rate on my website.

    Just wondering, what was the thinking behind splitting that post into two pages? Are you targeting different keywords on the different post halves or are you just trying to get your page impression count up?

    The posts on my website tend to be long. I’m not sure if this is intimidating my readers and whether there might be advantages that I’m overlooking in splitting my posts.

    Also at the bottom of your posts you have an author information box and another opt-in box. Are you using a plugin, widget or content blocks to add these?


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Tyler

    I am sending paid traffic to the home page with is designer for conversions.

    As for the splitting the other post into two, well all I will say is ‘bounce rate’…

  19. September 18, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the tip Matt I will try it out in yahoo Google has already banned me. So I have to use other site to do my advertizing. I have heard of this before from other sources. Always enjoy your tips.

  20. September 18, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again Matt for another very helpful piece of information. This is something that’s worthwhile sharing!To be honest with you, I have never given banner ads much thoughts, but now I will.

  21. September 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Great article Matt,

    I think it’s a good idea to start getting some other sources of traffic other than organic even for those who have mastered seo.

    I’ve added some new sources and will put this in the queue as well!

    Kinda makes you wonder if this isn’t what G has been trying to get all us seo’s on board with though….

  22. September 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    Thx for the valuable info. I just got my feet wet with ADWORDS for Google Search. Since Google occasionally offers $100 Adwords coupons I thought I’d get over my fear and give it a try. I really learned a lot in the process.
    I have been thinking of trying the Google Display Network for a broader reach and the use of banners too and just the other day I received another $100 coupon for Adwords so guess what I’m gonna do now.

    I really do appreciate your candid style and honesty in this shark infested game of IM. Please keep it up.

  23. September 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Hello Matt,

    I have gone the PPC route myself. I cannot depend on SEO entirely these days. Google is really gotten greedy and only out for themselves. Glad to see Amazon jump ship from Google. That makes me happy to see that!

    I have been using some of the other PPC networks other then Google also like Clicksor. You can use your keywords, Geo and time targeting and run banners too. I have been testing but not really getting the conversions. I am thinking it is on the site it self not converting. test test test.
    Thanks for the tips,

  24. September 19, 2012 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Just like to throw in a tip for finding coupon codes for Free paid advertising. I recently found several coupon deals on Fiver for $100, $200, and even $300 coupons for $5-$10 mostly. Some are better than others. I used a $300 Bing coupon recently and saw several Google offers too. Look for the reviews and quality scores.

  25. September 19, 2012 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    I oversee several large accounts and placement targeting is not a good way to go in my experience, automatic placements are far more effective if you prune then extensively.

  26. September 19, 2012 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt, great post. I use a different tactic for getting traffic, and it works wonderful for geo-targeting. I build incredibly huge sites (I’m talking 150.000 or more pages here) using special tools and these pages (created on separate sub-domains) target every conceivable kw combination for a particular offer. This get’s me huge numbers of referral traffic to my offers.

    I’ve noticed something strange in Google which has made me lose confidence in Aff. Marketing. I have an affiliate site that used to rank in every country (US,UK,AU, The Netherlands etc..) in the top 5. After the Google Zoo it only ranks on the front page in the UK. (my location) I suspect that Google has taken geo-targeting to the next level… and only tries to show results for the user’s (read webmaster’s location) I know this may sound weird but what else can I think? I don’t trust Google any more than I would trust a crackhead 🙂 So my way around that issue was to build these type of sites. You can see a sample page here : and when someone clicks they come through to my offer whatever the offer is. The best use of this though is for local businesses to get referrals. It works for affiliate marketing too, but then it takes even more pages.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Carl

    interesting approach, but I’m not surprized Google has cracked down on this, as it does fly in the face of everything Google says not to do.

    Carl Reply:

    I think you misunderstood me Matt. This really works like crazy… I get traffic from the craziest keyword combinations you can think of… Just today alone I sold 3 leads to local solicitors. The best thing about it is that Google indexes 85 to 90 % of my pages 🙂 They are all unique (when read by a bot…)

    This thing has been working for about 4 years now even after the whole Google Zoo… It’s crazy, but it works and these pages rank by themselves without backlinks even…

    Russ Reply:

    Hi Carl,

    I just clicked on your link and it took me to a page advertising an SEO expert in Chicago, I am in Wales so “what’s up Doc”?



    Carl Reply:

    Hi Russ, that’s because that was the link I put in… If you had clicked the banner on the page it would’ve taken you to my main page…

    The point is I have a variation of 150.000 states, cities and locations in the US alone and I could target from a small town to a large city through various KW combinations in such a way that anyone in my “covered area” would find me when they search Google 🙂 This stuff has worked great for more then 7 years, I just found it a few months back myself. Here’s another example

    Best Regards,

  27. September 19, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Hi,Matt you’re right,you have to track everything when you setup a campaign.I heard people losing alot of money, and one more thing if you get banned from google just try another network there plenty out there.

    To your success…Joseph

  28. Ana's Gravatar Ana
    September 19, 2012 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt, thanks for your great info. Can the banner program
    you are promoting help me with the adword content network?

    Thanks again

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Yes as it is all about marketing with banners.

  29. September 19, 2012 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Matt, the problem with testing is – you are loosing money and can’t recover. I’ve never made any sells with paid advertising. I am sure, there are plenty of peoples who does. Sometimes, it’s just better not to advertise then loose money and get in trouble with Google.

    Matt Carter Reply:


    Well that’s one way to look at it, but not exactly the best approach for marketing a business. You have to spend money to make money in the business world, and there are ways to test things on a small budget, the Display network using the Placement tool being one on them.

  30. Ross's Gravatar Ross
    September 19, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    When looking at the Goals you have set in analytic’s how do you decide which are coming from google paid traffic or google organic traffic ?

    And last ?s how to work out, who are actually making payment from adwords traffic.

  31. September 19, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    This post on the Google Display Network is awesome. I learned alot about creating banners. Even more important is your advice on Tracking Conversions using Google’s URL Builder to create links that are trackable.
    What a useful post!
    Susan Coursey

  32. September 19, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I’ve tried Banner marketing after researching the best keywords that I could get. I had a lot more traffic but conversions were marginal. Never tried google banner ad is that a ppc ads?
    The one that I did try was the keyword ad at the top of the page banner ads and about $150 for about three months. Which wasn’t a bad price just not mush conversions from them. I was going to try again around the xmas selling time frame. As always great post

  33. September 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    I have been using free traffic via SEO for the past two years, I suppose it’s time to try my hand at using Google AdWords. Matt what course out there today do you deem the best available on PPC?


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Dan

    I can’t recommend anything for you on PPC, as most courses at there are total crap unfortunately.

    The thing with PPC is to test everything, and track everything carefully.

    I do teach some PPC in my

  34. September 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the post. I have been exploring the MSN Adcenter off-late. Didn’t have the best of experiences. Most of the time even their support is not aware of the possible outcomes.

    However, all said and done, it works!


  35. September 20, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    I had an unpleasant run in with G when I first started with Adwords so am unlikely to venture there again.

    I think it must be benificial but probably to the well experienced operators with some spare investment cash.

  36. ace's Gravatar ace
    September 20, 2012 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    have you had any experience with using bing? I will be setting some paid traffic options into my site after reading this.. great info as always.

  37. September 20, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Everyone aims for the top-ten list on Google, but SEO takes a lot of time. One needs to be patient, with Search Engine Page Results.

  38. September 20, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Hi: Matt
    Thanks for the great post, as I know you it seems that you are about to drop a new product about mastering paid traffic, and if my guess is right I am reaaly looking forward to it.
    On the sad note, unfortunately I am one those bad apples which Google have already banned when it come to PPC advertising.
    Is the a way of going around this?

  39. September 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Great tips. Would be nice if you can also show an example of an affiliate site that will be approved by Google. Of course, I am not saying your most profitable site. Maybe a site that is not profitable so at least we can roughly see how it looks like.

  40. September 23, 2012 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    I was surfing the net and stumbled upon your blog. Great info I am new at this and any advice I can get is a help.

  41. September 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    One of the best methods besides paying for Adwords is high PR articles submission. You be surprise on the traffic flow if you can combine Matts Adwords formula and articles submission.

  42. September 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Matt for the fab info… I don’t actually use PPC yet I rather rely on Organic SEO… What do you think of the latest Google extensions to Panda for linking and also their brand new announcement of the use of Meta Tags for Google News (authority news based sites) Matt Cutts still states the use of Meta Tags for ordinary sites is not taken into account of its algorithm. But I never disclude them as part of my overall SEO for the benefit of other search engines that do consider such tags.
    Thanks Again

  43. September 25, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    Great info as usual. I’ve been contemplating using banner advertizing as I agree that it’s important to diversity. Also, reassuring to know that even the master himself (you :)) gets some sites rejected. This motivates me to keep testing and trying.

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