Five ways to target ads on Google without keywords

Five ways to target ads on Google without keywords

Google is synonymous with search, but there are many different ad types available for Google advertisers who don't require keyword targeting at all.

Google Ads can even be a particularly powerful tool for marketers who want to test different digital ad types without the complexity of managing multiple publishers. Although Google is not really a one-stop shop for all digital advertisements, it comes close.

So if you want to extend your digital advertising strategy outside of keyword targeting, but are not ready to go beyond Google, here are some tactics that you can test from your Google Ads account.

Display ads

The Google Display Network (GDN) consists of more than two million websites and reaches 90% of global internet users. Display ads come in different flavors, but for categorization I mean when I refer to display ads, banners and text ads (as opposed to video ads) that appear on websites such as blogs, YouTube and within apps.

Examples of placement of advertisement ads: source: Google Ads

The Google Display Network is huge and offers advertisers many options when it comes to ad formats. Among which:

  • Animated and non-animated image ads
  • AMP HTML ads (optimized for mobile)
  • HTML5 ads
  • Responsive image ads
  • Text ads
  • Video ads (I'll handle these separately)

You can find a complete list of ad specifications here.

Display ads can be targeted in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to) keywords. However, keep in mind that keyword targeting on the display is not the same as keyword targeting when searching.

Display ads are context-based, so ads are not displayed based on a user's search query, but are shown passively alongside content that is contextually relevant to an advertiser's specified keywords. That is why it is useful to use targeting criteria that focus on topics, interests and demographics (in addition to or instead of keywords).

use criteria to target ads on Google without keywords
Image source: Google Ads

Display ads can also be targeted by interest or affiliate targeting or by selecting specific websites (placements). Advertisers can select multiple targeting criteria to limit the number of impressions and clicks, or choose one or two types of targeting for larger reach campaigns that are more suitable for branding than response.

Example of available topics for targeting on Google Display
Example of topics available for Google Display targeting – Image source: Google Ads

The Google display network offers the same versatility as a third-party programmatic display supplier, such as Adroll or Sitescout. As there is no minimum spending requirement, advertisers can experiment with ad formats, different targeting criteria and get creative and reach a large audience at the same time.

Video ads

Video ads are shown on YouTube and the GDN. Advertisers can choose from different advertising types and formats when promoting videos on YouTube. These include the display, overlay, video that can be skipped, video that cannot be skipped, and bumper ads.

YouTube ad formats
Image source: Google Ads

YouTube reaches an astonishing billion users and ads can be targeted in various ways from the Google Ads platform. These include broader targeting criteria such as basic demography and more detailed demography (for example, students, homeowners, and others).

YouTube also supports interest targeting, affinity target groups (people with a strong interest in related topics), life events, remarketing audiences, placements / channels, topics, keywords, and devices.

Although keyword targeting is available on YouTube, this is not essential. Adding keywords to your YouTube targeting can reduce the number of impressions, so it's a tactic that needs to be closely monitored, as it can often falter a campaign (in terms of reach).

Shopping advertisements

Shopping campaigns rely on product feeds from sellers instead of keywords for targeting. They are currently the only ad type that will include images on the Google search results pages.

Retailers can show important aspects of a particular product in a store advertisement, including a product photo, title, price, store name, product review and more.

Shopping ads rely on Merchant Center product data for display in search results. They are dynamic because Google displays the ads that are most relevant to a user's search based on seller feed details (rather than keywords the seller is bidding on). The three types of available store ads are:

  • Shopping ads for products: created with the data in your Merchant Center feed. These ads appear at the top of Google search results or on the Google search results page.
example of advertisements for product shopping
Example of product Shopping advertisements – Image source: Google Ads
  • Local catalog ads – These ads use the feed data from local inventory ads in the GDN and generate traffic to local stores.
  • Highlight Store Ads – With these store ads, sellers can group related products and view them side by side in the search results (see the example below).
Example of store ads
Example of a store advertisement with showcase – Image source: Google Ads

Google Shopping campaigns are created in the Google Ads interface, but an important first step is for retailers to create a Google Merchant Center account and then set up a product feed.

App promotion

Google has a specific campaign type for advertisers who want to promote app downloads and in-app purchases. App campaigns about the use of text items from an app's Google Play store listing, although some text is required to set up the ad.

App ads are eligible for display on Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, GDN, AdMob, and other publishers hosting app ads. App ads have a & # 39; Install & # 39; button which, when clicked, links to the store page of the app in question.

Remarketing and target group orientation (personalized advertisements)

Remarketing and target group targeting are not on a specific campaign type, but can be applied in most campaigns. Please note that some categories, such as gambling and healthcare, may not use Google's personalized advertising features. Personalized ads are worth mentioning as a separate targeting criterion (above and beyond keyword targeting) because it is a powerful way for advertisers to get in touch with interested prospects.

Remarketing, in its simplest form, is a way to display advertisements on external websites or apps to people who have visited your website in the past. Advanced remarketing is more dynamic and personal. This allows advertisers to display specific products or services in advertisements based on what users have viewed on their website. Video marketing shows ads on Google and the GDN to people who have interacted with videos on an advertiser's YouTube channel.

Google also allows advertisers to upload customer data (for example, remarketing of the customer list) that is derived from their internal customer contact information. These ads are only displayed when the user is signed in to their Google account and can be a very effective way to reach interested consumers.

Target audience focus is a form of personalized advertising that allows advertisers to create target group lists that display customized ads. Target group lists are set as remarketing lists in Google Ads and assigned at the campaign level. Advertisers can also extend their reach with affinity targeting, which target display, search, or video ads based on user interests, habits, or intentions (e.g., what they are actively searching for).

Details about different types of audience lists and institutions can be found here.

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