Google has recognised for a long time that in-context ads are an effective way of converting clicks into sales and that forms the very basis of our industry in PPC. If Google lacked relevancy in ads served in search campaigns, my work would be impossible, but they’ve actually gone one step further and enabled us to target customers with contextually relevant ads even after they’ve left the search results page. They’ve done this by merging the Google Display Network (GDN) with their Adwords search campaigns so we can now secure customers via PPC on the GDN, which features ads on the two million plus publisher sites that use adsense to monetise their sites.

This is great news because Google has become so good at removing spam websites from its results, that PPC ads displayed on search results had to be hyper targeted to ensure our customers had quality click-through rates from the right customers. That won’t change, but the addition of the GDN to our search campaigns (imaginatively called Search Network with Display Select) should boost reach by 15%.

Not a great improvement you might think, but according to Google, their test results show this extra exposure and translates as 35% better click-through rates, but more importantly, 35% less cost per customer acquisition for our clients. Anything that makes my services more attractive to clients is a winner in my books.

The Difference between Now and Then

It’s too early for me to present my own data for this, but Just assuming Google’s test results are accurate (after all Google makes more when we make more) when they quote 35% improvements for click-through and cost per sale means Google have got it right. They improved user activity/signal monitoring so their systems can predict when and where are the best locations to show your ads based in each user interaction. Ultimately, this means fewer, but hyper-targeted serving of ads, but that’s assuming your PPC manager has optimised your campaign properly.

What Google Recommends

The Google line is that campaigns running with Search Network only, should benefit from higher quality visitors simply by enabling a ‘with Display’ aspect of the campaign. There is nothing more to do from a PPC management side of things, it simply means that your ads will then appear on both Google pages and locations that features content relevant to your ads. I personally think this has more potential than remarketing (showing ads to people who have left your client’s sites) because although remarketing works, it has the tendency to annoy people because they don’t like the idea of anyone spying on them.

Change or Else

By the way, Google also suggests that ROI will improve by switching Search and Display Networks campaigns to Search Networks with Display. Google are so happy with their new user activity and prediction and toys, that they are taking the option to under-perform away as they are dropping the Search and Display Network option altogether and forcing PPC managers to either use the new system or miss-out on display ads completely. Right now, they are only encouraging some users to change over, but in reality, it’s a case of change or else. Luckily, it’s a process that takes a few seconds rather than a complete campaign setup. Here’s everything you need to know to start winning more customers with your ads.