• By Diana Tavares

Your Guide to Google Display Ads

Learn how to set up effective Google Display campaigns with this step-by-step guide.

Display Ads

If you're looking to expand your digital marketing channels and reach customers along all stages of the customer journey, then Google Display Ads may be a good option for your business.

According to Google, with Google Display ads you can reach over 90% of global Internet users across more than two million apps and websites.

How to Set Up Effective Google Display Ads:

  1. Select a Campaign Goal

  2. Choose a Campaign Type

  3. Target The Right Audiences

  4. Follow Google Display Ads Best Practices

1. Select a Campaign Goal

This is the first step when setting up a Google Display campaign and one of the most important factors for it to be effective.

Choose the goal that best aligns with your marketing objectives.

Google Display Ads Campaign Goals

Table with goals for Google Display campaigns

For additional help on bidding, check this article from Google on how to determine a bid strategy based on your goals.

2. Choose a Campaign Type

There are two types of Google Display campaigns:

Google Smart Display Campaigns

Smart Display campaigns are fully automated, they automatically adjust bids, creatives and target audiences (a mix of remarketing and prospecting audiences based on website visitors, landing page insights and your search campaigns best-performing keywords).

To be eligible to set up a Smart Display campaign, you need to have obtained at least 50 conversions on Display, or at least 100 conversions on Search in the last 30 days. So, if you're just starting with Google Display Ads, this campaign type is not yet available for you.

Google Standard Display Campaigns

If you're looking for full control over all aspects of your Google Display campaign, then Standard Display is right for you. It allows you to manually select your targeting, bidding and ad formats.

Depending on your strategy, you can also combine these campaign types, using Smart Display for your ongoing campaigns and standard display for temporary campaigns or promotions.

3. Target The Right Audiences

When setting up a standard Google Display campaign you have full control of your targeting, so it's really important that you get it right and reach the most relevant audiences for your business.

The best audiences for each stage of the conversion funnel

Audiences for each stage of the conversion funnel

Google Display Audiences For Brand Awareness

If you're looking to increase your brand awareness, select this as your campaign goal and define audiences such as:

  • Demographic and Geo-Targeting: based on gender, age, parental status and location.

  • Affinity Audiences: to reach people interested in certain topics

  • Custom Affinity Audiences: that you define by adding relevant interests, URLs, places or apps. Use this option when you need to be more specific (niche targeting)

Google Display Audiences For Consideration

When you want to engage with users that are actively searching for products or services, to influence consideration, drive traffic, leads or sales, go for more qualified audiences, such as:

  • In-Market Audiences: users actively searching for the types of products/services you offer.

  • Custom Intent Audiences: that you define by adding relevant keywords or URLs.

  • Similar Audiences: to reach users that are similar to your clients, website visitors or any other relevant audiences.

Google Display Audiences For Action

To re-engage with users that have already shown interest in your brand (by visiting your website, subscribing to a newsletter, purchased, etc.) and drive action, use remarketing audiences. In this case, you may use standard display ads when you want to reach them with a specific creative or opt for dynamic remarketing, in this case, showing display ads with product data pulled from your product feed.

Tip: Group different audience types into different ad groups.

4. Follow Google Display Ads Best Practices

Adapt your message to each stage of the funnel. The way you communicate with users that have never heard from your brand shouldn't be the same way you communicate with those that already know it.

Responsive Display Ads are a great option as they enable you to upload several creative assets as well as headlines and descriptions. Then, Google will use machine learning to determine the optimal combination of assets and copy based on predictions built from your performance history.

If you need more creative control, you can opt for Uploaded Ads. You build your own ads and upload them to your Display campaign. You can use the Google Web Designer tool to create your own designs.


By adding Display campaigns into your digital marketing channels you can reach customers along all stages of the customer journey.

When creating a new campaign, it is important that you select the right goals and target audiences. Divide each target audience type per ad group and adapt your copy and creative to each audience.

Display campaigns are all about your message and visuals, therefore all creative assets should be of top quality, meet all guidelines and be aligned with your brand's look and feel.

Last but not least, make sure your landing page is relevant to what you are advertising.

Feel free to share with us your thoughts on Display advertising and don't hesitate to reach out in case you need help setting up your campaigns.