Once an unloved and rather under-used feature of AdWords, the Google Display Network (GDN) has become the world’s number one ad network, reaching more than 80% of internet users worldwide.

So is it time to give the GDN another go?

Earlier this year, Google rebranded its Content Network to become the Google Display Network(GDN). With its impressive reach, GDN has clocked up a number of successful branding campaigns.

For example, Jordan, a division of Nike, executed an innovative campaign targeting a niche basketball audience, resulting in 188m impressions and 296,000 clicks over six weeks.

But how does the GDN compare with Google Search when it comes to increasing sales?

American Laser Centers, an aesthetic services provider, used the Google Display Network to start a chain reaction of leads and conversions. With GDN text and image ads they increased conversion by 365% while cutting impressions in half.

According to Erik Maks, advertising director at American Laser Centers:

“The Google Display Network has helped us get more bang for our dollar. We’ve been able to grow scale and maintain our goal costs, putting us in a strong position”

Here are three reasons why I think the Google Display Network stands out at the moment, and why you should consider giving it a go as part of your online marketing campaign:

Below the fold inventory

In 2009 Google introduced frequency capping to enable advertisers to manage how often their campaign reached the right users. This year, they launched a new feature to filter out “below the fold" inventory, to allow brand advertisers to be more selective about where ads appear.

When applying this filter, advertisers have the ability to show ads only in places that appear on the user's screen when the page loads, without requiring them to scroll down.


Remarketing is a new and powerful feature that has allowed advertisers to reach people that have previously visited their website but didn’t convert. After driving traffic to their site with search ads, they can then remarket to those users who reach their site by showing them tailored ads on sites throughout the GDN.

Campaign Insights Tool

The Campaign Insights Tool gives reliable data about how a campaign has raised brand awareness or active user interest in a product or service. The tool is still only available for US and UK advertisers, but results so far prove that this is another clever and useful Google idea.

For example, Hair Club, used the Campaign Insights feature to drive a 40% uplift in search traffic. According to VP Luke Hubbard:

“We track ROI from our campaigns very closely. With Google and Campaign Insights, display became measurable and allowed us to prove an acceptable CPA. We could clearly see the search traffic and view-through conversions that display generates, and we gained actionable insights on how to optimise future campaigns.”

What’s your experience of the Google Content Network? What was the impact of the campaign? Please share your comments below.

Ian Howie

Published 25 August, 2010 by Ian Howie

Ian Howie is Chief Technology Officer at 1upDigital and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can also find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Comments (6)

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Sarah Taieb

We are using GDN for our clients as well as the remarkting tool and we noticed some great results, better performance and better ROI.... so far so good!

almost 8 years ago



We are using the GDN with some success...yet to put in place the remarketing but so far results seem to improve although it's early days.

almost 8 years ago

Mark Fleming

Mark Fleming, Digital Marketing Manager at Kuoni Travel

Great post Ian.

Google really have taken it to the next level and as Ashley stated I don't think their developments are finished yet.

We are currently heavily involved with PPC and have been assessing the Content Network for a while, but with the rebrand of Google Display Network (GDN) and the introduction of new features, it could be the perfect time to dip a toe.

This post has worked as a gentle 'reminder nudge' - so thanks!

almost 8 years ago


ian Howie

Thanks for the comments guys.

You'll really see the power of the Display Network when you start using image, flash or Video ads.

Quick tip check out Dictionary.com - it is one of the highest trafficed pages on the Display Network and you'll see the latest and greatest ads from the larger advertisers.

almost 8 years ago



We used the GDN to put up display/banner ads in a more cost effective manner as compared to our ad agency banner ads. We not only saved 10 times the cost, but our results were 3 times better!

almost 8 years ago


Kayleigh @ WMpS

After finding the managed placements that work best in terms of ROI for my client, I am successfully using the GDN although yet to use to remarketing feature - thanks for the reminder to do so! Lost prospects are often over looked in a marketing strategy, so the remarketing tool is definitely a big step forwards for me without the expensive set up fees of external remarketing tools.

almost 8 years ago

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