Google Ads

How To Optimize Google Display Ads: Complete Guide 2023

Improve Your Google Display Network Ads. Display Campaigns Optimization Tutorial 2023

Google Display Network (GDN) is a great way to drive additional traffic to your website.

Beyond just brand awareness, display network campaigns can also lead to additional conversions.

But there’s a catch

If you’re trying to get the most of your Google Display Network campaigns it’s important to optimize them to get the maximum possible ROI.

Google ads optimization process of improving your display campaigns requires some time in order to collect the data from the audience’s response across your ads. This data includes the following key metrics:

Here we will discuss some tips and best practices for optimizing Google Display Network campaigns.

Knowing how to optimize your Google Display Network ads is crucial for delivering the best possible ROI across your campaigns.

This Complete Guide Covers The Best Ways To Avoid Wasting Money By Optimizing Your Google Display Ads.

Table of contents:

bad performing placements

1. Exclude bad performing placements

The main optimization process around Google Display ads goes around checking, analyzing, and excluding bad performing placements and bidding higher on good performing placements.

​Why it’s important to exclude underperforming website placements: Avoid content that your target audience isn’t likely to visit.

Navigate to campaign’s Content section click Where ads showed

optimize google display ads where ads showed

Select bad performing placements click Edit Exclude from ad group or Exclude from the campaign

exclude placement from campaign

Criteria to exclude placements from your campaign:

  • Placements don’t convert at all, or cost per conversion (CPC or CPCon) is too high and exceeds your target cost per acquisition (CPA);
  • The placement’s click-through rate (CTR) is too low, and it spends most of your budget without incoming conversions from it.

2. Adjust Bids For Placements

“Optimizing bids for placements has always resulted in a much higher engagement when optimizing Google Display Campaigns.”

2.1. Navigate to your campaign’s Content section select Placements

google display ads content section placements

2.2. Analyze how your placements are performing and decide which of them need adjustment select Placements click Edit

Now you’ll have have 3 options for bid adjustments:

  • Change bid adjustmens
  • Change max. CPC bids
  • Change max. CPM bids

edit placement's bidding

If one of your placements is performing way better than others it’s gonna be reasonable to increase bids for it.

2.2. Select Change bid adjustments option increase the bid by a specific percentage i.e. 25% click APPLY

increase bidding

How to see your Bid adjustments?

2.3. Click Columns  option Choose Modify columns

add columns

2.4. Under Attributes section select Bid adj.

bids adjustments

google display bids adjustments

control ad frequency

3. Ad Frequency Management: Control The Maximum Amount Of Time Users See Your Ad On Google Display Network

In Google Ads, you can set a preference for how often your ads are shown to the same user per day, week, or month. As these numbers change, monitor how your CTR, conversions, conversion rates, or other KPIs (again depending on the campaign’s goals) change as your unique user and frequency numbers change.

Frequency capping helps control the maximum number of times an individual user sees your ad on the Display Network.

You can then use this data to update your frequency capping settings in your Display Network campaigns.

In your Google Display Network campaign settings, navigate to the Settings option. There, you will see the Frequency management section:

frequency cap

In my experience, it’s best to set a daily cap to 5 impressions per day per single user.

kids placements

4. Exclude Kids/Children Topics

I found it very useful to exclude children/kids-related topics if it doesn’t represent your target audience. It works pretty well especially for new campaigns, that haven’t been optimized yet.

Navigate to campaign’s Content section choose Exclusions select Topics Add Topics

youtube video ads topic exclusions

Below you can find a complete list of kids/children-related topics for exclusion:

  • Baby Safety
  • Baby Strollers & Transport
  • Baby & Toddler Toys
  • Baby Feeding
  • Babies & Toddlers
  • Baby & Pet Names
  • Baby Care & Hygiene
  • Children’s Clothing
  • Children’s Literature
  • Kids’ Bikes
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Homeschooling
  • Parenting
  • Child Care
  • Pregnancy & Maternity
  • Family-Oriented Games & Activities
  • Toys

exclude apps

5. Exclude Mobile Apps

If you don’t like to show your ads in Apps, you can exclude the them in campaign Exclusions setting.

I would strongly recommend excluding apps from the beginning if you’d like your budget spending to go smoothly because there’re many apps that are developed for the purpose of earning money from just clicking on ads.

After you’ll set your campaign, navigate to Placements Exclusions and exclude all the app categories from your targeting, cause they may spend all your budget without any significant results.

display ads placement exclusions

In the opened window choose your campaign from which you’d like to exclude placements Click App categories (141) Check all categories in the list in order to exclude them from your campaign (it’s 141 app categories to exclude, I know it’s awful, but it’s the only way to get rid of useless spending).

Make sure to open all the lists and check every single category.

exclude placements

ad strength

6. Increase The Ad strength

Ad strength is an indication of the relevance and diversity of your ad combinations. Having more relevant and unique content can help you get the right ad in front of your customers and improve your ad’s performance.

Ad strength is relevant for responsive search ads.

Ranging from “Incomplete” to “Excellent,” this metric measures the relevance, quality, and diversity of your ad copy. Combined with actionable feedback, Ad Strength makes it easy for you to improve the effectiveness of your ads.

How To Get The Best Ad Strength

For ads that you’re ready to edit, you can click through Ad Strength prompts to see which actions you can take to improve ad performance by adding assets.

google responsive ads - ad strength

These are some of the following guidance to achieve the best Ad Strengh:

  • Get your responsive ad to fit anywhere. Add at least 1 square image and 1 landscape.
  • Enter unique headlines.
  • Add descriptions.
  • Add Videos
  • Add HTML5/AMPHTML ads

Your ad setup is excellent! Now, try replacing low-performing assets to improve overall performance.

Benefits of Ad Strength

Responsive display ads perform best when you add many unique creative assets. This enables the creative optimization to test many ad variations and, ultimately, deliver the most relevant ad to every user.

Ad Strength also features asset quality parameters to help ensure that your assets are high quality.

best devices

7. Optimize For The Best Performing Devices

When running display campaigns, it’s important to check which devices performs the best for your business and to set bids accordingly or to exclude the worse performing ones.

Specific targeting for devices on Google display network:

  • Computers
  • Mobile phones
    • Android
    • iOS
    • Windows Phone
    • BlackBerry
    • webOS
  • Tablets
  • TV screens

Analyzing devices from the screenshot below we can make a conclusion either to decrease bid for mobile devices, or to increase Desktop bidding as it performs much better.

devices optimization

I recommend switching off TV screens devices right away by setting Bid adjustment to: -100%


8. Optimize The Demographic Performance

Some of your campaign’s audience demographics might work better or worse. It’s worth checking and analyzing what’s your targeting audience’s ideal age and exclude the worse performing.

For example, there are some demographic categories (e.g., “unknown”) and ages (e.g., “25-34”, “65+”) that can become costly after launch.

Navigate to campaign’s Audience section click Demographics

Google display ads demographics optimization

Exclude bad performing categories of age

Google display ads demographics optimization exclude bad-performing ages

In my case I would exclude the following age categories:

  • 18-24 (I exclude this category by default)
  • 45-54
  • Unknown

google app campaigns remarketing

9. Get Most Of Your Google Display Ads By Using Remarketing

Remarketing is one of the most powerful tactics in any PPC campaign. When showing your ads to users who have already demonstrated interest in your company by previous visits of your webpage, you’re focusing your PPC budget on people who are extremely likely to convert.

Check out the Google Ads Remarketing Guide to learn more about how to retarget your previous visitors in the most effective way.

P.S. I hope this article was helpful to you. If you have any questions, suggestions, or you’d like to share something related to the topic, please drop a line in the comment section below.

Cheers ?


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