How To Use Image Ads and the Display Network

Get the Flash Player to see this Google Ads tutorial about building your keyword list.

Google Ads isn’t just about text ads, you can also venture into image and video ads that will run on the display network.

In our previous articles we have concentrated on PPC marketing and text ads, and if your advertising goals are direct response (i.e have a user perform an action, like make a purchase) then this form of Google Ads is most appropriate to your advertising needs.

However, if your advertising goal is branding (you want to raise awareness and visibility of your product or company) then placing your ads on the Display Network and using image ads would further achieve this goal.

As an experienced Google Ads advertiser, once you have mastered text ads you also might want to experiment with image ads and the display network to increase your advertising reach.

This article will introduce the benefits of image ads and discuss the difference between the display network and the search network.

What is the Display Network

Where your Google Ads ads are placed is based on either searches or content, therefore Google Ads has two separate networks – the search network and the display network.

The search network is the Google search results and other Google search pages such as Google Maps. You can only place text ads on the search network, and these ads are targeted based on a user’s search terms.

The display network is the sum of webpages that participate in the AdSense program, such as email programs and blogs. You can place both text ads and image ads on the display network.

Contextual targeting

Where your ads appears on the display network is decided through contextual targeting. Contextual targeting uses your keywords to match your ads to sites with similar display or themes.

All of the keywords in your ad group are taken into consideration during contextual targeting, and an overall theme of your ad group is determined, so it’s important to have similar keywords in your ad groups.

Display Network Placements

On the display network you also have the option of choosing exactly what website your ads will appear on. You can choose any of the Google display network partner sites such as,, and much more. You can view the display network partners here.

Placements are different to contextual targeting as keywords are not required, because you choose where your ads will appear. However, if you choose a very popular site you will need to bid a high price to win the ad position.

Why Use the Display Network

Contextual targeting means that your ads will display along side similar content, so if a user is reading a review of a new Canon camera your ads could appear along side this review. This allows you to target potential customers at different points of the buying cycle.

Placements give you the options of managing where you want your ads to appear, without being restricted to keywords you can advertise your product on sites with dissimilar themes but with the right target audience for your advertising.

The display network is great if you want to increase your total conversions and increase your company’s reach but you do have to work a little harder, with catchier messaging and methods to draw attention. However, if you do capture a user’s attention with the right price or promotion contextual targeting has the potential to bring you many more sales.

Unlike the search network, on the display network you can run more than just text ads, you have the option of running rich media ad formats (image and video ads) which work great for branding.

For branding purposes you also have the option of paying per impressions on the display network. Instead of paying per click you can pay for every 1000 impressions (people that view your ad). This is called CPM pricing.

Writing Ads for the Display Network

It is essential to create separate ad copy for the display network because  people seeing your ad are at a different stage in the buying cycle than users actively searching information.

You must make sure to write ad copy that creates awareness and that draws people in with information, rather than trying to use “buy now” calls to action or jumping right into specific product details.

Targeting the Display Network

The first step is to create a separate campaign. You will want separate campaigns for search and display in order to:

  • Set different budgets.
  • Use different text ads.
  • Use different keywords to trigger your ads.
  • Try out image ads (or other media such as video and interactive).
  • Compare the performance of search vs display.

How to Use Image Ads

Google Ads image ads are graphical ads that can be static (motionless) or animated. Adwords image ads are only published on the display network, and use the same contextual targeting system as text ads.

You can create and upload your own image ads, or from within Google Ads use the Display Ad Builder tool to create one.

Image Ads contain both text and images so it’s important to remember that you will still need to write these ads, and of course write/design them with the display network in mind.

You should start out by using the display ad builder, as it will guide you to creating the perfect balance of text and image. For your first image ads you should try a combination of brand-new ads, and also create ads by taking the text of some of your best performing text ads.

RedFly Image Ad

Make sure to combine the text with an image that draw attention. However, you need to make sure the image also reflects the keywords it is targeting, and that it is also family safe.

When Should I Use Image Ads

Image ads are perfect for both branding purposes and for advertising using the display network placements targeting option.

The benefits of image ads over text ads include:

  • With text ads up to 4 different ads can be shown per page, but with an image ad just one ad is shown per page.
  • Image ads give you the ability to capture the attention of potential customers in a visually stimulating way.
  • You can choose to either pay per click or pay per impressions. CPM bidding is only available on the display network and it enables you to pay per thousand people that see your ad rather than for clicks on your ad.
  • Image ads have the potential to earn a higher click-through rate than text ads because they stand out more.
  • Image ads increase brand awareness by allowing you to display your logo in your ad.
  • They give you more space to promote your product.

Other Types of Google Ads Ads

Video Ads – You can target internet users that watch online videos with video placements and video ads. Have your text ads appear in YouTube videos or have your video ads appear before/after online streaming videos.

Rich Media Ads
– Video and flash animated ads, these are a mixture of text and animated content/design. You can even create these using the Display Ad Builder tool.

This is where the display ad builder solves the problem with it creating the perfect balance of text and image.

Remember, you can watch this and other Google Ads Tutorials on our Youtube channel too.

Further Reading: Select from one of our many tutorials below.


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