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illustration of a blog post: Make Your Google Display Ads Stand Out with These Five Tips
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Paid Media 10 min read

Make Your Google Display Ads Stand Out with These Five Tips

Natalie Yelton photo

Written by Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 23 Dec 2020

Display ads are here to stay.


Put simply, they can be extremely effective - if done right.

Just last year, we helped one of the largest organic maple syrup producers in the US increase their revenue by 300% with an ads strategy that included smart display ads:

the Maple Guide Infographic of the Galactic Fed performance results.

Factoring in the impact of COVID-19 on digital ad growth, US display ad spending still grew by 5.5% this year and is expected to rebound in 2021, growing by 23%:

US digital display Ad spending growth breakdown in 2020.


If you’re entirely new to Google Ads, you may want to check out our recent blog on how to get started. We provide an overview of vital techniques and terminology to learn before embarking on a Google Ads campaign.

Let’s dig into the details of what a display ad is, why they’re effective, and our best practice tips for getting the most out of your Google Display Ads, in particular. 

What is a Google Display Ad? 

Google Display Ads are visual-based ads that appear when you’re browsing a website, watching a video on YouTube, reading an article online, or using an app on your phone or tablet. 

While researching ahead of writing this very article, we were shown this highly-relevant ad from Hubspot and SEMrush:

Hubspot and SEMRush ad

Display Ads can show up on over 2 million websites and apps, reaching nearly 90% of web users, on the appropriately named Google Display Network.

The Google Display Network

Chances are you’ve seen an ad from your favored news site while checking your Gmail or watching a video on YouTube. These two sites are prime examples of the reach of the Google Display Network.

Are Google Display Ads effective?

It depends.

Display ads provide the opportunity to introduce your brand to a ton of relevant customers. But it’s also possible to introduce your brand to a ton of irrelevant customers. Display ads, like all paid media, cost money. To avoid wasting even a penny on an ineffective display ad, it’s vital to understand how display ads work and how to enhance your ads to achieve the best results. 

How Google Display Ads Work

Google Display ads allow you to find the right people at the right time by using highly specific targeting tools. Let’s look in detail at four features available to enhance your Google Display Ads, including remarketing, affinity audiences, demographics marketing, and customer match. 

Improve your ROI with remarketing

Remarketing ads perform better than standard display ads. 


Because you target people who already interacted with your product or service, the Click-through rate (CTR) is usually 0.7% compared with 0.07% CTR at the top of the funnel.

If your ad campaign goal is to increase conversions, remarketing your display ads can be a great way to attract customers back to your website. 

Five ways to remarket your Google Display Ads:

  1. Standard remarketing - show your ads to previous site visitors as they view websites and apps in the Google Display Network.
  2. Dynamic remarketing - turbo-charged remarketing, with the ability to show specific products or services viewed by site visitors in your ads.
  3. Customer list remarketing - gives you the ability to upload customer contact lists and show them your ads when they sign in to Google and surf sites in the Google Display Network.
  4. Remarketing lists for search ads - show ads to previous site visitors as they complete follow-up searches on Google.
  5. Video remarketing - show ads to people who have engaged with your videos or YouTube channel as they view other videos, sites, and apps in the Google Display Network.

Reach out to affinity audiences to increase brand awareness

With affinity audiences, your business can reach people based on a complete picture of their passions, habits, and lifestyle. Affinity audiences have a demonstrated interest in a given topic, allowing you to engage the people that matter most to your products or services. 

See a curated list of affinity audiences provided by Google. 

Fine-tune who sees your ads with demographics targeting

Reach specific people who are likely to be within a particular age range, parental status, household income, or gender. For example, if you provide service exclusively for new mothers, demographic targeting could help you avoid showing your ads to men:

Demographic targeting In Google Ads.

Source: Google

Speak to people familiar with you through Customer Match

Customer Match is a handy tool that helps you achieve several business goals, from driving conversions to increasing brand awareness. 

It lets you use your online and offline data to reach and re-engage with your customers on the Google Display Network. Using information that your customers have agreed to share with you, Customer Match will show your ads to those customers and other customers similar to them.

What makes a great Google Display Ad?

An excellent display ad should increase conversions, boost your ROI, and improve lead generation - which measures of success you monitor will depend on the business goals unique to your company. 

Google Display Ad click-through rates (CTR)  

It’s important to understand Google Ads benchmarks in your specific industry as they vary. 

In general, the average CTR is lower on the display network than it is on search: 0.46% on display compared with 3.17% on the search network:

Google Adwords industry benchmarks average click-through rate.

Source: Wordstream

Five Best Practice Tips for Getting the Most out of Display Ads

Tailor your Google ads for mobile interactions 

Mobile devices accounted for over half of all display advertising impressions last year, overtaking desktop for the first time. It’s essential that you test your ads on mobile and ensure their effectiveness works on a smaller screen.

15% increase in Mobile ad views during 2019.

Source: Bannerflow

Mobile app traffic has a reputation of costing valuable marketing dollars with little to no profit. You can exclude mobile app categories from your Google Display Ads to get more bang for your buck.

Craft engaging copy 

Compelling and creative copy converts customers. Ensure the tone of voice and style you use in your display ads reflect your brand and mission. Focus on how to solve a problem for your customers and always include a call to action. Our recent blog on how to write Google Ad copy that coverts will help you hit the ground running.

Ensure your ads are accessible

If you want to ensure your ads resonate with the greatest amount of people, make them accessible. Color contrast is a big one to focus your efforts on, given there are nearly 300 million people with color blindness worldwide. To put that number in perspective, that’s almost the entire population of the United States. 

A strong starting point is to calculate the contrast ratio of foreground and background colors and check for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) when developing your display ads:

Color contrast checker and ratio calculator.


Use high-quality images, videos, and custom artwork 

A picture is worth a thousand words, only if that picture isn’t an overused and recognizable stock photo. Use real images and pictures that reflect your brand and mission. Custom illustrations and graphics can further promote your brand and engage customers in your Google Display Ads.

Video ad usage is gaining in popularity too, up by 82% last year:

Video ad usage is gaining in popularity too, up by 82% in 2019.

Source: Bannerflow

Listen to the data 

The backbone of the Galactic Fed Way is research. Our final best practice tip for getting the most out of display ads is to analyze how your ads are doing continuously by looking at reporting metrics, including ad impressions, clicks, and click-through rates.

Don’t be afraid to switch things up if you don’t get the results you expected on your first go. Google Analytics can provide insight and data of your display ads’ performance and help you make changes and adjustments that ensure your ads shine. Google Display Ad campaigns are an iterative process. Keep reviewing the data and tweaking your ads to make sure your ads resonate with your target audience.  

Reach new customers with Google Display Ads

Google Display Ads can be highly effective if you know how to properly remarket and target specific audiences of people in key demographics. Using your existing insight and data about your website users can help you get the most out of your display ads. 

Taking a mobile-first approach to your ad design and ensuring your display ads are accessible will help you reach even more customers, as will writing compelling copy and using unique images and videos. Always review your data to optimize your display ads.

Galactic Fed has teamed up with several businesses to run successful Google Display Ads if you’re looking for help with your upcoming or existing ad campaigns. Whether you want to boost your ROI, increase conversions, improve your CTR or lead generation, we can help you realize impressive results through Google Display Ads. Send us a message today. 

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed