Are You Maximizing Your Display Text vs Image Ad Strategy?

House DividedWhen putting together display campaigns on the GDN, you’re given two basic buckets your ads can fit in: text or image. Although there are certainly nuances within the two types, all ads fall roughly into one of those two camps. Easy enough right? Well, there are some facts to consider when running either and/or both that might impact your display strategy more than you think. Let’s discuss what those factors are and then some suggestions on how to get around them below.

Different Placements

One of the biggest differences between text and image ads on the display network is where they’re eligible to appear. When an ad is served on a site through the GDN, that means that the site owner has set up an AdSense account for that website. When setting up this account, those folks were able to determine what kinds of ads could be shown on their site.  Additionally, each individual placement on their site is given an ad type preference to determine what kinds of ads will be shown. This is why some sites show only images ads, others show only text ads, and some show both. The end result of all of these different site owners with their different preferences?

Differing Performance

Consider a site owner who prefers to have all image ads above the fold and all text ads below the fold. Now another who only wants text ads on the homepage, but only image ads on each of the internal site pages. It’s a safe bet to make that the ad types in our two buckets most likely won’t perform the same way on those sites with such drastically different standards for the two. Some will be more expensive. Some will get better click through rates. Others will have larger amounts of viewed impressions. You get the point. Needless to say, something must be done to help capitalize on these differences of performance and limit the drawbacks.

Campaign Structure

We go through the paragraphs above to get to my main point: your text and image ads need to live in different houses. They’re so different it’s simply not in anyone’s best interest that they live together. So how do you accomplish this? Well, there are a couple options.

Separate Ad Groups

With proper labeling you can easily see which ad sets are performing best and optimize for better performance tomorrow. This strategy is a step in the right direction, but can still fall a bit short. Depending on your other targeting options, you might still be sacrificing one ad’s performance for another. If one ad group of image ads is generating the majority of your impressions, clicks, and cost, you might be underserving in other ad groups.

Additionally, depending on a sites preferences (yes, that again) one site might be a gold mine for text ads, but a budget trap for image ads. Now, you can ad this placement as a negative for only image ad groups, but it might be harder to notice this trend if all autoplacement performance data lives in the same place for both ad types. That’s why I’m a bigger proponent of further segmentation.

Separate by Campaign

Although it bulks up your campaign count a bit, I believe the best set up for performance data analysis, equal budget opportunity, and overall account success lies in segmenting your display campaigns by image ads and text ads. Overall, this strategy gives you easy analysis from a high level, allows you to still hit all the sites your heart desires, but also gives you better opportunities for layers settings depending on your ad type performance.

In the end, the biggest thing is to make sure you’re analyzing your campaigns regularly, finding trends in the performance, then optimizing to take advantage of the positive and minimize the negative. Next time you’re analyzing your display campaigns, make sure you’ve checked to see if your conclusions from the data apply to both types of ads before you implement the changes.

Interested in more display goodies? Check out the rest of our #DigIntoDisplay series!