With an inventory of more than three million websites and apps, the Google Display Network gives you endless targeting options to reach potential customers across the globe. Designed to help put you in front of the right audience (and even your previous website visitors) automatically at multiple times, the GDN targets people while they’re browsing other websites, watching YouTube videos, reading blogs or news pages, logging into their Gmail account or using mobile devices and apps.

You can watch the complete 59-minute webinar video below to learn more about the Google Display Network.In a recent Simplilearn webinar, pay-per-click and Google expert Brad Geddes discussed the various targeting methods used for the Display Network and the most effective ways to start advertising on this platform. 

GDN: An Overview

The Google Display Network is a collection of more than 3 million websites and apps where display ads can be strategically shown to potential customers. While your ads can showcase across an extensive collection of websites, mobile apps, and video content including Google’s own Gmail and YouTube, the GDN reaches out to 90 percent of the internet users worldwide, delivering over one trillion impressions per day.

What is GDN?

Display Targeting Types

Below are some of the targeting categories you can use in your Google Display Network campaigns to help expand your online reach:


On GDN, audience refers to a collection of users who share similar characteristics or behaviors. They can be:

  • People who abandoned your shopping cart
  • Users who visited your website
  • Users looking for a new car
  • Users with long term interest in photography
  • Users similar to those who converted on your website

With the help of similar audiences and in-market audiences, you can target people who are interested in your products, and also reach out to new prospective customers. Also, by using data, like remarketing lists, you can quickly re-engage people who previously visited your site. For example, if you’re an online shopping business, and a customer visited your website, added a product in their shopping cart, and left your site without making a purchase. This remarketing is based on behavioral data or similar characteristics of your user base- marketing to the person’s attributes. This audience is valuable as they are first party audience and further down the funnel.

Reach users throughout the funnel

First vs Third Party Data

First Party Data refers to the information of the users that directly visit your site or come to your CRM. Here, the remarketing will be based on the behavioral data and your assets. Conversely, Third Party Data is aggregated from another source, namely Google’s data. 

Contextual Targeting

This type of targeting pairs ads to related sites in the Display Network using your keywords or topics, among other factors. Google's system interprets the content of each webpage to define its central theme and pairs to your ad by using your keywords and topic selections, language and location targeting, user's recent browsing history and other factors.

Targeting through Websites, Apps, and Videos

Also known as placement targeting, you can choose different websites, apps, and video sites where you want to place your ads. The Google Display Network comprises  Google assets including YouTube, Google Finance, Gmail, and others that offer display advertising, as well as a network of millions of partner sites and mobile apps on which you can place your ads.


Remarketing is the process of directing advertising back to visitors who have already interacted with your website in the past. Remarketing even lets you customize your display ad campaigns by tailoring them (using dynamic remarketing) to these visitors when they browse other web and use apps that are included in the GDN. According to Nielsen, consumers typically visit a website at least six times during their purchase process. Of those who abandon a shopping cart, 75 percent say they intend to return to a retailer’s site to make a purchase. Reminder ads work great for such customers.

Customer touch points before conversions

Creating Your First Remarketing Campaign Using First Party Data

With the help of cookies, you can directly target your ads to the audience that visited your website in the past, even on other websites. This increases the probability of purchasing, as the targeted audience is already familiar with your business or has shown an interest in a product. Collecting data about users can be done in two ways:

  1. By installing Google Analytics and defining the data
  2. By using the Google Ads Tag

Google Analytics

Google Ads

  1. Install Google Analytics
  2. Link Google Analytics to Google Ads
  3. Define lists in Google Analytics in the admin section
  4. Choose ‘for Google Ads’ when making a list
  5. Add the list to the ad group to target these users
  1. Install Google Ads Global tag
  2. Define audiences in Google Ads under audience section
  3. Add the list to the ad group to target these users

Dynamic Remarketing for Structured Data

If you are a structured data site, such as an e-commerce website or a travel website, you can showcase dynamic ads to people who have visited your site by adding the global site tag and dynamic remarketing event snippet to your webpage. The users will see the products they have expressed interest in the dynamic ads. You can do that by setting up a Google Merchant Center account. Website segmentation is the key to audience creation.

Reminders - Shopping Cart

Common GDN ads: Responsive vs. Image

Responsive ads automatically modify their size, presentation, and format to fit available ad spaces, such as when viewed on mobile devices or on various websites with diverse ad space specifications. Consequently, a single responsive ad may appear as a small text ad in one place and a large image ad on another website. The only drawback is this limits the control you have over how your ad displays. Image ads, on the other hand, utilize an image that you provide, highlighting data about your enterprise, services or products. You retain full control over how it looks. As soon as a user clicks anywhere on your ad, he'll be redirected to your website. Image ads can appear on webpages and other places in the Display Network.

Responsive ad options

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Expanding Your Audience

By targeting “In-market Audiences”, you can connect with customers who are actively researching or analyzing products and services across the Google Display Network’s publisher and partner sites as well as YouTube.

When targeting “Similar Audiences”, GDN considers information about your current remarketing audiences and finds potential consumers who have shown common interests with that audience. It's a persuasive and uncomplicated technique to reach out to a much larger audience and direct clicks and conversions among new customers.

Available only on the Google Display Network, the “Custom Intent Audiences” option refers to a targeting type that helps you focus on the users who are in the market for the specific products and services you are offering.


To learn more about using the GDN and other PPC display advertising, check out Simplilearn’s online course: Advanced Pay Per Click (PPC) Certification Training. With a clear, structured learning path recommended by industry experts, you will soon master the nuances of pay per click, display advertising, conversion optimization, and web analytics. You’ll even gain extensive project experience to prepare you for managing paid marketing initiatives. The program provides access to more than 35 live, instructor-led online classes conducted by an expert training team. You’ll get access to high-quality e-learning content, simulation exams, a community moderated by experts, monthly mentoring sessions and other resources to enable you to master the skills you’ll need to become a complete PPC specialist.

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