Google have recently updated the AdWords Display Targeting Options for the Google Display Network (GDN).
With the ability to both target and exclude with each method, this has greatly improved the chance of getting your ads to the relevant audience.
The current targeting options are:
Targeting Using Keywords
Using keywords to target the content of the website page. For example, if you are marketing “red shoes” you may want to show your ads against content relating to “dinner parties”, “party wear” or “nights out” depending on your target audience.
Targeting by Placement
You can pick and choose where your ad shows. As a default, your ad can show on any page on the GDN, but you can opt to only show on a specific page or exclude from particular pages. Using the example above you can select a bunch of fashion sites to show on or maybe pick particular ones like Ebay or Primark to avoid, if you think that your products do not suit their site.
Targeting Using Topics
This is a way of targeting certain types of site, akin to industry verticals. Google have provided a long list of website topics for you to choose from, using the current example you could choose to show on “fashion designers and collections” or “apparel”. This will narrow down the pages available to fashion and clothing sites rather than any old site talking about clothes.
This is a method to target the interests of the searcher. Whilst travelling the Google networks, picking up cookies, the searcher will show a preference for particular types of page. A search for clothes in the interest categories brings up fashionistas and shopaholics.
You have always been able to target by sex and age group, but can now target parental status too. If your shoes are aimed at women wanting to make an impression at a party then you may want to choose female, 18-30, not parent.
This method targets users who have previously visited your site. This is explained fully here: /2010/05/27/adwords-remarketing/. Google have recently added dynamic remarketing which allows you, for example, to select an audience of people that have visited pages showing ‘red shoes,’ then showing them an offer relating to ‘red shoes’.
These targeting methods can be used in conjunction with each to narrow down your audience to the most relevant you can. Using the examples above, excluding remarketing, you could have a highly targeted campaign running on fashion sites excluding the bargain sites, targeting young, single fashionista women looking at articles about nights out. This should be the most tightly targeted audience you can get for your products and hence you should see the best possible return on your investment.