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Google Display Network Automation

Ever wanted to save time and increase the efficiency of your work? Google Display Network (GDN) Automation does just this and involves lots of different products that result in the best outcome.

GDN Display Automation: Overview, Best Practices and Vision

Learn how to use GDN Automation to automatically target and reach the right person with the right message.

In GDN Automation, there are a few automation products such as: ‘Conversion Tracking’, ‘Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition)’, ‘Target ROAS’ (Return on Ad Spend), ‘Conservative Auto-Targeting’ and ‘Aggressive Auto-Targeting’ (also previously known as Display Campaign Optimiser (DCO)).

For effective AdWords management it is important that conversion tracking is implemented. You’ll have all the data which can be used to manage your bids. When you want to get more traffic and conversions for the same price, you can use Conservative Auto-Targeting. It’ll try to increase the traffic you are receiving. Typically conversions will increase by around 20-30% and you should let this run for a couple of weeks after enabling it, to give it a chance to work.

And to expand conversions even further, Aggressive Auto-Targeting can be set up to make a 50% increase. This should be used when a GDN campaign has more than 100 conversions.

There are two aspects of GDN Automation – Auto-Bidding and Auto-Targeting.


Auto-Bidding is the first thing you should know on the subject of GDN Automation. Saving 2-3 hours of work each week, it is one of the best practices around. It can increase spend by 20%, while improving ROI by 13%, when compared to manual bidding. Auto-Targeting increases spend by 20-50%, while the ROI remains the same and requires no additional optimisation. There are a few things that need to be considered if you do use automated bidding. These include signals taken and used from your site (such as how your site is being used), demographic data including the location of the user (including age and gender) the relevance of your ads and even ad format, to name a few.

When setting up a campaign – the more data provided for Auto-Bidding, the better the outcome. A common pattern that occurs most of the time with Auto-Bidding AdWords is that the more conversions of each ad group per month, the faster the reaction time. However, the amount of fluctuation and change will decrease.


Auto-Targeting helps you optimise your targeting across the GDN Automation network and is designed to increase the amount of conversions at around the same cost per customer. It allows you to reach people that your targeting wouldn’t usually reach. So it’s useful for advertisers trying to find more customers, without increasing the cost per customer.

There are different options when it comes to Auto-Targeting; conservative targeting is most suitable when it comes to display and remarketing campaigns. We look at other users and audiences that you are targeting and try to find a similar online audience with common characteristics and browser characteristics to expand the probability of conversions. Extending your ads to a wider audience will generally increase your conversions by 20%, because the people you are targeting will be more likely to visit your website.

Conservative v Aggressive

Conservative Auto-Targeting is when you look at the landing page and target the best performing keywords and match with those that are similar. This increases the volume within a chosen campaign. This type of targeting should increase conversion rates by an average of 10%.

With Aggressive Auto-Targeting, your performance history is looked at across all your GDN campaigns, while your landing page and user list is looked at to get as many signals as possible to target the right audience. This usually boosts conversions by at least 50%.

There are a vast amount of exploration involved in Aggressive Auto-Targeting. So, it is always wise to put it in its own campaign so that it can be given a separate bid and budget than the rest.

Watch Out

A frequent mistake that occurs within bid changes is that people tend to increase or decrease bids by a minimum of 20%. Typically, you should limit your changes to no more than 20% and wait a week before evaluating the results.

For best results, you should leave your campaign running and without making any changes, in order to get a clear idea of how well it is working.

When using Auto-Targeting, you will need patience – this is key! Auto-Targeting can take anywhere between 1-2 weeks to get to grips with, so you don’t want to make any significant changes before you have reliable data.

You should aim to set your budget to about 20x of your target CPA. This helps to ensure that your ads are actually eligible to show throughout the whole day, without a heavily constrained budget which will reduce automation efficiency.

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