Google Display Network (Google Display) is the largest online display network in the world, reaching about 90 percent of all internet users.
Despite the ability to place ads that can be reached across millions of sites, there are more than a few advertisers who still look for alternatives to Google Display. Why? Well, Google Display can’t appeal to everyone’s wishes and needs.
Lets take a look at the cons and alternatives to Google Display.
The cons of Google Display
The biggest problem has to be the targeting methods. You have to keep a constant eye on your results because your ads are going to show up everywhere. And we mean EVERYWHERE. Targeting methods are known to fail at times, and could deliver low quality traffic.
Here’s an example: there’s a company called Gigya, which offers social media tools to online businesses to help them integrate their sites with top social networks. Using AdClarity, we were able to see where their campaigns were running on Google Display… and they didn’t all land on the sites that were applicable to their target audience or even their product positioning! If Gigya is paying CPM, then their campaigns might be making millions of impressions, but their click-through-rate (or CTR) is very low.
Additionally, if you’re paying CPC and landing in pages that are using your suggested keywords but are not targeting your exact audience, your conversion rate is going to be incredibly low. And you’re going to be paying an incredibly large amount of money, to boot.
According to Crazyegg, these off-the-wall “placements” (or websites your ads show up on) are quite common on Google Display. So when managing most Google Display campaigns, you’ll be spending a lot of time on the "Placements" page under the "Display Network" tab trying to optimize them or at least gain minimal control over them.
Another disadvantage of Google Display is the high price per bid; your PPC bids on the display network are higher than the revenue per visitor, and often the budget you need to run on Google Display is higher than the budget you have, resulting in a negative ROI.
So what do you do now?
Luckily for you, Google Display is not the only ad network out there. We’ve compiled a list of some of the top networks.
Going beyond Google Display
Yahoo! Bing Network
This network is a collaboration between two major search engines, Yahoo and Bing. According to Link-Assistant.com, its marketplace is also integrated with such sites as Facebook, Amazon and networks like The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. Currently, Yahoo! Bing network shares in the US online search market are 30 percent.
Some benefits of the Yahoo! Bing Network are:
- Outstanding customer service - Your solutions are provided by real people who can provide you with solutions to your unique issues. Additionally, you don’t need to spend a large sum of money per year to have a dedicated account representative (cough, cough, Google). Customer support is offered for smaller accounts with the Yahoo! Bing network.
- Ads cost much less - Your PPC campaigns will be much cheaper than if you had used Google AdWords. According to SEJ, the average cost-per-click on Yahoo! Bing was 10 percent to 24 percent lower than on AdWords.
- Quality of traffic -Traffic might be lower than Google Display, but it’s of much higher quality. Search Engine Watch believes that YBN's advantages — lower CPCs and CPMs and less competition for ad position — offer a ripe, incremental opportunity for advertisers seeking to maximize their search efforts.
BuySellAds is an ad network that offers a great level of control over ad placement and creative approval. It is considered to be the most effective network for managing banners across the web.
Some of the benefits of BuySellAds are having a great User Interface to work with, enabling you to sell, serve and manage ads on your site in a much more user friendly manner than other networks. The account makes it easy to manage the individual ad spaces that are available on your website, who is allowed to publish on your website and the types of ads that are permitted on your blog. Unlike Google Display, which is a CPC network, BuySellAds is a CPM network.
Even though direct advertising can be more cost-effective, the entire process (which includes finding advertisers, negotiating, receiving payments, etc.) can be a tedious process, which results in more work for you. BuySellAds makes this process easier by creating an environment where the advertiser’s only task is to find the publishers. All you have to do is pick your publisher and BuySellAds takes care of the rest. They speak with the publisher and if the publisher approves, then your ad begins running on their site!
BuySellAds also uses a third-party payment service, which means you do not have to set up any sort of merchant account in order to receive payment for the advertising space that you are providing.
Conversant (formerly ValueClick Media)
Conversant is a successful online ad network that is known for their great support and service and good payout options. Always astounding the advertiser, they answer questions and problems immediately with personalized solutions and pay on time every month.
According to Adbalance, they offer one of the widest options of advertisement types of any network, including traditional banners and skyscrapers to the larger modern standards, pop-unders. “Most interestingly, they have recently introduced an interstitial, which is a full page ad displayed for 10 seconds when a linked is clicked before forwarding the user onto the next page. This is a very useful addition for sites with long, multipage articles, as they are finally able to monetize the article as a whole in a similar way to magazines showing ads between pages.”
Their user interface is considered one of the easiest to use, providing publishers with real-time analytics about each campaign they are running. One of the great aspects to having the inside scoop to knowing how your campaign is running is being able to track the eCPM and see how well all your campaigns are performing for you. This lets you have an incredible amount of control over which ads you want to run on your sites. Those ads that are not profitable or beneficial to you, well…just toss them out.
We’re not telling you to not use Google Display, but it’s important to realize you must diversify your options. In this case, your channels. Part of A/B testing includes seeing which creatives work, which sites are most effective, but also, which ad networks produce the best conversion rates and highest ROI for you.
Try running on multiple ad networks and see which one works best for you. Maybe Google Display produces the highest quality traffic but the lowest conversion rates, and Yahoo!Bing is really the way to go. It’s worth a shot!