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Get Display Select and Improve CPA!

Display Select is a new feature that Google launched almost silently.

*updated 31-March-2015*

What is it?  Display select in two words can be defined as highly relevant. It is a more targeted & more selective version of traditional keyword contextual campaigns. It uses keywords to target webpages that contain content relevant to those keywords.

The focus for this campaign type is on customers who are 35% more likely to convert.  But because of this more precise targeting, it reaches just 10% of customers compared to traditional keyword contextual campaign.

From the user’s perspective it seems as though your ad is extremely relevant to the page they’re looking at right then & there.  Google does this by targeting your ads to pages that have a very high keyword contextual relevance or a high aggregated (and of course anonymized) search terms relevance to the site and some other predictive models.

The result is a far reduced number of placements, however those placements are prime real estate, getting in front of people with much higher intent. And that’s what makes Display Select so efficient.

How is it different from Keyword Contextual Targeting? (KCT)

Display Select is actually a subset of Keyword Contextual Targeting.  But more refined.  Think of it as the difference between broad match keywords and exact match.  (just an illustrative example – no match types on the GDN!)

So if you were targeting the keyword “ice cream” with KCT you’d also get pages with frozen yoghurt, banana splits etc.  Not so with Display Select.  Those loosely associated terms aren’t relevant enough.

KCT also relies on other factors such as recent browsing history, which is why your ads may show up on sites with content that has nothing to do with the keyword!



How do I enable Display Select?

Display Select is being slowly rolled out by Google, not the usual beta tests.  If you’re lucky you can see & enable this setting at the ad group level in your Display Network settings.Ad Group Level Enabling for DS


If you look into your settings and don’t see anything like the screenshot above, you’ll need to contact Google (or your AdWords Agency if it’s not WebSavvy) to request this beta feature for your account.  There may be some cases when your account is ineligible.


Best Applications of Display Select

  1. It’s perfect for when you want to reach a targeted audience but only have a small budget for Display and can’t afford time or budget to experiment with a broader audience.
  2. You’re more concerned with performance rather than volume of impressions.
  3. When your product or service has a longer sales cycle, where people will educate themselves before making a purchase decision.
  4. It’s ideal where there’s heavy competition and click costs are high, such as finance and insurance markets


Display Select Tips


Look at your Search Query report and use your best performing search terms.  These should, in turn, deliver optimal performance when applied to Display Select.

Apply negative keywords to your campaigns.  So if you sell a product, but don’t service or repair the product, good negative keywords will be “service” and “repair”.

Two great negative placements are adsenseformobileapps.com and appspot.com to prevent your ads showing on mobile apps and blowing up costs with accidental finger slips.

Avoid keywords with double meanings.  Even the best algorithms can be confused by the subtleties of the English language!

Once your Display Select accrues a significant volume of conversions, don’t be afraid to apply Conversion Optimiser.

And please, share your findings in the comments!

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