Basics of Google Display Network – Definition and Importance

Basics of Google Display Network – Definition and Importance

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Apr 12, 2023 19:41 IST

Google Display Network (GDN) is a platform that allows advertisers to run display ads on websites, YouTube videos, and other online platforms. Learn more about it.


Google provides multiple options to use paid advertising and acquire qualified leads. If you are a new Google Ads user, you must have encountered the term Google Display Network. 

Don’t worry if not been initiated yet. We will cover the most important aspects to get you started. 

What is Google Display Network?

Google Display Network, or GDN is a collection of millions of websites and apps where you can promote services through display ads. It is a necessary PPC advertising option that helps you reach 90% of the global audience. These ads appear when the target audience visits any partner site of Google or Google-owned property from any mobile, desktop or tablet device. Formats such as text, images, and audio are the most common. 

They are different from ads that appear on search results. And, we will explore the differences between search and display networks later today.   

Why Use Google Display Network?

The Google Display Network includes 35 million websites, including YouTube and Gmail. This means your business can reach interested people beyond search network ads of Google, 

You have more options to build campaigns around your goals, whether to drive sales, leads, and website traffic, or build awareness and consideration for your business, product, or service.

Another key benefit is you can use Smart Display campaigns that use machine learning algorithms across targeting, bidding, and formats to help you reach a new or existing audience. This ensures that your campaign delivers the best possible results with minimal wasted resources. You will learn more when taking Google Ads courses.

Optimised targeting is a crucial component of any display campaign, allowing you to find the best-performing audience segments, including potential customers, with the highest likelihood of helping you meet your conversion goals. This enables you to focus your efforts on the people who are most likely to convert, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of your campaign.

Difference Between Search Ad Network and Display Ad Network

Search ad networks and display ad networks are two different types of online advertising networks that serve different purposes.

Search ad networks are advertising platforms that display text-based ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) when users search for specific keywords or phrases. These ads are typically displayed at the top or bottom of the SERP, and are labelled as “sponsored” or “ad” to differentiate them from organic search results. 

Search ad networks also allow advertisers to target users based on their search queries.

Display ad networks, on the other hand, display visual ads on Google properties and partner websites. These ads can take many forms, such as banner ads, video ads, and native ads, and are designed to capture users’ attention and promote brand awareness. 

With display ads, advertisers target users based on various criteria, such as demographics, interests, and behaviours. These ads are typically priced on a cost-per-thousand (CPM) basis, meaning advertisers pay a set fee for every thousand impressions their ad receives.

Types of Display Ads

There are several types of display ads that advertisers can use to promote their brand or products. Here are some of the most common types:

Banner Ads

These are the most common type of display ads and are typically rectangular in shape. They can be static or animated and are usually placed at the top or bottom of a webpage.

Pop-up Ads: These ads are displayed in a separate window that pops up over the current webpage. They are generally seen as more intrusive and less effective than other types of display ads.

Video Ads

These ads can be displayed before, during, or after a video on a website or streaming platform. They can be skippable or non-skippable and are often used to showcase products or tell a story.

Native Ads

These ads are designed to look like they are part of the website or app they appear on. They are often placed within content and can be in the form of an article, a video, or a product recommendation.

Rich Media Ads

These ads use advanced features such as animation, video, and interactivity to engage users and encourage them to interact with the ad. They are more visually appealing and engaging than standard banner ads.

Retargeting Ads

These ads are shown to users who have previously interacted with a brand’s website or products. They are designed to remind users of the brand and encourage them to return to the site to make a purchase.

Programmatic Ads

These ads are bought and sold through automated platforms that use data and algorithms to target specific audiences. They can be displayed on a variety of websites and apps, and can take many different forms, including banner ads, native ads, and video ads.


How does targeting work on the GDN?

The GDN offers a range of targeting options, including contextual targeting, demographic targeting, interest targeting, and remarketing. Advertisers can also use custom audience lists to target users who have interacted with their website or app.

How do I measure the performance of my GDN campaigns?

Google provides a range of metrics and reports to help advertisers track the performance of their GDN campaigns. These include impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), conversions, and cost-per-click (CPC). Advertisers can also use conversion tracking and Google Analytics to measure the impact of their ads on website traffic and sales.

What types of ads can I run on the GDN?

The GDN supports a variety of ad formats, including static and animated image ads, video ads, rich media ads, and native ads. Advertisers can also use responsive ads that automatically adjust their size and format to fit the available ad space.

How can I reach a mobile audience on the GDN?

The GDN offers a range of targeting options for reaching mobile users, including device targeting, mobile app targeting, and mobile-specific ad formats. Advertisers can also use responsive ads that automatically adjust to fit the screen size of the user's device.

How can I optimise my GDN campaigns for better performance?

There are several strategies for optimizing GDN campaigns, including improving ad creative, refining targeting options, and adjusting bids based on performance. Advertisers can also use automated bidding strategies, such as Target CPA or Target ROAS, to optimize their campaigns for specific performance goals.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio