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This week’s PPCChat session was focused on Google’s recent announcement where they talked about combining standard Display and Smart Display campaign types into one option. Host Julie F Bacchini sought experts’ views regarding this announcement, what are their thoughts on display advertising in general, what challenges are they facing in display advertising, and more.

Q1: Are you currently running any display campaigns on Google Ads? If so, which kind? If not, why not?

Yes, all standard. some responsive ads, but no smart display. @JuliaVyse

I am running display and retargeting display on Google Ads right now. Not using Smart Display for either currently. @NeptuneMoon

GDN, YouTube, Gmail , Discovery @PPCGreg

Regular YouTube display campaigns so that I have control over the bidding strategy. @PPCKenChang

Oh yes, testing some smart display as well @ynotweb

I’m afraid not. TH agency I work wit have a Display special team. @TheMarketingAnu

Basis display – not retargeting as on the healthcare side. But I do have some HR and EDU campaigns where I can use them. @Galliguez

If we do it’s remarketing based otherwise we don’t as it bleeds cash and is a dumpster fire of money being burnt. @duanebrown

Yes because they are cheaper and easier to control then most other display platforms. @JonKagan

Retargeting, audience targeting, youtube, disco, and some intent. @ValenciaSEM

Q2: How do you understand this announcement – what do you think it means, if anything, for your accounts?

I don’t really. I’m skeptical about having the same amount of controls due to, well, everything. And I run lots of campaigns with very unoptimized, unchangeable landing pages. so very uncertain on using this product. @JuliaVyse

On its surface, it sounds like what we have asked for, well forever – automation available, but options for advanced advertisers… But, I am not sure if that is how it will really be? Optimized targeting seems to be on by default too, which is not awesome. @NeptuneMoon

A From just reading the headline – with feeling like Google Smart [anything] makes me feel less smart – i’m not confident at all at their idea of easy! @TheMarketingAnu

I see it as just more ways Google can obfuscate how and why your ad dollars are spent. Like when they added “expand targeting” (some people STILL don’t know that Google is targeting beyond their defined audience) @ynotweb

It seems similar to current Shopping Campaign creation. You select the primary “Shopping” option and then whether you want Standard or Smart. @PPCKirk

The crew at @MarketingOClock talked about this announcement and how confusing it was in last week’s episode too. youtube.com/watch?v=gh7HBj… @NeptuneMoon

Hoping for the best and expecting the worst as usual with these announcements @PPCKenChang

It doesn’t make me bother much. I turn off optimized targeting whenever I’m creating new campaigns. @Reddy20449

I also wonder — whats *really* changing that makes this announcement-worthy? @ynotweb

Its a step towards full automation. Later on they’ll come out saying it out performs all other campaigns and will be the new norm. @ValenciaSEM

Google wants to make more money, and display is easy if you remove control from the advertiser. @JonKagan

Q3: These new campaigns will also include “optimized targeting” which is on by default – thoughts?

Not a fan. In my case, websites are often not the main conversion point, or not possible to change. So Google’s interpretation of my website from the get go will actually worsen my traffic. I very often need to get new audiences to a new announcement. @JuliaVyse

“Expanded” targeting was already on by default, so it makes me wonder how much different is this? Google seems to taking more and more of the settings as just “suggestions”. I trust my data, Google not so much. @ynotweb

But I don’t want to spend more… @PPCKenChang

Not sure as what Google says is possible and what actually happens doesn’t always align. We will give it a good in some accounts who can afford a test and see what actually happens. @duanebrown

The “When to use it” part is so funny to me. It’s like – so if you’re an advertiser who wants your ads to work then? Got it. And, it is not the same as “expanded targeting”. The whole thing is confusing. @NeptuneMoon

We don’t often create brand new campaigns, rather copy and paste from somewhere else and edit, so as long as it stays off, I think I’m fine with it. @PPCGreg

Google makes these changes to try and fit all companies into their methodology. But the one size fits all approach, by its nature, will fail some brands. It’s up to PPC professionals to test conventional wisdom. @beyondcontent

I mean, it seems like this is Google’s logical response to losing data while trying to push margins: broaden the target + the competition. The terminology is also a bit confusing – but I’m sure we’ll have plenty of Google reps breathlessly pushing us to adopt it. @DigitalSamIAm

Smart, optimised, etc… anything ML based requires spending $ to learn what doesn’t work. If you can afford it, great. If you can’t afford it, conflict between what Google deems best practise & real world short-term profitability if non-PPC folk kneejerk early. @beyondcontent

Sounds like “Optimized Targeting” was written by a PM who wanted to say everyone should use this new feature. On by default is how tech rolls, otherwise they know adoption would be slow. Hopefully they don’t make it a Grey UX don’t see it UI issue. @duanebrown

Enhanced, Smart, now Optimized.. I’ve seen this show before. @ValenciaSEM

I to enjoy being forced to pay for rust proofing. @JonKagan

Q4: What are your thoughts on Google display advertising in general?

They tend to fluctuate between “hmm I could just do YouTube + that’s better” to “sure, it’s fun to watch some money burn.” But in all seriousness, I think placements are the new audiences with iOS15, so I’m testing a lot more display than previously. @DigitalSamIAm

I’ve been really down on Google display advertising (GDN) for anything but retargeting for quite a while now. Between brand safety, targeting category exclusions not working fully & the sheer number of craptastic sites where ads are shown, it’s often not worth it. @NeptuneMoon

Display campaigns are usually dangerous unless hyper-targeted and well-maintained. @ynotweb

The jury is still out on our newest Smart Display with Pay for Conversion. Looks good on paper, but still confirming data. @ynotweb

I have an old-time opinion of Google Display. It is the extra inventory that Google needed to dilute the quality of their search inventory so they could maintain sales growth. It has evolved into a big machine, and I think there is value to be found in there. @soanders

Said this often – GDN without a proper plan can be a sewer so it needs serious attention or you will show ads on very dodgy sites. Also bot farms hit GDN hard so you ideally need a click fraud tool. @beyondcontent

Its been going downhill for a while now. You really need to focus on granular targeting and that’s still not always getting great results. @ValenciaSEM

See my 1st answer of it being a waste of money majority of the time. I don’t want our ads appearing on mobile apps and games. Give me Discovery ads any day of the week and twice on Sunday. New to Discovery Ads?takesomerisk.com/discovery-ads-… @duanebrown

Cheap, largely Wild West, but can be controlled. @JonKagan

So much fraud and “bad websites” on GDN. Why should a company have to worry about advertising on .ru (for example) websites? Tons of potential, but lots of work to achieve that potential. @KurtHenninger

Q5: Have brand safety concerns increased, decreased or stayed about the same for you in the past 12 months?

In aggregate (across all clients) probably stayed about the same. But the underlying distribution is more “U” shaped @DigitalSamIAm

Most definitely increased. @PPCKenChang

Increased. and not just w G. it’s a real mess out there. @JuliaVyse

It is definitely a larger concern now (not that it was not previously, but there seems to be more things where you just would not want your ads showing next to now?). @NeptuneMoon

I think there are concerning elements to ad fraud that remain unaddressed. Interesting article on unscrupulous publishers (not just fraud bot networks): adweek.com/media/dark-poo… That has to do specifically with your brand showing somewhere you didn’t want it to. @PPCKirk

Brand Safety is one of our major concerns right now as I deal with healthcare clients. But thanks to @Comscore Inventory Quality Tool! @Reddy20449

Hasn’t changed for us but we work with a handful of brands and clients at any given time. Less is more for us. @duanebrown

Brand safety concerns have been incredibly important in the past year. Not just talking covid, but BLM and elections as well. Its been a crazy year. @ValenciaSEM

Between international and domestic unrest and the world literally on fire, my brand safety concerns are are an all time high. But, at least with GDN I can stop 50% of it @JonKagan

Brand safety has become a bigger initiative for us. We put together a list of placements to exclude of websites promoting Hate, Misinformation & Extremism: climbmarketing.com/google-ads-pla… @_RileyDuncan

Q6: Are you using other networks for your display advertising if not Google? How do you like them? And why did you choose them?

Yes! but spoiled holdco brat – we use programmatic partners. I base my decisions on their audience builds, what goes into their audience builds, and the type of specialty they offer. @JuliaVyse

MS and LinkedIn. slow but powerful @ynotweb

Not currently, but we have in the past. Generally got better results with other travel-specific programmatic partners than Google. @dan_patterson

Yes! Better support from other vendor partners and also advertising on different platforms for a true Omni channel experience @PPCKenChang

Yep, because, quite wisely, I should not have all the power. @JonKagan

This falls under Native Display, but we’ve been testing Microsoft and there seems to be some meat there, just need to continue optimizing to see if it will pan out. @ValenciaSEM

Besides MS. I’m taking that programmatic dive. @Galliguez

Yep, DSPs. Love exploring them bcoz of more control and more options. @Reddy20449

Q7: What is your biggest challenge or frustration in display right now?

Reporting and transparency. same old problem, and not just on Google. @JuliaVyse

Lack of transparency from Google, and the demise of cookies without a great replacement solution in place.@PPCKenChang

I’ll echo what others have said. Trusting the data is the big concern. And I worry that’s only going to get worse with all the privacy changes going on. @dan_patterson

For GDN specifically – the 10,000 placement limit for exclusions. You can hit that REALLY FAST and then you’re without the option to exclude your ads from showing on sites/apps. Unacceptable. Hence my advertising less on GDN. @NeptuneMoon

Biggest challenge in display is attribution. Measuring it and having client buy in/understanding has always made it a bit of a necessary evil. @ValenciaSEM

Convincing the client that it is still a good option even though they already give a lot of $ to google already. @JonKagan

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