When it comes to cost-per-click (CPC) display advertising, the two main display networks are the Google Display Network (GDN) and the Yahoo Display Network. When we discussed the two main search networks, Google & MSN, we mentioned that MSN & Yahoo merged in 2010. As part of that merger, MSN took over the search advertising, while Yahoo took over MSN’s display network. As a result, MSN’s display network is now Yahoo’s display network — the other big player against Google in the CPC display network space.
The Google Display Network and the Yahoo Display network are both further examples of pull advertising – the user is NOT looking for your product or service, and your ads are merely showing up on related sites. While you can conduct traditional display media buys through both networks (either on CPC, CPM, or flat fee basis), when it comes to using Google AdWords or MSN AdCenter to run display ads the following holds true:
1. You can run text, image, and/or video ads on either network through the same interface. Some sites will only show image ads. Others will only show text ads. But the ability to create and run both through the same system is an asset of Google and Microsoft.
2. Unless you specifically choose the sites you would like to run on, Google’s Display Network and the Yahoo Display Network will both choose where to show your ads based on the keyword list you set up for them. Someone looking to show their ad for a hip hop artist might run on keywords such as “hip hop music,” “hip hop artist,” “hip hop,” “hip hop clubs.” These words teach the engine’s algorithm that the advertiser is looking to show up on sites about hip hop – and the system will show ads accordingly.
3. Remember that the display network, also known as the content network, is a form of pull advertising. Make sure to catch the user’s attention and convince them to come to your site. At the same time, it helps to accurately represent your site, so that you do not wind up paying for a lot of clicks that do not convert. Showing scantily clad women may be a great way to get men to a website, but it does not necessarily mean they will convert on the site if the site is not about scantily clad women, for example.
For more on the difference between the search and display networks, please see: