How to Boost Your Campaign With Display Layering Techniques

Michelle Greenberg
By Michelle Greenberg Director of Operations

Display marketing is an extremely important strategy to growing your brand and business, it’s a channel for growth and creating brand awareness, but there are a myriad of ways of setting up successful display campaigns. You have the options of keyword targeting, interest and remarketing targeting, topic targeting, placement targeting, and demographic targeting. All of these targeting methods have unique aspects to them and are each a different strategy. You can do just one of these or you can layer 2 or 3 or more of these targeting methods at a time; this gives you endless possibilities.

Keyword targeting targets people based on the keywords they have searched in the past. You input keywords on your display campaign that you associate with your target audience. These keywords are automatically on broad match in order to reach the maximum amount of customers. So you can put a few key terms surround your brand such as “half marathons near me”, “long distance races”, etc. This will be on broad match and will capture a variety of keywords including geo searches and types of races.

Interests and remarketing targeting captures a variety of different audiences across the web, and has many different options just in this one category. If you choose to layer interests and remarketing you can choose between affinity audiences, in-market audiences, remarketing lists, customer email lists, similar to remarketing lists and similar to customer email lists. Each one of these audiences has their own specific attributes.

In market and affinity audiences both take into account a user’s search history, their social activity and content consumption patterns. These distribution options may utilize similar data but they categorize users into wider audiences that are different. Market audiences are people who are actively searching and comparing your product or service. These people may be looking for a new car for some period of time, but are not die-hard car lovers. They are in in-market for a short period of time. Affinity audiences are based on long-term searches and someone’s overall interests, passions, and lifestyle. So for example, someone may be searching for a race to recommend for their running friend for a short period of time, in that case you would serve a different ad to that person than you would someone who has been a long time lover of running. You can create different display campaigns targeting the short-term interest category and the long-term category thanks to these two different audience lists.

You can of course use remarketing and specific customer lists, i.e. customers who have something in their shopping cart, or any other specific action you track and want to remarket to. Along with that Google creates “similar lists” of users who have similar Internet search histories as the ones in your remarketing and customer lists, so you have a HUGE variety of customers to serve to.

Topic targeting is based on topics that Google has; varying from the auto industry to finance. There are subcategories so it can get very specific, however sometimes you need to settle for a category that’s as close to yours as possible. Placement targeting lets you pick websites you want to have your banners show on such as or, anything you think would be a good match to your brand. Lastly, demographic targeting lets you target gender, age, and parental status.

So if we continue with our running example, a few ways we could layer targeting could be the following:

  1. Layer an age demographic with a couple of broad running keywords
  2. Layer a topic target of running and fitness with an age demographic and an affinity market audience.
  3. Layer a customer list of people who visited your running website but never gave an email or signed up for a race with an affinity audience target (i.e. running lovers).
  4. Layer placement targeting (i.e.,,…) with demographic targeting (ages 18-40).
  5. The list goes on and on…
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