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Follow the guidelines below to set up your account.

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1. Create a new campaign

Whether you're new to the Google Display Network or you’ve tried it before, this step-by-step guide will help you to set up successful campaigns.

It’s a good idea to follow along in your Adwords account as you read through this guide, so you can see the tools and steps that are mentioned in your own account.

How to do it

Here’s how to start advertising on the Google Display Network

  1. Sign in to your AdWords account at adwords.google.co.uk.
  2. From the Campaigns tab, click the New Campaign button.
  3. Do not tick the Google search box. Within your campaign settings, scroll to the Networks, devices and extensions section, click Let Me Choose under Networks, and make sure that the Display Network box is selected and the Search Network and Partners box is deselected.
  4. If you want your ads placed automatically on partner pages related to your products, choose Relevant pages across the entire network. Or you can specify target sites yourself.
  5. Select the bidding option you prefer, then set your campaign budget to a level that you're comfortable with.
  6. Click Save and continue. You can go back and change your settings at any time.

Tips to follow the steps

We’ll follow an AdWords advertiser, Sarah, as she sets up campaigns for her online sports gear shop. Before launching a Display Network campaign, you'll want to think about three key factors:

What product or service do you want to promote?

Creating separate campaigns for different product lines helps you organise and manage your account, as well as track the success of your ads more accurately.

Sarah decides to focus on tennis equipment for her first Display Network campaign, instead of doing a broader campaign around all of her sports gear.

Where do you want your ads to appear?

You can choose to show your ads on both the Search and Display Networks or only the Display Network. Then you can choose whether you want your ads automatically placed on partner pages related to your products within the Display Network, or specify target sites yourself.

Sarah chooses to create a new campaign for the Display Network only. Creating separate campaigns for Search and Display allows her to set different budgets for Search and Display campaigns and apply different campaign strategies for each one.

What are your bidding and budgeting preferences?

The bidding options let you focus on clicks (to drive traffic to your site), impressions (to increase the visibility of your ad) or conversions (to specify a maximum cost-per-acquisition bid). You’ll also want to set a maximum daily budget for your campaign.

Sarah chooses Manual bidding for clicks as her bidding option. This lets her control her maximum cost-per-click bid at the ad group level or for individual keywords or placements.

2. Create ad groups

Create your ads and ad groups

After you set up your new campaign for the Display Network, you're ready to create your ad groups.

How to do it

  1. In your AdWords account, go to the Campaigns tab and select the Display Network campaign that you just created.

  2. Click the New Ad Group button, then type a name for this ad group.

  3. Select the type of ad that you want to create – text, image, display or mobile - and follow the instructions.
  4. Text ads are an easy, effective way to get started on the Display Network. However, you can advertise using a variety of ads on the Display Network, such as image, video and rich media. And with our free Display Ad Builder, you can create your own display ads in minutes using your existing logos and product images.
  5. When you’ve finished creating your ad group, click either Save and Continue to Billing or Set up Billing Later.
  6. You can add a new ad group to a campaign at any time by returning to the Campaigns tab and clicking the New Ad Group button.

Tips to follow the steps

Ad groups are made up of ads and keywords. You'll want to identify specific products and create an ad group for each of them.

Within her tennis-gear campaign, Sarah sets up different ad groups for rackets, balls and ball machines.

Ad groups help you reach different target audiences effectively since the AdWords system analyses each group to determine which web pages are most relevant for those ads. As a general guideline, you might begin with an ad group for each of your best-selling products, with two or three ads in each group. By creating multiple ads, you'll be able to see which get the most response.

Sarah starts with three simple text ads per group. She writes compelling copy, telling readers exactly what she offers.

Later, you can create ad groups for your other products, using highly targeted messaging based on what you've learnt from your initial ads. Google’s optimised ad serving will automatically show the ads with higher click-through rates (CTRs) more often.

For this first round, Sarah creates ad groups for a few of her most popular items. Eventually, based on the information that she receives, she’ll create a group for each of her products.

3. Target and bid

Choose targeting criteria and bids

The Google Display Network helps you reach potential customers across the web by automatically showing your ads to users as they're reading about your products and services. This is similar to Google Search, where ads are matched to users' search queries.

With keyword-level targeting on the Google Display Network, your keywords determine where your ads are shown on the Display Network – just like search. The closer the relationship between each keyword and your product, the more likely it is that your ad will find the right audience.

How to do it

  1. You can create new ad groups and keyword lists using the Keyword Tool, found on the Tools and Analysis drop-down menu. It automatically generates ad group, keyword and bid suggestions based on your products and services.
  2. When you are creating a new ad group, you can specify the keywords used to match your ads to Display Network pages by typing them into the keywords box on the Create Ad Group page. Alternatively, you can upload a list of keywords from a spreadsheet. You will also see a list of suggested keywords based on a scan of the website linked to your ad.
  3. You can also add keywords after you have created an ad group. Simply select that group and click the Add Keywords button.
  4. Set your maximum cost per click (CPC) in the Ad Group Default Bids section of the Create Ad Group page. Remember that you can change your bids as often as you like.
  5. If you want to run your ads on specific hand-picked sites, create a new ad group and under Placements, select the sites that you want.
  6. Your ads are now ready to launch! In upcoming sections, you'll learn how to track and optimise your campaign.

Tips to follow the steps

Create ad groups and campaigns based on the way that your products and services are organised. To add more keywords, you can copy your search keywords directly into display, or use the Keyword Tool for more suggestions.

Sarah decides to use the Keyword Tool to create her keywords and ad groups. Simply inputting "tennis rackets" into the tool automatically generates a variety of suggested keywords and ad groups, such as "tennis racket beginner", "tennis racket reviews" and many more that she wouldn't have thought of herself. She can now look through this list and immediately use the ones that she likes.

Now it's time to choose an appropriate maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid for each ad group. A good rule of thumb is to set the same bid amount that you're using in your search campaigns. If you're using the Keyword Tool to create your ad groups, it will provide an approximate CPC for each of your keywords, which you can use when setting your max CPC for the ad group. One of the best things about the Display Network is that once you set your bids, Google's smart pricing feature will automatically adjust the price that you pay based on how likely your ads are to convert on a given web page in the Display Network. This will maximise your return on investment (ROI).

Since Sarah is new to the Display Network, she chooses the same bid amount that she's using in her search campaigns. And because she's using Google's free Conversion Tracking to measure her campaign performance, she can later adjust her bids based on how they perform.

In addition, if you'd like to hand-pick specific places to show your ads, you can select managed placements to show your ads on individual websites and pages on the Display Network. You can test this feature by manually selecting a few sites where you'd like your ads to appear (you’ll need to add your managed sites to a new ad group). However, if you’re mainly interested in direct response advertising, we recommend contextually targeting your ads using the automatic placements feature, which places your ads on relevant sites based on your keywords.

4. Create Image ads

Add image ads

Now that you've got your Display campaign up and running, the next step towards improving your campaign is to add image ads.

How to do it

  1. Click the Campaigns tab and select the campaign for which you want to create a new ad.
  2. Create a new ad group for your display ads.
  3. Under the Ads tab on the Ad Group page, select Display Ad Builder from the drop-down menu under New Ad. If you already have a display ad that you want to use in a Display Network campaign, you can upload it by selecting Image Ad from the Ad drop-down menu. Otherwise, select Display Ad Builder.
  4. When the gallery of display ad templates appears, choose the one that you'd like to use.
  5. Customise the text and image on the template. For example, you can change the colours and fonts to match your brand. You can add images from the stock files, from your computer or even directly from your website.
  6. When you have finished designing the ad, click Save ad.

Tips to follow the steps

Start by creating ads for the products or services that you've focused on for your text ads. You can use the same keyword lists to automatically place your ads on relevant websites.

Sarah has lots of images of her tennis products, so she sets up image ad groups for all the same categories that she used in her text ads: rackets, balls and ball machines.

You can create engaging, professional-looking image ads for free using Google's Display Ad Builder tool. Click here to try the tool and create your own sample ad.

If you already have text ads in your account, the tool will also provide pre-made image ads based on your text ads. You can then quickly customise and add these image ads directly to your campaign. See your pre-made ads here.

Here are some things to consider when designing your display ad:

  • Change colors and fonts to match your brand.
  • When creating text for the button on your display ad, use a call-to-action to tell your audience what you want them to do.
Sarah chooses to write "Shop Now" on the button of her display ad. This encourages users to click the ad.

If you're using an image that has a white background, you should change your ad template to have a white background as well, so you don’t get a white box around the image – this will also make your ad look more professional.

For more information and step-by-step guides, please visit the AdWords Help Centre. Here you’ll find articles ranging from general product overviews and explanations to specific steps for how to make changes to your account.