Heard of DSK (Display Select Keywords)? It’s one of the newer and more effective features on the Google Display Network. Google has a good explanatory page on DSK, but I’m going to break out four main themes that can quickly get you on your way. Let’s get started.

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What is it?

DSK targets users on relevant websites across the Google Display Network. The setting allows your Google to show your ads on websites that are contextually related to the keywords you bid on.

For example, if you’re selling a refrigerator, you might want to bid on keywords such as “refrigerator comparison,” or “refrigerator reviews,” so that your ad shows up on pages the customer is visiting while they’re researching. It is a more passive form of targeting than search ads (which capture immediate customer intent).

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Why use it?

DSK is useful throughout the purchase cycle, beginning with generating interest by keeping your brand and product/service relevant on the customer’s mind as they research.

First, DSK helps expand your audience. It allows you to generate interest in your product/service and brand by passively targeting users through relevant placements. You can then capture and convert these customers through search and social ads that target the customers while they’re further along in the purchase funnel.

Second, higher relevancy of ads to the pages the customer is visiting makes it more likely the customer will click on your ad and convert. For products/services with longer purchase cycles, it can also keep a seller from losing customers by showing ads to the customer along their research phase to keep the seller’s brand relevant in the customer’s mind.

Finally, you can use a variety of ad formats including images and video. This allows you to create rich, engaging ads that are more lily to result in clicks.

Set expectations for scope and reach

DSK will likely result in lower impression volume than more traditional targeting methods on the GDN; however, each click is generally worth more. The high relevancy between placement websites and keywords can sometimes reduce traffic, but this high relevancy also tends to push up conversion rates.

According to some Google research done shortly after DSK was launched, advertisers who use it on average see 35% higher click-through-rates with 35% lower cost-per-purchase.

Display Select Best Practices:

  1. Choosing Keywords: When initially choosing keywords, use a search query report to identify top performing terms within your current keyword and shopping campaigns and start by bidding on those in DSK. This ensures the most effective keyword and placement coverage.
  2. Negative Placements: Periodically checking placements for potential negatives is essential with DSK, as your keywords might get matched to websites where your ads see poor performance. To block mobile app placements, add com as a negative placement. You can check placements under the “Display Network” tab.2
  3. Negative Keywords: Display Select Keywords can only be bid on in broad match, so it’s essential to keep adding negative keywords to ensure the placement targeting stays relevant.
  4. Automated Bidding: Conversion optimizer is your friend, but don’t jump the gun! You’ll want to ensure your Display Select campaign has plenty of conversion data for the automated bidding to be effective. Also, if you do activate a conversion optimizer, don’t forget to keep performing negative keyword and placement checks from time to time.

Good luck!

Ready to learn more? Check out our Comprehensive Guide to GDN Targeting Options.

1 Comment

  1. Suresh September 14th, 2016

    Hi,

    We should to ask our AdWords rep to enable this feature right?

    in the image, we should only go with the display. Since mixing up both search and display can screw up the QS of the account.

    Cheers
    Suresh

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Neeraja Koneru
Neeraja is originally from Austin where she works out of 3Q Accelerate's new office. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and has expertise working with eCommerce accounts. Her experience ranges in clients across industries such as appliances & décor, apparel, and SaaS. She's worked with accounts that are both B2B and B2C of all sizes (from $1,000-$100,000+ in monthly media spend) across platforms including Google, Bing, Facebook, YouTube, Google Display Network, Comparison Shopping Engines & More. She has a particular proficiency in product listing ads, re-marketing, & display and is certified in Google AdWords (shopping & display concentrations), Google Analytics, Bing Ads, & Kenshoo Search. Her interests include board games, traveling, tacos, and most of Netflix's original series.