Google Display Network and Video Ad Formats

Learn how to navigate Google display networks and video ad formats with Search Hustle.

Search Hustle Google Display Network and video ad formats

If you want to reach and out engage with an audience, Google Display Network and video ad formats are the best way to do it. With numerous video ad formats available, you can choose how your ad is displayed. This network allows you to reach an incredible 90% of internet users by itself, making it one of the most worthwhile investments of marketing dollars.

Google Display Network logo

What Is the Google Display Network?

The Google Display Network is a network of over 2 million websites. All together these websites see traffic from a vast majority of Internet users. This conglomeration of partner sites include everything from YouTube to news sites and other sources of heavy traffic flow.

Search Ads vs. Display Ads

Search ads will only pop up with search engine results. These ads are often targeted, triggered by the use of certain keywords. To get on top requires a bid, and whoever bids the most gets the most screen time for their advertisement. 

Display ads can pop up on any of the websites which are partners with Google. You simply choose the format that you want your ad to be placed in, and it will arrive whether keywords are searched for or not. This is a great way to drive brand awareness, but lacks the specific targeting of a highly bid search ad.

Tips for Display Network

While the basic Google Display Network is an amazing tool that presents incredible opportunities, there is more to it than that. Following a few tips can make a huge difference in the impact of a marketing campaign. Take a marketing campaign to the next level with these tips.


When display ads center on retargeting, a specific ad will appear based on past behaviors on the company’s website. The goal is to bring consumers back to the brand when they express past interest through a certain action.

Let your budget be your guide

Buying ad space, producing quality ads, and expanding reach all requires investment. Don’t over invest in an ad campaign that can’t be afforded. If unlimited money was available then nothing would stop the reach of the marketing campaign, but that’s not realistic. 

Find every way you can to maximize the impact your advertising dollars will have. Don’t make the mistake of devoting too much money to any one aspect, and therefore ruining the entire effort. Let the budget be your guide when determining the reach of a marketing campaign.

Use managed placements

Having the right managed placements can make the difference between an untargeted ad and one that finds your audience. This is a tool that is available when using the Google Display Network. It allows you to choose what type of websites, YouTube channels or apps that you are going to advertise in. 

In this way, you can reach a customer base that has shared interests which relate to your product. This will increase the impact that the ads have, and the targets are entirely your choice. This gives flexibility in choosing targets by interest and category that was previously unheard of.

Create ads in all formats

It is important to not limit the marketing campaign. There are a wide variety of ad formats available through the Google Display Network. All of them have their place, and using each and every format will help diversify your advertisement scheme.

Make this diversity of advertisement formats part of your strategy so that you can take advantage of truly diverse possibilities. Broaden the impact of your advertisements and draw customer interest at the same time. If all your ads follow the same formula customers will begin to notice, and interest in your content will wane.

Create simple but visually impressive ads

With visual ads, the key is impact versus investment. The more visually interesting an advertisement is, the more likely it is to draw a potential customer to you. Interesting does not mean cluttered, however, so make sure that simplicity is central to your ads.

This also helps to focus the ad, not make it confusing or detract focus from what you are trying to accomplish. Not only will simple and visually impressive ads make your marketing campaign more successful, but they will also be cheaper than more confusing visual ads.

video ad formats

Video Ad Formats Include:

There are several video ad formats to consider. Google Display Network and Video ad formats are helpful tools for reaching customers. But how you do that is up to you. Here is a list of possible video ad types:

  • Skippable In-stream Ads:
  • Non-Skippable In-Stream Ads:
  • Video Discovery Ads
  • Bumper Ads
  • Outstream Ads
  • Masthead Ads

Skippable in-stream ads:

These are ads that begin in the beginning, middle, or end of a YouTube video or other video on a Google partner site. These ads are skippable, which means that the viewer only has to watch a certain amount. This makes front loading the ad very important, as most viewers will skip after about 5 seconds.

If your ad is interesting enough, or the viewer is wanting what you are selling, they may continue to watch the entire video. You can pay based on when a customer watches the entire ad, 30 seconds or less. This makes skippable in-stream ads a good investment as you will only have to pay for those truly interested in watching your ad.

You can also pay based on impressions with this type of ad. If you want to use this, you’ll have to select campaign goals of sales, leads, website traffic, brand awareness and reach, or product and brand consideration.

Non-skippable in-stream ads:

Just like skippable ads, non-skippable ads play before, during, or after a video. This can be done on Youtube or any of the other partner sites in the Google Display Network. The core difference is that these ads can’t be skipped, but their duration isn’t as long either.

The limit for an ad in this format is 15 seconds, but many are lower. These ads can’t be skipped, so the viewer will see the entire length. While this may be attractive, there are some considerations to make. One is the perception of an unskippable ad to potential customers and their annoyance, and the other is economic.

Unlike skippable ads, unskippable ads will always cost. The cost is based on impressions. This means it doesn’t matter if they engage with the ad, you pay based on the target viewer seeing the ad. To get this type of advertisement, simply select brand awareness and reach.

Video discovery ads:

Video discovery ads deal primarily with YouTube. These are ads that can be found coming up in a YouTube search result, next to related videos, or on the homepage of the YouTube mobile app. This means that they exist separately, inviting a potential customer to click and view them.

The size and appearance of these ads can vary, based on where they are being shown at. Another benefit to these ads is that they can be as long as you want them to be. You don’t need to cram an entire message in fifteen to thirty seconds. However, if you don’t keep the attention of the viewer, these ads will not be successful in delivering any message.

With video discovery ads you will pay for every customer that clicks on the advertisement. This is considered to be an adequate sign that they are reading or interacting with the advertisement. If you want your ad to appear alongside regular content and are confident in the appeal it will generate you will want to select the campaign goal of product and brand consideration.

Bumper ads:

Bumper ads are in a lot of ways the opposite of video discovery ads. Instead of a long, complicated video full of explanation and display, bumper ads are short and sweet. So short and sweet, in fact, that you need to be incredibly precise and memorable, as you only have 6 seconds of time to reach the viewer.

While this may seem like a short time, these ads can’t be skipped and will be watched in their entirety before the content begins playing. This gives you valuable time to deliver a message in a way that is short, concise, and that few customers will find annoying. In fact, some may even pay more attention because of the short time and rapid rate of information deployment.

Like most ads, you will pay for a bumper ad based on impressions. That is to say how many times it is seen by a thousand people. Bumper ads are found by choosing the campaign goal of brand awareness and reach.

Outstream ads:

In the context of Google Display Network and video ad formats, outstream ads are solely involved with mobile platforms. These are ads that you have probably experienced that begin with the volume turned off. This gives the viewer the option of whether or not they wish to tap and unmute the advertisement.

Outstream ads are considered to be an efficient form of advertisement that can have great reach. They can appear almost anywhere, from banners of websites to dedicated spaces on a particular web page.

This versatility in placement gives them an advantage due to the fact that they aren’t tied to the playing of a separate video.

Outstream ads are also priced in such a way that you pay based on impressions, but only if at least 2 seconds or more of the video is watched. If someone simply ignores your advertisement, you won’t have to pay for it. This makes outstream ads an efficient and effective way to broaden your reach.

Coincidentally, they are available under the campaign goals of brand awareness and reach.

Masthead ads:

All of the findings should be compiled into a single document (preferably Google Sheets) and then organize the data so that you can better visualize what has been learned.

Before comparisons are drawn, be sure to have a baseline established of your own business. Be sure to record all relevant information into the spreadsheet the same as you would the competitor. This will give a baseline to compare against the competitors.

Google Is Essential

The Google Display Network and video ad formats are essential to a successful ad campaign. The reach and power of the GDN is unparalleled. The ability to reach such a vast swath of the population has never been equaled before, you only have to decide what ad format or formats work best for you.

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