By Emma Welland

Google have just released the second batch of benchmarks to prove the GDN’s worth (including data from the first half of 2011) showing the average CTR on the GDN has increased by 43% since the end of 2010.

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Considering advertising on the Google Display Network (GDN)?

Google have just released the second batch of benchmarks to prove the GDN’s worth (including data from the first half of 2011) showing the average CTR on the GDN has increased by 43% since the end of 2010.

So what were the results?

The average CTR on the GDN is almost 6 times better than the rest of the industry.

Average CTR on the Google Display Network: 0.40%
Average CTR Double Click benchmark 0.07%

Keyword Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting has the highest CTR out of all the targeting options on the display network with the lowest CPC, however we must remember that this has existed for a longer period so advertisers are more experienced in narrowing down and defining their reach through carefully considered keywords. This targeting option allows you to be really specific with the content you are choosing to appear next too and therefore adverts should (in theory) always be relevant to the content they appear next too.

Interest Category & Topic Targeting

Interest category and topic targeting are much newer targeting options. Together they make up only 6% of the clicks on the GDN. Interest categories allow you to target groups of relevant website by category but also show your ads to different categories of sites if the users of the relevant sites have also visited these types of sites.

Topic targeting allows you to choose categories of websites that you would like your adverts to show on, for example “cars”. I suggest these two types of targeting have lower CTR because they are less targeted than contextual.

Therefore I would suggest advertisers using these types of targeting add keywords to their ad groups to narrow down the reach of the campaign and improve CTR’s.


Here at Periscopix we thought it was very interesting that remarketing has a lower CTR than contextual targeting, as users who are seeing these types of adverts have already shown an interest in the brand before and have visited the website. We tend to see high CTR’s in our remarketing campaigns.

However, it will be interesting to see if the benchmark CTR’s improve as advertisers get more savvy with remarketing strategies. For example here at Periscopix towers we initially trialled very broad remarketing strategies – targeting everyone who had visited our sites and hadn’t converted, however as we have gained more experience and understanding of remarketing we have implemented more specific strategies such as abandoned cart remarketing, which our targeting smaller numbers of users and have higher CTR’s.

Additionally, only 3% of the total clicks on the GDN were from remarketing targeting. This is really suprising as we believe that remarketing is an essential part of online marketing, with strategies and targeting options to suit anyone's objectives. We suggest that the reason behind the low volume is due to other remarketing platforms offering more sophisticated personalised remarketing. When Google advances their systems (something that they are currently working on behind the scenes) we expect to see the traffic share from remarketing increase.

What do we recommend?

Based on the above, we would recommend that the GDN is definitely worth a try for every advertiser. It can be cheap, and CTR’s can be positive, leading to lots of new visitors coming to your website who you wouldn’t normally catch via search or other marketing channels.

We would suggest a blended approach of the various targeting methods to ensure you gain maximum exposure, gaining new visitors and encouraging old ones to come back for more!

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