In the last three weeks, we showed you tools to effectively plan your display advertising campaigns, develop compelling ads, and target your ads to reach precisely the right audience across millions of both popular and niche sites in the Google Display Network (GDN). In today’s final post, we’ll dive into measuring and improving your online display campaigns with powerful, free tools that bring accountability to your display advertising investment.

Campaign reporting and optimization
On the GDN, you have real-time reporting for every site and URL where your ads ran. You can view basic metrics like impressions, clicks, clickthrough rate (CTR) and cost, or, by implementing our free AdWords Conversion Tracking, you can measure conversion metrics to determine your campaign’s return on investment (ROI). We also recently introduced viewthrough conversion reporting to provide a more complete picture of your display campaign performance.

With rich site- and URL-level data like this, you can see exactly what’s working and respond on the fly. This means you can increase bids for sites generating lots of sales or decrease bids for, or exclude, poorer-performing sites.

With Conversion Tracking enabled, you can also unleash our bid management tool, Conversion Optimizer, to help increase your conversions while decreasing your cost-per-acquisition (CPA). One of the most powerful bid management tools available, the average campaign using Conversion Optimizer sees a 21% lift in conversions with a 14% lower CPA*.

Web analytics and optimization
Your campaign’s performance is heavily influenced by the experience visitors have on your site.Google Analytics is a free tool that helps you measure user behavior on your site, providing metrics like time spent on your site, page views, traffic sources, bounce rate, and more. Using this information, you can identify areas on your site you need to improve to increase conversion rates and ultimately, your ROI. Although Google Analytics works independently of Conversion Tracking, it’s possible to automatically import your Analytics data into Conversion Tracking, enabling you to consolidate reporting and optimization across these measurement tools.

While Google Analytics tells you what’s happening on your site, Website Optimizer empowers you to change it. You can show your visitors multiple versions of a page or elements on a page to test which are most effective, thereby getting more of your visitors to convert into customers.

Measurement beyond the click
Finally, research shows that the impact of display ads extends beyond immediate clicks and conversions. After seeing display ads, many users search for the advertised product or brand, or visit the advertiser’s web site days or weeks after having seen a display ad, even if they didn’t click on it. 

Recently, we launched Campaign Insights to help you measure the impact of your display campaigns beyond immediate clicks and conversions. Campaign Insights calculates the incremental lift in both online search activity and website visits that result from a display ad campaign. By comparing a data set of thousands of advertisers who saw a particular display ad with an equivalent group that did not see the ad, we can determine the incremental change directly attributable to the display campaign. With this insight, you can establish your display campaign performance, beyond just immediate clicks.

This post ends our series on the Google Display Network. Over the past four weeks, we hope you’ve discovered new ways Google can help you run successful display campaigns. For more on the GDN, please visit our microsite.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew

* Analysis compares performance of Conversion Optimizer campaigns over the course of a year with a control set of campaigns and represents the average impact of Conversion Optimizer. Actual impact may vary form campaign to campaign.