Recently, I’ve been creating placement lists for Google Display Ad campaigns. I use different keyword phrases then compare the results. I do this a lot, sometimes I even dream about it… 

Today we are going to give you some good advice about how to do this in the best way. At the end of our study, we can define the “best practices” or the “rules of thumb” for creating placements lists. 

Maybe you are wondering why it’s important to compare these lists to find patterns. Is it important to try and create useful rules about how to use the keywords when you make placements lists? Instead of using as many keywords as you can.

Everyone has long lists for keywords and negative keywords to use in Programmatic Advertising. But when you’d like to create a placement list for a Google AdWords campaign that’s another story. Let’s talk about why it’s different.

Here’s an example:

Recently I tried to create a good placement list to advertise home improvement HVAC repair services. I’m going to share with you how I am doing this in practice, so let’s get started:

First, when I searched, I used these three different search phrases for the AC repair topic:

  • Air conditioning repair
  • HVAC repair 
  • Heating and cooling services

Here’s the first rule to always follow when creating placement lists: always use different search phrases and keywords that aren’t similar. 

The reason is because of the way the Google search engine mechanism works. When you search with similar phrases, the result will be pretty much the same for every search. And we need a lot of different sites to create a good placement list for our topic. 

When I checked the results, I got a little surprise. My placement list is full of car AC repair sites, mostly with car forum sites. 

I realized I need a negative keyword here. When you’re running a campaign for Google AdWords, you’ll need the negative keywords as well. You probably have a list for that too. When you create a placement list for your Google Display Ads you don’t need to use every negative keyword every time. But in this situation, you’ll need to use one which is CAR. 

In the next search, I still used those three phrases, but now I started to use the CAR as a negative keyword:

  • Air conditioning repair ‑car
  • HVAC repair ‑car
  • Heating and cooling services ‑car

After this, I still received some results related to car forums but fewer than in the previous one. I needed the negative keyword here.

The second rule to get a good result is to use negative keywords when your topic isn’t categorized or when it has more than one meaning! 

Here’s a tip, check your existing negative keyword list for your Google AdWords campaign. This is so that you can estimate if you’re going to need to use excluding words or not. 

Let’s jump to the final search in which I had to think a little bit more about how to get the best placement list. I realized I want to make a list in the home improvement AC services category. So, if I’m going to add the “home” tag for every search the result might be better as well. I ended up changing one more thing, I excluded the “HVAC repair” phrase. Because it’s pretty similar to the “Air conditioning repair”. In the end, I modified the search phrases to this:

  • Home Air conditioning repair ‑car
  • Home Heating and cooling services ‑car

And voila! The results turned out a lot better with these changes.

Here is the third rule: use enough specific search phrases when you create a placement list!

Finally, here we are, after a lot of experimenting and comparing our placements lists. Finally, we can define the three main “best practices” or “rules of thumb” for managed placements:

  1. Use different search phrases when you create a placement list! 
  2. Use negative keywords when your topic isn’t categorized or when it has more than one meaning! 
  3. Use enough specific search phrases for your topic!

I hope this is helpful advice to take your campaigns to the next level from now on! It is always important to try different things and think a little bit when creating placement lists for your Google Ads campaign.