The Google Display Network Is The Devil: How to Opt Out

photoMost online marketers already know this but it is worth repeating: do not, under any circumstances, use the Google Display Network. It has long been known that the quality of the network is extremely questionable, but lately I have been finding many examples of blatant abuse of the network and advertisers.

Take a look at this image. Does anything stand out to you? It was taken from a quiz on, a site that abuses the Google Display Network. Notice that embedded within the content itself is an ad – located directly above actionable content. What this does is increase the likelihood that a user will accidentally click on an ad. This came to my attention when I had visited the site through someone’s Twitter post and ended up accidentally clicking on the ad. Ads are displayed directly above the “next” button on the mobile site. The button for the quiz is very small and located directly beneath an ad making it very likely that you will click on the ad instead of the button.

Unless you work for a company that likes to waste money, you should avoid situations like these by opting out of the Google Display Network. I will walk you through the steps below:

  1. When you create a new campaign, look for the “Networks and Devices” section and click “Let me choose”.
  2. Uncheck “Display Network”.
  3. Also, consider unchecking “Search Partners” as well if you want to further improve ROI.


To play devil’s advocate for myself, I was trying to think of reasons why someone might find the Display Network useful:

  1. You are a spammer or phisher that wants to drive unsuspecting victims to your site (so you don’t care where they are coming from or if they are clicking accidentally).
  2. You want more visits to your page even if everyone is immediately clicking away because they didn’t mean to click the ad.
  3. Your favourite thing is wasting money.

The Display Network is an interesting concept that would work in a perfect world where your ads are displayed on only highly relevant sites and enthralled customers come clicking to your door. Unfortunately, the reality is that many sites like abuse the network. Google does not police the network as closely as it should because they stand to benefit from sites like ChaCha that generate a lot of money for them. Meanwhile, advertisers are left wondering why they are spending tons of money with no return.


Hint: you can choose which sites your ads display on so you have the option of choosing a select few sites or blocking select sites (the Display Network’s only saving grace).


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