Quick editorial note: Since this post, Display Select has been rebranded as Display Expansion but the functionality remains the same.

Search Companion Marketing has been studied, analyzed and looked at since early in 2012.  It has been changed a little and now is no longer a beta, but it also has a new name.  Display Select Keywords is the new name for this program.

Search Companion campaigns have provided PPC managers with alternative methods to target new audience segments, and now Display Select Keywords seem to be the new tool of the day.

In November 2013, Google announced that Search and Display Network campaigns would be changing to Search Network with Display Select.  The idea was to give users a way to test out the Display Network as Google would show your ads on the Search Network and on the GDN, but only to selective users that have been deemed as more likely to be interested in the products and services based on their search history.

In August 2014 Google began rolling out to the Google Display Network, Display Select Keywords, a feature currently available to around 10% of AdWords users.  Display Select Keywords (DSK) campaigns allow advertisers to show ads on pages on the Google Display Network (GDN) that have been earmarked as showing high intent and having higher contextual relevance.

To change your Display campaign into a Display select campaign, simply go the Display Network tab and click on +Targeting. Here, you may now have the option to enable display select keywords.

There are a couple of differences between the old Search Companion Marketing and the new Display Select Keywords.  Most notably is that ads will now be targeted to the content, based on audience behavior, rather than targeted to the audience.  This is the key change and should make the DSK campaigns more relevant.

Display Select Keywords are a great way to tap into new customers.  They provide greater control than a standard display campaign, as there is already a sign of intent by the person who will see the ad and it will happen without incurring the higher costs that can accompany a standard search campaign.

Here is an example of such a campaign





Conv. Rate


Standard Search






Display – In-Market & Affinity






Display – Similar Users






Search Companion / Display Select






Google changes on a weekly basis.  New strategies and techniques should always be tested to see how they work for each and every company.  Display Select Keywords is a viable technique that needs to be explored by all companies that want to increase their customer base.

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