The Google AdWords Content Network has come a long way in the last year. Before some necessary enhancements were implemented I was wary of the Content Network and believed it to be a waste of money. Though I still have concerns, the Content Network now has the ability to be much more targeted and provide conversions.
The Content Network can be a wonderful advertising network, as Google claims that the network reaches 80% of global Internet users. Your ads literally have the potential to show across hundreds of thousands of web sites (or as Google refers to them, placements). The primary difference between a Content Network campaign and a Search Network campaign is that users are not directly searching for you. A user does not need to type in a query to see your ad, but rather sees your ad within a site.
An ad in the Content Network relates more to a billboard seen on the highway, although a Content Network campaign can be better targeted. The principle is the same: you are trying to capture users who are not actively searching for you.
Tips for running a successful Content Network campaign include:
Only target the Content Network
By default, every new campaign you set up is targeted to both the Search and Content Network campaigns. Right away you should turn off the Search Network as you only want this campaign to reach the Content Network. A content campaign is set up a bit differently than a search campaign and is targeting different types of users.
Highly segment your ad groups
Whether you are running a Search or Content Network campaign, you should always create tightly themed ad groups. But a content campaign should go even further. For example, in a search campaign these keywords might constitute an ad group:
graphic design company
graphic design agency
graphic design firm
In a content campaign these keywords should each have their own ad group with ad copy that speaks to each term. Therefore, if a placement has the term “graphic design company” your ad will show up utilizing this exact terminology.
Consistently review your placements
You can choose the sites that you want to advertise on, but I recommend first allowing Google to make these decisions. Google will put your ads on placements that specifically speak to your targeted keywords. The idea is if you are bidding on the term “leather chairs” your ad will show up on a site selling leather chairs. Of course, this system is not perfect, so you must run a placement report often to see which sites your ads are showing on. This report is easily accessible in AdWords’s “reports” section.
You will find placements that are not converting or receiving too many impressions with too few clicks so you should add them as excluded placements. By excluding placements you are better utilizing your budget.
Write compelling ad copy
Remember that the users who see your ads in the Content Network are not actively searching for you. You need to persuade these users to leave the site they are on and go to yours. Every ad should include a strong call to action, but these ads really need that extra punch.
Analyze your leads
You may have a pretty good conversion rate and low cost-per-acquisition (CPA) in the Content Network, but you have to make sure the leads are high quality. With B2B campaigns, especially, you may find the majority of leads are of low value. Analyzing your leads will help hone the success of the campaign.
Optimized correctly, the Content Network can be a valuable source of leads at a cost effective price and work well in tandem with your search network campaigns.