Leveraging the Content Network

Google’s content network is made up of independent websites that publish Google ads (called Google AdSense).  Relevant ads are served because Google crawls the content of each page serving ads and determines which ads are fitting.

The content network is great to increase exposure.  Some of my ads have great conversions on the content network.  When AdSense was first launched, a few shady website publishers were being advocating clicking on their own ads, running rather elaborate (lame) operations to run up their AdSense earnings.  Google quickly caught on and the click fraud, as it’s called, has dropped.  However, it’s still a concern for running ads on the content network.  If it’s fraud, you’ll be paying for clicks from people that don’t care a thing about seeing what you have to offer.

To protect yourself from poor results in the content network, I highly recommend separating your campagins into content and google search.  We simply mark each of our content campaigns with a ‘ – c’ at the end and it’s done.  In that way, impressions, CTR, conversions, etc. don’t become intermingled.

Your content network ad strategy must differ significantly from your google search ads.  Remember, people that see a content ad are not actively searching, they’re reading or viewing.  Your ad needs to really have some teeth and pull them in in order to have a reasonably decent CTR.  The flipside of a lower CTR that I’ve found is that the conversion rate seems fairly it’s high.  My own experience has shown me (at least in two marketst that I’m thinking of specifically) that a person clicking on a content network ad really wants to see what you have to offer, or they wouldn’t have left what they are doing.  In the end though, it’s all about testing different approaches in the content network to see what works in your desired market(s).

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