Pure and simple, the Content Network presents a huge opportunity to get profitable leads.
But because there are many poor content websites that will not convert into a lead (well, it’s the undesirable visitors of those sites really…) you will waste your budget unless you have a solid strategy.
Google’s default setting is to show your Search Campaign on the Content Network. And then advertisers see no need to turn it “off”. Big mistake. (I know some advertisers have started a new search campaign without even realizing that the content network is on at all!)
I really wish Google would turn it off by default – however I am not holding my breath, as this would instantly lose them squillions of dollars.
The Content Network is a great opportunity because it offers a huge volume of clicks (which is growing all the time), and usually at lower cost per clicks (CPCs) than the Search Network. (We have achieved some really low costs per leads for some clients that we couldn’t get on the Search Network.)
Let’s get onto how to make the Content Network work for you:
1. Make sure all your Search Network campaigns have the Content Network set to OFF.
2. Create a new campaign just for the Content Network (so disable the Search Network), and tick “Relevant pages across the entire network” (this is also called “automatic placements”)
3. Create ad groups with high level theme type keywords that Google will use to match to the content of website that it finds. (eg “plasma TV”, not “Panasonic 10347xt”) Generally 10 keywords should be enough for Google to match to a particular theme of a webpage.
4. Set your budget (perhaps conservatively initially) and set your Cost Per Click at about half of the Search campaigns and go live.
5. As you monitor the results, I recommend you do 2 important tasks:
a. Use “Site Exclusions” in the AdWords console to exclude any poorly performing websites (this process is not too dissimilar to the “adding negative keywords” process)
b. And then, this is the killer, also exclude any HIGH PERFORMING websites, and then create a new “Manual Placement” campaign where you bid specifically on these great websites. You know they work right, so why not get more control, and ensure your ads always show there?
6. With your ad writing, you know that when people search in a search engine like Google, they are actively looking for your products or services (duh!). But on the Content Network they are reading some content (not looking for you) – and you need to interrupt that person, so your ads have to gain even more attention.
So I recommend you give the Content Network another try, but do not let Google do it automatically for you.
Adjust your strategy and you will be pleasantly surprised.
By Philip Shaw
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