Contextual Advertising

Add New Negative Keywords & Placements On the Fly

The integration of the Search Query Report directly into the Keywords tab of your Search campaigns makes it super-easy to see if your keywords or match types are picking up non-converting or irrelevant searches that should really be added as negatives at an adgroup level at least, or at a campaign level if they’re “way out there”.

It should be noted that the search queries (even in the new UI option) can take a couple of days to fully populate with results, so it’s best to look a decently-sized block of time to make sure the data is valid.

To access your search queries, go into an adgroup and select the Keywords tab and the “See Search Terms” button:

Next, if you see an irrelevant or poorly converting keyword you’d like to add as a negative on-the-fly, check the checkbox next to the keyword and hit the “Add as Negative Keyword” button:

This box then pops up allowing you to choose the match type of that negative keyword (it defaults to adding the keyword as an adgroup-level negative keyword) and you can vary your negative match type depending on how surgical you want to get in avoiding a particular keyword or phrase:

Compared to the old method of cutting and pasting from the Search Query Reports to your various adgroups, this is a MUCH easier and faster way to improve your campaign’s targeting.

Cutting Display Network Placements On-the-Fly

The same approach also works for adding negative site placements to your campaign with some small differences.

To exclude placements quickly (and with all the conversion data right at your fingertips), in your content network campaign, select an adgroup, then hit the “Networks” tab.

On the Networks tab, regardless of whether you’re using Automatic or Managed placements, you’ll see a full list of domains (or URLs) where your ads are showing and how they’re converting.

If you see a dud, hit the checkbox next to the junk placement and click the “Exclude Placements” button:

On the popup box, select whether you want to exclude the domain or URL placement for your entire campaign or only this adgroup.  Because you can often kill the golden goose in another adgroup by doing a campaign-level exclusion, it’s usually best to stick to the adgroup level and evaluate each of your adgroup’s exclusion placements on a group-by-group basis.

All in all, the consolidation in the new UI is speeding things up considerably, it just takes some getting used to:)

Mastering The Google Content Network

3 Comments Written on August 17th, 2010 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising

The Google content network has huge reach. It’s also a lot cheaper than advertising on the search network, yet the conversion rates can be much the same.

Whilst the content network has had a bad reputation in the past, this has often been due to poorly targeted campaigns. Marketers have simply copied their existing search campaigns to the content network, and failed miserably.

The content network requires a different strategy. There are two key aspects to doing well on the content network: distraction and demographics.

Distract Your Audience

When a person searches Google, they are actively looking for something specific. When a text ad matches their search, they are likely to consider it relevant, and click on it.

Contrast this activity with the content network.

On the content network, the reader is viewing a page of content. They aren’t necessarily hunting for something specific. The advertising, therefore, is peripheral. Advertising on the content network needs to distract visitors away from their activity.

The content network offers more formats than the search network. You can run text, video and graphical ads. They are also different sizes and shapes. Here’s a rundown on the formats from Google.

You should develop ads in a number of different formats to test which works best for you. I recommend you create ads for the most common first, which are the Leaderboard (728x 90), the Medium Rectangle (300×250) and the Wide Skyscraper (160 x 600). Move on to the other sizes if you need more reach, or to target sites that only offer specific formats.

Of course, if you’re only using text ads, you don’t need to consider ad format sizes, but I strongly suggest you do develop graphical advertising. It gives you more options to distract.

When advertising on the content network, don’t be afraid to be outrageous. Remember, you’re aiming to distract people. So use imperatives! Offer free stuff. Use all the hooks of the direct marketing trade. In particular, focus on strong benefit statements.

You have very little time to make an impression with people who don’t actually have your product or service in mind. Advertising on the content network is more like print and television advertising than search advertising. The search network is about seeking. The content network is about discovery. To create and drive demand.

Separate out your content advertising from your search advertising. Run two separate campaigns. Don’t simply run the exact same campaign you are running on the search network.

The two are very different beasts.

Identify Your Market…..Right Down To The Individual

Because the Google content network attempts to match your ads to pages it determines your visitors might read, it pays to know who you buyer is, and what they are reading.

For example, grab a celebrity magazine and flip through the advertising. You’ll likely find weight loss advertisements, grooming advertisements, etc. This is because the advertisers have identified their target demographic. They know that people who are interested in celebrities are also likely to be interested in products a, b & c. You can do the same thing online.

In the above example, the keywords in the ad group would need to include keywords related to celebrities, even though the advertisement is advertising weight loss products.

Specifically, use the Adwords placement tool to find sites that match your chosen demographic. Examine the copy those sites use and look for commonly occurring keyword terms. Use SEO keyword frequency analysis tools to help you.

Use the most common terms as the basis for your keyword list. This way, you’ll appear on sites that closely match your demographic. You’ve given Google the terms that would most likely appear in their copy. Remember to still use negative operators on keywords that don’t appear to fit.

Keyword terms should also be specific. Try to avoid using terms that have double meanings i.e. Apple could mean a fruit, or Apple computers.Use two or three word phrases, where necessary, to add clarity.

The Adwords placement tool is very powerful. Once you’ve established your demographic, you can drill down further by targeting specific sites. You can tailor ads and entire campaigns for just those sites.

Ask yourself: who is the customer? What are their favorite TV shows? What magazines do they read? What are their interests? What are their favorite websites? Seek out sites that fit the demographic. Use the same keywords in your keyword list as they do in their copy. Target you advertisements directly to the the most appropriate sites. Your job is then to distract readers enough so they click on your ads. At least you’re in front of the right crowd!

Identifying and isolating demographics, and learning the art of distraction, is key to success on the content network.

Twitter Promoted Tweets Ads

No Comments » Written on April 15th, 2010 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising

Twitter have announced a new advertising model, called Promoted Tweets.

Promoted Tweets are paid tweets that appear at the top of Twitter’s search results. The promoted tweet is much the same as a normal tweet in that you can retweet it, reply to it, or mark it as a favourite. The only difference is that it is sponsored. The sponsorship is marked.

Promoted Tweets work much like a banner ad – for now. Advertisers pay per thousand views, however the ads also have a type of quality score. Twitter rewards ads that “resonate” with the audience. Presumably ads that don’t resonate get downgraded or dropped.

You will start to see Tweets promoted by our partner advertisers called out at the top of some search results pages. We strongly believe that Promoted Tweets should be useful to you. We’ll attempt to measure whether the Tweets resonate with users and stop showing Promoted Tweets that don’t resonate”

Pilot Testing

This advertising isn’t available to the public yet, but it pays to watch the system in the pilot stage, so when it does open up, you’ll have a good idea of how to work it. We’ll be watching and reporting on it, too.

That’s if it succeeds.

It will be very interesting to see if this type of advertising translates to social media, especially a service with such narrow functionality compared to, say, Facebook.


Does Twitter have the depth/volume? Obscure topics on Google can be worth a few cents. How about obscure topics on Twitter? Do they have the volume?

And another question:

Will The Ads Stay Relevant? If you don’t have the volume, then advertising is either not going to display much, in which case the advertisers won’t put much effort into the channel, or Twitter may show ads across broader topics, which may increase page views, but decrease relevance. One way they could get around this is by using demographic profiling, as opposed to keywords. i.e. we know these people are interested in X, no matter what they happen to be talking about at the time, so we’ll show them advertising for X.

And another question – perhaps the biggest issue: will the social media user base go for it?

It is smart of Twitter to stage the roll-out on their search function first. Users who are conversing with one another won’t (I assume) see the ads. People who search have become accustomed to advertising in Google search, so will be more likely to accept it. Once enough people accept advertising as being a part of Twitter, it becomes easier to gain acceptance when rolling it out across other functions.

But this would be a big departure in terms of how Twitter works. People follow people they have chosen to follow. How will they react to seeing Tweets from people they haven’t chosen to follow, namely paid advertisers? No doubt Twitter have considered this. Perhaps they will make a clear separation.

Like with Google Adwords, this is all going to come down to relevance. Or resonance. As deemed by the user.

Interesting times for advertisers. Stay tuned!

Yahoo! Publisher Network Dies

2 Comments Written on March 31st, 2010 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo

Just got this via email:

Yahoo! continuously evaluates and prioritizes our products and services, in alignment with business goals and our continued commitment to deliver the best consumer and advertiser experiences. After conducting an extensive review of the Yahoo! Publisher Network beta program, we have decided to close the program effective April 30, 2010. We expect to deliver final publisher payments for the month ending April 30, 2010 to publishers no later than May 31, 2010. All publishers eligible for 1099s for the 2010 tax year will have those mailed by January 31, 2011.

Because our content will no longer be delivered to your ad unit spaces after April 30, 2010, we recommend removing all YPN ad code from your pages by that date.

For the opportunity to continue earning revenue, we suggest using Chitika, a leading advertising network that syndicates Yahoo! Content Match and Sponsored Search ads. Chitika has set up a special process for YPNO beta publishers to participate in its platform. Click here for more information.

Sad to see Yahoo! either bowing out from and/or outsourcing so many of their businesses. Given Yahoo!’s huge reach as a publisher and the idea behind audience matching at the likes of Quantcast, Yahoo! should have been fairly well positioned to run a distributed ad network. But since they sold off search they just keep cutting pieces. I would have thought that running a contextual network would have been additional free volume Yahoo! made while creating optimization algorithms for their own properties.

Given their pending tie-in with Microsoft, it is a bit surprising to see them recommending Chitika (though the recommendation is a nice win for Chitika). Part of selling the search tie up deal with Microsoft was the idea of economies of scale driving increased yields. And now AdSense (which is already probably at least as dominant in contextual ads as Google is in search) just lost another competitor. For as saturated as online ad networks are, it is surprising that AdSense has such a big lead and that Microsoft didn’t make catching up with PubCenter a higher priority.

Creating a distributed ad network would give Microsoft 5 big weapons in the search game

  • collecting lots more data about the web
  • more direct relationships with many webmasters
  • forcing Google to cut their margins on the distributed ads (if they want to bleed you dry on Office then reciprocate the favor on their AdSense ads)
  • the ability to have a network to re-target searchers on
  • having a backfill set of inventory to do some home cooking, promoting new releases and the Bing brand for pennies on the Dollar, just like Google did with Nexus One

One strategic positive for Yahoo! is that they have pushing harder into the original content development, but if they become more profitable with that will some of their content licensing partners start increasing their rates?

And if there is any sorta sustainable economic rebound (doubtful), then I would give it 2 to 1 odds that Yahoo! buys Chitika in the next 3 years 😀

Fascinating New Adwords Placement Test

Google announced on their LatLong (Maps) blog today that they’re experimenting with placing pricing for hotels directly next to the hotel listings in Google Maps.

At first glance, it looked like another Google-internal affiliate marketing initiative, but it’s actually quite clever.

Here’s the official sample screenshot – Look closely at the price listing drop-down box in Adwords yellow:


If nothing else, it’s an innovative way to roll in Adwords results directly into the organic SERPs.

Paid Placement With a Twist

Interestingly, Google’s post points out explicitly that these listings are not traditional paid placements:

This new feature will not change the way that hotels are ranked in Google Maps. Google Maps ranks business listings based on their relevance to the search terms entered, along with geographic distance (where indicated) and other factors, regardless of whether there is an associated price.

So the blur between paid and organic continues it’s inevitable march forward.

It’s also of note that Google has chosen affiliate sites like Expedia and Priceline as their preferred advertiser testing partners for this experiment, not the hotels themselves…

It will be interesting to see how this progresses, and what other verticals it shows up in.

Incentivizing Click Fraud on the Google Content Network

No Comments » Written on February 16th, 2010 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising

The single biggest reason Yahoo! had to gut their search efforts was that they offered a syndication network with tons of fraudulent search distribution, and never let you opt out of it until 2010. It killed their click value and simply made it impossible for them to create enough yield on their core search traffic.

Google has long allowed advertisers to opt out of the content network and many search partners, and that has made their core market healthy. And given their efforts to detect fraud (and how smart pricing works on content websites) they have de-incentivized fraud to some degree. But now that content mills are being built, that trend may soon swing in the other direction.

With Demand Studio’s new revenue-sharing project, they encourage writers to share content with their relatives:

The more high quality links to your article there are on the web, the more highly a search engine will rank it. … Your family and friends are probably curious about what you are writing anyway. Send them links and invite them to take a look!

Given that authors are paid on revenue share, what is the chance that say 5% or 10% of them will also ask family members to click on the ads while viewing the page?

How could Google catch it?

You could say I am cynical, but human nature is predictable and many of the kinds of people who work for the content mills will do anything to make a Dollar. Laws exist to catch the bad actors, but when the publishers are encouraging the creation of distribution amongst friends & family and the party responsible is concealed from Google, the incentives are aligned against the interest of advertisers.

As fraud seeps in slowly, eventually it will become expected…either you engage in it, or your become an economically inefficient piece of the web – a relic. And most advertisers won’t know why their profits have dropped with the increasing number of clicks. Some will filter, but most of them will just lower their bids on the content network (or simply turn it off, as many did with Yahoo!), which in the end harms the legitimate publishers who run AdSense ads.

On one front they are stealing your content, and on the next they are destroying the value of the ads you carry. Like it or not, if you are an online publisher who depends on ad revenues it will impact you.

The incentivized publishers are pushing into the big money categories. Jason Calacanis outrageously suggested investing in people asking big money questions:

If I was a smart person I would INVEST in asking questions of high CPM value (i.e. mortgage, drugs, products, etc) and give them a nice M$3 tip. If you do that 33 times I’m betting you would make the M$100 back. 🙂

The suggestion of the free virtual currency flowing back and forth really highlights the end goal of such efforts. How long will it take advertisers to notice?

Outside of Mahalo & eHow, what other sites are engaging in the incentivized publishing programs? What sort of ROI have you seen from them? And how do you expect that to change going forward?

The Ultimate Google Content Network Advertising Guide

7 Comments Written on February 3rd, 2010 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising

With Adwords bid prices going through the roof, and competition more fierce than ever, is it time to revisit the Google Content Network?


Google’s Content Network distributes PPC text and graphic advertising publishers sites, in the form of Adsense.

The content network differs from search PPC in that you aren’t bidding on search terms, at least not directly. You’re bidding to appear on certain sites that Google relates to groups of keyword terms. It’s the banner ad model, with a few clever tweaks to ensure relevance.

Why should advertisers pay any attention to the content network in 2010? Isn’t it rife with click fraud and under-performance?

Last year, Google released a study [PDF] showing the difference in performance between the two networks.

Turns out the CPA performance is pretty close:

“In November 2008, the median advertiser running on both the Search and Content Networks had a Content Network CPA
within approximately 2% of their Search Network CPA, suggesting that these advertisers were able to drive Content Network
conversions that were as cost-effective as Search Network conversions.”

Of course, Google would say that 🙂

However, the important metric in web advertising campaigns is ROI. If you achieve a good return, then some level of click fraud, garbage traffic and reduced control may not matter, especially when compared to the difference in click price on Google Search.

If your ROI is positive, you win. ROI is one of the key metrics you need to pay close attention to on the content network.

Besides having lower click prices, the content network also has extensive reach, appearing on millions of websites. The majority of web activity, by far, occurs at the content level.

As for issues such as fraud and low performance, the content network has certainly matured from where it was a few of years ago. Google do appear to be ironing our issues, and with better reporting, conversion is easier to both measure and retain.

Let’s take a look at how to approach advertising on the content network.

The Content Network – A Different Way Of Thinking


The advertiser picks a visitor demographic by grouping Adwords themes, as opposed to appearing under a particular keyword term. When people see your ads, it’s not because they are hunting for something specific, as signaled by a keyword search, they tend to be engaged in reading or browsing.

This fundamental quality requires that you use a different approach that you use in your PPC campaigns.

So, the first step is to split your campaigns between the search network and the content network, so you have a basis for comparison. Whilst it can be more work setting it up, the split allows you to test different wording and approaches on both networks.

A Strategy For The Content Network

Placement on third-party sites can be a little hit and miss.

Google’s algorithms try to figure out where best to place your ad and do so by crunching numbers based around historical performance of ads similar to yours.

It is reasonable to assume that Google rewards the ads that are clicked on the most.

You can hand-select sites, which is also a legitimate approach. However, you might end up making worse guesses than Google, who at least have some content network data to crunch.

With this in mind, one effective strategy is to cast a wide net, then refine your campaign once you have some data to work with. Let Google decide placement, no matter how weird and wonderful, monitor your data, then cut the losers and run with the winners.

Step One:


Download Google’s Adwords Editor, if you don’t have it already. You can also use your Google Adwords web-based account, but I find it easier to manage these campaigns with the desktop version.

Step Two:

Setup conversion tracking. Google Analytics is free to use, and there are various third-party tools available.

Step Three:

Open the Adwords Editor and import an existing Adwords campaign.

Step Four:

Change search network to “none”

Step Five:

Change content network to “anywhere on the network”

Step Six:

Set your daily budget. A good rule of thumb at this point is to slash your bidding by 50%.

You now have a basis for comparison of the content network vs your PPC campaign on the search network. It’s a good idea to separate the two different networks out, as you likely find your advertising needs tweaking in order to work well on the content network. We’ll look closer at this aspect shortly.

Step Seven:

Get rid of negative keywords, keyword bids and any other variable used to hone and optimize your Adwords PPC campaigns as these may affect your placement on the content network. You may end up having to replace some of the specific negative keywords with broader irrelevant keyword modifiers and themes.

One important aspect of placement on the content network is keyword themes. More on this shortly.

In this exploration phase, you want to cast a wide net as possible, as you may find good traffic in places you never considered, or knew existed. It matters little if that a site Google places you on doesn’t appear to be appropriate. That site may have the target demographic you’re looking for, and that target demographic may exist on a sub-page of that site that isn’t immediately obvious at first glance. Once you’ve had a chance to evaluate performance, you can then go through and optimize by removing sites.

Some people do it the opposite way, of course. They have certain sites in mind, and only target those sites. Both methods are legitimate. The advantage is that you retain tight control from the outset. The disadvantage, as noted above, is that you may miss lucrative traffic streams from sites you don’t know about.

Once you’ve got some data, you can run a third campaign on only the content sites that convert well. The bids for this campaign can be set higher.

Use Google’s Placement Algorithms To Your Advantage

Like with any Google algorithm, there is a lot of conjecture about exactly how Google decides where to place your ads.

Essentially, the same factors as Adwords apply, such as bid pricing and the relevance of ad text, with the addition of theme matching.

Google matches the theme of your adgroup to the theme of the content page on which it appears.

What this means in practice is that your should ensure your ad groups are tightly focused around a thematic idea. One way of doing this is to pay close attention to the terms Google associates with your keyword research in Google Keyword Tool and the ~ command i.e. place a ~ before your keyword search in Google to find associated terms.

For example, “Ford Mustang, Mustang, Used Mustang, Classic Mustangs” is an example of a tightly focused thematic group. “Cars, Sports Cars, American Cars”, less so. Google may place you on sites related to cars, but not specific cars, which may lower every positive metric relating to ad relevance.

Bidding occurs at the ad group level. Be sure to adjust your bids down on the content network – 50% is a rough guide – as content clicks tend to be worth less than search clicks, especially in the experimental phase.

Google’s content pricing is per click, however you will be charged different rates per click, depending on the site your ad appears on. Google attempts to work out where
in the buy cycle a visitor might be, based on the type of content a page displays, and the closer that person is to buying, the higher the price charged. However, the conversion rate is likely to be higher from such a page, than from a vaguely related page not related to strong buyer intent.

Think carefully about the context of your ads. Ads aren’t appearing as a result of a specific keyword search. Someone will be reading a page, perhaps on a site they are very familiar with, and they probably aren’t in hunting mode. It’s more a form of discovery, of stumbling across something.

Experiment with your ad text, as what works on the search network may not translate to the content network. Bear this in mind when creating your ads.

Google offers placement reports. These can be found under Report Type section, select Placement Performance.

These reports show you where your ad is shown, number of impressions, and other data you’d normally expect to see in you Adwords reports. You can determine which sites offer you the best bang for you buck, and which sites are not converting. You can block the low converting sites with the Site Exclusion tool. Even if a site which is getting you a lot of ad impressions is not yielding many clicks it can still pull down the overall quality of your campaign. Each layer of inefficiency that you block makes your remaining account that much more potent because your clickthrough rate and ad quality are improved.

Branding & Image Ads

A final note about branding. You tend to get a lot of impressions on the content network, which can help drive brand awareness. If branding is important to you, then consider placing image ads, or writing your text ads with this aim in mind. You may rack up a lot of exposure and awareness before having to pay much in the form of click-thrus! In many cases image ads will require higher bidding since you are blocking out competing ads.

Here are a few popular image ad strategies

  • the well branded image which aims to not only drive traffic directly, but also aims to create awareness to fuel online or offline conversions. many of these types of ads contain an interesting offer like some interactive quiz or goal
  • the coupon ad which aims to drive direct conversions
  • the affiliate “1 secret” ads where they have a cartoon character which makes it seem like anyone can do _____ (by over-promising and under-delivering)

No matter what ad strategy you use it helps to test multiple variations. Right now is using at least 3 different ad formats to help keep them fresh. Image ads may need to be refreshed every few weeks to every few months to prevent a nosedive in CTR. What was once a successful strategy become less effective as people see the same ad over and over again, and as other advertisers copy a particular strategy it may become less appealing (this is especially true in the fast moving affiliate market).

And if a specific site performs well for you then you might want to create an ad just for it…though sometimes one can go too far with the blending…the goal should not be to anger the publishers! 😀

All Your Content Impressions Are Belong to Nexus One

Adwords content advertisers might be left wondering where all their impressions disappeared to today.  That impression vacuum?  It’s Google bogarting a large portion of their content network with Nexus One display ads.

This morning, Adsense publishers were reporting a dramatic drop in Adsense clicks and revenue.

Sadly, many of the sites brandishing Nexus ads weren’t exactly tech-related…

Have a cooking site?  Google thinks the Nexus One ads are a perfect fit for your visitors.  Soccer fan site?  Here’s some Nexus One for you too.

But if you’re a content advertiser looking to advertise pots and pans on cooking sites?  Sorry, no impressions left…

Obviously, search impressions are Google’s to do with what they please, but publisher inventory is a bit different.

Given Google’s big push towards making advertisers provide a more “magazine content-style landing experience”, it’s with keen interest that we examine Google’s Nexus One landing page:


10/10 Quality Score?  As we can see here, the user experience is nicely augmented here by the volumes of valuable ‘magazine-style’ content.

To be fair, Google has a nice little click-to-learn-more interface on the phone and a 3D tour to boot.  Hopefully they were just kidding about the amount of content and navigation they’ve been asking advertisers to incorporate on their landing pages at the expense of conversions.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Chrome ads are also around, but not in anywhere near the volume of the Nexus One units.

Some have also noted the mantra of the ‘clean Google search page’ has undergone some adjustment:


At least Adsense pubs can take solace in knowing that the ads are good enough for, so they should be good enough for them.

Hopefully this is just a one or two day push and when they’re done perhaps Google’s advertisers can have the content network back.

Building Ad Groups With Keywords From The Wonder Wheel

10 Comments Written on November 3rd, 2009 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising, Google Adwords

The Wonder Wheel is a great little free tool by Google.

You can use the Wonder Wheel to quickly build keyword lists and Adwords groups in a visual way. With this tool, Google shows you the terms that relate most closely to your chosen keyword terms.

What Is The Google Wonder Wheel?

The Google Wonder Wheel is an interactive graphical application that shows related keywords.

The wheel starts with your keyword in the center, and shows terms related to that keyword in the “spokes” surrounding your keyword “hub”. If you click on a related term, the wheel creates a new hub, revealing more related terms.

Here’s how to find it:

1. Search on a keyword term.

Google Wagon Wheel

2. Select “More Options…”


3. Click “Wonder Wheel”


Let’s say your main keyword area is “culinary schools”. The Google wheel suggests related keyword terms such as “culinary arts”, “pastry schools”, “le cordon bleu”, “top 10 culinary schools”, and so on.


These keywords become your Adwords groups. Next, click on each of those terms, and you get further terms that will make up each group.

Easy, huh.

You get Adwords groups built around related keywords, which come together to form a theme.

Themes And The Content Network

The theme is particularly powerful when it comes to the Google Content Network.

The Content Network is Google’s syndicated advertising network. You can choose to have your ad appear not just on Google search results, but also on sites across the Google’s Adsense partner network. This option is turned on by default whenever you create an Adwords campaign.

Traditionally, many Adwords advertisers have turned off the content network because of perceived abuse and junk traffic. However, attitudes are changing as the network matures and the bid prices on Google’s search engine head into the stratosphere. The ROI from the content network starts to look more appealing.

It all comes down to ROI. If it’s positive, run with it.

In Google’s whitepaper entitled “CPA Perfomance Trends on the Google Content Network“, Google found that:

…..half of the advertisers had a Content Network CPA at least 2.6% lower
than their average Search Network CPA. In total, 51.6% of advertisers analyzed had an average Content Network CPA equal to or better than their Search Network CPA

It has taken a while, but it looks like Google and advertisers may have got Google’s content network figured out. As the report suggests, it is important that the advertiser pay close attention to landing page optimization and site exclusion.

How does this all relate to the Wonder Wheel?

When Google looks to place your ad across the network, it does so based on themes.

If you use terms that are defined as being related in the Wonder Wheel throughout your text, particularly in your ad groups, you’re more likely to show up on relevant sites across the network.

Google describe this affect on their Adwords Agency blog:

One particularly useful application of the tool is to identify new ad group themes for content campaigns. Since your ads are matched to publisher pages at the ad group level, creating different ad group themes helps you target your ads more precisely on the Google content network…..

You can then use the Google keyword tool, and your other favorite research tools, to flesh these groups out further.

As the blog notes, this is no guarantee of better performance, however the Wonder Wheel is a great – and fun – place to start.

Other attempts at keyword clustering can also be useful for campaign creation. Such features are offered via search suggestions on major search services, via synonym search (using ~) on major search engines, and as keyword clusters on many meta search engines. Specialty search services like the Quintura keyword map, Microsoft Search Funnels, Google Sets, and Google Squared can further help you come up with relevant keyword ideas.

Looking For Credit Cards? Google Creating New Search Inventory

6 Comments Written on November 29th, 2008 by
Categories: Contextual Advertising, Google Adwords

Search monetizes so well because there is so much implied intent in a search. But some have claimed slowing search volume and lowering ad costs.

The search box is perhaps the most profitable ad unit because consumers feel some level of control as they request ads about whatever topic they search for.

To offset slowing online adverting, Google is looking to “create” more search volume by using AdSense ad units to suggest consumers search for expensive keywords – like credit cards.

In the past Google has ran ads asking the consumer to “search for ads about ______” but this is the first Google ad unit that takes searchers directly off the publisher site and directly onto a Google search result with organic search results. It is one thing if Google asks for you to search for ads because they don’t understand the theme of a page, but it is quite another for them to have pre-made ads to siphon off the visitor to a Google search result without guaranteeing publisher payments (or is the first click paid, but at a heavily discounted rate?).

How much does Google pay AdSense publishers for this ad unit, when conversion happens after 2 clicks rather than 1? What percent of the end ad spend goes to the publisher when Google arbitrages the click through How does smart pricing come into play when Google discounts the original click and then marks up the second one?

This sort of advertising allows Google to water down their search traffic slightly, but without advertisers knowing how it got watered down, or why their conversion rates lowered slightly.