September 19, 2014

Small Business PPC – Content Network (Part II)

In Part I of Small Business PPC – Content Network we talked about when you should use the content network and why you should separate content network advertising into their own campaigns. Now we need to talk about how you control the beast that is the Google Content Network.

Controlling Google’s Content Network

The Google Content Network is best described as a black hole, sucking money away from advertisers into an abyss from which there is no return and no trace. However, with a few precautions and a wise course you can use the black hole to slingshot your business to speeds you never thought possible. This is how:

  • Budgets & Bids – These are your safety nets. Set the daily bid at a level where you are 100% cool with spending it. Set CPC bids lower than search, but remember that in the content network you need to be in the top 3 to show on most sites because a typical AdSense unit has 3 ads.
  • Negative Keywords – Run your search query reports frequently. Look for keywords that are triggering your ads but aren’t relevant (ie if you sell toto toilets you don’t want your ads showing next to content about Toto in the Wizard of Oz).
  • Domain Exclusion – Run your placement reports frequently too. Look for sites that don’t get results. This includes sites with lots of impressions but no clicks, or worse, sites with lots of clicks but no conversions. The new interface makes this much easier.

Bridled the Beast? Run with it!

Once you have a grip on the content network, start giving it the reins by increasing your budget. With the lower CPCs found in the content network you can often get conversions cheaper than search, and more of them. Any other advice from the experts out there?

Small Business PPC – Content Network (Part I)

content-network-black-hole

Content Network Black Hole
Nothing strikes fear into the heart of PPC newbies quite like the content network – a mystical black hole that sucks in all advertisers who dare pass too closely. While true that many an advertiser has lost hundreds or thousands of dollars in the content network, if properly used the content network can provide cheaper clicks and cheaper conversions for your business.

Divide and Conquer

Step 1 for the beginning AdWords user is to create separate campaigns for the content network. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. Keywords: The content network is contextually-targeted. Ads are not triggered by the exact keywords you have in the campaign. Ads are triggered if Google feels the intent or context is similar to your keywords. Therefore, for content campaigns you should feel free to use competitive head terms like weight loss or divorce lawyer (whereas in your search campaigns you are likely using more specific terms like “weight loss after pregnancy” or “Los Angeles divorce lawyer”). This will get you loads of impressions, and hopefully clicks, quickly.
  2. Ad Copy: Ads showing in Google’s content network are alongside articles, blogs, etc. In search the user is looking for you. In the content network they are doing something else and you need to entice them to click on your ads. This important difference is why you should use different ad copy. For the content network you need more compelling copy that draws attention.
  3. Stats: Users aren’t looking for ads in the content network. Therefore you will get lower CTR in the content network. Don’t be alarmed, but keeping content and search separate will help you know just how big the difference is. The low CTR shouldn’t scare you though. The content network will get you far more impressions to make up for the low CTR and you should be able to convert the traffic as well, or better, than your search campaigns.

Now you know the basics for getting started, but how do you control the beast? That will be the topic of my next post. Tune in next Tuesday!

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