We’ve often heard stories of businesses who tried the content network only to be met with financial losses and no way to know if sales resulted. Google’s Content Network can still be a big bad place, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow these strategic recommendations:
Effectively target and create your ads with your audience in mind. Your audience should consist of those customers who may actually turn into customers*. Effectively targeting your ads also includes ensuring your creative is appealing to your target market and that your offer is in-line with what your target demographic expects.
Target your content ads both contextually and by placement. Contextually targeting your ads is a great option if you want your content ads to appear alongside certain keywords or content.
If you are selling ‘I Love New York City’ merchandise, you may want your ads to appear alongside any story that discusses the closing of the famed Tavern on the Green Restaurant located in Central Park. You would want to be careful, although, that your ads do not show up alongside any articles for Frank The Entertainer…In a Basement Affair, the show starring the guy who first gained fame from VH1’s I Love New York TV Show!
Don’t include all of your products under one umbrella. A common mistake is including too many products or keywords in one ad group. The best optimized content campaigns are categorical and not keyword based; only add a handful of keywords into each ad group. For starters you can use like keywords from your already well optimized search campaign.
Always be tracking. Make sure you are giving yourself enough time to see conversions come in. Timeframe can be dependent upon your product’s buying cycle and how many clicks your ads receive. Now that you have conversion data, make sure you are moving forward in optimizing your account only for conversions with an ideal ROI. To optimize your ads you can use tactics such as increasing bids on high-converting sites and lowering bids and/or excluding poorly performing sites.
Remember, you can’t always be tracking. There are instances where you won’t see a jump in sales just because you began a content network campaign. Realize that the content network can also work to get customers familiar with your brand. You won’t always be able to make an attribution from the content network ad to the conversion that comes out the other side.
The steps above are high-level, but you should work on setting up a great structure and optimize your Content Network account just as much as your search account. According to Google research, “[i]n a study of 25,000 global accounts, over half had an average Content Network CPA equal to or better than their Search Network CPA.”
*If you don’t have a good handle on who your target demographic is, a great place to start is your Yahoo account. Yahoo has tools that will allow you to pinpoint your demographic IF you enable this feature in your Yahoo account.