In recent years, search engines have made major strides in improving the quality of their content placements. As a result, advertisers who are reluctant to extend their pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to a content network are missing out on a significant opportunity.
For those new to PPC, a content network is essentially a network of relevant sites that the search engines display your ads on based on the keywords you provide. For example, if you’ve ever read an article on NewYorkTimes.com, you may have noticed Google™ ads along the bottom or right-hand side of the page. These ads are being displayed on the Google content network. While there are many benefits to advertising on a content network, some of the key benefits include:
- Greater reach. According to Google, its content network reaches 80% of global Internet users. For advertisers who have maxed out their reach on a search network, a content network is a great way to extend their reach beyond that search network.
- Lower costs. Typically, most advertisers see lower cost-per-clicks (CPCs) on a content network. Because of these lower costs, advertisers can often achieve an equal or better cost-per-acquisition (CPA) than they normally would on a search network.
- Targeting a different audience. When advertising on a search network, advertisers are generally targeting Internet users who are actively searching for a specific product or service. Alternatively, searchers on a content network are not necessarily searching for a product or service, but they happen to stumble upon an advertiser’s ad. As a result, a content network is a way for advertisers to capture an audience they never would have reached on a search network.
- Rapid branding. Since content network ads receive a large number of impressions each day, a content network serves as a great vehicle for branding. It allows advertisers to display their brand on thousands of websites each day while only paying when someone actually clicks through to their website. And since a content network allows for demographic targeting, companies can easily set up an online branding campaign for their target market.
- Rapid ad testing. If a company wants to test various ad messaging in a short period of time, one of the best ways to achieve rapid exposure is through a content network. Advertisers are able to test messaging, allowing them to make more accurate conclusions in a shorter period of time.
While a content network won’t work for everyone, we’ve seen it work extremely well for many of our clients. If you do launch a content network campaign, keep the following in mind:
- Create separate campaigns for content and search campaigns.
Use search query reports to determine which sites are performing well and which ones are killing your performance:
a. Exclude sites that are driving up your costs and not converting.
b. Add sites that are performing well as managed placements.
Even if you’ve experimented with a content network in the past with little success, as with every technology imaginable, things change and improvements are made. Go ahead and create a test campaign and try it out. Just remember that behind every successful campaign is careful analysis and attentive management.