How working in the Google content network differs from working in a search campaign.
If you're like many marketers, you've had limited success with the Google content network. Given the improvements Google's made over the last year, you may want to give the content network another look, particularly if you've been running Google content campaigns using the same campaign structure used in your search campaign. That method may not represent the right strategy and implementation to capture the interest of a content user.
In my last column, I examined some recent changes to the Google content system involving display advertising. But most of you don't have graphical media (ad creative) handy, nor do you have the resources or the inclination to produce the banners needed to run display media in Google's or another's network. If you want to leverage high levels of incremental visibility, clicks, and content, your primary option is good old text links, served contextually. If you're lucky, you can even justify your increased keyword-targeted spending by managing your campaign to the same ROI (define) metrics used for your search campaign.
Google's AdSense provides huge additional reach, but the conversion rate on contextual traffic is often dramatically lower on the content networks than from pure search. Even with separate campaigns and Google's smart pricing algorithms supposedly bringing things into line, taking effective advantage of the content network is often challenging. Growing a campaign and extracting additional profitable clicks from the keyword-targeted media ecosystem are never easy, but after your pure search campaign has gone through several iterations of expansion and tuning, the only way (other than fighting a bidding war and raising bids while ROI drops) is to expand the campaign by trying (or retrying) content targeting.
Content is not search. So if you've tested and continue to use the same campaign structure for content that works well in search, you may be missing huge opportunities. To maximize reach and opportunity you need to treat content differently because:
Search inventory is so precious and scarce that we all get a little myopic, focusing our marketing and optimization efforts exclusively on the SERP. However, growing one's business exclusively on search is a game of diminishing marginal returns after a few years. To stimulate your customer's demand instead of simply harvesting it, consider the content network. It's changed a lot recently, and every indication is it will continue to change. Content is keyword-targeted, which is something we're all used to. We just need to work at getting contextual advertising to work harder for us.
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Kevin Lee, Didit cofounder and executive chairman, has been an acknowledged search engine marketing expert since 1995. His years of SEM expertise provide the foundation for Didit's proprietary Maestro search campaign technology. The company's unparalleled results, custom strategies, and client growth have earned it recognition not only among marketers but also as part of the 2007 Inc 500 (No. 137) as well as three-time Deloitte's Fast 500 placement. Kevin's latest book, "Search Engine Advertising" has been widely praised.
Industry leadership includes being a founding board member of SEMPO and its first elected chairman. "The Wall St. Journal," "BusinessWeek," "The New York Times," Bloomberg, CNET, "USA Today," "San Jose Mercury News," and other press quote Kevin regularly. Kevin lectures at leading industry conferences, plus New York, Columbia, Fordham, and Pace universities. Kevin earned his MBA from the Yale School of Management in 1992 and lives in Manhattan with his wife, a New York psychologist and children.
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