If you haven't given the Google Display Network a good look lately, perhaps you should, particularly if you find yourself in a hyper-competitive category or with a significant shortage of keyword impression inventory in the SERPs. Here's why. One primary advantage that contextual traffic has over pure search is greater elasticity of supply for a given set of keywords within many industries, because the bloggers and content farms have generated reams of great content. If your industry category is like that, it means you can raise your CPC bids and see a greater increase in click volume than you could if you applied the same percentage bid increase to your search bids.
If you were to ask most search marketers what their paid search budget was, you'd find them including text link ads served over Google's network of sites based on keyword triggers, also known as contextual targeting. (Advertisers and Google used to call it the AdSense network, but when you look at campaign targeting settings these days, you'll see no mention of AdSense or contextual networks. Google just calls it a "Display Network," even if you are running only keyword-targeted text link ads and not banners.)
Purists don't think of contextual targeting as pure search engine marketing. However, when you consider that the vast majority of page views within the Google Display Network arrived at those sites as a result of a search, then it is indeed much more reasonable to think of contextual traffic as search traffic, one click-removed from the SERP. That's almost (but not quite) as good as search clicks.
If you are tapping the additional inventory opportunities within the Display Network, particularly if you are doing it with text link ads, you may want to consider giving your account a tune-up. The way Google serves ads within the network is quite different from the way it serves up search results in a SERP. In addition, the consumer's state of mind when in a content-rich environment is different to that experienced when exposed to the snippets and abstracts of a SERP. Let's look at some best practices for tuning a campaign.
Keyword-targeted media in both search and the display network is allocated based on real-time auctions. This makes a tuned campaign even more important than it could be in a traditional media buy. Take the time to do search- and content-targeted advertising right.
Meet Your Favorite ClickZ Contributors
Many of ClickZ's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Jeremy Hull, Lisa Raehsler, Andrew Goodman, Bryan Eisenberg, Mathew Sweezey, Aaron Kahlow, Stephanie Miller, Simms Jenkins, Jeanne S. Jennings, Dave Hendricks and more!
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.
March 19, 2014