AdWords Site Targeting Option Launches

After months of testing with a select group of advertisers, Google has officially unveiled a new AdWords feature that allows the targeting of ads by site.

“Now, you can select specific content sites where you want your ads to show. This will allow you to precisely communicate with those individuals who are most likely to be interested in your offerings,” explains a product manager on Google’s “Inside AdWords” blog.

The Site Targeting option was released to limited advertisers in a beta test in April, and now is available to all advertisers who choose to activate the option on their AdWords account.

Advertisers bid for site-targeted campaigns on a CPM basis, and Google uses an algorithm to determine whether a site-targeted ad will appear or a standard keyword-targeted, cost-per-click (CPC) ad will be shown. Though CPC ads are ranked by both bid price and click-through rate, the CPM ads will only be ranked by bid price.

An added feature of a site-targeted campaign is the ability to run animated .gif ads, in addition to the usual text and image ads Google allows on keyword-targeted campaigns. Google has been testing animated ads since the end of last year.

The program seems to be an attempt to attract more brand advertisers to the AdWords program, which has traditionally been seen as a direct response tool. Though the features of the site-targeted ads will make it more attractive for branding ads, many marketers have said there are other hurdles to be overcome before it becomes a viable option.

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