For years Search Engines have been pushing contextual ads (content advertising) as a way to increase their distribution and revenue, but it seemed like advertisers just weren’t buying it. Ads on content networks have historically performed far worse than their counterparts in search campaigns causing many advertisers to just give up working with content networks at all. Now, finally, that seems to be changing.
For years Search Engines have been pushing contextual ads (content advertising) as a way to increase their distribution and revenue, but it seemed like advertisers just weren’t buying it. Ads on content networks have historically performed far worse than their counterparts in search campaigns causing many advertisers to just give up working with content networks at all.
Now, finally, that seems to be changing.
At the recent PPC Summit in Los Angeles, David Szetela’s “Successful Content Advertising – Why Content Ads Can be Your Ace in the Hole” session played to a full house. Of course, that is partly explained by the fact that David is a great trainer and previous attendees know that David always shares a ton of great information and is a fount of search knowledge, but it’s also because content ads are finally coming into their own and capturing their share of advertiser dollars.
In addition to the offerings by Google Adsense, Yahoo Publisher Network and Microsoft adCenter, there are also many stand alone content networks that provide the opportunity to target your customers successfully earlier in the buying cycle, often at a cheaper price than a search campaign.
Some of the networks that you may want to check out include: Context Web (particularly their ADSDAQ self service product), Kontera, Quigo (now part of AOL) and Industry Brains (part of Marchex, and particularly good for B2B targeting). Bigger publishers/Social Networks are also getting in on the act successfully like Facebook, Linked In and Digg’s new content ads offering.
Many of these networks provide excellent Behavioral, Demographical and Geographical targeting that allow you as an advertiser to really drill down and reach your target audience. But still, this is a much more complex product than search. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can blow through a significant budget in a weekend, hence the interest in David’s session in LA. Advertiser’s now get that there is opportunity in content networks – IF you really know what you are doing.
So what are some things to look out for?
1) Assume that buyers reading content ads are in the very start of the sales process. Actually they may not be in the sales process at all yet. Your ad needs to whet their interest and push them into the funnel. Ads need to read like headlines from the National Enquirer, obnoxious, eye-catching, jumping off the page.
2) As keywords aren’t bolded in content ads, and aren’t counted for Quality Score, you can focus less on USP’s and more on just trapping clicks.
3) These potential customers need strong incentives to click through, so offer free white papers, samples, reviews, trials etc.
4) Study where your competitors ads appear. You are not only competing with them you are competing with all the content on that page, so your ad needs to shout just to get attention. Use all of those words that you would never normally use in your copy like: STOP! WAIT! CLICK HERE! LOOK! REGISTER NOW! Etc.
5) Include product prices and special offers. Just make sure they are tied back to specific landing pages on your site that mention these offers so there is no disconnect for your visitors.
6) Create separate search and content campaigns.
This will allow you to:
• Optimize your ad groups and ad text specifically for content pages.
• Target different audiences.
• Use more general (earlier buying cycle) keywords to strengthen the theme of your ad group, without affecting your search performance.
7) Before you even think about attempting a contextual advertising campaign, make sure you have a comprehensive tracking solution in place. Content campaigns can really benefit from testing and tracking, even more than search campaigns.
These are just some basic steps to get you on the right track with Contextual Advertising and there are far too many to list here. David covers more than an hour of tips in his Content sessions at PPC Summit and AdWords Advantage. Overall these campaigns take a lot more tweaking to get them to perform, but the point is they CAN perform very effectively if you do them correctly.
Think “Media Buy” rather than “Search Campaign” and that will help you to focus your attention more effectively. The networks will continue to add targeting and distribution options to make this traffic more effective as time goes on. Pay attention and keep up with the changes. Sometimes a little tweak that works for your particular audience is all it takes to make a content campaign really effective. Once you get this traffic source to work for you, it can really help your budget by allowing you to capture a much lower CPA. Just as with search where you what you take away (negative keywords) really impacts results the same thing is true of content. The traffic sources you remove from your campaigns will determine your success overall.
For more info on Contextual Advertising follow David on twitter http://twitter.com/Szetela or check out his session in Chicago at the PPC Summit or online at our upcoming online AdWords Advantage event.Pay Attention. This could be the best source of traffic you’re underutilizing and you can’t afford to do that for much longer.