Google Content Network Strategy

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Search Engines | Posted on 29-08-2008

After giving in and deciding that I wanted to do some hardcore testing on the Google Content Network I really didn’t know where to start.  You hear a lot less spoken about Google Content Network strategy then you do about Google Search Network startegy.  When I first jumped in I made a lot of mistakes and got some pretty bad results.  The reason for this is I was using the thought process of advertising on a search engine, not on a content website.

Google Content Network Keyword Strategy

People accustomed to search engine marketing know all about exact matching, phrase matching and broad matching terms to find your audience.  Throw that away on the content network.  Only use broad match.

To actually generate traffic you need keywords and lots of them.  The chances of getting a campaign to actually produce traffic by throwing in only a few keywords, unless they are incredibly high volume keywords is little to none.  For some reason I have only seen decent traffic come in if I set up campaigns with many thousands of keywords.  You don’t necessarily have to worry about the relevance of every single one of these keywords like you do on search.  Forget about the intent behind them.  The point of all of these keywords is just to create a topic theme.  For most campaigns you won’t be worrying about the individual keywords anyway.  To generate these huge keyword lists I use Wordze.

Google Content Network Ad Strategy

Take some time and put thought behind your ads.  This is NOT search engine marketing so you don’t really know WHY the person is viewing your ad.  For this reason you need to do a much better job crafting your text ad to attract attention and remain relevant.  Provide a value proposition.  Words like “Free” tend to work well.  You can also run image ads on the content network.  I’m sure these are a whole other beast but I haven’t actually tested image ads much to date.

Google Content Network Ad Group Strategy

When I began Google Content Network Campaigns I did some research.  I found an obscure theory that Google only looks at the first 50 keywords in an ad group when running on the Content Network.  I did some of my own testing and to the best of my knowledge, I find it to be true.  If not 100% true, I found that at the very least, (100) ad groups of 50 keywords tended to generate more traffic then (1) ad group of 5,000 keywords.  There are two main strategies that I employ.  I call one The Shotgun Method and the other The Sniper Method.

The Shotgun Method

The Shotgun Method is pretty simple really.  Find as many keywords about the topic at hand as possible.  The more the better.  Aim for 5,000+ keywords.  You should obviously be using a keyword tool to generate this list.

Once the list of keywords is generated just split them up into groups of 50.  Don’t worry about how they are grouped.  Create the same 2-3 ads for each ad group and let it fly.  This is a good way of generating a whole bunch of traffic based on your topic.  It’s best for offers that appeal to a general audience based on the topic you are working with.  The downfall of this method as is the downfall of most Google Content Network campaigns is that you have no idea WHICH keywords are actually triggering the ads/converting which makes the campaign difficult to tweak.

The Sniper Method

The Sniper Method is more geared towards campaigns where you need some hardcore data.  Contrary to popular belief you CAN track which keywords are producing traffic/conversions on the Content Network.  You just have to think outside the box a little bit.  How do we accomplish keyword level tracking on the Content Network?


This works best with higher volume shorter tail keywords but can work with really any types of campaign.  With 1 keyword adgroups we can craft highly targeted ads to that keyword and also track traffic, impressions and conversions down to the keyword level.  If you are trying to actually SELL a product, this is the approach I would use.  Creating hundreds or thousands of ad groups can be a complete pain in the a$$ but as with everything there are tools out there that can help you.

Prune The List

Just because you’re running on the Google Content Network doesn’t mean that quality score isn’t a factor.  CTR in particular can be the difference between a winner and a complete and utter failure.  A high CTR will keep your CPC low and hopefully your ROI high.  One activity you should take part in regularly is blocking certain websites.  Run a placement report to see where your ad is displaying.  Find sites where you are getting a particularly low CTR and cut them out of the mix.  Often times adsense units are placed below the fold in low traffic areas.  If some of the sites your ad is displaying on does this, cut them out of the mix.  This will increase your CTR dramatically.

The Google Content Network is an excellent alternate or primary traffic source.  If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time.

Ad Hustler

This Is Hilarious

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Off Topic | Posted on 28-08-2008

People in the IT sector will find this video hilarious.  Its worth a watch:

Ad Hustler

Proof Read Your Ads

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Pathetic | Posted on 27-08-2008

Every so often you come across a gem of a banner ad. I was on Digitalpoint and saw this ad:

I took the liberty of highlighting and pointing an arrow at the glaring spelling/grammar mistake.  If that wasn’t stupid enough for you, read the banner again and the whole thing becomes more ridiculous.  The banner states “Triple The Traffic To Your Website… In 48 Hrs!”  It then goes on to offer you a 14-day trial.  Why would you need a 14 day trial if your traffic is going to triple within 48 Hrs?

As stupid as this ad is, I bet some Digitalpoint dummy fell for it and is crying that they got ripped off.

Ad Hustler

What Works On The Google Content Network

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Search Engines | Posted on 26-08-2008

The Google Content Network is NOT the highest quality traffic on the planet, it is however profitable.  This post contains a few tips to making the Google Content Network work for you.

What Type Of Offers Work?

I am by no means the authoritative expert on the Google Content Network but I have had a good deal of success.  I find that offers that DO NOT REQUIRE A CREDIT CARD work well.  Some offers that don’t require a credit card would be lead generation, email submits, zip submits and any other type of 1 field offer.  You have to keep in mind WHO is seeing your ad on the Google Content Network.  Typically your prospects are seeing your ad while entertaining themselves online or viewing informational websites.  They are not always going to be as far into the decision making or buying process as someone performing a search on the Google Search Network.  Using this reasoning, arbitrarge tactics tend to work well.  Here is a definition of arbitrage:

n.   The purchase of securities on one market for immediate resale on another market in order to profit from a price discrepancy.

A simpler definition of this in internet marketing terms would be to purchase cheap traffic for immediate resale in another form to take advantage of the price discrepancy and turn a profit.  In the early days this was accomplished by buying cheap traffic and sending that traffic to a page loaded with Google Adsense ads in hopes someone would click one of those ads and make more money then they spent for the traffic.  That method tends not to work as well these days (although I’m sure someone is still doing this and making a killing) due to crackdowns on Google Adsense policy as well as increased competition.

In the present other types of arbitrage activities are working quite well.  As mentioned in the previous post, polls, quizzes and other types of “entertainment” type gateway work well in the current climate.  Email submits and zip submits tend to be used as the backend offer on these types of pages.  At the end of the day you are simply trying to turn cheap traffic into a lead and make a profit off of the activity.  The Google Content Network is an excellent traffic source for this activity because the traffic tends to be a lot cheaper then search traffic and quality score is not as huge of an issue on the Content Network.

Ad Hustler

Google Content Network – The Next Online Goldmine

Posted by Ad Hustler | Posted in Search Engines | Posted on 25-08-2008

I have done paid search for many years now.  Most of that time I have practically shunned the Google Content Network.  Back in the day the Google Content Network was the least transparent program that Google offered.  They did not tell you which sites your ad would appear on and they wouldn’t let you specifically target sites on a CPC basis.  A lot has changed throughout the years and the Google Content Network is worth another look.

I have personally seen a lot of success turning low value keywords into higher value traffic using the content network.  Think about it.  There are way more low value keywords and traffic to be had on the net then high value.  If you use your brain and think of creative ways to monetize that low value traffic you can make money on it.  If you can buy clicks for 5 cents and figure out a way to earn 10 cents on that 5 cent click, you just made 100% return on investment.  We are talking low dollar amount here but lets say you can earn a 5 cent per click profit and figure out a way to find 1,000 of these clicks per day.  Those 1,000 clicks will cost you $50 and you will make $100 off of it.  Thats a $50 profit off of one campaign.  Thats $1,500 per month and $18,000 per year off of one small campaign.  Create 10 of these campaigns and you are earning yourself a $180,000 per year salary.  How many jobs that you can break into TODAY can boast that type of salary?

This method can be accomplished through the poll method, quiz method, arbitrage or anything else creative that you can think up.  Think small and learn to scale ideas and there is a lot of money to be made on the Google Content Network.

Ad Hustler