Google’s phased launch of their Placement Platform may have all of us in the PPC world reevaluating our current stance on using Google’s content network. Personally, it’s always been something I’ve shied away from. I’ve heard and witnessed the PPC horror stories where an advertiser opts into the content network looking for some extra traffic, and wakes up with thousands of extra clicks, not to mention a spend that has flown through the roof (of course in some instances, this can be blamed on poor campaign management and all the blame cannot be placed on Adwords).
The content network allows sites to show ads on other sites that are not owned by Google, but using the Google platform. For instance Marthastewart.com, NewYorkTimes.com, CBSsportsline.com, etc. allow you to advertise on their sites to their audience by setting up ads in Google’s Content Network. The content network reaches users that by only advertising on the Google search network, you may otherwise not reach. Until now, advertisers were not able to obtain site specific data, including conversion information, leaving advertisers in the dark as to which sites are performing for them, and therefore being completely unable to make appropriate decisions to increase the ROI on the content network. Advertisers never could truly pinpoint what was or was not working for them; it was more or less a take all or leave all approach.
Why is this change important and a huge benefit for Adwords advertisers? Now, as Adwords rolls out the new Placement Platform, advertisers will be able to identify exactly which sites are under performing and exclude their ads from running on those sites, as well as be able to determine which sites are driving conversions for them, and allocate more money to those specific sites only. This will allow advertisers to have control of their ROI results on the content network. That is not to say that the Placement Platform has alleviated the hard work behind running a successful Adwords campaign. Similar to Google’s process of determining the minimum bid on the search network, taking into consideration keywords, landing pages, etc., the content network also evaluates the relevancy between your ad groups and the sites you are targeting to determine the minimum bids. And of course, without a tightly structured campaign, your CTR and conversions will ultimately suffer. Aaron at SEO book offers some great ideas on how to use Google’s Content network beyond just the traditional sense of simply driving traffic to your site. He suggests a few ways to maximize your profits and to use the content network and newly developed placement platform reports for competitive intelligence.
I don’t know an advertiser out there who isn’t willing to dump more money into campaigns that are driving sales. The new changes on gathering data from ads running on the content network may entice advertisers who generally avoid running their ads on the content network, for reason of fear due to lack of data, to give it another try. The platform is yet to be unveiled to its full extent, however once it is available to advertisers and the proof in the data starts to show, I will be more than willing to reevaluate using the content network across all campaigns. The new changes may make it worthwhile to give it another go, if it could increase my ROI, why not?
Any thoughts on this?