Getting More Out of the Content Network?

At SEER, we believe in giving back to the community, in whatever way you can. Earlier in the year, I knew I might be a little busy with work and business school so I started on an endeavor to grow out my hair to donate it to charity (e.g., Locks of Love). I'm excited to say my ponytail is just about there – I'm getting ready to chop it off! Yesterday, an article happened to catch my eye – Hilary Swank let Oprah Winfrey cut off about nine inches of her hair to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which provides wigs to women suffering hair loss from cancer treatments.

I thought the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program sounded really interesting, and I wanted to learn more about it. I was just about to type “Pantene Beautiful Lengths” into my Google toolbar search box when I noticed something. Off to the side of the article were the Google content network ads; one of the ads said “Donate Your Hair” and was for the Beautiful Lengths website. Easy enough! I did not have to go searching – the link was right there. Click! (Here's a screenshot:)

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Now, I'm not full-fledged member of our pay per click team -- I just help out every now and then (which really just means I stick my nose in when I see something that sparks my interest or when I see something in the analytics that needs addressing). I'm really the analytics head and a member of the SEO team. However, this is an instance where I'll stick my nose into PPC. I think this article and this example of a content network ad bring up an interesting point. Many companies struggle with the content network –- paying money for ads that are not as relevant as ads that appear on the search network. Yet, it seems that Pantene has found an extremely appropriate and cost-effective use of the content network.

I'm putting forth the notion that the content network might be tremendously successful for a company when you're doing a large PR push. Articles about Hilary Swank's appearance on Oprah are popping up everywhere. The content network ads are appropriate because in every article, Pantene knows that the odds are that they will get a mention and that it will be positive. Additionally, it is also likely that readers might also want more information, so advertising along side that article is a good brand move and is one way for Pantene to measure return on their efforts/involvement with the entire cause.

It's something to think about. Even if your company isn't appearing on Oprah, but you're involved in a large public relations effort, particularly one that has articles that are being syndicated across the web, it might make sense to be on the content network (or at least run a test that you monitor closely). The articles are scanned by Google, and when they pick up your company name (or whatever is mentioned in the article), your content network ad might show.

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