<< by on December 24th, 2009
Looking back over previous years from an advertisers point of view, when you hear about the content network most likely new product positioning and branding comes to mind. Yet historically these thoughts have most likely been more commonly associated with naughty rather than nice. Some of the primary reasons the content network is considered naughty include:
- Much lower click through rates than search
- End users are viewing what ever particular site the ad appears on for other reasons than searching for what the ad is offering
- Troubles with managing campaigns and tracking performance
However, over the last year and half Google has put forth considerable effort to enhance tools and resources to better fit advertiser needs. These improvements are giving advertisers better insight into not only how the content network works but more importantly how end users are behaving when interaction is taking place. As a result of overall increased understanding the tables are starting to turn and the content network is beginning to look more nice than naughty for advertisers after all.
Here are 5 reasons why I believe the content network should make the Nice List this year:
- Shapes the way people search – Because the advertiser is controlling the messaging, if the advertiser is successful in reaching the end user in the awareness stage in the buying cycle, the advertiser has the ability to create search traffic around whatever “space or search terms” are in there best interest.
- Adds to overall Search Engine Marketing Effots for branded terms – Many people use search as their main doorway to the internet looking for third party validation of a brand (people think top brands in search engine must be the top brands in general). And because they use search for validation, display campaigns often times drive additional searches for your brand and long tail terms, resulting in an overall lift in other corresponding search efforts- not just display ad clicks. A recent study conducted by comScore suggests that almost as many internet users initially respond to online display ads by launching a search on a search engine as those who click on the ad itself.
- Not as expensive as search network campaigns – When comparing performance metrics on a head to head for the search and content network, even though Google recognizes how the CTR is notoriously lower on the content network and makes adjusts to cost per click accordingly. Typically the lower CPC of content is often negated by advertisers when making the cost per conversion comparisons (search dominates in this metric). The problem is search marketers have been conditioned to compare the two, thinking in terms of providing number driven results. This is what makes online advertising so popular today, marketers can prove there worth to high ups with numbers. When in reality the content and search network are two completely different creatures and should not be compared directly. The content network is one of the rare instances online when few clicks and conversions do not necessarily mean failure. Say you are paying on a cost per click basis, what if you do not include a call to action in your display ads? ….in this pricing model impressions do not cost anything and therefore in theory creating awareness becomes free! With a goal of impressions and not clicks combined with the previous bullet focused on end user behavior makes the comparing conversion metrics irrelevant.
- Targeting to specific websites – Recently Google announced a open platform to improve the process for managing display ads. The DoubleClick Ad Exchange was designed to simplify the system for buying and selling display ads. As well as, deliver better performance that advertisers and agencies can measure.
- Ability to reach a wider audience than search – The content network is the worlds largest advertising network. Coming straight from Google AdWords Content Network page, “With an audience larger than any other ad network or single web property (even Google.com), on the Google content network your message will reach more of your target audience, in more places, more often.”