We don’t do a great deal of advertising on the Google Display Network, formerly known as the Content Network. The main reason being that for most of our clients their pay per click advertising budgets are most effectively spent on Search Networks, which covert at a higher rate and lower conversion cost.
But we also have some larger advertisers, with more budget to use towards all potential customers in the buying cycle – not just those who are ready to buy or convert now. For those advertisers we recommend utilizing contextual targeting in the Google Display Network. It’s not a pure display buy – the content has to contextually match the keywords you are advertising on – so it’s not completely just a blind push of a marketing message on someone not interested in your keyword topics.
With that said, if you are trying to maximize conversions and get them at an affordable cost per conversion the Display Network is a dangerous place to play.
It was recently reported that their are 170 million Gmail users worldwide. Google provides Gmail accounts for free and offers up to 4 Gigabytes of storage for those free email accounts. It’s a great public service that Google is providing, but don’t think that they are just losing fortune in data storage just to be nice or for the public good. Google makes money off PPC advertising on Gmail pages.
But It has been speculated that Google hasn’t made much off of it’s Gmail advertising, in fact Seeking Alpha has speculated that YouTube is worth 10 times more to the value of Google’s stock than Gmail based on revenue per page. But Google recently made a change, one that they didn’t really give a ton of notice to advertisers about, to the way they serve up Google Content Network ads on Gmail.
It used to be that Gmail only showed ads that were contextually triggered by the content of the e-mail a Gmail user was currently reading. This is the way all Google Content Network advertising works – it’s contextually targeted based on the on page content shown on the page. This is what makes your advertising relevant and targeted.
On January 20, 2010 Google changed the way it served Gmail ads and can now serve them to Gmail users, based on any of up to 100 different emails (on the same list page of e-mails) received or sent and in the mail box of the Gmail user. That e-mail can be days or weeks old and long forgotten by the Gmail user and it doesn’t matter, Google can serve your ad based on that old e-mail even if users are reading a totally unrelated e-mail at the time.
This is a major change, and it has had a major impact on our clients Content Network Performance and a major impact on our clients Google Content Network spending on Gmail ads. The before and after comparisons for the first 100 days with this change versus the previous 100 days before the change are staggering:
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.
On the third day of SMX east I attended the session, “Search Meet Display; Display Meet Search.” The session focused on how search and display ads are two entirely different creatures, insight gathered from studies on the behavior of web surfers for both, what the insight may mean for those advertising with both search and display ads, and how most advertisers just don’t quite understand the benefits of using the two together.
The Moderator for the session was Greg Sterling, Founding Principal, Sterling Market Intelligence. The Speakers presenting were Kevin Lee, CEO, Didit; Robert Murray, CEO, iProspect; Surag Patel, Director, comScore; Megan Pagliuca, Director, Professional Services, Yahoo! Inc.
The session talked about how if you are running regular text ads at the same time as display ads that correspond with each other overall, the result you will achieve is synergy.The benefits of running both at the same time are greater than if you were to run each campaign separately.
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