According to Google (you can get the CPA white paper here) the content network reaches over 80% of internet users, serving over 6 billion ad impressions... but how do we master it?
Making money on the content network depends on many variables, not least the product or service you are promoting, however there are a number of factors that are essential if you want to have success with this medium.
No matter what your product or service, the rules I list below are the minimum you need. Some you may have seen before others may be new to you.
The Five Things You Must Do When You Set Up Content Campaigns
1. Your Google Content Network Campaign should always be separate from your search campaign. The 2 mediums perform very differently you need to be able to control each individually. You should not be using the same ads or landing pages for both the Content and Search Networks. To do this you'll need to edit the campaign's settings after creating a campaign. Simply uncheck the Google search check box, and check the content network one.
2. Separate content campaigns into small ad groups -- each with, ideally, 20-40 keywords -- never more than 50.
3. There is no need to use different match types -- e.g. phrase and exact match in Google. Match type is ignored by the content matching algorithms.
4. There is also no need to use separate bid prices for each keyword -- these too are ignored, and Google operates based on the ad group's default bid.
5. Create ads and keyword lists that,when taken together, will match a particular theme or category.
The Buying Cycle
Understand the conversion process and where the content network fits into it.
Time for a little marketing 101. This is the buying cycle for those who don't know
With the Google content network,the people who are going to see your ads are positioned earlier in the buying cycle.
Unlike the Google search engine where a keyword search triggered your ad the content network website is different. Your ad is not the reason they are on the website.
Just like in traditional print advertising your ads need to distract the reader's attention away from the articles and toward the ads. To do that you have to stand out.
How To Make Your Ads Stand Out On The Content Network
Get the Click
It's logical to assume that the reader of a content ad is at the very beginning of that buying cycle process. We first have to make them aware of you, then get their interest so your ad must push them over the edge. How? Try these: Scream. Think loud. Your ads can, and should, shout their way off the screen. Don't be afraid to be on the verge of rudeness if it works for Perry Belcher, it can work for you!. Seriously, with content ads you can afford to be much more disruptive than you are in your search ads. One major reason you can push the limits is Quality Score doesn't count. Since keywords don't trigger bold words in your content ads you are free to use anything you like in your headlines, so get creative. The more eye-catching, the better.
Bribe. Just like a dodgy politician, we can't resist a bribe. I will say it again, the person who is reading your ad is at the beginning, or before, the sales cycle. They need a strong incentive to proceed. Complimentary offers such as free downloads, shipping, or trial versions work well. If you're a B2B advertiser seeking leads, bribe readers with a free whitepaper. B2C advertisers can give free samples, free guides etc.
Loyalty clubs can give free points. And so on.
Stand Out. Your ads are not only competing with the Web page's content but also most likely four other ads on the page. Your ad needs to distract attention away from the page content and the competing ads - by no means a simple task. I suggest you study your competitor's ads and make sure yours are different, preferably louder and more obnoxious!
Use Imperatives. I have found that imperatives in headlines and also within body copy work well to get attention. Words like: "Stop!" ""Look!" Wait!" "Listen!" attract the eye in the same way as if the reader heard them shouted.
Pray On Their Emotions. Play with the reader's most basic emotions. For example, we all hate to think we are missing out on something important. Use your ads to tell people what they'll miss or fail to achieve if they don't click on your ad. Do what Life Insurance companies do, scare them into action...Bring the coffin to the door and let them smell the flowers! Tell them about the serious consequences that lie ahead for them if they fail to click.
Hopefully this gives you some insight in how to approach the content network. I don't care what your market is, be it selling your own products or products from clickbank, or cpa offers, you should be able to see how to structure your content network campaigns to bring you the results you want. Shy, understated, soft-selling content ads don't work. They just sit quietly, begging to be ignored.
The good news: it's not hard to write ads that will jump off the page and get you the desired results, if you combine that with a proper understanding of how content matching algorithms work, and how to control where and how your ads are placed, your content ad campaigns can produce the same kind of good results -- CTRs, conversion rates and ROI -- as your paid search campaigns.