By Dave Zorn
Jul 14, 2008
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After writing about Yahoo distribution partners a few weeks ago, I decided I should follow that up with a post to remind everyone to continue to closely monitor your content network bids and the content network sites showing your ads. The content network can be a huge waste of money if it is showing your ads on irrelevant sites that convert poorly or don’t drive traffic well. So how do we do we best monitor it and optimize it?
A great place to begin your quest to make the most of the content network is to narrow your search down to metrics at the ad group in whichever tracking interface you use. We use Omniture for one of our clients’ analytics tracking, so I will use that in my examples. The first metrics to consider for each ad group are Cost per KPI (or conversion depending on what you are tracking) and Avg KPI per Click. You will want to check out the ad groups that have a high Cost per KPI and a low Avg KPI per Click first as they are worst performing groups and the ones most likely being affected negatively by the content network. Remember to look at a long enough period of time so you have sufficient data to make judgements off of. Once you have targeted which ad groups need to the most attention, drill down to the keyword level and view the metrics for the content network itself. If the metrics mentioned above are worse then the average for the ad group as a whole then you will probably want to lower your default content network bid.
Identifying which ad groups are being dragged down by the content network is only the first step. A second action you can take is to run a Performance Placement Report on Google AdWords. One recent survey by a fellow PPCer (don’t go looking that one up, its a word…trust me) reveals that this report is the second most popular report that can be run in AdWords. The reason for this is that it allows us to see exaclty which domains our ads are being shown on by a site-by-site basis. We can even sort by impressions, clicks, costs and other useful metrics to make decisions on whether or not we want to continue having our ads shown on these sites or if we want to block them using the site exclusion tool.
I just realized my first three paragraphs sort of bash the content network and that is not the message I want to send at all. Content network sites can be great alternative domains to place our ads on and can do wonders in driving relevant traffic to your site. This post is only meant to be a friendly reminder to keep a watchful eye on your content network sites and bids and provide ideas on how to best optimize them.