Site traffic from search and content network aren’t comparable in terms of click-through and conversion rate. The key difference is that users approach ads differently on content than those who search online.
The important aspect when comparing two of these users is their intent on the content or for search. It is likely that users on a site for a specific content is consuming the information and observing what he/she wants or wanted to know. For users searching with keywords in hopes to find the right content or information that is relevant to their search.
Understanding that there are differences in users’ persona, ways to optimize the ads on search and content network will be different. Let’s break down the key differences in optimization strategies for each of this network.
Click-through rate (CTR)
CTR on content network will not influence your quality score. CTR is not a great indicator for measuring the success of the content network since CTR can vary widely on the content network.
Conversion Rate (CR)
CR on content network is also not a great KPI to gauge the success since the content doesn’t produce as much conversion as search network does. It is recommended to gauge “Cost per Conversion”. Google has a smart pricing feature that automatically adjusts the cost of a content network click based on its effectiveness, which is done differently from search network.
Just because I mention that these metrics are a great KPIs, it is still good to know how much your content network is performing differently from search network. So please don’t be discouraged to monitor those metrics. The content network is great for gaining exposures for your ads, so let me point out the optimization points.
Points of Optimization
Here are some great recommendations from Google.
1. Campaign Structure: Create themed ad groups – an ad group for each product or service that you’re advertising.
2. Keywords: Choose keywords that relate closely to one another and to the ads in the ad group.
3. Ads: Write clear, compelling ad text to attract users browsing content pages.
4. Content Bids: Set a separate maximum CPC for clicks that occur on the content network.
5. Position: Monitor your ad position. You can achieve maximum exposure by improving your Quality Score and selecting a competitive maximum CPC.
6. Negative Keywords: Limit how often your ads appear on content pages with irrelevant themes.
7. Site and Category Exclusion: Prevent your ads from appearing on specific sites in the content network.
I would also pay attention to seasonal trends where you could possibly rotate budgets for the content network. I’ve seen campaigns on content network perform extremely well when certain news breakout during an event and content on that specific news emerged sporadically.
Points of Optimization
1. Identify your advertising goals: Your optimization strategy will depend on what your goals for search engine marketing (SEM). Is it to “gain site exposure”, “increase sales”, “gain site registrations”, etc. Depending on what the objective is, your optimization KPI could be clicks, conversions, ROI, CTR, etc.
2. Organize your account (campaign/ad group) for maximum effectiveness: You want to be very specific with each ad group containing one set of keywords and placements. Your campaign should be defined by clear topics, locations, campaign duration, language, etc. An awesome diagram that shows how an AdWords account should be structured: How is an AdWords account structured?
3. Choose relevant keywords and placements: It is very important to choose specific and relevant keywords to your ad and its landing page. This relevancy will give your ads a better chance to show up.
4. Create straightforward, targeted ads: Great call-to-action, simply and straightforward, and well-targeted ads would definitely perform well. Make sure to test different ads to optimize its performance.
5. Optimize your website for conversions: Ultimately, your website determines how well your ads convert. Take into consideration of using website optimization tools to perform A/B or multivariate testing on the landing page.
6. Track your account performance and results: Set Goal -> Track -> Measure -> Analyze -> Optimize; this is a key process that defines analytics (www.zoommetrix.com). Without tracking, you can’t analyze and optimize. You are spending money to market your business, you must measure the return on your investments.
7. Test and modify your campaigns to get the results you want: Fine tune your keywords by monitoring your KPIs (based on campaign objective). Optimizations should not be one time fix, it should be an ongoing process.
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