Coming Soon: Tidal wave of Content Network competition

Google’s AdSense program allows website publishers to make money by allowing Google to place AdWords ads on their pages.

If you advertise on AdWords Content Network, most of  your traffic comes from these sites. And your click price is determined, among other things, by the competition for those advertising slots. Just like in the Search networks, the more other advertisers want to show their ads on a given content site, the more you’re going to pay for the privilege and the harder it will be to make a profit.

So it’s a big deal when Google quietly tells its AdSense publishers that it’s opening the floodgates to dozens of other advertising networks. That is, if you own a website and you show Google ads to generate revenue, you can use Google as a broker to bring you ads from dozens of other networks. Big networks.

How many networks? After reading this post, check out the vendor list below, copied and pasted straight from Google.

Prepare Yourself – 5 Steps to Start Taking Right Now

In addition to increased competition, Google is moving toward much more integrated demographic targeting – all the way to ads meant just for you. As in, if you use a Google toolbar or have cookies on your computer from any of the research companies listed below, Google knows more about you than your mother does.

So now is the time, AdWords user, to get really good at the content network. Here are 5  actions you can start taking so you don’t get capsized by the wave of third-party competition:

1. Separate your content and search traffic into different campaigns.

You can do this in seconds using the free desktop AdWords Editor. Once they’re separated, split test ads to find the messages that work in each medium.

2. Find out what sites on the content network are currently showing your ads, and how much traffic and revenue each one produces.

Do this right in the new interface. Click the Networks tab and view Automatic and Managed Placements. To drill down into a single domain, select that site and click the Find URLs button at the top of the list. You’ll be amazed at where your traffic is coming from, and how much of it is just garbage.

3. Visit those sites and learn about their visitors.

Who are they? What are they doing on those sites? Should your ad be showing there? What can your ad promise them that they want right there and then?

4. Find additional sites using the revamped (and still free) Google Ad Planner.

Enter a site that’s already working and find more sites like it. Sort by the Comp Index to see where else the visitors to that site go on the web. Click the site name to discover a ton of visitor demographics.

5. Start creating image ads.

Base the text on your best performing text ads, and spend the time testing colors, images, fonts, buttons, etc. so you’re at the top of your game when the hordes of competitors join the party.

Time is Running Out

You have time to get this right. But don’t dawdle. Google says, “Please note that we’ll gradually be adding new ad networks to AdSense accounts over the next few months, so you won’t see any immediate impact on your ads or your earnings.”

If you’re currently using the Content Network but know you could be making more money by testing and optimizing the process, check out the free AdWords Ball web clinic on Wednesday, September 2, 2009. Seats are limited – register here to reserve yours. (If you can’t make the live event, register anyway for a copy of the video to watch at your leisure.)

If you are just starting with AdWords, or haven’t even found a market to sell to, then you should check out the free Traffic Surge web clinic on Thursday, September 3, 2009.

The Content network is much bigger than the search network, and requires a very different set of strategies to be successful. In fact, some businesses simply can’t make the Search networks work for them, and give up on AdWords before giving the Content Network a fair try. Don’t make that mistake – attend the Traffic Surge web clinic and gain an intelligent foothold in whatever market you decide to enter.

Again, seats are limited, so register here. (If you can’t make the live event, register anyway for a copy of the video to watch at your leisure.)

Appendix: Supported third-party vendors on the Google content network

North America: Ad servers

North America: Rich media

North America: Research

EMEA: Ad servers

EMEA: Rich media

EMEA: Research

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4 Comments. Leave a comment or send a Trackback.
  1. #1 • Jessica said on August 27 2009:

    Very much appreciate the heads up. May not be able to attend the Adwords Ball web clinic, but will, as you suggested, register so I can get a copy of the video. Definitely want to hear what you have to say.

  2. #2 • Stephen said on August 27 2009:

    Moronic move by Google. They could have easily addressed falling adsense issues by giving their publishers more tools. Instead they have decided to hose the entire program along with adwords.

    Google did not even bother to offer Publishers a website optimization program like they do for adwords advertisers which alone would have solved most of the issues facing most content network sites.

    Costs are going to rise with dubious claims CTRs are going to rise for publishers. As we know, they may rise…intially, then what? What happens when the ad blindness sets-in like it always does?

    This is going to backfire for google bigtime.

  3. #3 • Al said on August 27 2009:

    Thanks Howie I had not heard of this and I’ve just registered for the web clinic. This comes at a good time for me. Get this stuff right now and the Xmas season should be very lucrative.


    All THe Best


  4. #4 • Carlos said on August 28 2009:

    Hi Jacob.
    Thanks for the Ad Planner tip. I already use the other 4 tips, but Ad Palnner can be helpful to find related sites to target manually.