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Adwords Tip 1: Seperate your search and content campaigns

By Rob Drummond on Mon 09 August 2010 in Web Analytics

Most businesses are aware of Google Adwords as a tool for getting paid traffic to your website. At ProspectSoft we put a lot of time and effort into our own adwords campaigns, and over the next few articles I’m going to share some of the top things we have learnt.

Tip 1 – Keep your search and content campaigns separate

When you create a new Adwords campaign, the default settings are to display your ads on both search and content networks. The search network is the side of Adwords most people are more familiar with, where your ads are displayed on the right hand side and at the top of the Google search results – when someone searches for a term you are looking to target.

The content network takes your Google Ads and places them on websites that have opted in to display Google advertising on their website (you can learn more about this at www.google.com/adsense). A huge range of websites offer this, including large sites such YouTube and about.com, right down to much smaller niche websites.

Advertising on the content network requires an entirely different strategy. Firstly, your ads are now trying to effectively interrupt the website visitor, who is not actively searching for a defined term. Your ads also have to compete for eyeball time with the on-page content, hence click through rates are notoriously lower.

While click through rates are lower, you also pay less per click. This is because you are interrupting potential buyers far earlier in the information gathering process, i.e. before they have gone and searched on Google for whatever you are offering. Therefore you can get a lot of cheaper traffic, but your website has to work harder to convert this traffic to a lead or sale.

Because of this, advertising on the content network isn’t for everyone, however if you are having success with your search campaigns then this can be a great way to expand your reach.

Now, here’s the thing…

When you create a new campaign, both the search and content networks are automatically turned on. The only way to optimise your campaigns is to create separate campaigns for search and content, and monitor the effectiveness of them separately.

Not only will your ads need to be different, but the way you structure your ad groups also needs to be different. Whereas in search adding more keywords to an ad group increases your traffic, adding more keywords in a content campaign ad group actually decreases your traffic! This is because in a content campaign Google tries to figure out an overall theme for the ad group based on the keywords in it, and then match this theme to websites that have opted in to content advertising.

Don’t worry…

If you’re new to adwords and find that a bit complex, then don’t worry! Just remember to separate your content and search campaigns, and start by focusing only on the search network.