November 28, 2015

Google Content Network – Strategy Cheat Sheet

Disclaimer:  I received this one-sheeter from Google last week. While I don’t yet have any hard data to support networkthese strategy recommendations, they’re definitely worth considering.

Google Content Network Strategy

Invest Time Upfront

–    Set up your campaign correctly from the start

  • Choose the right targeting option to meet your campaign goals. Use contextual targeting with keywords grouped by theme to achieve direct response goals and use placement targeting to reach domains and pages for branding goals.
  • Divide and conquer – Manage search and content campaigns separately to customize content keywords, placements, bids, and budgets. This will give you the flexibility to test different content strategies without affecting the performance of your search campaigns and will tighten control over your content network spending.
  • Measure and track conversions – Set up Google conversion tracking before running a content campaign. With conversion tracking, you will be able to see your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) for each ad group and placement to better inform your optimization decisions.

Guide Your Consumer

–    Make it easy for people to respond to your offer

  • Drive action with compelling ads. Attract potential customers to your ad by highlighting unique selling points and promotions with engaging, descriptive messaging. Include call-to-action phrases in your ad to reference a desired action post-click.
  • Match destination URLs to what’s being advertised in your ad. Create a seamless experience and keep potential customers engaged by linking your ad to customized landing pages that load in less than one second, or even faster.
  • Remove distractions and pave the way for conversions. Provide an easy path for users to purchase or receive the product or offer in your ad. Make it visible on the landing page by placing your call-to-action button on the top half of the page, above the fold.

Track, Tune and Prune

–    Manage your campaign closely as it ramps up, then put it on auto-pilot

  • Evaluate performance at the placement level. See where your ads are showing in the Networks tab in your account or with a Placement Performance Report (PPR) and spend more time evaluating sites that make up 80% of your spend.
  • Extend your reach by replicating success. Get more of what’s working by noting where your ads are performing well and creating similar ad groups and related placements to reach additional high potential areas of the content network.
  • Refine ad groups to improve ROI. Fix what’s not working by decreasing bids on poor performing placements, excluding undesired placements, and adding negative keywords to refine targeting.
  • Auto-optimize with Conversion Optimizer. Another benefit to implementing Google’s conversion tracking is Conversion Optimizer. . Turn on Google’s Conversion Optimizer and select a maximum CPA and Conversion Optimizer will automatically manage all of your bids to drive the most conversions at an average cost below that CPA.
About Leigh Hanney

Leigh Hanney is a marketing consultant helping companies optimise and execute digital marketing strategy and improve ROI.
Connect with Leigh on Google+ Leigh Hanney+


  1. Ben Waugh says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  2. Ben Waugh says:

    Hello. I was reading someone elses blog and saw you on their blogroll. Would you be interested in exchanging blog roll links? If so, feel free to email me.


  3. Leigh Hanney says:

    Thanks Ben. Glad you like it!

  4. Mike Harmon says:

    I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work :)

  5. Ahh, I think I just answered my own question. This all makes sense but switching on content networks is still scary….

  6. Leigh Hanney says:

    Content Network can be awesomely powerful – At the very minimum, make sure you’re using a different campaign from ‘search’ targeted, and that bids are lower than search (as a rule). also exclude sites, and think more broadly about the keyword themes you’d like to match on other sites. Actually – there’s so much to think about with the content network isn’t there… ahhh and I’m trying to make it simple…:-)

    but it can work really well! just go slowly and set low daily budgets to start with if you’re unsure. Oh and also – realistically, if you want any volume at all you’ll need to bid for position 1-3 on the content network. any lower and traffic/impressions drop right off


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