July 17, 2018

Advertising in Gmail and targeting the Gmail ‘Funbox’

A little nugget here regarding targeting your Google Content Network ads to Gmail,  (thanks to Perry Marshall for the tip!).

This video briefly shows you not only how to placement target gmail (mail.google.com), but also explains how to get into the ‘funbox’, that little space above your messages. (screen shot below). Good luck

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Google’s Wonder(ful) Wheel

OK so I posted on how good Google’s wonder wheel can be for the Google Content Network (GCN – if you like acronyms!). Anyway I thought I should elaborate a bit further…

The Wonder Wheel is great for broad or fragmented product categories like apparel,  so perfectly matched for the example I chose, where you’ve got a great deal of variety for your target categories.

However, If you are planning to go after categories that are dominated by a handful of brands, the results may be a little more limited.

Mobile Phones are a good example of this.
The wonder wheel (GWW) approach in the case of ‘Mobile phones’ really doesn’t help us that much in defining our GCN ad groups and themes, as it tends to get a little confused.

So, while the GWW is an awesome tool, it doesn’t always help specifically to the content network.  Sometime you are better off building your GCN campaigns using good old logic and common sense. (you know… that learned brain thingy of yours?!)

Don’t forget though,  it is  really good way to build out tons of secondary groups around broad product themes. Eg. Jackets, dresses, shoes, watches, etc.  And this applies to Search Targeted (more so in a way) as well as content network targeted.

I love the Google Content Network… there I said it!

Using Google’s Wonder Wheel to build better Content Network targeted campaigns

I’ve written a number of posts on content network optimization and the reoccurring message in all of them is to make sure you are creating themed ad groups.

I recently explained how Google create concepts when analyzing the content network and then group these concepts into categories, so when building out AdGroups for the content network, the goal is to great themes that Google can then easily match to the content categories they have defined.

Easy huh?

Well it’s actually easier than you think…  Meet the ‘Wonder Wheel’ a free tool Google have added as part of their Search Options features.

Essentially, the Wonder Wheel gives us a graphical representation of the search we have performed, in relation to the other related searches. In effect, it actually build out our themes for us.

So let’s go back a step and I’ll first show you where to find the wonder wheel.

– Go to google.com and conduct a search. Let’s search for ‘jackets’


– Just below the search box, above the search results, you will see the link ‘show options’. Click on this.

– Down the left hand column we now have a whole list of options available. Select ‘Wonder Wheel’ below ‘Standard View’ (Fourth group of links down) and the wonder wheel appears to the right.


Now what we have is a graphical representation of the searches or themes that google believe are most relevant to the initial query, in this case ‘jackets’.

Clicking on ‘leather jackets’ on the wheel will then expand that topic to create another set of themed search queries.


…do you see where I’m going with this?

In order to then translate this to your content network ad group creation, follow each branch of the wheel for each search query, and build out your themes.

The most important thing to remember here is to create an ad group for each spoke of the wheel, and not one ad group that includes all the spokes.

Golden rule for the content network is to build tightly themed ad groups (and lot’s of them) with 1-4 key words.

Here’s an eample of how I’d do this with ‘jackets’

Ad Group 1:
–    jacket
–    jackets

Ad Group 2:
–    leather jacket
–    leather jackets
–    leather jackets online
–    leather jacket  sale

Ad Group 3:
–    designer leather jacket
–    designer leather jackets
–    designer leather jackets online
–    designer leather jacket sale

Ad Group 4:
–    mens jackets
–    men’s jackets online
–    mens jackets sale

Ad Group 5:
–    discount jackets
–    discount jackets online
–    discount jacket
–    discount jacket sale

And keep gong. Don’t be surprised if you end up with 100 (or 500).

Next step is to write the ads – Just do 1 ad per ad group initially. Theme will not be an issue as each ad group is pretty tight.

Remember, Headline for impact, and strong call to action.

Once your ads are live and you begin to collect data, you can optimize as per normal.

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.

The Google Content Network: The Biggest Ad Network in the World.

ad-networksI’m not kidding – Google’s Content Network reaches more than 80% of global Internet users, and serves over 6 Billion Ad impressions a day! Are you getting your fair share of those impressions?

I’m a big fan of the Content Network from an advertiser perspective for many reasons. While a big factor for me is ease of use, every day I am blown away by the sheer power and potential of a network that has such a massive online reach.  It’s just mind blowing.

I’ve posted before about Optimizing for the Google Content Network, and the truth be told, up until now everyone, including Google,  seem to have very different suggestions on content network optimization strategies in general.

However,  I read Josh Dreller’s article over at Search Engine Land last week and was impressed with the level of information he’s provided. Check it out if you have not already – ‘Why You Can’t Ignore The Google Content Network – AdSense Q&A’. It’s an  interview Jasper Seldin, Content Optimization Specialist at Google.

I’m not going to re-hash the whole article here as that would be pointless, but I did want to highlight one paragraph that I think holds the key (although somewhat cryptic in parts) to success on the Content Network…

The question put to Jasper was “We all know by now that Content Targeting extrapolates the idea of your ad group via the keywords and then matches it with a theme and runs on those sites. Can you go into more detail about this process?”

Jasper: Google performs page analysis on every page in the content network. First, we scan the page and pick out words we think are most relevant to the content on the page. We can tell headlines from footers and can pick up on words that repeat often or are emphasized with bolding or italics. Together, these words create concepts. Concepts tell us the unique meaning of each page. There aren’t a finite number of concepts, unless you count the number of words that convey unique meaning.

And of course, we look at related concepts and see how they roll up into entire categories. It’s these concepts and categories that you are ultimately targeting with your keyword list. When you select keywords, we analyze the theme of the keyword list and place you on pages where the themes and categories match. An ad group can target multiple themes, but we recommend only targeting one theme with each ad group to ensure that you are putting the right message in front of the right user.

Really very interesting…

  • On the content Network you are targeting ‘concepts’ and ‘categories’ not keywords, pages, or sites (unless you’re doing placement targeting…).
  • Google scan all pages on the network and pick out the words they believe are most relevant on a page and tie them together as concepts.
  • They then look at how concepts are related, and tie them up into categories.
  • The Keywords you select in your AdWords campaign are then themed by Google and your ads are placed on pages where your theme matches the category or concept.

And the most important piece of information of all…

  • If your Ad Group targets more than one theme, chances are Google are not able to effectively match it to the right category on the network. So while your ad group could target more than one theme.  Don’t!

One of the best content targeted Ad Groups I’ve ever run had, wait for it…, one keyword, and one ad.

Theme? Tick!
Concept and category matched by Google? Yes!

Now I’m not saying that only one keyword per ad group will work every time,  but If you only need one keyword to establish your theme, then job done!

9 Common Google Content Network Mistakes

1 – Not separating campaigns to target the ‘content network only’.

Ok Google do allow you to view a single campaign’s data split out into ‘search’, ‘content’, and even ‘search partners’. And you can even set separate content bids. So why would you bother splitting the campaigns out and duplicating your work? Answers are obvious as you read below, but essentially it’s about optimization, bid strategies, and adgroup structures…

2 – Not changing bidding strategies for the Content Ads.

Conversion rates will most likely be lower than for search (not always) so you need to ensure that you’re keeping your eye on the prze and the CPC bids reflect how they relate to the ROI calcs.

3 – Not making use of the site exclusion tools available.

So important – If you’re getting a tonne of clicks from a certain site/domain and very low, or no conversions. Exclude it!

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The Single Biggest Mistake You Can Make on the Content Network

The single biggest mistake you can make on the content network is not actually understanding that you’re not on the Search Engine Results page anymore…

Contextual advertising is disruptive, you’re not responding to the searchers desires, you are trying to grab their attention, and fast!

So think Ad Text, Think Image ads, think call to action, think about the demographic, think about the sites, study the placements and ad slots.

Google Content Network Optimization – Does Anyone Really Know How?

Have you ever asked Google how to best optimize for their content network?

Try it – ask your Account Manager… I dare you!

It’s a bit of a running joke between me and my google buddies because I always pull them up on the fact that their ‘content targeting’ strategy changes almost ‘every week’.  😉 It feels as though sometimes the best practice approach may well be more of a best guess than anything else.

Of course there are definitely basic things you should do from a campaign structure and bidding strategy perspective, and I’ll cover these in a later post, but in short, the only real way to optimize for the content network is to test everything.

Below are just a few of the ‘strategies’ I’ve heard over the years… guess what? They’re all correct in some cases, but can be so wrong in others.

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