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Day 1 Results - Kinda disappointing
Google content advertising

 8:48 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

These are the stats for search ads -

Number of clicks - 1748
Number of impressions - 36317
CTR - 4.8%

These are the stats for content ads -

Number of clicks - 2
Number of impressions - 214
CTR - 0.9%

Website Category: B2C

Until Google rapidly increases its number of content partners, AdWords content advertising will not significantly affect the advertisers.

Somewhat surprised by the CTR of content ads - thought it would be much lower!



 10:03 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think a lot of the content sites are a lot more student, researcher, curiousity seeker, general browser oriented. We have been getting very low hits from there compared to our normal also.
I suspect that there simply are not many prospective buyers in the groups that tend to use those.

Marketing Guy

 10:07 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Perhaps the particular industry has a factor to play in it too?

For example, someone searching a content site for real estate laws, information and advice will be more likely to click through a content ad for an estate agent.

However, someone reading up on music industry news isn't necesarily gonna buy a CD.



 10:32 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here are my numbers:

These are the stats for search ads -

Number of clicks - 1011
Number of impressions - 59853
CTR - 1.6%

These are the stats for content ads -

Number of clicks - 0
Number of impressions - 222
CTR - 0.0%

Industry:B2C & B2B (Sporting Goods)


 2:27 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

We have the same kind of numbers for our different campaigns so far. It doesn`t look very promising.


 2:40 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just one B2C Campaign
108 1534 7.0% $0.18 $19.11 2.0

Content-Targeted Ads 0 1 0.0% - Free 6.0


 4:41 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

On one of my sites, I backfill the directory with "content chasers" from another ppc search provider.

The main difference is that I specify the "query" that pulls the ads for the page.

In this O'Henry type of struggle of man versus algorithm for relevency, I delivered yesterday

688 impressions
36 clicks
5.23% click-thru

Then again maybe their algorithm is fine and blogs are just a lousy place to display content ads.


 5:07 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing similiar number here... albeit with 0 clicks... (niche B2C)

What I really want to know are two things - where the he** are these impressions being made (I'm in a very very niche market and cant see any of the sites I've seen with ads being relivant) and with what keywords...

Without at least the latter, the stats have significantly less meaning to me.


 5:16 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is Google's example from their FAQ page: "For example, if users look up the weather forecast for Palm Springs on a weather site, they may see ads for deals on hotels and cars in the Palm Springs area" -Talk about trying to fit a square into a circle. Contextual Advertising may be a hot topic BUT it is not new. Since 1996, the savvy media buyers #1 job was to place an ad "in context". CTRs will NEVER be what we are used to seeing for Web Matches or the traditional AD Words program. How many people of 100 do you expect will have an interest in viewing a Palm Springs hotel ad when they are looking at weather. Come on-- we are smarter than this. What will be Google's next big move? Because clearly this is not it- I see this as a digression from quality and now we have statistics to back this up. SERP prospects are the BEST prospect on the Internet, not withstanding the entire universe of traditional advertising. I am in LOVE with the SERP prospect - I think all of us are. The winner in this world of consolidation will be the one who realizes that those who spend the money (us) will not be fooled by syndication that is NOT search derived. 90+% of all searches conducted on the Web come from Yahoo, AOL, Google, and MSN. For Google to maintain there position in the market place with revenues to back it up, they must either 1) go after the Overture-Yahoo/MSN CPC contract and/or 2)Make more money from the Google property itself. PFI- no problem, google --- Better CPC placement, thus better CTRs and more google revenue---gladly. Search products for web sites -- i have interested clients. Google Answers (a very innovative service)-- I like. I have a feeling that Google itself has two competing camps within its boardrooms. Unfortunately, I am concerned as to who is currently winning the battles. PS - I have over 40 adwords programs up for distinct URLs - only one has a CTR of over 1% for the new syndication based on yesterdays statistics.

[edited by: Chicago at 8:10 pm (utc) on Feb. 28, 2003]


 5:53 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I was glad to see this in the fine print:

"However, because we only consider the CTR on Google when evaluating your account and keywords, Content-Targeted Ad performance does not affect the CTR Google uses."


 6:22 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Heres the thing though.... And I'll give some exmaples...

If there's a content ad up on "furry-woodland-creatures-for-pets.com", which is a page devoted to... Furry Woodland Creatures...

An ad talking about animals in general would be somewhat appropriate, but an add talking about, say, television repair would be so out of place it would attract attention.

(I.E. the lawyers ads on slashdot lately)

My concern is that if the impression is not relivent the ad does more harm then good. It either gives the person an incentive to click through to charge us (wasted) money, or possibly when they go looking for our product/service they might remember the ad and not click on it.

Back to reality for a moment...

I've seen places where this works well, and where the ad choice is so far off in left field it'll need a spacesuit.

I want to expand my advertising, but I need to know where how and why. I'm e-mailing back and forth with AdWords people about this and it's going very slowly.

Another option is to have the ability to define a campaign as "Content Ads Only". This way we might be able to change the ad wording and keywords a bit so some negative effects might be mitagated.


 6:27 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Another option is to have the ability to define a campaign as "Content Ads Only". This way we might be able to change the ad wording and keywords a bit so some negative effects might be mitagated.

We would like that as well.


 10:08 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thats the ticket, Mike.

Let us decide by Ad Group whether we want content, regular adwords or both.

I've just checked a couple of sets of stats, and it varies wildly.
Some content/regular stats were identical in CTR (much lower in reach on content as a whole, this is expected until the disribution gets huge, as I think it will.)

Others varied as much as .3% content to 8% in regular adwords.
Just another thing to test, and master. Another reason to be able to seepeate content from regular ad words. Testing copy between the two for best CTR. My hypothesis is that different copy techniques will yield different results in each venue.

For example, in content delivered ads, do you still want to put your keywords in the title, or would benefit based ad copy be better?

Spr*nks should be very concerned. My guess is that is Googles target on this one - grab market share from ContentSpr*nks - of course they will have to build quite a bit more.


 11:11 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'm putting my arbitrage hat on here. What would be the best way to take advantage of the content ads free deal? Would I sign up for a bunch of keywords and put a really low bids on them (so I won't get keyword click throughs but I will get content click throughs assuming the terms are not being used by a number of other advertisers)?

Any ideas?

Mikkel Svendsen

 11:48 pm on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Another option is to have the ability to define a campaign as "Content Ads Only". This way we might be able to change the ad wording and keywords a bit so some negative effects might be mitagated.

Yes, please! :)
- I vote for that one too!


 4:02 am on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would like the option for content ads only also. Even though I suspect there may not be enough traffic at this point to get excited about.


 8:12 pm on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'll try to drop by this thread more often, but I did want to mention one thing. When comparing content ads to search ads, you'll want to look at sellthrough and ROI rather than just clickthrough. The initial data that we've seen (working with several external advertisers, plus content ads from Google Groups) indicates that CTR is typically a little lower on content ads, but that the conversion rate puts ROI back on par with search ads. It will take time for everyone to gather more data, but I think it will help to use the end-to-end test of ROI instead of CTR, especially since CTR is an approximation of user interest, but ROI is the final indicator that determines if an ad is worth it.


 9:38 pm on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

you'll want to look at sellthrough and ROI rather than just clickthrough

(I don't want to belabour the point but...)

This would be a helluva lot easier to do if we could have seperate tracking URLs for content-based AdWords. As it is parsing through the tracked inbounds to see if they are from an SE or 'not' is a PITA.


 9:40 pm on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

We are seeing about 35% max and zero percent worst CTR compared to regular ads.
On one, we had 1400 impressions, 1 CT.


 1:30 am on Mar 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

daroz, I'll pass that feedback on. Someone I was talking to was saying that it should be possible, but I haven't seen actual log files with my own eyes, so I'll hold off on that for now.

Mikkel Svendsen

 11:22 am on Mar 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

GG, most of us don't use logfiles.

a) I work a lot on sites that serve 100s of million of page views a month so so parsing logfiles is just not realistic.

b) We mostly user tracker based services (and some network packet sniffing) and for that we need specific tracking URL's for each campaign

So, the conclusion right now is, that we cannot track CT ads and measure ROI compared to search based AdWords.

As many of my clients are very ROI focused (I think we agree that is good) we have no other choice now but to disable the CT ads (at least after the March 12 when you start charging). If I can't measure the value I am not allowed to pay for the ads! :)

If your engineers have an idea for how to track the CT ads (as it is now) please let us know ASAP (that is, if you want access to the budgets I manage)


 6:39 pm on Mar 2, 2003 (gmt 0)


My tracking software records the entire HTTP stream for the tracking hit so I can go back to it if I need to. From there I'm currently pulling out the referrers and the keywords from Google. I throw them in a temporary table with a quick shot of perl script to seperate out the host from the rest of teh referral string. From there a simple SQL "GROUP BY" clause gets me a list of hosts.

At that point I can take a glance through and identify any 'oddball' hosts and give those individual tracking records more scruteny.

Hope that helps (but I know it's still a PITA).

Mikkel Svendsen

 8:54 pm on Mar 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

daroz, I know it's possible - just not realistic with most of the major brands I work for.

a) Referrers are not a very good way to track campaigns - tracking URLs are much better.

b) Try doing what you do on a website that have 1 billion page views a month (as one of my clients actually do!) - or even with a "few hundred milllion" page views :)

c) My clients don't want to build new tracking systems every time some of the medias I use add a new channel. Sorry, but they have to fit the "standards" if they want included in these campaigns.

One solution, as mentioned by others, would be to be able to select ONLY CT ads. This way I could just set up two campaigns with the same set of keywords but with different tracking URLs - one for regular AdWords and one for CT ads. This should be very simple for Google.


 11:51 pm on Mar 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I manage a few Adwords account for larger businesses such as an insurance company based in California. I have found that content advertising is probably going to have little to no effect on certain businesses like a insurance company. Where are they going to place these ads if most of these blogs are personal or research based? I have not had a single ad served at all.


 12:09 am on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

We placed a new ad campaign online, and so far we have had double the content clicks than normal clicks (admittedly it's 6 of one and 3 of the other). This is the only glimmer of light in an otherwise lacklustre free demo.

I am still not convinced that it will work and to turn it off on a load of accounts is going to be time consuming.

My request for the future is acknowledge the fact that not every advertiser runs one campaign, or one group, and that agencies don't get paid to switch things off that we never asked for to start with.

Can I also ask, if we do say that we don't wish to have the content searches, will our display revert to the old one? This may sound pedantic, but the extra 4 lines of text (Subtotal, New freee bonus click, another subtotal and then a blank section), make for a lot of extra scrolling when you have ad campaigns with 50 plus ad groups within it.

We've just had to pause a client account while they relocate their server to something more up to the job, and had to pause each campaign individually, why not have a one switch pause button, to cater for this sort of thing?


 12:39 am on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good feedback, webdiversity (and Mikkel). I'll pass this back on.


 4:08 am on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Two points:

(1) I agree with GoogleGuy: it's conversions, not CTR's, that matter. No one needs to claim that the CTR will be on par with search ads. No click, no pay, anyway, which may not be good for the publisher, but is no problem for the advertiser.

(2) We forget that Overture is already doing something very much like this (albeit with different, and so Google would argue, much more limited, technology):


If I'm checking the Boston weather for this week's conference, I probably won't need to book a hotel since it's already booked. CTR's in some of these cases are likely to be abysmal. But it's Google's job to deploy superior targeting technology that would raise these dismal CTR's on average. Knowing that they've outdone themselves before, I am willing to give them a chance to do it again.

I wonder if Google's country-specific targeting applies to content targeting. Hmm. So many questions.


 1:32 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

can we have some numbers on conversions of click throughs; ie. how directly profitable is the campaign

most of you have reported 0.9% - 2.0% CTR, and were know(from a seperate thread) that actual conversion for most sites is around 2%. So, how profitable is a campaign?

If you get a 2% conversion rate, each buyer costs you 50 times your bid amount. Which means if your click-through payout is $0.50, then your cost of customer acquisition is $25, if it is more, then your cost is that much more.

Based on this, how long does it take for customer acquisition to pay off? I mean if, for eg, each customer costs you $25, and average sale price is $50 on your site, with a 20% margin, then it will take 2.5 puchases by the same customer to cover you Google ad. spend.

Please report your product type: tangible; digital delivery; subscription; small ticket; medium ticket ($200 - $700); big ticket (over $700 on average).



 2:50 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)


We are placing a clause in our contracts that states we will charge MORE when Overture adds "enhancements" or adwords changes their program and causes us WORK to turn stuff off.

We want the ability to open a new account to track "Content Ads Only" --- PERIOD


 3:39 pm on Mar 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thank you, Mike. Glad to know we have same opinion. In fact, I came up with it when I first found out they had bought Blogger!

These content ads are VERY different ads. I am excited about them but THEY ARE DIFFERENT. Those of us who truly track ROI "LIVE AND DIE" by this difference.

Any other medium (dare I say TV and Radio) have extensive ways to track ad types.

Google AdWords needs to do it too before I join the bandwagon. But, oh, how I am going to enjoy joining....

BTW, I sent this opinion to Google in an e-mail today.

Others should do the same!

This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37 ( [1] 2 > >
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