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Google AdWords Forum

Paying for content ads
you gonna do it?

 10:05 pm on Mar 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

So today is March 12, the day content ads are nolonger supposed to be free. They still seem to show as being free, but I guess that will probably stop tomorrow or shortly.

Once the free ride is over:

1) are you going to have your adwords shown as content ads?

2) what would get you to change your mind?


jeremy goodrich

 10:12 pm on Mar 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Read an article the other day by a friend - and speaker at SES - said his firm was in on the testing phase with Google.

From what I understand, their tracking service showed a noticable drop in 'post click conversion rates'...in other words, sure - you can get clicks, but no sales :(

The various campaigns I'm running will be opting out of this feature. I don't need more clicks -> that don't generate sales :)


 11:12 pm on Mar 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Gonna vote with my wallet. Just disabled it on the campaigns I run/manage.

The CTR was about 2/3rds fo the search CTR, and the conversion rate (as we track it) was about 1/5th for most sites. (One was notibly higher, but still less then search-based).

To change my mind...

a) Better relivance. I've been watching very very carefully where the clicks are coming from. Pages that don't change often (> once/day) seem to get decently relivent ads, more dynamic pages (ie slashdot.org homepage) gets more stale ads.

b) Better reporting/management. The ability to have a campaign content-only will help a hell of alot. If I don't know what keywords are generating the clicks (along with the page it came from) I have a harder time feeling confident about the ad. (Nevermind using different copy and tracking URLs for content va. search adwords)

c) Lower-Costs. Content ads, for me, show a lower CTR, and a lower ROI. That means that the search-based keyword at $1.00CPC is ok, but not ok for a content-based keyword at the same price. Frankly I would be only be willing to pay about 40% of my current CPC values for the content-based ads, given current data. (And that's generous)

I came in as a skeptic (sp? - too lazy to use the Googlebar :) tried to keep an open mind, but have been proven right by the data.

For my sites, content-based AdWords are NRFPT (Not Ready For Prime Time). I'd love to see some changes, and mabye we'll look at them again in the future, but we're not budgeting anything until Q2 at this point.

Tropical Island

 6:08 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just checked my AdWords results for yesterday and today. Since the content program started we have no "free' impressions and, as a result, no CTR.

All of a sudden for today's report there are searches showing (still no CT's) the first day of "pay". Did they just initiate a new bunch of content partners or are they showing our ads on unsuitable content?


 6:36 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

For right now, we have seen so little traffic from the content ads, I will leave them up. They are a very, very tiny drop in the bucket of the traffic we see from adwords, so they aren't hurting... yet.

ROI drops in the future, and those babies are the first thing I blame and pull.


 7:38 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

TropicalIsland I don't want to go to far off topic, but I think they do have a bunch of new sites showing content ads. Heck I'm one of them :)

They just started distributing 2-spot content ads as 486x60 size banners through fastclick. I have fastclick on one of my tiny sites, so I decided to give the google ads a go. Google is paying a $1/cpm for them.

The CTR for fastclick ads on this site is about .035, so they need to get about $0.33 to cover costs.

I saw also they listed burstmedia as a partner, so I guess they are doing a similiar deal with their network of sites.

Going further off topic, I think this is really horrible for the small webmasters in these networks. When you look at the sample content ad banner in the media selection, it is for generic links. When they go on your site, they do the keyword matching and bring up links for competing sites. I knew what's going on from reading these forums, but I'm guessing there are going to be a lot of really pissed-off webmasters.


 8:08 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

figment, are you saying that some websites will not want competitors appearing on their site? Im not sure it will be a problem. Im pretty sure only very large websites will have the chance to be a partner, and they are not forced to join. Of course is it is true independent content site, competitors dont really come into it, unless it is competitive web sites covering similar content.


 8:19 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

All of a sudden we are getting a lot of "content site" impressions after have had a tiny dribble for the first 2 week free period. Maybe ads just went live on blogger sites or something.


 8:25 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)


Fastclick and BurstMedia are ad networks composed of small to medium sized websites. My website that is part of the FastClick network only gets about 80 visitors & 200 pageviews a day. It is currently serving Google content ads for competing websites. It's not an important website to me, I don't really care that much.

These ad networks have two modes of operation:
1) webmasters either review all of the potential ads and decide which ones to allow on their site

2) webmasters allow ads to automatically appear with possibly some filters (e.g. no casino ads, no adult ads, no extreme animation, etc.).

Now with the first mode of operation, when a webnmaster goes to look at the sample google ad, it shows generic links. When they appear on the website, though, they are content driven. With the second mode, it will not trip any of the content filters.

Further, most of these webmasters do not realize that Google is showing differnet links based on page content. As a result, Google content ads for competing websites are being displayed on many small and medium size websites without their owner's explcit knowledge.

You don't think that is going to piss-off a lot of people?


 9:03 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks figment.

I didnt realise that Google ads were being fed through other networks.

Can you just stop the Google ads as you can with the other options that the networks offer you? I guess that is not an option?

Tropical Island

 10:37 pm on Mar 13, 2003 (gmt 0)


Thanks for the info.

If my WordAds are appearing on competing sites then all the better. My concern is that all of a sudden impressions are appearing where yesterday they didn't. I've no problem with directed traffic as long as that's what it is. I'm too small to get just a lot of idle clickers.


 12:03 am on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

I, too, disabled content ads after pretty dismal performance during the "free trial". Perhaps it's just the markets I'm in, but I don't see content-based advertising as a viable plan, yet. That's just me, though. I don't know if my performance on regular, search ads is good or not, but I'm happy with the results - a healthy (I think) CTR, and a pleasing conversion rate and ROI. The trial of content ads was of no use whatsoever to me, but, as always, your mileage may vary. C'est la guerre, non?

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