I run small adwords campaigns on a niche market. I have the feeling that quite often the content exposure of the campaign "drains" the ads. What I'd speculate is that this happens via some intelligent routing on adwords side that does not display ads even in the search network if the ads are bad clicked in the content network.
I personally find search network CTR far better than the content network. I'd like to know if advanced campaign managers experience similar patterns, and how do the two exposures compare. Can one "balance" the exposure between the two networks?
I very rarely use the content network for my Adwords campaigns anymore. It just seems you get a lot more curiosity clickers than real potential customers. At least with search, they’re actually “looking” for you. With content, I think people just click on them but really aren’t looking for you in the first place. If by chance your ad is competing directly with the page the person is on in the first place, then maybe you’ll have a better chance to convert.
I’m sure there are plenty of campaigns where the content network works great. I just haven’t found it and I promote a variety of different products and services. It seems to have just cost me more money to advertise with little in return.