As promised: [webmasterworld.com...]
please be advised that having read and re-read terms for adsense and adwords, some data will NOT be shared, but an overall picture will be given.
I, just like you guys am worried about getting my ass whipped by Google :)
so here goes:
7 day test started on 17th Novemeber > 24th November.
Total impressions served: 357,190
Avg CPC: £0.04
Total search impressions served: 46,782
Avg CPC: £0.05
Total content impressions served: 310,408
Avg CPC: £0.05
so in other words, a lot more inventory for chosen keyword/s on content sites than Google and search partners (aol, ask etc).
creatives were written in a way to discourage window shoppers and timewasters with a direct call to action, including dynamic title creation.
the aim of the campaign was to get quality targeted traffic, repeat traffic, branding, and our url in peoples faces as quickly and cheaply as possible.
the 1 surprising thing was that the conversion rate of Search traffic was very very similar to Content traffic, this was the 1 thing that I was really worried about, and glad I was proved wrong (maybe its just my kick-ass creatives that have that effect).
we were also tracking where traffic was coming from, and the biggest surprise was that we were having our ads shown on our 3 BIGGEST competitors, and that money could NOT buy (ever), this meant apart from traffic we were basically getting exposure to our core users, and that I was ecstatic about.
we noticed a number of adsense publishers blatantly breaking the rules, with 2 creatives being shown, and also some serious content spam taking place, these sites should NEVER have been allowed to become a part of the adsense network (imo).
so for us, the pros and cons:
quality of traffic was SAME as search traffic.
our ads being shown on our rivals sites.
low CTR, but great branding, especially when you pay by CPC and NOT cpm :)
cost was same as search traffic.
some dodgy publishers, with very bad content. and breaking the rules, but since we only pay by CPC and the traffic converted, i couldnt give a damn. thats for the google police if they want to take action.
I had expected similar results as our banner advertising, but am suitably impressed that our CPC and even CPM rate was so so low on adsense, that banners are bye-bye for now, especially when the traffic converted.
The cheapes banner deal would have cost me at least 5 times more, probably a lot more looking at the sites where most of the traffic came from.
so the final answer:
YES, I shall be continuing with content advertising, it worked for me!
not sure whether you guys expected some mad scientific analysis, and I apologise if I did not live up to that, sorry.
hope you have got some feedback from the above.
and for the doubters out there, I would be glad to show my figures to Jenstar the moderator, or GoogleGuy or AdwordsAdvisor...