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What tends to be the quality of Content targetted listings against Search targetted listings? And why the difference, if any?
If so, the reason you are probably experiencing a higher CTR for the content network is that most the top advertisers in the search probably have content switched off, so you will appear in higher positions.
The reason I believe this, is that i recently went to an adwords seminar connected to one of the UK affiliate networks, and when they asked who used content networks not one hand went up.
Considering there was around 30 of the top PPC guys in the room, I think that tells the story of the content networks.
Not saying it is like this for all keywords.
It's a very valid point though, if 'everyone else' is turning off their content network reach, then all it does is leave that aspect of the marketplace open to others.
In my case I perceive the ad group with the 5% content ctr as a unique situation. None of the other ad groups come anywhere near this figure. Why is it this high? I really don't have a clue because I've no idea where it is being shown...
Instinct tells me though that, as all our ads are very, very, specialised, this particular ad group must be showing on a few sites highly focused in areas relative to ours - otherwise we just wouldn't be getting the clicks.
Point being though, sometimes it can work - and work very well. Now if only I could choose where it got shown on the content network..
With that in mind, a pooling of content sites by generic sectors would be damn useful...
Q: "Do you want your ad to show on content sites relative to science?"
A: Yes, please.
Q: "Do you want your ads to be shown on sites devoted to sports?"
A: No thank you!
In this scenario, the likelihood of you getting useless impressions, because of the many contextual variations of key words, would be pretty much negated because your ads would only be showing on sites where they are contextually relevant.
Combine this with the use of negative key words and you are enhancing the ability to target your ads in a very useful way indeed.
Content might even increase it's credibility...
I passed it on last week in my Advertiser Feedback report - and will also include your well stated post in the same report tomorrow.