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This white paper presents the findings from this analysis. It shows that advertisers who advertise on the content network see good results on a number of levels:
Ads on the Google Content Network are likely to be as cost-effective - or even more cost-effective - than ads on the search network.
The median advertiser has a content CPA that's about 2% lower than their search CPA.
The Content Network drives a significant share of total conversions.
The Content Network drives nearly 20% of total conversions for the median advertiser.
Conversion rates are higher for advertisers who used either of two AdWords campaign management controls: the Conversion Optimizer and site exclusion.
Download PDF File 2.4Mb CPA Performance Trends on the Google Content Network [google.com]
The thing is, managing Content correctly takes knowledge and, most of all, time. One size definitely does not fit all, and you have to find exactly the right sites to match your offer. One of the problems I always have when Google & Yahoo and MSN talk about value and ROI and all the benefits of their PPC program - they seem to have absolutely NO calculation in there for time.
This is the Fox guarding the Chicken Coop, or PR masquerading as Research.
Gee, and I thought it was research masquerading as PR. :-)
Are you suggesting that they made the numbers up? Or that your anecdotal evidence is more meaningful than a survey of 25,000 accounts?
It's reasonable to believe that Google wouldn't have released the data if the survey results had been unfavorable, but that doesn't mean the data and the white paper are works of fiction.
Also, as has been said here many times before, "your mileage may vary." Medians aren't guarantees.
The big picture is that Google is promoting the content network which, as a publisher is good. I take the paper to mean that the content network is profitable for Google and worth growing.
The important and overall details have been omitted from of the white paper. Advertisers, publishers and others are likely to see a credibility problem with the white paper.
Credibility Challenged Examples:
1 When Google references reach of the content network within the first paragraph they use (1) Comcast data. I tend to believe that Google has better data on their reach than Comcast.
2. The paper very clearly indicates that the research group was massaged and culled to include only those advertisers falling within median area and have tracking data enabled. I wonder what the numbers would indicate if they considered all data? Better yet what do they look like across different industries or advertising niches? Narrow and selective data is an earmark of a marketing pitch.
3. They do not indicate tolerance of error – the paper is relatively absolute. Nothing is absolute in the marketing world.
4. Any Google document that mentions “Smart Pricing” more than twice is suspect to me. Until I can see the Smart Pricing details, Smart Pricing is just AIG or Enron phrase. This is personal opinion btw.
My last comment is a simple question – who is likely to benefit from this white paper? My simple answer, some advertisers, some publishers and Google.
Each campaign is carefully divided into ad groups based on keywords which allows me to alter LP, ad title, ad content and display URL.
If you do all of this and more, the content network can work for you. I don't imagine more than 20% of advertisers do this however, most just switching it on and leaving it.
The content network rocks if you know how to use it. It is important to ad the Detailed Keyword Filter to show you which websites are sending you traffic. This allows you to add negative sites and check bounce rates. If you have goals set up you can check that too.