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Another thought ... when you added the new campaign so you could split search and content, which got the existing campaign and which got the new campaign?
If content got the new campaign, that might be what's happening here. Even when ads are just copied from an existing campaign, a new campaign usually has a "settling in" period while the algos assess the strength of the ads. That might be what you're seeing here.
The above searches would be blocked by adding these words to your negatives:
The thing is, you may have been spending hundreds of pounds (or dollars) on clicks in the Content Network, but you have no idea if they were actually converting, good clicks, do you? Were you running conversion tracking before? (I don't remember if you said you were) If so, then go back through your historical reports and see how many conversions you were getting from the Content Network. You may have lost out on a lot of impressions or even clicks, but they might have been wasted garbage clicks (or fraud)
You can run placement reports on old deleted campaigns, so run one on that campaign that USED to have Content Network included and see where the clicks were coming from then. If they look like likely places, then you can placement target them.
Go take a look at the ad planner. If you have an idea of the general demographic of whom you are looking for, you might be able to find some sites to placement target in there.
Do your customers use gmail? I have some customers who do extremely well with ads in gmail (and others who just tank) It's easily tested.
netmeg : Ok, you don't need to set up exclusions if you set up the campaign for managed placements to ONLY show on those sites.