I was recently reminded of a song by the California-based band
The Offspring, called “Come Out and Play.” It was popular when I
was in high school. The chorus starts with what musicians call
stop time, where there is a pause in the music, then one of the
supporting vocalists says, “Ya gotta keep’em separated.”
What does this song have to do with pay-per-click marketing or
By default when you begin an account, your ads are syndicated into
four networks of distribution. If you’re not that familiar with
AdWords, you might think the only place your ad is being seen is
surrounding the Google search box after a user types in your
keywords, but unless you opt-out your ads also will be on AOL,
Dogpile, Ask, as well as on article sites like About.com, eHow.com,
and 1000s of others.
Here are the four channels you’re automatically in:
The third channel listed is what Google previously called the Content
Network, and now calls the Display Network.
For text-based ads, this network is what they call in the online
world “Contextual Advertising.”
Google did not invent this, but has made the best use of
monetizing the technology. How it works is Google reads the page and
chooses which articles to show your ads on based on the topics and
content of the site, sometimes using what’s called semantic
Bid Separately by Network
About five years ago, by popular request, AdWords started allowing
advertisers to bid separately on keywords and adgroups displaying
on the then Content Network, now Display Network, from Search
Advantages of the Display Network
The Display Network has gotten a bad rap over the years, mostly
because advertisers seeking an easy push and play solution haven’t
treated the Display Network as being unique, and haven’t leveraged
it to their advantage the way they could. Often times, you
can get MORE and much LESS expensive traffic and
conversions if managed correctly.
The Google AdWords Editor Makes Life Easier
About three years ago, Google came out with a desktop editor in
which you could manage your campaigns making it possible to
quickly scale accounts by to copying and pasting campaigns.
You can get the Google AdWords Editor here.
My suggestion when it comes to advertising on different networks,
“Ya Gottta Keep ’em Separated.” Turn off the Display Network
initially, then once your campaigns and adgroups are
thoroughly organized and fleshed out, copy and paste your Search
campaigns, but only display them to the Content Network.
Make sure you name the campaign accordingly, so you know from
a bird’s eye view, which network your campaigns are syndicating
to what network.
Basically, you’ll have campaigns (including adgroups and keywords)
which are exactly the same, with the only difference where they
are distributed. This is the starting point.
Then REEVALUATE your ad strategy for the Display Network.
These ads should be designed to draw readers’ attention away,
more like a billboard (as my friend and Contextual Google AdWords Expert Shelley Ellis would say).
Similar to traditional advertising, you have to be more
interuptive in your approach and finish the conversion
in your prospects head.
CLIENT CASE STUDY EXAMPLE
I had a client a couple of years ago, in which the Display
Network was their best channel by far. The Search Network was
cost-prohibitive. Their campaigns’ success had a lot to do with
their prospects, which were individuals and businesses owing more
than 10k to the IRS.
Instead of matching keywords to headlines, they had the same
headline on all their ads “End Your IRS Fears.” This spoke
directly to the pain point of their prospects, which would find
their ads alongside articles on how to deal with audits, liens,
wage garnishments other IRS nightmares. We tried several other
headlines in order to match keywords, after lots
of testing, this one worked the best for conversions.
We’ll talk more about the other networks in the future.