Those of you who have been reading this site for the past years know how much I love Google for marketing. Even during the campaign season I was a huge proponent of Google especially Google's Content Targeting for branding and messaging. Occasionally during the Presidential Campaign we'd hit a home-run like the ads we ran for McCain against Obama meeting with Iran's President Ahmadinejah but for the most part Google's Content network was good for getting dirt cheap impressions as well as dirt cheap cost per video view; during the primary season we enjoyed a 7 cents cost per video playrate - beat that TV! Plus, there's always the use of Google Surge for blasting out ads in a geographic area.
Anyway, I think Google must have made some changes to their targeting in the content network because as of late I'm seeing marvelous results. Here's why I'm loving Google's Content Targeting and I'm using my own small marketing campaign to try and rent some space in my Union NJ office.
- Paid Search Can Be Super Expensive - I'm targeting a 25 mile radius around Union, NJ which would include NYC. The paid search per click rate just to get on the first page is north of $2.00 for the most part and before you jump all over me, I'm talking about a quality score of 7+ in my ad groups; rental real estate is just competitive and with big players. I have to run it, but I'm not happy because it is my own money.
- Building Banner Ads - I don't recommend running text ads in Google's content network because I believe there is little brand value and you are typically in a 300x250 ad unit with two other advertisers. So you are probably saying, Eric - I can't make flash ads or Eric - I dont want to pay my agency to build them. Well don't worry because Google has tools to build your own ads - all you need is a click thru URL, some ideas, as well as an image or two and then go through their library looking for the creative you like. Make you changes, Google resizes them for you (please evaluate all sizes) and bingo you have a flash ad for FREE. Here's what one of mine looks like.
- Setting Up Content Ad Groups - I recommend smaller keywords in your ad groups to get maximum exposure. It also seems to help with the targeting engine as long as the words in the group relate to each other
- Top 3 Position Only - I usually start cost per clicks in the 30 cents range and let it run for a day or two. Then I adjust the bids to make sure I am in the top 3. In my example, my actual cost per click is 57 cents with an average position of 2.3. In search my average cost per click is $1.59 with an average position of 6.8; that's a 64% savings for the same amount of clicks.
- Site Targeting - once I get going I like to add in actual website addresses so I make sure my ads appear. I can use the Content Targeting Site Selector tool or Google's Ad Planner which is a personal favorite of mine (did I mention this is free?) to find sites.
- Demotargeting - you can also further segment your marketing using simple demographic targets like age, gender, income, education, and a few other. Again this is FREE.
- Optimize and Track
Seriously - cheaper rates, free impressions, ability to create your own flash ads for free, add in geotargeting and demotargeting for free, plus a media planning tool that most companies pay $10K per month means that Google's Content Network is a must use for advertisers, especially small advertisers.