Determining Content Network Performance By Placement

I’m a big fan of the Google content network. Most PPC marketers tend to avoid it, but with the proper diligence you can get some really great cost per conversion numbers and increase your total conversions. The content network is not for the lazy, though – in order to be successful, you need to know how to block traffic from website placements that drive expensive, non-converting traffic your way.

Fortunately, Google makes it easy to determine performance on the placement level. In fact, they have a special report just for this purpose. To run a content network placement performance report, just follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your AdWords account, and go to the “Reporting” tab.
  2. Under “Report Type,” choose “Placement Performance.”
  3. Under “Settings,” choose the level of detail and the time frame you want to look at. You can choose whether you want to look at each individual web page that shows your ads (URL) or just how well your ads perform on an entire domain (Domain). Since content network traffic is usually pretty sparse, 30 days is probably the bare minimum of time you want to look at in order to get significant data.
  4. Under “Advanced Settings,” open up “Add or Remove Columns” and make sure that your check boxes for conversions and cost-per-conversion are checked. These are the most important stats you’ll want to be looking at (as usual).
  5. Pick a catchy name, click “Create Report,” and you’re done!

When analyzing this report, pay special attention to your cost metrics. If you see an unacceptably high CPA for a specific URL or domain, you can always add this to your negatives on the campaign level. That way, junk traffic from the site won’t drive up your total costs without providing additional conversions. If you run a placement performance report regularly, you can snuff out a lot of waste in your content network campaigns and start seeing some really great results from your targeted content network traffic.

About Shawn Livengood

Shawn Livengood is a search engine marketing professional based in Austin, Texas. He has extensive experience managing pay-per-click ad campaigns for clients in various industries, from small home-based businesses to large international companies. You can connect with Shawn on Google+.
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