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AdWords Content Network vs Search Network

Jan 11, 2008
Google's AdWords PPC program allows you to select if you want to run your PPC ads on the content network, the search network, or both.

Do you know the difference between Content and Search networks?

When you elect to have your ads shown on the search network, they'll appear on the right hand side of the search results page when someone performs a search at the Google search engine.

If you choose to have your ads shown on the content network, they'll appear on different websites that are enrolled in the Google AdSense program. You've probably visited websites that have ad blocks with an ID tag that says Ads by Google, those are AdSense ads and they're paid for by AdWords PPC advertisers.

When your PPC ads show up on the content network and someone clicks your ad, Google charges you the bid price for that click and shares a portion of that revenue with the website owner.

Although many advertisers shy away from using the content network, there are distinct advantages, depending upon what you expect to achieve with your PPC campaign.

If you're giving away a free report to prospective customers, you may want all the exposure you can get. In that case, the content network may be just what you need. Your ads will appear on a wide variety of websites and the number of visitors you receive may increase significantly.

On the other hand, if you're in a highly competitive market where you have to bid a substantial amount for each click, you may want to stick with the search network instead.

The general idea here is that you'll generate clicks that are more targeted on the search network. After all, the prospect is actively searching the topic related to your keywords, so he's already expressed an interest.

The content network, however, can cause your PPC ad to be shown to viewers that aren't really interested in your product, but they may click your ad just out of curiosity. If your bid for clicks is fairly high, you could be wasting a lot of money with little potential gain.

Another problem with the content network is that ads shown are selected by Google's interpretation of the website's topic. This interpretation is done by a software algorithm and sometimes the software misses the mark. Have you ever visited a website that's clearly about a certain subject, but the AdSense ads are about something totally different?

If you're paying for those curiosity clicks for ads shown on unrelated sites, a sizeable portion of your advertising budget can be wasted.

If you're PPC campaign is based upon fairly low priced keywords and your product has a wide market with general appeal, the content network might be the best choice, since it will give you the most exposure.

As mentioned above, you can choose the search network, the content network or both. AdWords also allows you to specify different bids for each network, so you can pay a lower amount for clicks that come from the content network and save a few bucks while still getting maximum traffic.
About the Author
Ranju is the assistant editor of http://Traffic-Trix.com/FREE-PPC and he is an Under the Radar Internet Entrepreneur who is been quietly selling various products for the last 8 years.
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