So you are trying out some Google AdWords Content Network campaigns, which is certainly a good idea especially if you are using conversion tracking, but are you analyzing where all of those content clicks are actually coming from? One of the areas you should take a look at, after a decent amount of click activity has come in, is the Site and Category Exclusion area within your AdWords account. You can find this on each individual campaign summary screen. There is an Add (or Edit) link that you can click in the upper left corner that brings you to a screen that has three tabs on it.
The first tab is the Sites tab. This is where you can exclude specific sites, or specific pages within specific sites, that are spending your advertising dollars without generating any return. You can find out which sites or pages to exclude by running the Placement Performance report. This report will actually list where your content ads are showing and give you very relevant and important conversion data. If a site, or page on a site, is just spending money and not converting, you can add it to the list of excluded sites on this tab. Your ads will then no longer show on that site, or page. The data keeps defaulting to last 7 days on this tab, so make sure you run All Time before making any hasty decisions.
The second tab is the Topics tab. This area shows 6 topic areas, ranging from crime to sexually suggestive content. You can exclude an entire topic area with a simple click in a checkbox. This will stop your ads from showing on a broad range of content sites that feature a certain topic you may want to avoid or feel uncomfortable showing your ads on. However, don’t just automatically exclude all of these because they may actually be bringing in conversions for you. As with the Sites tab, you can exclude those topics that are just spending money and not driving any sales.
The third tab is the Page Types tab. This area includes error pages, parked domains, forums and other types of user-generated content sites. The idea is similar for this tab as it is for the Topics tab. Look at the data, then exclude those page types that are not generating sales. Again, don’t be too hasty in automatically excluding everything. You might be surprised where some of those sales are actually coming from.
Ultimately, you will probably be excluding some sites, some topics and some page types. The Sites tab and Placement Performance Report are areas you will want to revisit again and again because the Google Content Network is an ever-evolving marketplace. You certainly will need to stay on top of the changes to make the Content Network a profitable arena to spend your PPC Advertising dollars.