Many clients I talk to have negative feelings towards content network campaigns.  However, while they may have struggled with results in the past, we have noticed a significant increase in conversions from these campaigns.  And because the cost per click for content is significantly lower than search, these conversions tend to have a better ROI.

PPC AdvertisingOne reason that content network placements are improving is the availability of powerful tools to help manage these campaigns.

Google’s Placement Report

The first, most important tool to understand is the Placement Report.  This is a relatively new report and it is a huge help with content campaign management.  It tells you, for keyword-placements, which sites your ads were placed on.  You can see all the great data that you get with keyword reports, such as impressions, click thru rate, and total cost.

Most importantly, you can see conversions based on the exact placement page!  Now you can tell which placements are the most beneficial and the least beneficial.

Google’s Site Exclusion Tool

Now that you can see which placements are performing for you, you can use Google’s site exclusion tool to exclude specific pages or entire sites.  This is especially important if your ad is generating a lot of clicks (i.e., $$$) but no conversions.

In a previous article, Jack goes into more detail on using this tool, but the Site and Category Exclusion tool can be accessed from the Tools menu in your AdWords account.  Simply type the site name into the “Sites” tab and save.  It will show you which sites are being excluded in a list at the bottom.

Topic Exclusion

The topic exclusion tool – accessed by selecting the Topics tab on the Site and Category Exclusion page – allows you to exclude sites within specific “edgy” topics.

Be sure to look at the statistics for these categories before you exclude all topics.  You may find that placement on a particular topic converts very well for your business.

Page Type Exclusion

Similarly to the topic exclusion, the page type exclusion is another option in the site and category exclusion section.  You can view stats as to how well your ads are converting on network types, such as parked domains and error pages and on user-generated content sites such as forums and social networks.  You can exclude the type of sites that don’t work well with your business.

In our PPC Advertising Management, we utilize all of these tools to get the best results for our clients.  Keep in mind, though,  that you should be focusing your decisions on conversion rate and cost per conversion.  Conversion tracking is especially important with content network campaigns because you do not have the search term as a “clue” to what your visitor was thinking when they arrived at your site.