March 30, 2010
The Google content network is a mash up of many different sites and how people discover your ads on these sites is a little different than traditional search. People may or may not be searching for your brand or product, so they more or less stumble upon your ad and it takes a little more convincing to get them to hand over their click. It is important to approach content network ads a little differently than search campaigns. Here are a few tips and tricks to help make writing ad text for the content network a little easier.
1. Get your brand name out there – the content network can help deliver a lot of impressions but it is sometimes more challenging to get a click. When writing your ads, don’t forget to put your brand name in the headline or ad itself to capitalize on all of those impressions. Even if a user doesn’t click, they may have noticed your brand name so if they see another placement in the future, they recognize it as something familiar.
2. Consider your audience – do a little research on where you are appearing within the content network, and then customize your ads for these audiences. Keep in mind you may have multiple audiences depending on the range of sites you are on. For instance, if you are selling bicycles, you may be appearing on bike enthusiast or race sites. The people seeing your ad are already in the bike mindset, so make sure you speak their language. On the flipside, if you are appearing on mail.google.com you have a much wider audience. You could appear next to an email about little Susie’s new bike, so speaking the language of a professional cyclist isn’t going to resonate. Spending a little time getting to know where you are showing up and understanding who might see your ad can improve your click-through rates.
3. Research your competitors, then be different – who you are competing with on the content network could be very different than who you are typically up against. Because the content network is based on keyword themes you may show up next to companies or brands outside of your product offering. See what others are putting in their ads and then make sure you are different. A few minutes of research could mean greater success.
4. Avoid Dynamic Keyword Insertion (DKI) in headlines – because users aren’t necessarily searching for your brand when on the content network, DKI doesn’t work as well as it can in traditional search programs. If you do have an ad with KWI running in the content network, Google will choose a keyword from your ad group and randomly insert it, which may make your ad less relevant.
5. Place your domain name in your headline – consider testing if your domain is self-explanatory and short. For instance if you sell bicycles and your URL is NatesBikeShop.com, putting your domain name in your headline may prove to be successful. If your site is Wheels.com, you may not have as much success as your website could have many different things on it. When people read through websites, they often look for links. Because the headline of an ad is underlined, your headline or domain name could look like a link. It is something to test although there isn’t much data out there proving it works or doesn’t.
6. Call-to-action becomes even more important – try using call-to-action phrases such as ‘register now’ or ‘get a free quote’ to create a sense of urgency. Your user is passively searching; they don’t have an urgent need they are trying to fill. Give them a reason to click now rather than later but make sure you fulfill the claim you are making within the landing page. If your call to action is to register for a conference, make sure the registration form is on the landing page so the user isn’t required to click through further into the site.
7. Test multiple forms of ads – the Google Content Network allows you to use image ads and video ads in addition to traditional ad text. Try something new and see if adding a visual helps your click-through or conversion rate. Image and video ads can only run on the content network and are only allowed in certain placements, but it may be worth testing.