Effective Contextual Search Management

Aug 21, 2008 • 2:24 pm | comments (0) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2008 San Jose
 

This session looks at the way publishers can generate revenue by carrying contextual ads offered by major networks and effective tactics for managing paid search in the contextual advertising arena. You'll hear from publishers delivering ads and those who manage contextual campaigns.

Moderator:

Gregg Stewart, SVP, Interactive, TMP Directional Marketing Speakers:

David Szetela, CEO, Clix Marketing Cynthia Tillo, Senior Product Manager of Advertising Services, Adobe Systems Jennifer Slegg, Owner, JenSense.com Gregg Stewart: First up we have David Szetela, he's SEW's expert in content advertising.

David: Thanks Gregg. I write a column called profitable PPC that hopes to teach you everything about PPC. The contextual column I write is based on a lot of research and interviews at the bar with a lot of Google and Yahoo people. The available click inventory in the content network is growing at a much faster pace than in search. There is a lot less competition in the content network so if you are faced with rising click costs in search you should definitely switch to content advertising.

So the subtitle of this presentation is "content network doesn't really suck as much as people think it does". So why do content advertisers lose money?

1. The ads appear on irrelevant pages and they get bad clicks (low conversions rates). But my theory is that people will click on anything regardless of relevancy. So they get clicks, but no conversions.

2. The ads don't distract attention from site content – people are not looking for your ad so the ads need to distract attention from the content.

3. By default when you create a Google Adwords campaign, search and content are blended (shows image of Adwords campaign settings set up screen). Always uncheck the content network box for search campaigns and vice versa.

Contextual is not like search. People viewing your ad are not looking for what you are selling, kind of like a print ad. So the first job of every ad is to distract attention away from the content to your message.

Keyword differences: Keywords in content ad groups are treated very differently than in search - keywords are not discrete entities. You should not use more than 30-50 keywords. In most case your keywords for content should be different than for search. Match types are irrelevant (except negative). Individual keyword bids are irrelevant.

The most important keyword difference: if properly used, the keywords in the content ad group should describe the kinds of pages where you want your ads to appear. Keyword lists should equal the words that appear most frequently on such pages.

Ad copy differences: ads need to stand out – distract. Feel free to yell, use exclamation points (only 1 per ad of course) – you can afford to be a little bit obnoxious. Also, be a little bit more competitive. When people see a content ad, they are not in the sales process yet, so you need to lead people to the sales funnel and not assume they are in the sales process.

And of course you should test, test, test.

Ad position differences: magic positions for search are 1-3, for content 1-4. Below position 5, your impressions will drop off dramatically.

Quality score differences: CTR is the only determinate of quality score, which suggests an opposite bidding strategy – most people think to start bids low. But you should start high, buy the CTR, get the quality score love juice and then diminish the bids over time.

Always set up separate content campaigns.

Google reporting is essential. Regularly run the report and exclude the ads that are performing poorly.

That's all I have, this is a subset of what I wrote in my columns, you should check out my posts in SEW. I also have a weekly radio show called PPC Rock Stars you should check out. Thank you!

Gregg: Thank you David. What would you say are best practices?

David: A big bold message with a clear call to action works well. GIF or flash animation work well to deliver the message more than words. In text ads, go out on a limb and make strong claims about your product or service, make declarative statements and say crazy things.

Gregg: Thank you David. Next up is Cynthia from Adobe Systems.

Cynthia: Basically what I wanted to talk about today is an exciting new channel for you to advertise – PDF documents. Is it so far-fetched that someday the government might monetize the highly-trafficked 1040EZ tax form with advertising? Probably not.

So when Adobe was thinking about the advertising industry and how we can add value to the space, we thought about how to reach a highly targeted audience. There are over 256 million PDFs floating out there. This is a great way to reach an audience.

A service we launched in beta about 8, 9 months ago is ads for PDF, and we partnered with Yahoo. As you can see from the slide, we display the ads in a separate panel on the right. It's contextual. From the Adobe standpoint, we have developed some technology understanding what PDFs are about. A page can be anywhere from 1 to 1,000 pages (e-books) So our technology is able to analyze this and we can get some great ad relevance.

These ads are dynamically matched ads, like every time you visit a web site page. That means that all your targeting options can still be applied to the PDF content itself. With this new service, you can maintain these ads from person to person so you can still reach your target audience.

We are also letting publishers embed placeholders as well into PDFs – integrate ad content but make it look and feel like a magazine.

A few examples from a publisher and an advertiser perspective:

- Newsletters. We have one publisher that puts at a monthly PDF newsletter.

- Digital versions of a magazine or newsletter.

- E-books. Traditional publishers are figuring out how to get their content online, so they are making e-book versions in PDF because it's more practical than "next", "next" links in html. Also, people are expecting content for free.

- Digests and compilations.

A top use we have seen success in is archives. Some publishers are sitting on a hundred years of content that they are trying to move online. You might think, what types of ads would be served out to people reading 100-year old content? Memorabilia, perhaps.

Thanks.

Gregg: Any design implications on PDF sites with advertising?

Cynthia: not design, but we have been seeing high CTR rates – by the time people take the trouble to download a PDF they are highly engaged. And also, there are not a lot of distractions like in traditional websites.

Gregg: Next up is Jen Slegg.

Jen: I will walk you through tips and techniques from a publisher perspective.

You have to think about what you want to monetize, explore your options.

When you shouldn't monetize contextual advertising:

- If you are business site selling products, why do you want people to click on ads, you will be sending them to competitors instead.

- If you are an accountant, you don't want ads of do it yourself tax software, you want the people to be your clients.

- Any site with content against Adsense policies, like gambling.

Are you leaving money on the table?

Some people don't realize that if they put some thought into testing, they can do better. So think – why did you chose the Adsense network, there are tons of other programs. Why did you put the ad where you did, why did you choose the color scheme that you did? Did you consider the user experience? When people get too focused on making money they inconvenience the user.

What is your priority– for the users or for monetization? It's hard to achieve the balance, in the long term you should be prioritizing the user experience so you get repeat visitors.

Beyond Adsense:

- Image ads/graphical ads

- Video ads

- Affiliate ads

- Cost per action

- Cost per thousand

- Adsense for search/mobile/feed

- Other contextual companies

Don't just focus on Adsense. Consider the options because Adsense might not be the best choice for you. You need to test and try out your different options.

Some things you should consider:

- placement

- proximity – wrapping text around the ad unit – it could perform well

- size selection

- ad unit colors and borders, can have a huge effect

- borders

- keywords

- URL filters

- geo-targeting – consider how the traffic from different countries can affect your bottom line

Ad units that earn people the most money:

336 x 280

300 x 250

Are you filtering out your revenue? Be aware that your ad blocking filter list will cost you revenue. You really only want to filter out your competitors, ads that are grossly mistargeted or ads that are inappropriate.

Ad heaviness turns off users: don't have 3 identical image ads in 3 or 4 places on the same page. Don't make user scroll down 3 times to get to your content. And don't make the visitor feel that they are only there to click your ads.

Don't select ads just because they pay more CPA – carefully select cost per action ads. Must be targeted.

Some takeaways:

-always do A/B testing

-experiment with different placement, sizes, styles, colors, etc.

-consider the impact of being too ad heavy

-look beyond traditional Adsense text ads and experiment with other formats

Thank you.

Gregg: Thanks Jen, are publishers relying too heavily on one source of revenue?

Jen: everyone things Adsense is the best choice, but what if the account gets banned, or the traffic drops, it could have a major impact, so always have a backup, especially if 99% of your income comes from one source.

Audience Q&A.

Session coverage provided by Sheara Wilensky of Promediacorp.

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