Contextual Ads

Feb 27, 2006 - 11:39 am 1 by

As part of the SES Advertising Track, this session covers the considerations for running your PPC ads in a contextual environment. Andrew Goodman moderates and presents. Other speakers include: Brady Byrd of NewGate Internet and Peter Hershberg of Reprise Media.

Andrew Goodman starts out with a description of contextual ads and a poll: How many are running contextual ads and makes up over 20% of spend. Over 30? About 10-20% of the audience raised their hands.

First up is Peter Hershberg of Reprise Media. He starts by explaining what contextual advertising is. Shows contextual ad exmaples from the New York Times.

Benefits of contextual advertising:

Search engines benefit as contextual ads have been a significant revenue generator. Contextual ads allow search engines to monetize 85% of pages on the internet.

Publishers benefit from a new revenue stream, accessing thousands of advertisers they may have not otherwise had access to.

Advertisers benefit from the additional sources of traffic.

Search engines serve as a point of contact to a huge universe of advertising opportunities. Contextual started in 2003 and are dominated by Google. With the "monopoly" over the contextual advertising market, Google made few changes until 2005 when Yahoo launched the Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN). Major revisions in Google's program followed shortly. Was it a cooincidence?

Changes in the Google program include the ability to place separate bids per ad group, being able to track separate ads at the AdGroup level, being able to choose sites to run your ads on and being able to pay a CPM and build your own network.

Contextual advertising still has a ways to go. Gives example of CNN where ads are displayed from Yahoo (YPN) where some are relevant, some are not. Shows another example where all YPN ads are irrrelevant. Explains this will happen as Yahoo develops the number of advertisers in their program.

Competitors in the space include Amazon that is beta-testing a contextual ad network and affiliates. Also MSN ContentAds with a planned beta launch sometime in 2006. It will be interesting to see what MSN rolls out.

There's been progress, but there's a lot more opportunity with contextual advertising. Contextual is an opportunity to expand beyond search. You can now go online with Google and bid on print ads. Google's acquisition of dMark will enable advertisers the opportunity to bid on ads via radio.

Advertisers would do well to understand the market and where it's going for a competitive advantage.

What's next? Distribution through additional media, targeting enabling better results for advertisers and a better user experience for users. Also specialisation, where search marketers today may become the advertising agencies of the future.

Next up is Andrew Goodman who did a short presentation covering the contextual ad landscape. Only a small number of advertisers are tracking contextual well enough to understand how well it's performing for them.

Gives example of a client that was not tracking well and putting a lot of energy into regular PPC ads, but most of their conversions were coming from contextual ads. Shows another example of how Flickr tested using tags to display contextual ads.

Another area place where contextual ads appear are with direct navigation and parked domains. Growth in direct navigation revenue averages at $170 per domain and is a significant market.

Shows example of client case study where contextual ads were a better match for going after long tail keywords.

Yet another case study showed what not to do. Client ran short term campaigns and not ongoing. No tracking and the content ad bids were the same as search. Much too high. Lesson was to separate content bidding from search bidding.

CPM model: Site targeting with Google. Has been more of a challenge than anticipated.

Content targeting is successful in very specific situations, but not all. It's obvious that it takes some testing and consideration to learn the ins and outs of contextual advertising.

Next up is Brad Berg of NewGate Internet who presents on optimization techniques for Google AdSense. They've found that non-retail does better than retail with contextual ads. He explains that a puchase is more of a commitment for the user than filling out a lead form or downloading something.

Overviews how AdSense works.

Be sure to separate content and search campaigns. Basics of campaign creation. Google AdWords offers more tools to make this easier. When you separate campaigns, don't make them duplicates of each other. It's important to focus on themes and bundle the keyword concepts together in to smaller ad groups. The keywords and the ad creative work together to create the theme.

It's imporant to track content campaigns uniquely. Give a unique tracking url for each keyword in the AdGroup. Use a default and unique url for each AdGroup.

With Google AdWords, use "Fast Track" to create tags for all your URLs and it will enable you to learn more about the traffic you get including: search/content clicks, which creative was used and which website generated the click. You would then need to create an application to extract the additional information for use in campaign analysis.

On Google AdWords reporting, AdGroup reports do not report on content clickthroughs by individual keywords. AdSense does send clickthroughs to specific URLs via the destination URL you can assign to a keyword. The URL report does not report sending traffic to specific URLs, but to the campaign default URL.

Use the matching options in AdWords with your contextual campaigns as you would with search. Also consider using unique creative for your content campaigns. Avoid using dynamic keyword inclusion for content creative.

Barry Chu from Yahoo and Emily White from Google answered questions from the audience.



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