Yesterday, Brendan Regan and myself were looking into a client’s marketing efforts in Google Analytics and found something extremely disturbing–they were using Google’s AdWords content targeting as their primary means of paid traffic. Nearly half of their traffic was coming through paid search, and of that half, around 80% was content targeting. In comparison to the rest of the site, page visits were down 37%, time on site was down 20%, and their bounce rate was up 40% . There’s no easy way to say this, but they were throwing money away.
This isn’t to say that content targeting is the worst thing to ever happen to paid advertising online, rather, a cautionary tale to those who use it as a primary means of driving traffic to their site.
Content targeting can actually be quite helpful if used properly and optimized, especially if you’re in the early stages of building your business and you’re not ready to jump into the more complicated paid search campaigns. If you’re looking to build brand awareness, for example, the “reach” of the Content Network is staggering. The moral of this story is that you don’t have to just let unqualified traffic bounce in and out of your site costing you money while you sit by idly. You have the ability to say, “No thanks, I don’t want traffic coming from this site anymore.” Still unsure what sites to say this to? As a starting point, exclude any sites from the campaign where the bounce rate is above 80%.
1. If you’re spending lots of money for no conversions, opt out of the Content Network until you’ve done some research and have a strategy in place.
2. Audit your reports to weed out the sites that don’t meet performance KPIs for bounce rate, conversion rate, or Cost Per Conversion. You can select sites or topics to exclude from your campaign.
3. Separate your Search and Content Network efforts into 2 campaigns. Adjust budgets accordingly, as you may not want to spend as much on Content Network until the campaign is optimized.
4. Use a separate batch of keywords in your Content Network campaign. Hint: they may be words you’d never dream of bidding on for Search ads.
[Editor's Note: FutureNow is NOT an SEM agency, nor do we claim to be the industry experts on PPC advertising. We are, however, good at optimizing online marketing and conversions, and PPC definitely gets a lot of our attention these days.]