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Monday, February 26, 2007

Transparency Coming to the AdWords Content Network

I picked this up via Search Engine Land this morning - Google AdWords to share list of URLs where advertiser's ads are appearing. In short, in the coming months Google plans to show AdWords users the content network URLs where their ad is appearing.

The article is primarily about Quigo, a relatively small player in the contextual ads market at this time. Here are a few exerts from the article;

"Although Quigo remains a small competitor, with less than 10 percent of the contextual ad business, its growing success has apparently persuaded Google, which is accustomed to calling the shots in all aspects of its business, that it has to change the way it sells the sponsored link ads in the future. "

Although I highly doubt it was Quigo that convinced Google to change their model I'm still glad that it's changing.

The article gives a summary of contextual advertising currently works with Yahoo/Google;

"Here is how this contextual advertising has traditionally worked: Google and Yahoo post ads on hundreds of thousands of Web sites, but both operate as blind networks — they do not tell advertisers which sites their contextual ads run on. Instead, the advertisers buy keywords for ads across Google and Yahoo’s vast networks of Web sites, including the home pages of big media companies and the smallest of bloggers.

It would be akin to an advertiser buying space on 100 national television programs, but not being told when the ads ran. Google and Yahoo argue that because advertisers only pay when the ads are clicked on, that more specific information is irrelevant."

Later in the article Kim Malone from Google says;

"In the next few months, Google’s advertiser reports will begin listing the sites where each ad runs, Ms. Malone said. She added that advertisers on the Google networks would soon be able to bid on contextual ads on particular Web sites rather than simply buying keywords that appeared across Google’s entire network. "

I think AdWords advertisers got a hint that this this was coming with last week's announcement, Test CPC Site Targeting.

I see this as a great move for Google and it's quality publishers. More transparency in the content network will, at least in my opinion, get more advertisers to use it, and, should in the long term help weed out the less than desirable sites. When AdWords users can essentially build their own content network by hand picking all the sites they want to run on they will be able to better control the ROI generated via the content network. Better control will translate into bigger spends on the sites that are working and complete exclusion from the sites that are not.

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