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Ten Steps to Google Site Targeting Success

Google Site Targeting is a companion offering to Google Content Match. On the latter, ads are placed against particular keywords. Google’s system automatically places the advertising on pages with Google AdSense that thematically matches those keywords. Content Match is purchased on a Cost Per Click (CPC) basis.

Site Targeting, by contrast, allows an advertiser to place advertising on specific sites that have implemented Google AdSense. It can be purchased on a Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) basis, as well as via CPC.

Site Targeting is a very effective method of increasing the targeted traffic to your website, but there are ten steps you should to take to ensure the success of your campaigns.

1. Site Targeting is not just about branding.
While Google tends to emphasize the reach and visibility benefits of Site Targeting, it is also a very effective direct marketing technique for the generation of leads and/or sales. Don’t be seduced by the siren call of branding to the exclusion of measurable results. For some advertisers, branding is the primary objective. For many others, “branding is for cows,” while of course a healthy group in the middle hopes for both specific demand generation and branding benefits from their advertising expenses.

2. CPC is not Necessarily Better than CPM.
When given a choice, people reflexively want to push the payment trigger as far down the transaction pipeline as possible. CPC, CPA (Cost Per Acquisition/Action), and other performance-based metrics, in fact, are often more expensive than CPM. There’s a cost to risk reduction; that’s why all commission sales forces actually cost more if they are performing.

If the Click Through Rate (CTR) of a particular site (or advertisement on a particular site) is sufficiently high, the actual cost of CPM is going to be lower than CPC.

We generally recommend that one run two Site Targeted campaigns, one on CPM for your high performers, and one on CPC for the less economically viable sites.

3. Test and Measure Obsessively.
The CTR and Conversion Rate can vary greatly by website and by advertising creative. Test and measure on a discrete basis so that the effective CPA of a particular site and creative combination can be understood clearly. The beautiful thing about Site Targeting is that it has the same ability to test and measure as does the core Google AdWords service.

4. Set CPM or CPC Differentially on a Site-by-Site Basis.
Once you understand your effective CPA, you can work backwards to set maximum CPMs and CPCs. These should be set specific to each site on which you are running advertising.

5. Try Multiple Creative Variants and Advertising Formats.
Different creative will perform differently at different sites, so test and measure several variants.

An addition, start with all ad format types that Google allows. If your available ad formats don’t fit into the space provided by performing site, your ad won’t run.

CTRs will vary dramatically between ad formats. After a significant period of time running all ad formats, start pausing the low performers to improve overall performance.

Site Targeting supports both image and textual advertisements. So, if you’re waiting for your graphic designer to create your banner ads, go ahead and launch the campaign with the text ads you use for AdWords.

6. Aggressive Ads Sell.
Particularly with CPM-based Site Targeted campaigns, aggressive creative will generally have a higher CTR. For example, while one need not necessarily be negative, selling a little F.U.D. (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) can be highly effective in some sectors (B2B, some consumer).

7. A Site’s Effectiveness may fluctuate. Fatigue can and will set in.
CTR and Conversion Rate will fluctuate more widely over time than with keyword search terms, so watch each site closely for CPAs sliding out of your target range.

If a site’s audience is fairly stable, they will eventually have all seen your advertisement and stop clicking. If you are purchasing the advertisement on a CPM basis, you may find yourself wasting considerable money.

As would be expected, low volume sites will fatigue an audience faster than high volume sites. Forum-type sites with a consistent and loyal user base will fatigue faster than general content sites. But don’t ignore these, as they can be great converters.

We have had success pausing some of these sites and then turning them back on after a couple of weeks or months. You may find the conversion rate has come back up. Changes in creative can also refresh the audience on a site.

8. Use the AdWords Placement Report to find New Sites.
If running Google Content Match, the AdWords Placement Report can be used to find targeted sites. As Content Match matches keywords to particular pages, it does not give the reach within a site that Site Targeting does.

Review the sites listed in the AdWords Placement Report and determine which sites have a properly targeted audience. Consider adding these to your Site Targeting campaign.

9. Advertisements can often be placed on Competitor Sites.
You may find competitors who run Google AdSense on their blogs, or even their main website. This means you can run advertising on their site. Do so as soon as possible!

The competitor can block your ads when he or she sees them, but you may have saved many prospects with your superior offering before then.

10. Campaign can be used to inform other Media Buys.
Site Targeting can be used to test new angles/new audiences for advertising. For instance, if a supplier of kitchen equipment wasn’t sure whether they should place an ad in a cooking magazine, they could run their ads on cooking sites to see if they get any interest. Site Targeting can also be used as one of the key elements in building a statistically informed, much broader and bigger, online media plan.

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3 Responses to “Ten Steps to Google Site Targeting Success”

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