By my standards we spend an exorbitant amount of money with Google on advertising between Community Server, CodeSmith, and JobBurner.com. To put this in perspective we’ll spend more in a day with Google than we spend in a month for Live.com and Yahoo.com combined!. The worst part is Google makes it really, really easy to spend money on ads (they automate billing in small increments you’re often times not thinking of the total cost).
Google offers 2 options for advertisors:
- Search ads – go to google.com, search for something and ads are shown on the top and right (these work great)
- Content Network ads – ads are shown on affiliate sites. The ads shown are relevant to the content of the pages the ads are shown on.
Recently we stopped using Google’s content network for ads. Why? Well Google also has the ability to track conversions on your site. When someone clicks on your ad and then goes to some page on your site (like “download”) Google can track conversions. For our content ad network we’ve seen a trend over the past year of high-clicks and low-conversions.
Sites in the Content Network get paid when people click on the ads they host. It’s how some sites make a lot of money. By as an advertiser with Google on their Content Network its felt more like a money pit lately – and some of the sites our ads were being shown on weren’t even related to what we were marketing. My suspicion is that more and more people are starting to game these sites. Yes we could change our ad strategy and pick the sites we wanted to advertise on, but isn’t part of Google’s pitch the fact that they do these ‘smart’ things for you?