In occasion of the recently published article on SEO.hr, where Bruno made a review on Croatian advertising networks (Google, Etarget and others), a discussion has begun about cost-effectiveness of advertising on ‘alternative’ web advertising networks (it is almost common knowledge that Google is the leading network).

Bruno has started a discussion on this subject matter in a very peculiar way, and I have to admit that I’m a little bit unclear about his comments regarding content networks.

To sum up, if I had understood him correctly, contextual advertising is insufficient because ads are displayed according to his words:

A man surfs the Internet, news portals, looking for news, that is what he is looking for, he is not looking for service nor product.

Even though in theory, this could be correct (in cases where this kind of ads would be displayed exclusively on news portals), but there is a huge site data base that is thematically related to the product that is advertised or sold.

Ignoring the content network?

In my opinion, an answer is more than obvious; to ignore a site about online receipes and not advertise on this site if you are dealing with sales of spices? To ignore a blog that has a photo gallery containing images of Croatian coast and you are in bussiness with the tourism? Advertising on gadget news portals and you are trying to sell the same?

News portals are not content networks, contextual advertising is not just plain simple displaying of ads on thematicaly non-corresponding sites (by optimizing groups, ads and keywords — a satisfied result will not fail to be accomplished).

The statements I have made are based on my professonal experience, but it is also possible that Bruno knows something that I am not familiar with; lets try to put this topic into perspective from an objective view:

What are the advantages of turning off the displaying of ads on content networks?

Jedino što mi pada na pamet je da kod izuzetno malih budžeta (recimo 200kn mjesečno) želite biti sigurni da će vaš oglas naići na ciljanu publiku. Da, u tom slučaju je vjerojatno bolje posvetiti se isključivo search oglašavanju ako ne uzmemo u obzir da nas ključne riječi na području gdje je velika konkurencija mogu skupo koštati. Iako, možemo li sa 200kn pričati o ozbiljnom oglašavanju? A opet, zašto ne bismo iskoristili content oglase i pomoću, recimo, placement-targeted kampanje prikazivali oglase na sajtovima koje smo pomno probrali iz ponuđene content mreže? Zašto ne iskoristiti nižu cijenu klika koja nam se nudi? Zašto ne iskoristiti prisutnost koju dobijemo prikazivanjem na nekom popularnijem sajtu srodne tematike? Branding? Visibilty? Zašto se toga odreći zbog pretpostavke?

What are the advantages of turning on the displaying of ads on content networks?

As already mentioned: branding and visibility. With proper optimization of content network (not just Google AdWords) it is possible to focus ads on certain number of sites that will guarantee you profit, business and new users. Internet search engines are not the only means of finding what you are looking for. If we are aiming at highly competitive search term, who will guarantee us that our search word will be positioned in the first 3 or 4 positions? And if so, how much the search word will cost us? Does it pay out to do so? Can we afford this if our monthly budget does not exceed 100$? Or should we switch to cheaper content network? Which of them can be controlable?

To conclude, for those sceptic ones, the next screenshot based on real example will make things clear. Example is pretty good having in mind that it covers arround a couple of thousands of clicks and couple of millions of displaying materials.

Comparison and explanation of content and search advertising on a real-time example (pay attention to the comments in the picture).

Conclusion

If there is any doubt about the cost-effectiveness of content ads, you should not ignore the effect and advantages it gives. Moreover, testing and optimization can give more than satisfactory results.

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