Google Adjusts Site Targeting

    September 8, 2005

In a recent issue of Page Zero Advisor, I argued (in part) as follows on the subject of Google’s new Site Targeting version of the content targeting program …

Google Adjusts Site Targeting
Did Google Improve Site Targeting For AdWords?

Editor’s Note:  With Google making improvements to their site targeting function, would you plan on making use of this feature? Does the ability to determine which sites your AdWords ads appear appeal to you or will you stick with the standard placement procedures Google employs? Discuss at WebProWorld.

I think two things have to happen for Site Targeting to work for us (and you): (1) Price drop. Sorry, but I’m getting below $1 CPM’s on any of the content campaigns I’m running under the old program, and that’s why they work. So $2 minimum means the minimum is at least double what is going to be economically feasible. At least. Many of the publishers currently participating in the program simply don’t merit $2 CPM’s. A very select few are worth $5, $10, or $50, but they are a tiny minority. Google should do what they did with the paid search program in 2002: listen to reason and get rid of the minimum. Drop it from $2 to something like 10 cents, just to see what happens…

Well, they just dropped the minimum CPM in this particular program from $2 to $1, which is better than a kick in the pants, though rather far from 10 cents. Then again, who ever heard of a ten cent CPM? I must be crazy like a fox to have suggested that.

Site targeting seems to have a ways to go yet as a platform that would fully satisfy advertisers. Mainly, it’s about the publishers and how advertisers can gather info on them. As it stands, there is a little tool to help advertisers find appropriate sites to show their ads on. Now all Google needs is a tool to help them sign more quality publishers. :) But seriously, I think the tool is going to have to improve over the next couple of years.

Another thing I want to stress is along the lines of “Google was right.” We, the advertisers, are pretty bad at choosing the pages and sites to show our ads on. Part of the problem is the limitations of the process… and the fact that not all the sites we want participate in AdSense and have available inventory. But basically, a “pure” site targeting program is up and running more as a response to advertisers who didn’t like the “lack of control” as it is a really workable, effective program in its own right.

If it were me, I’d want to combine that control somehow with the (widely-dissed) clever matching technology that governed and still governs the original content targeting program. That matching technology helps me as an advertiser. It helps me (and Google, and publishers) achieve scale.

For many advertisers, the main question isn’t whether you have control or whether Google is matching the ad placements to the right AdWords accounts, etc. It’s more about (a) transparency and disclosure of publisher info, and most of all (b) price.

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Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients’ paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded, an acclaimed “guide to portals” which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.