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Don’t turn on Content Network in Google Adwords

Nov 2009

I experimented for two weeks with Google Adwords for my freelance copywriting business.

I won’t go into much of the details, but I was quite happy with the results. It gave me a lot of enquiries, most of whom turned out to be genuine paid work.

I targeted not just on keywords, but also on location (Malaysia) and age (20-60 years).

What I was terribly disappointed with was the Content Network. Google Adwords shows a list of where my ads showed up on. The network performs on the basis of opt-out.

You never know which websites your ads will appear until they do. So when someone clicks on an ad, you end up paying for the click, even though you never paid for the ad to appear on that website.

I found that 30% of what I paid for were on the websites of domain squatters. No content whatsoever.

60% were on websites belonging to truly desperate people who are more keen on collecting micro-payments than actually producing worthwhile content. In other words, your run-of-the-mill blogger.

Only 10% of the ads ended up on websites of adequate quality and of relation to the ads.

I don’t know whether that 10% was worth paying for because Adwords doesn’t track a clickthrough to the goal. Or maybe it does, but Google Analytics doesn’t show it.

In the two weeks, I ended up paying nearly 50% of the spent budget on clickthroughs from the Content Network. 90% of which I doubt were worthwhile.

So my recommendation is: don’t turn on Content Network. Keep it off. Save your money.

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