Several months ago I shared my ideas for improving Google AdWords with a Google representative on a popular message board (www.webmasterworld.com). One of my comments was that advertisers should be able to target specific sites they wish to advertise on. I cited an example of an old pay per click venue that Google purchased named “Sprinks,” that allowed a client of ours to advertise weather related products on the weather section of MSN.com. When Google purchased Sprinks, we no longer could target the weather section of MSN. The result is that conversions were reduced, and the campaign became less profitable.
As of an email Google sent to all of its “AdSense” affiliates on April 25 that will all change.
Here is a short summary of what Google AdWords advertisers can expect in the future.
1) Target specific sites that you want to advertise on through the Google AdWords program. Currently, you cannot target specific third-party sites; you must run ads throughout the entire Google content network.
2) Bid for impressions, in addition to bidding for clicks. Currently, as an advertiser, you bid for specific clicks on specific keywords that bring traffic to your site. By allowing advertisers to bid for impressions, there will be an increased incentive for advertisers to write more targeted copy, and to only bid on keywords that are truly relevant to their website (that’s good for advertisers).
This change should also bring more websites into the Google AdSense affiliate network, because many publishers prefer to generate advertising revenue on a cost per impression basis versus a cost per click basis.
The only thing I’m concerned about with this change is that members of the Google AdSense affiliate network (third-party sites that syndicate Google ads) will prefer the cost per impression model to the cost per click model so much that they stop supporting the cost per click program (assuming they can opt-out), and focus instead on syndicating cost per impression advertisements. That will force advertisers to pay per impression if they want to get their ads out to as many people as possible. Anyone who has been in online marketing since the beginning remembers how bad the cost per impression model was once companies starting demanding results. That’s why the cost per click model took off in the first place.
3) New ad formats list a single ad instead of several ads. Yes, if your ad performs better than your competition, your ad could be the only one that shows up where currently several different ads show up. This will again provide a big incentive for advertisers to write better ad copy, and do a better job finding relevant keywords to bid on. Companies with the best performing ads, who bid on relevant keywords, who have good websites to convert traffic into sales, will benefit because this new feature (if adopted) will allow efficient online advertisers to scale their campaigns by getting a greater share of the pie.
4) Flash ads. Yes, Google is experimenting with Flash advertisements. This is an opportunity for companies to syndicate engaging exciting flash advertisements which should both generate more clicks, and serve a branding benefit.
This is just a sign of things to come. Innovations in search marketing will continue to take place. Some will offer more control to advertisers which means more efficient and profitable campaigns. And others will mean more monetization of traffic, some times at the expense of advertisers.