Contextual Ads Outperform Search Ads


Most of the time, we used to get useless, non-converting clicks from the Google Content network, so at times we stopped showing the ads in content networks. This used to reduce the money our clients were paying for the Pay per click advertising, and give them time for a more focused experience to service people who were actively looking for their products and services.

The Problem With Search Ads
However, when we were advertising on the search engines for a training school, we could not get any impressions. This was strange, as most ads start to run up impressions within an hour of setting up on Google. After 3 days, there number of impression was just 3. The landing page was strong, the keywords were all good, and I was bidding quite high to get a good CTR to hold initially, so I was really puzzled.

At this moment, I was almost going to lodge a support ticket with Google, when an idea struck me. Why not check out the contextual ads on the Google Content Network, since we had disable it upfront to get an idea of the CTR and bid amounts.

Setting up on Google Content Network
Within minutes of setting it up, we were running impressions, which was understandable. I then left the campaign for the day, to monitor it the next day morning.

Boy, I was in for a surprise the next morning. at 10am, the ad had collected 84 clicks. In a market when no one searches for the keyword, how can I get 84 clicks in about 12 hours flat? I ran a Google Placement Ad Report, but it drew a blank. The data wasn’t available yet. After monitoring every hour, I finally lodged a click fraud complaint with Google, in the absence of any placement report data, and increasing number of clicks.

Normally Google takes 3 to 5 days to respond to such queries. So I thought I to update the client, and discuss the matter with them. I was thinking to pause the campaign for a while, until Google could find the source of the clicks.

Surprise! Surprise!
Even before I could call my client, I got a call. It was from my client. I feared the worst. They must be deluged with bogus inquiries, and must be cursing me for all this. Instead, they were quite excited, and thanked me for my efforts.

I was puzzled. Sorry, What did you say? Quite good response!!! very happy? Eh yes, well ya ya, thank you for your kind words… we have just started working on your campaign… what? you never expected such good results… well, Thank you!

The client has got 17 inquiries, and 3 people have already enrolled in their course since today morning… and it is only 10:30am!

I check out the ad in Google again…. It is steadily registering clicks on the content network… 108 clicks by 11am.

Mystery Solved
Google gets back to me in 2 days, with no click fraud result. I check the Content Placement report, and take each of the content network site to check it out. Turns out all are full of adsense ads, but all are on topic. They are talking about what course to select, how to select the right course, where to study etc.

Most students in our target market do not search for these kind of courses. But while they are visiting their favorite sites, reading about their future career prospects, they chance upon these ads, click them, and end up enrolling…. all without ever searching for the course at all.

Lesson Learned - Don’t Ignore the Content Network
I then tested this method of several clients, and several different markets, with similar results in some countries. Boy, it helped me to understand the power of Contextual ads a whole lot better.

No wonder Google is making a whole lot of money, and is expected to surpass the size of Microsoft in 2009.

Content Ideas for Future

In fact, such a trend is giving me ideas to setup some Adsense ad sites. Check out the adsense tips if you intend to do so. But for me, I always spend my time focusing on how to improve the Google Adwords ads for my clients, and how to get them a better return on their dollars.

In fact, today, Brand Rich marketing is doing a whole lot of work with Training schools in Singapore to help them promote their training programs on the Internet, using Search Engines.

If you need any help to promote your business on Google or Yahoo, do give us a shout at (65) 9877-3485 or visit our website and request for a PPC proposal.

Vinai Prakash
Web Marketing Consultant
Brand Rich Marketing, Singapore

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Hi Vinai,

I read many of your articles and I found it very enlightening. I even print a few out to re-read it. Thanks you so much for your blog as I felt that I have learnt tremendous amount of knowledge just by reading your blog. I am in my 50s and I would like to learn how to harness the IT world for my future retirement work. Many sites promised making money from home but none actually tell you how they do it. But your blog is truly an open secret. I would recommend my friends to read your blog as well. I personally think that you can even conduct courses to the aging ones like us who are keen to know more about promoting our services and plying our trade on the internet through cost effective methods that you have shared. Thank you so much for sharing of knowledge and may God bless you daily with strength and more insights to share. Thank you once again.


Thanks Alan for your wonderful comments. I try to give a practical, objective view that can help people use my ideas and insights into their eMarketing initiatives.

Yes, we do conduct short courses on Understanding and Managing your own Adwords Account, Getting started with Email Marketing, How to do Search Engine Optimization etc. on your own, on a budget.

Do let me know if you and your friends would like to join us for these courses. You can email to me from my main website.


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