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Screenshot of Google search results for 'shoes' showing ads for Zappos, DSW, and with various offers and a list of shoe categories from

Why We Don’t Advertise on the Google Content Network

Google’s Adwords advertising platform gives advertisers two options:

  • Advertise on Search Results
  • Advertise on the Content Network

Search results advertising shows your ads on the search results for the keywords you choose. We’ve all seen these ads as the “Sponsored Links” on search engine results pages: search-results1 The content network works differently. A publisher (like a blogger, news website, etc.) puts Google’s ad program on his or her site, then Google matches ads to that site based on the page’s content: adsense

Matching Problems

For as much as Google would like you to think otherwise, their matching algorithm can be pretty awful.

Take the example of Google content network ads above. I copied those ads from a personal website about travel and politics. Does capital punishment have anything to do with politics or travel? I don’t think so.

Poor Click Quality

The real problem with this isn’t really the poor matching, it’s the low quality clicks that come to clients’ sites from content network ads.

Simply put, a person searching for “used heavy machinery” on a search engine is much more likely to fill out a contact form than someone clicking on an ad they see on a random website. And every click that doesn’t convert means wasted ad funds.

The Best Example

Gmail (Google’s email program) consistently shows ads for “Spam Recipes” whenever you look at your SPAM email folder. google-spam1 That’s why we don’t advertise on the Google content network.

Have you had a different experience? Write a comment about it!

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