How exactly does the content network work? Should I be using it for my business or strictly stick with the search engine side of ppc? Is it worth the effort involved? Will I receive enough traffic compared to search engine ppc to justify the time do work with the content network? These are all very valid questions when it comes to deciding to stick with strictly search engine ppc traffic or move to the content network as well. Believe it or not, most affiliates tend to stick with the search engine side of ppc, don’t believe me, look at the results in the sidebar on traffic methods people are using to get traffic to their affiliate sites!
What’s the Difference?
One of the first questions I get all the time is what is the difference between the search network and the content network, so real quick, the difference between the two is that when you are strictly bidding on the search network, your ads show up only on search pages, which could also include search results of partners that the search engine may have. When you are bidding on the content network, you ads may show up for any site that is signed up for their ad program and have ads on their websites. If you are bidding on an ad for car parts, your ad may show up on a website about cars. If you are bidding on the search network, you ads would only show up for keywords done about cars on the search engine.
When running your ads on the search network, which is the most talked about method on this site, you are bidding on groups of keywords and when those keywords are typed into let’s say Google, your ads show up in the results.
So with the search network you are dealing with keywords, bid prices, and figuring out which keywords convert well.
When you are running your ads on the content network, you are bidding on keywords that are related to your niche, but your ads will show up on websites that pertain to those keywords as per the example I gave above. If you are bidding on keywords about car parts, your ad may show up on a website about cars.
With the content network, you are still dealing with keywords, but you’re also dealing with finding out which websites are converting really well and which ones aren’t, then excluding the websites that aren’t. So it takes a bit more work, and you have no control where the ads are shown, so if the owner of the website changes these ads around, it could make a site that does great, go really bad.
Most affiliates start off running one or the other, but eventually, most affiliates start using both methods as a way of getting traffic to their affiliates sites, especially once they get a campaign that is doing well and their trying to scale it out. They may get stuck on one or the other so try out the other in order to increase their traffic.
Personally, I recommend using both as both can be extremely profitable if done right, and both can drive huge amounts of traffic to your affiliates sites. I know the search network is favored more, but honestly, I’ve seen the content network perform pretty consistently for me as well and sometimes even better in certain niches. So by running just one or the other, you jeopardize your earning potential.
One Important Note:
This article isn’t really an article detailing exactly how to go about doing the content network, although if enough interest is expressed in the comments, I may write an entire article detailing how to use the content network, however, there is one very important point that I want to make to those that may be thinking about running both the search network and the content network.
The important point is that if you choose to run both, you need to make sure you create two separate campaigns. One campaign that only runs on the search network, and one campaign that only runs on the content network. These two networks are completely different and require totally different things in order for them to work.
In fact, most of the times, I even run separate domains and landing pages for my content network stuff and search network stuff.
If you’re not using both methods to drive traffic you’re really losing out! They are both excellent methods of driving traffic, and I honestly don’t think you should only pick one, sure it’s more work working with both the search and content network, but it’s so worth it!