Reverse Engineer The Content Network

In this video, I show you how to use Gmail to reverse engineer the Google Content Network

Since the highest performing ads are shown at the top of the page within Gmail, you can get a good idea of which Ad copy on the content network Google determines as superior. You can also see how contextual targeting works by sending yourself email and seeing which ads appear.

You’ll also notice that some ads appear even though they are not directly related to the content of your email. Pay particular attention to these ads, because Google deems them to be highly relevant for all users– even outperforming ads which are directly related to the content of your email.

When I talk about “relevancy”, I’m often speaking of “Click Through Rate.” If an ad gets a lot of clicks, Google will start testing the ad across a large section of AdSense websites on it’s content network. If the ad continues to do well, Google will syndicate the ad across an even larger portion of websites.

One Response to “Reverse Engineer The Content Network”

  1. Content Network Says:

    Interesting and convoluted topic, the content network. I hope some of the info below may help take your reverse engineering to the next level.

    The top positioned as is not necessarily the post “relevant” ad. It can actually have a lower CTR than the ads below it. BID is a large factor in positioning as well. You cannot simply assume the first ad is the most relevant. Ads with higher bids and lower CTR can make their way to the top. We have to think about Quality Score, which is made up of CTR, Bid, and many other relevancy factors.

    Additionally, “relevancy” cannot be determined by which ad gets the most volume of clicks but instead the CTR. The percentage of clicks to impressions is what counts the most, not the volume of clicks.

    The “more sponsored links” section of Google does not contain ads relevant to the content necessarily. This section of Google provides any and all ads (paused, deleted, different language, different targeting) etc., that Google continuously tests. These ads are not necessarily active or relevant to the topic. You can reference “http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=53502″ for additional info.

    Finally, and most importantly, the relevancy and visibility of an ad on the content network is not weighted on CTR. The most important piece of the ads on the content network are the keywords in the account that tell Google when to trigger an ad. Essentially, you can have the same 2 ads show up on 2 different sites and not in the same position because the keywords from one account may match content on one site better than the previous.

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