Google Recently Gave Us a Great Way to Manage Content Campaigns

This past week our agency representatives at Google AdWords sent out their weekly update and highlighted a tool that I am very excited about. (This is not completley new, the Google AdWords blog made mention of this on March 6, 2008 & David Szetela wrote a nice piece on this as well in a March 17th article on

Advertisers can now exclude parked domains and exclude error page ads from the Content Network.

What does this mean?

Currently, when you opt in to the Content Network, your ads will automatically be placed on any parked domains and error pages that fit the keyword context of the words you are bidding on. (Remember, Google automatically opts you in to its Content Network when you create a new Campaign – and I recommend that you opt out when first starting a new Campaign)

A parked domain (in this context) is a URL that someone has registered and decided not to put a website on, but rather decided to have ads run there instead. An error page is a Web page that a user attempts to access that does not exist (will typically display a “404 page not found” error on a Web site).

No content. No viable user experience. Just an accidental visit to that “site” or broken page.

Below is a table with data taken from one B2B PPC client (for one campaign) over a 9-month period:


Click image of table to view the data.

What does this mean (for this client)?

  • Overall, the Content Network performs very well – generates a significant number of leads at the lowest Cost Per Conversion
  • Parked Domains do not appear to perform well for them – lowest Conversion Rate & highest Cost Per Conversion
  • Error Page Ads are essentially a non-factor – low number of clicks and leads

However, the real way to make an evaluation of the effectiveness of Parked Domains and Error Page Ads is to determine ROI.

With e-commerce this is a fairly easy task – just associate revenue/profit with the source of the visits.

With B2B PPC you need to evaluate if the leads produced through this channel were actually qualified leads. We do this by following the leads through the sales pipeline and making sure that we are able to associate the source of the leads with the keyword, content network, parked domain “type”, error page “type”, or specific URL (if placement targeted).

There are a number of ways to make this connection between leads and source of lead, but that is something we feel is a competitive advantage that we offer, so I’ll stop here for now.

Here are some of the potential next steps based on the data in the table above:

  1. Determine if the leads produced via Parked Domains & Error Page Ads have yielded any qualified leads (and/or sales)
  2. Potentially simply turn off Parked Domains & Error Page Ads using the Site and Category Exclusion Tool.
  3. Analyze the data at a finer level and determine if Campaigns should be split up further so we can turn off Parked Domains/Error Ads for some and not others

Here is a screenshot of how the Site and Category Exclusion Tool looks:


Click image of table to view the data.

You can see that in addition to Parked Domains and Error Pages, you can exclude other types of pages including Forums, Image-sharing pages, Social networks, and Video-sharing pages.

In addition, Google makes it easy for you to select date ranges to quickly look at the data to make informed decisions.

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Rebecca Johnston-Gilbert' — Rebecca Johnston-Gilbert, Marketing, Postman

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