Search Spotlight – Content Campaigns

By Banc Digital

2 min read

The Google Display Network places your ad against contextually relevant content on other people’s sites. To ensure your ad appears against the most relevant pages you need to ensure the structure follows best practice guidelines.

However, many content campaigns are set up poorly (some people don’t even realise they are targeting it!) and are often left to ‘run themselves’. When managed correctly, this network can be a great way of reaching users as well as generating sales.

Most common mistakes we’ve seen for content campaigns are:

•    Including search & content targeting for the same campaign

Splitting these out into their own campaigns provides greater control over the budgets & bids, as well as increased visibility of which areas of the campaigns are working.

•    Duplicating the search campaign for content

Content ad serving works in a different way to the search serving of ads and therefore requires a different structure – don’t just copy the search campaign & ad groups.

•    Including exact & phrase match keywords

Content network serves your ads based on themes and not on an individual keyword triggering the ad. This means the keyword only needs to appear in the ad group once and match types do not apply to the content network.

•    Not using duplicate keywords across the ad groups

As mentioned above, the GCN works on a ’theme’ basis and including your core business terms in each ad group helps solidify the overall theme.

Example for used car reseller:

Including ‘cars’ and ‘used cars’ in each ad group it helps create an overall theme


There is a huge array of tools to help with optimisation: from placement reports & site exclusion options to the newly released contextual targeting tool.

Use the placement reports on a regular basis as you do the search query reports. Analysing these can help identify poor performing sites which you can then add as negative sites. Alternatively, set up an ad group which specifically targets the top performing sites.

The release of the contextually targeting tool is something I love! This helps you structure the content campaigns in a way that mirrors how the system serves your ads. Type in your key terms & the tool will suggest ad groups which can then be expanded further:

Another great way to increase CTRs is to utilise images ads which can support branding as well as make the ad stand out against competitors. You need to include ads of varying dimensions as not all sites support each ad variation.

If you would like us to conduct a free audit on your content or search campaigns then please contact us at or call 0845 459 0558.

Emma Crowe, Banc Media’s PPC Manager