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Get a Grasp on Google's Content Network Navigate carefully and you can turn a minefield into a goldmine.

By Perry Marshall

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Google is now the largest advertising network in the world. Want to sell Frisbees in South Africa or upholstering in Kokomo Indiana? Every time someone searches the term Frisbee in Johannesburg, Google will show your ad. And you only pay when they click. Your ads can be showing in 15 minutes.

Not only is does Google have the farthest reach; it's the most precisely targeted form of advertising there is. But the targeting goes beyond bidding on a keyword like "Scottsdale Arizona Real Estate." You can target the exact kind of people you want on websites you want using the Content Network .

There are two sides to Google:

  1. The Google search engine itself
  2. Hundreds of thousands of websites all over the internet that run Google ads.

You'll find Google ads near the bottom of The New York Times website, for example. These three Google ads appear because according to Google's bots, these ads match themes in the editorial content of the page. Over time, Google monitors the ads and repeatedly serves ads that get clicks.

This gives you the ability to reach people you could never reach on Google search--even people who don't use Google at all.

Let's say you sell a product for parents who home school their kids. On Google, you could bid on the term "home school," but what kind of visitors would you get? You'd find that most visitors were curious people who were thinking about home schooling, not people who were already doing it. Why? Because home schoolers don't type "home school" into Google. They already know what home school is.

You'll do better to bid on more specific words. However, if you go to the Content Network and bid on "home school", your ad will show on sites where hard-core home schoolers hang out every day. The Content Network gives you easier access to enthusiasts than search.

Warning: The Content Network can be a money pit. To the average new Google advertiser, content is just a column with clicks and dollars spent. It's a big cloud that produces clicks. But there's a way to peer into that cloud--through Placement Performance reports.

Your Placement Performance report might tell you that clicks from BlogSpot convert at a rate of $2.20 per lead, while YouTube is converting at $10.59 per lead. You judge YouTube as poor quality traffic (too high cost per lead) and exclude it from showing your ads.

You can cull the losers from the list and dramatically cut the waste in your ad budget over a period of weeks and months. Your campaigns become laser targeted towards just the visitors you want.

Google Ads That Go 'Viral'
Google is always looking for ads that do well on publishers' websites. Some ads work well almost everywhere they're shown, and if you hit the right nerve in the marketplace you can get 10,000 visitors each day or more. Let me show you some examples of such ads:

Consider the "Why Mommy is a Democrat" ad. Please understand that everything in this ad matters. Everything. The choice of every single word, especially the word "Mommy." The choice of every capital or lowercase letter. Even the URL. The choice of where words break between the second and third line. The lowercase 'l' and 'd' in littledemocrats.net. I even wonder if the .net might outperform .com because it sounds less commercial to the target audience (hey, some people don't know that politics is all about commerce, and almost nothing else).

If you compose the right ad (and get your message right through testing), you can get big surges in traffic to your website. Here's another example:

Yeah, I know. The grammar and spelling is all wrong in this ad and it's redundant. Still, why does this ad work? Because moms are insecure. They're constantly second guessing themselves, ever worried that they're secretly ruining their children.

Given that women control 80 percent of all disposable income, I think that pandering to women's fears and insecurities is the No. 1 marketing strategy in the whole world. Did you notice how many of these ads specifically target women? I bet you the CoffeeFool ad gets clicked by mostly women, too.

One of the secret criteria for a highly successful niche marketing campaign--one master marketers intuitively understand--is that your audience has an insecurity that desperately cries out to be alleviated. An itch that is almost unscratchable.

Google AdWords = Math + Human Psychology. It's money and emotions--wrapped up together in every single click.

Perry Marshall

Author, Sales and Traffic Expert, CEO and Founder of Perry S. Marshall & Associates

Perry Marshall is the president of Perry S. Marshall & Associates, a Chicago-based company that consults both online and brick-and-mortar companies on generating sales leads, web traffic and maximizing advertising results. He has written seven books including his most recent, 80/20 Sales and Marketing (Entrepreneur Press, 2013), Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising (Enterpreneur Press, 2014), Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords (Entrepreneur Press, 2014), and Ultimate Guide to Local Business Marketing (Entrepreneur Press, 2016). He blogs at perrymarshall.com.

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