Common Arguments Against PPC: Ads Show Up on The Wrong Websites

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Because display campaigns are usually based on page context and keyword mismatch, some advertisers find their banners showing up on webpages with questionable content. This association can ruin the brand’s integrity and gain advertising notoriety.

Display advertising fail

We have another question from a client about this matter:

You mentioned the Google Display Network as a great and cost-effective way to raise brand awareness, which I think is spot-on. But we really want to make sure we maintain our brand integrity, and I worry that there might be a lack of control once we get away from pure search marketing. I know there have been times where I’ve seen a brand’s ads appear on a third-party site and thought “Wow, do these guys really need to be advertising here?”. I wonder if you’ve run into this sentiment before and have any opinions on the matter.

This is definitely a sentiment we’ve come across many times. In fact, this has happened to another one of our clients.

Their previous PPC managers ran a very poor display campaign, and this prestigious 5-star hotel chain ended up on a number of adult and “love hotel” websites. Needless to say, they were very unhappy when we showed them this during a PPC audit.

There are two main methods of running a Google display campaign:

  1. Automatic Placements, where Google selects the websites based on certain criteria (such as demographic/keywords/relevancy/etc.)
  2. Manual Placements, where the we specify hand picked websites to display banners on

A lot of other advertisers will opt for automatic placements. This is because it’s a very easy campaign set up. Type in a few keywords, select a few demographical criteria, and done! In 5 minutes you’ve just launched a Google display campaign.

Automatic placements are quick, they’re easy to set up, but there is absolutely no control on where your banners will appear. This is how our hotel client ended up on adult and “love hotel” websites. And this is also how some of the banners you’ve seen have ended up on poor third-party websites.

Here are a few who were unfortunate enough to be immortalized in screenshots:

Keywords matched all right, but this is probably not the context the advertiser had in mind


Keywords matched all right, but this is probably not the context the advertiser had in mind (Source)


 
A bad combination of automatic placements, brand bidding, and an unfortunate news report


A bad combination of automatic placements, brand bidding, and an unfortunate news report (Source)


 
On the upside, the report is about the competitor. On the downside, that ad is so hard to miss.


On the upside, the report is about the competitor. On the downside, that ad is so hard to miss. (Source)

 

What we do for our clients who value their brand integrity, is to go for manual placements.

Manual placement is the process of manually selecting each and every placement, and weeding out all the questionable websites. This way, our clients’ banners only appear on websites that we want to appear on.

Place banners in websites that are relevant to your niche


Place banners in websites that are relevant to your niche

 

It is a very granular approach, and of course more time intensive. However, it is so much more targeted and produces far better results. Since we’ve manually selected each website, we’re filtering through to ensure that each third party website is actually relevant to the target audience, and maintains the client’s brand integrity. After all, it is very important to invest the time into building the correct foundations.

Have you recently checked where your banner ads are appearing? It might be time to do a display advertising audit. Let us know if you need any help.

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