I just set up a quick campaign on Google Ad Words for one of my new affiliate sites, and nowhere along the way was I offered the option of being in the content network, nor was I shown this usual checkbox that says I’m going to be included. Doesn’t that seem wrong?

In my experience the content network is the fastest way possible to blow the largest amount of money in the shortest amount of time, while still getting the lowest amount of conversions. if somebody wants to show me any figures that say otherwise I’ll gladly look at them, but I’ll argue till I’m blue in the face that it’s pretty low value.

Here’s the box that we used to see upon sign-up –


Instead of being given the option, it was only after my campaign was actually live, that I remembered I had to go back into the campaign settings and find that box to turn off the content network. The only reason I even know to do that is because I lost so much money in the content network at one point in the past, and it’s one of the first things I lookout when evaluating a clients Adwords account.

(For those that don’t know, not only does the content network include Google’s well-respected partners like the New York Times, About.com and others, but it also includes their “little partners” which is anyone with an Adsense account)

I understand the reason that the default settings was “content network on” (that would be money 😉 but at least users were shown the choice right there, and if they KNEW what the content network was, they were able to turn it off.

If they didn’t know what the content network was, then at least there was that question mark to see what it meant right there.

Before writing this I went back through and did it again just to make sure, and the closest thing I can see, that might offer users a clue, would be this text link on the right, that says “where will my ads appear?”

This is AFTER choosing the campaign name, AFTER choosing the ad group name, AFTER choosing the countries and territories, and only once you’re already into the ad creation fields themselves, then, and only then, is there a “common questions” section off to the right.


However, even following that link forces you to scroll to the middle of the page before you even see a definition of the content network, and absolutely no indication of how to turn that off.

Basically, as far as I can tell, it’s now completely impossible to add a new campaign without being automatically added to the content network. Am I seeing this correctly? When did this change?

Scott Hendison
Scott Hendison is the CEO of Search Commander, Inc. and one of the founding board members of SEMpdx. Find out more here.
Scott Hendison
Scott Hendison
Scott Hendison

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