In our first post in this series, we highlighted some of the most notable improvements we've made to the Google content network over this past year. Today, we wanted to focus on the range of options that the content network provides to make campaign management simple.

To ensure that our advertisers have increased flexibility and control across all aspects of their campaign, we offer multiple targeting options, a variety of ad formats, and hundreds of thousands of sites on which your ads can show.

Targeting Options
Ever wonder how we match ads to relevant pages? By scanning the millions of pages on the web, Google's contextual targeting technology analyzes the content of different web pages to determine the theme of a page. Then, by looking at all the keywords and ad text in your ad groups, our system matches the most relevant ads to the theme of that page. For example, if you have an ad for a digital camera, our system may place your ad next to a news article that reviews the latest digital photographic technology.

To ensure that you are targeting your ads to the right users, you can create tightly-themed ad groups. You can also try using negative keywords but remember that they work by exact match on the content network. The more theme-specific negative keywords you include, the less likely your ad is to appear on sites that match that theme. Following the example above, to decrease the chances of your digital camera ad showing up on pages related to video equipment, be sure to enter keywords like video, video camera, and video cameras as negative keywords. But keep in mind that doing so will increase your chances of excluding pages that review both video and digital cameras.

For further control, you can use the site exclusion tool to prevent your ads from appearing on specific pages, subpages, or types of pages that you don't think are a good match for your message.

If you want even greater control, you can use placement targeting to hand-pick specific sites or sections of sites you want your ads to appear on. If your goal is conversion-oriented metrics likes sales or leads, you can select CPC pricing and pay when users click on your ads. To increase brand awareness and maximize impressions among your target users, you may choose CPM pricing.

The Google content network has partnered with a variety of different websites, from news sites like Reuters and CNN, to social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster, to smaller niche sites like Ask the Builder and WhateverLife. This wide selection helps you match your message with the right audience. To find out more about how one advertiser found success through advertising on niche sites, you can read this case study.

Ad Formats
Text ads are a great way to reach your audience with a brief, pointed message. When you want to communicate a simple, visual message, try image ads, which are accepted on over 95% of content network sites. And if you're looking to engage your audience with sight, sound, and motion, or if your product requires a demonstration, Google click-to-play video ads offer an effective way to connect your message to the right users. You can read this case study on how one advertiser engaged with customers and increased revenue by using click-to-play video ads to demonstrate his robotic guitar tuners.

You can also check out demos of video ads and learn more about the Ad Creation Marketplace, where you can find a professional to help create your video ad.

Altogether, Google's targeting options give you full control over the parts of the content network where your ads appear, and AdWords reporting gives you insight into how your ads perform in different environments. By matching the right ad formats with the right environments, you can reach the audience that matters to you most when they're engaged with content that's relevant to your business.

As always, you can read more about the content network here. And if you have specific questions that you would like answered in upcoming blog posts, we invite you to email us. In the meantime, stay tuned more information on optimizing your content network campaign in the coming weeks.