New Google AdWords Site Targeting Allows Advertisers To Pick & Choose

Marketers using Google AdWords, rejoice! For ages, many of you have wanted the ability to pick and choose exactly where your ads would show up in Google AdSense contextual network. Now you're getting it.

Beginning today, some Google advertisers will have access to a new tool allowing them to select particular sites. Over the coming weeks, the scope will be expanded until all advertisers have access to the new feature, Google says.

The new tool will allow advertisers to enter the URL of a site they are interested in, then get back a list of similar sites, then let them select exactly the ones they wish to target. A new exclusion tool will also let them "go broad" and take everything, then selectively remove sites they wish to exclude.

"What we're expecting customers to do here is open themselves up to all of the types of opportunities at Google," said Tim Armstrong, vice president of ad sales for Google. "This will be a way to keep the scale but use the feature to also target."

The new system will work on a cost-per-impression basis, or CPM. Ads in the new system will compete against ads using CPC bidding, with the CPC price being multiplied against the clickthrough rate of those ads to come up with a pseudo-CPM rate to match against.

Allowing targeting should help advertisers avoid the situation that befell Kraft, where it had ads (albeit via search targeting) appearing on a pro-white web site, to its embarrassment. The greater control should be a boon to brand advertisers who are sensitive to where their sites may appear.

In addition, the targeting means advertisers now can better focus on sites that perform well in terms of conversion and exclude those deemed by them to be underperforming. Similarly, advertisers concerned about about click fraud now have the ability to better exclude sites they are afraid may be driving such traffic.

A new content targeting tool is also being added, allowing advertisers to enter concepts and then have ads delivered against those concepts, for pages that seem to match. Also, animated image ads are now being accepted.

Sadly, targeting is not coming to search-targeted ads within the AdSense network. In other words, can't pick and choose where your ads may appear in response to a keyword search, as smaller services such as BlowSearch and Mirago allow. You only have that control for contextual placement. Google says that site targeting is something they'll consider for search but that there are no immediate plans for it to come.

Postscript: Information from Google is now available here.

Want to discuss? Join our forum thread, AdWords allows site specific targeting in their content network.