In the world of Digital Advertising, there are little things as important as where you place the awesome Ads you launch. Basically, this is the key point of your complete strategy, because it will determine not only how many people see, and click on your Ads, but also what’s your Ad linked with. The placement that you choose says a lot about your brand, and about its whole image, which is why publishers care so much about it and about figuring out the best way to do it. And this is not just about carefully choosing the audience you’ll target, but also where you are going to meet them.
Ever heard of the proverb “tell me whom you walk with, and I’ll tell you who you are”? Well, this is just as that, but applied to websites. If you are an awesome brand with a great image, and you go and feature your Ads in a very sketchy website that ends up being a cover for a drug cartel (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating, but I have a point to make here), how do you think this will affect your brand? Well, I guess pretty negatively. Because no matter how great you are, you still made the call to publish your Ads on a website that was pretty much anything but great.
Furthermore, we can take a much less dramatic example. It’s also really bad for your company to have Ads published on websites that, even if they aren’t sketchy nor criminals, still have a bad reputation. For example, businesses that have a bad ethical image, or that have any kind of controversy revolving around them. Or even if they are awesome trustworthy websites, it also looks bad to have your Ads in them if they are totally fed up with Ads, so much that just any Ad can be published in it. And of course, you wouldn’t want Google to link your Ad to any sketchy site of any kind.
So there is a very important point to make here, which basically stands for choosing wisely not only where to publish your Ads, but also where not to. Because nowadays reputation is a key point for companies to succeed, you can’t deliberately jeopardize your own in order to have your Ads published just on any site that will have them. And it’s also important to understand that this is a trade-off: Being more exclusive with your websites will probably take more effort (and money maybe), but will also bring very positive consequences for your company, such as guaranteeing users will keep having a good image of your brand because your Ads always appear in high-quality websites.
For a while now, Google Ads has had a feature that allowed you to create your own blacklist of websites, kind of a “target websites”, but in reverse. So this basically consisted of letting you create a list naming all the websites that should be avoided when running your Ads, no matter how badly they fitted your target requirements. Even if this feature was pretty cool and useful, the necessarily manual part was a big problem because not every publisher is an expert in choosing banned websites. So just now, as said by this article, Google announced that they will be including the possibility to enable outside tools to create the list of websites that you should avoid. This is a great asset because, just as it happens with targeting audiences and websites, more often than not, algorithms are much more trustworthy than people choosing random websites. Except for, you know, that one time with the “keep calm and knife her” t‑shirts. So today, we’ll be diving into the main differences between doing a manual blacklist, and choosing to use an actual tool. So let’s jump in, shall we?
So, first of all, it’s a good thing to be clear on which are the kinds of websites that it’s a good thing to avoid in order to keep your image (both in front of your users and Google) safe. In my opinion, the main key here is to use your common sense. Basically, you should leave out any sites you don’t want your brand to be linked to. This includes websites that have absolutely no correlation to your brand (both because it’s too random, and because why’d your target audience be there?), websites that look crazy sketchy, websites that have been under any kind of controversy in the past few weeks, or even if you want to dig deeper, websites that look just too full of Ads (because it makes it and you look super cheap), websites that have all sort of random unrelated Ads in them (also it looks cheap), and pretty much any website that can cause any negative effect on your website’s image.
Of course, this deep website diving is not always something that’s too much fun to do, and sometimes it’s not really that easy. Even websites have grey areas, and the slightest mistake can seriously damage the reputation that you’ve been so carefully building for your company. And that’s why many companies choose to have a tool to create their blacklists, instead of doing it manually. So Google’s feature to integrate your Google Ads account with the tool to manage placements of your choice it’s actually an awesome improvement that will make publishers’ lives a lot easier.
So if you are in my team, and you agree that creating blacklists manually is a tedious and way too risky task to accomplish, then you can go ahead and celebrate because now you are no longer required by Google to do so. In a world where Google’s constantly making life harder for publishers, it’s definitely not a minor thing that they added a feature to join forces with other tools that do great improvements to our PPC strategies.
Mora is a PPC Analyst at Hellbent Digital at work, and a theater nerd when not at work. And it turns out understanding theater—that is, how to put on compelling live shows that engage the audience—is a very useful skill for understanding digital marketing.