Image representing Google AdWords as depicted ...
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Google ads are getting expensive. It’s a pretty broad statement, but I’m referring to Adwords search network specifically.

The cost per click has been rising steadily as even more businesses come online. While many still don’t understand or have figured out Google advertising and best practices (see Top 11 Money-Wasting Adwords Mistakes), all these new players heat up the auctioning & bidding.

You must be a lot smarter about your advertising – ads, bid prices and the entire marketing funnel, ie. user experience.  And, if you are an affiliate with a “thin” website and a bridge-page, you’ll be rejected faster than you can say “Google Slap”. Times have changed.

How can you compete in this increasingly costly Google marketplace?

I have friends in the business that still are seeing great traffic numbers, and low cost per clicks from Google Adwords (1c clicks!). But, they have worked hard on it for a long time, tuned/tweaked to the nth degree, and expanded to include geo targets in international terrains, and testing with thousands of keywords.

Screenshot of Gmail Mobile
Image via Wikipedia

But, what I’m talking about in this post, is a under-used and simple technique that you can start testing now. It’s a targeted method, and you will reach people when they are “listening”.

I hope you read the “money wasting adwords mistakes” link (Yahoo) above. You will have learned (among other things) that you must structure your campaigns properly. One of the big issues when setting up a new Google Adwords account, is where to get/send the traffic, and keyword match types. Broad matching can kill your campaigns pretty quickly, I recommend phrase and exact (generally speaking).

You have more options – from search, to display network, different devices, mobile, and even mail (display network option). You should set these up as separate campaigns. I will set up search, content and mail as different ones.

A very popular email service is Gmail. Did you know you could advertise there, specifically? If you go to your gmail account, and watch the ads, you’ll notice that most all of them are targeted to your email topic. If you have an exchange with a friend or business about wine, for example – you’ll see “wine” ads/links. Switch it to dating, and you’ll see ‘relationship’ ads. In other words, a fairly attentive audience.

Gmail inbox (July 2009)
Image via Wikipedia

The same rules apply though, you cannot get lazy here. You must structure ad copy with the same benefit driven, call-to-action ads that you’ve hopefully already used. However, the email exchanges can often be more personal, and thought-driven. Your ads should reflect that as well.

When thinking about ads for this medium (email), it’s best to try to inject yourself into the conversation. Sign up to marketplace newsletters and get information sent to you. See what pops up in the adsection and what keywords are related to yours when opening Gmail. Make note of special competitive information, address, phone, etc – you can target ads to show for those.

Then, research what people are talking about for your topic in Forums, blogs and wikis too. It will help you structure both copy/ad text and keywords to target.  “Going surfin'” is different mind/keyword set than “catchin’ some waves”, even though it probably means the same.

As you go through and check for terminology, track your work in notepad or similar. You’ll have a nice list you can use for later.

The key to this killer cost saving adwords campaign is to use managed (content) placements. Find out more here.

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

“Ads in Gmail are placed in the same way that ads are placed alongside Google search results and, through the Google AdSense program, on content pages across the web. The goal is to provide you with helpful ads, links and content relevant to your specific interests. Advertising and related information are displayed based on a completely automated process.”

Hope this was helpful. Try it out, and activate your campaign. You can start with a low daily budget. Make sure to understand and target your audience. Try to appear as if your ads are conversing with them, and provide readers with incentives to take action.


If you have not tried advertising on YouTube, you are missing out. Some pretty inventive, low-cost, high traffic driving opportunities there also.

What do you think?


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Entrepreneur Magazine says Jon Rognerud is one of the most sought-after Digital Marketing Experts. His clients extend from high-end brands and middle-tier businesses in both B2B and B2C. His SEO website optimization book, "The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Website" from Entrepreneur Press is in bookstores now.