Google Content Network vs Search Network

Following Mike Colella’s webinar, I wanted to see how much of Google’s revenues was derived from the Content Network. Mike said that from what he gathered based on talking to friends, the top 50 Google Content Network advertisers are spending upwards of $10,000 a day. This got me curious into digging in to Google’s financial statements and reversing these numbers based on some assumptions.

I stumbled upon a piece of Google Display Network Performance Trends facts where it highlights some important tips regarding the Content Network.

Google’s advertising system accounts for 99.9% of its revenue. Google delivers AdWords ads in the form of Search Ads or Display Ads in its Search Network and Content Network respectively. Previously, the Content Network was called Display Network.

Google did a 1 year study back in 2008 using aggregate data of some of their advertiser’s accounts that had conversion tracking installed. Here is what they found:

  • Globally, the content network accounted for about 20% of total conversions.
  • Content Network was only 2.6% behind Search Network in CPA performance.
  • Display network clicks are 28% cheaper on average.
  • Among the developed countries, Search traffic converted most for the U.S. and least for the U.K.

Small accounts < $1,000 monthly spend.

Mid-sized accounts between $1,000 and $6,000 monthly.

Large accounts over $6,000 monthly.

Lower spending accounts tended to perform better on Content Network. Another interesting fact was that the lowest ad spenders had the highest conversions from Content Network at 30% vs 10% for the top tier.

Google’s total advertising revenues for 2010 was $28 billion. This is a rough estimate, but if Content Network accounts for 1/5 of revenues, we can put it at $5.6 billion. Using the pareto 20% principle then, we can assume 20% of Content Network advertisers account for 80% or $4.48 billion of Google’s Content Network revenues in 2010.

I don’t have the numbers on how many Content Network advertisers there are and how much their median spend is. That would be interesting to know.

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