Google AdWords Management and the Chicken Coop Cam

Never in my wildest dreams did I think running a Google AdWords management firm would lead me to this. But it was definitely one of the, umm, oddest websites I’ve ever done stumbled across.

The site showed a feed from a web cam. The web cam was set up in someone’s backyard in the Boston suburbs. And it was fixed, 24/7, on their chicken coop.

When I found the site, the chickens were resting. But there seemingly was no privacy for them so whatever those chickens did was broadcast for all the world to see.

Now, lest you think I have some unhealthy, perverted, Gonzo-like obsession with chickens, I can assure you that ain’t the case.

I did find the site thanks to Google. However, not in the way one typically finds a site using Google. I’ll explain…

I was running an Google AdWords campaign for a client. And we decided to start testing the Google Display Network (GDN).

(Quick education aside… When you use Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) there are two main options you have for where your ads appear. They can appear with the Google Search results when someone types a keyword into Google’s search engine.

Or your ads can appear on Google’s Display Network. This is when your ad appears on a website whose owner has decided to place Google ads on the site as a way to monetize their website. These can be sites like the New York Times, someone’s personal blog and anything in between.)

Back to the story…

When you run a campaign on the GDN, you can run a report that shows you what specific websites your ads have been displayed on. And we had to comb through these reports obsessively cuz Google would often show ads on poor quality sites.

So we had to cull the garbate to have a chance of making GDN work for our AdWords clients.

Now for this particular client, we were targeting sites related to business. (At least they were supposed to be.)

It was one day, while looking through the list of websites our clients ads were displayed on, that I stumbled upon the backyard chicken coop site.

And it was soon thereafter that I gave up on Google Display Network (this was years ago).

Yes, there was a lot of traffic and cheap clicks to be had there, but the quality of the traffic generally wasn’t fit to line the bottom of a, well, chicken coop.

Recently, however, things have changed. The Google Display Network is worth investigating again. I, and some other Google AdWords pros I know, have been having some pretty good success there.

A big part of the reason why is Facebook.

See, Facebook ads have soared in popularity in recent years. Which has cost Google a lotta dough.

So they’ve been hard at work to make the Google Display Network a more worthy competitor to Facebook ads.

They’ve added more targeting options, layered in machine learning/AI and other tech and have reshaped the GDN into a place where an advertiser can get cheap traffic, a lot of volume AND quality traffic… IF you know what you’re doing there.

Especially if you’ve been successful with Facebook Ads, then it’s definitely worth checking out the Google AdWords and its “new and improved” Display Network as a way to expand your efforts and grow your biz.

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Adam K
Adam K

Adam has been fascinated with online marketing, particularly PPC, since 2004 and opened his own PPC management company in 2006. Over the years he's written extensively about Google AdWords and online marketing on his own sites as well as partnered with/written for Perry Marshall, Ryan Deiss of and Neil Patel.