The Google Adwords/Adsense individual site targeting has always been available on through CPM ad purchases. When Google first launched this ability, it had a $2.00 minimum CPM bid, then later dropped to a $1.00 CPM, then later dropped to $0.25 CPM, and now they’ve announced a beta starting in March for advertisers to test buying on sites directly on a CPC basis.
Frankly I’m surprised it took them this long. The reason they had to drop the minimum bid each time was because advertisers haven’t gotten results to make these campaigns profitable. Every time I’ve launched a new Adwords campaign I try site-targeting, and it’s just never profitable on a CPM basis for me. It ends up costing way more per click than buying in CPC via the search or content network.
While my experience is obviously anecdotal, I’m sure many advertisers experience the same thing. Additionally, when spending so much time focusing on CPC, it can feel a tad strange shifting your focus to looking at CPM campaigns all within the same campaign screen where your goals and metrics may be different.
So, while I’ve been critical of Google lately, I think this is a wise move for them, publishers, and advertisers. It’s what they know best, it’s what the advertisers using their system are used to, and it should mean more advertisers are doing site-targeted buying meaning more competition and thus higher revenue for publishers.