A content network, such as those at Google or Yahoo! Contextual Search, are advertisements served on web pages next to the content containing the keywords being bid on. Content networks are also known as content ads and contextual networks, but are a form of paid inclusion that is more like cost per thousand than cost per click styles of advertisement. Instead of paying for the ad every time a visitor clicks on the link, the cost is calculated by how many times the ad is viewed on a particular web page. A content network ad differs from cost per thousand though because the advertisements that appear adjacent from search results are tied to particular keywords that have been bid upon by the advertiser.
Many advertisers are more interested in content network ads because they are more like the traditional advertisements that people are used to. Instead of being pop up ads or banners on top of a web page, they are composed to be more like advertisements that are found in newspapers and magazines, as well as other print mediums. This traditional sense of advertisement is attention grabbing on the Internet, and makes advertisers that are new to the field of paid inclusion feel more secure in the decision that has been made. Using a content network ad can also be a good way for small businesses to get started in paid inclusion advertising.
Utilizing content network advertisements through search engines such as Google and Yahoo! are an excellent way to connect ads with keywords and search engine optimization. Advertisers can bid on a number of lesser-used keywords and still get similar results, as they are working on a cost per thousand rate. Using content network ads can also be a good way to test out paid inclusion, so that companies that are not sure if they want to use this sort of advertising can spend a smaller amount of their publicity budget.