If you’re getting ready to kickoff your first advertising campaign, you may have already come
across two main campaign options: keyword targeted and run of network (RON). Deciding
between these two types of campaigns will go a long way in defining the success of your
advertising efforts; the decision will also greatly affect the required investment in time and money.
We’ll explain the key differences between each.
For starters, some brief definitions: Keywordtargeted campaigns place your advertisements in
front of consumers only when specific keywords appear in the Web content or search box. (You
can also filter out negative keywords.) RON campaigns display ads across an advertisement
placement agency’s network of sites, which may be broadly categorized by topic or demographic.
Do You Want to Extend Your Reach or Narrow Your Focus?
RON campaigns are great for lowcost, high visibility campaigns. If you’re launching a new
product or service, this can make a RON campaign a sensible choice. You’ll lower your financial
investment and generate a large number of impressions and click throughs to grow awareness.
Similarly, if your company already enjoys a strong brand presence, the impression heavy effect of
RON campaigns—compared to conversion focused, keyword targeted campaigns—can have
benefits. A third effective use of RON campaigns is if your product is of interest to a wide
audience, something anyone, not just a niche demographic, may be interested in, like dish
detergent or plumbing services.
However, while you’ll be able to extend your reach, you won’t have control over where your
advertisement appears. A RON campaign purchases advertisement space throughout an
advertisement placement agency’s network. You may be able to specify a subset of that network by
category or demographic—say, household products or men ages 24 to 35—but you will not be able
to choose specific sites or placement on pages. This is because advertisement placement agencies
provide lower rates in exchange for obtaining paid advertisements for lowerdemand site inventory
Keywordtargeted campaigns, on the other hand, are ideal for creating niche offers designed to
convert. With keywordtargeted campaigns, you’re paying only for a small subset of users to see
your advertisements. If you’ve performed good keyword research and designed compelling
advertisements, keywordtargeted campaigns are almost always the better choice to generate
conversions and revenue. Finding effective longtail keywords is critical to avoiding the more
competitive and costly head and body keywords. Overall, you will generate less traffic, but it will
be better traffic—quality over quantity.
Are You Looking to Scale Back or Are You Ready to Grow Your
One of the benefits of RON campaigns is not just their lower cost but lower time investment
required. Because you’re deploying the same advertisement to a wide network, campaign
management is far simpler. You’re not required to develop several—perhaps dozens—of unique
ads designed to draw the attention of many narrow audiences. If you’re just getting started or
attempting to scale back your online advertisement investment, RON can be a good solution.
Conversely, keyword targeted campaigns are a great choice when you’re getting more serious
about your online advertisement efforts. They provide you with an opportunity to design tailored
offers that will appeal to specific portions of your clientele, increasing the chances of conversion.
Generally speaking, smaller subsets and increasingly targeted advertisements will yield continually
higher clickthrough rates and conversions (to a point). Keyword targeted advertising approaches
the “onetoone” marketing concept predominant in modern marketing theory.
Remember: Many of the decision points between a keyword targeted and RON campaign come
down to the specific needs and goals of your business, regardless of what advertising gurus may
tell you. Consider your budget, in both money and time, and your goals—broad brand awareness
to a wide audience or conversion focused advertisements to your niche demographic. And it’s also
worth noting that you can’t get truly great advice until your campaign has been running for some
time. That’s when you’ll get to look at the metrics to see whether the return on investment is
meeting your expectations.