By creating content for the Google Display Network that makes its products contextually relevant to consumers, Seventh Generation has been able to drive sales and reduce its cost-per-conversion.

Seventh Generation makes eco-friendly items for home use, from hand washes to household paper supplies. The company is committed to sustainable products, and it wanted an ad campaign that promoted sustainable business growth. By creating content for the Google Display Network that makes its products contextually relevant to consumers, Seventh Generation has been able to drive sales and reduce its cost-per-conversion.

Chris Middlings, Seventh Generation's web editor, explained to Google that the company wanted its green expertise to cut through "advertising pollution," which Google explains as the clutter of irrelevant ads. To achieve this, the brand turned to the Google Display Network.

The Google Display Network recently expanded its ad options, as Brafton reported back in July. The network allows businesses to run rectangle-shaped ads on Google's popular YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Books and Google Finance properties. Additionally, the network offers businesses the chance to get their content on partnering news site and blogs.

With the Display Network, Middling found that context counted. With the help of a Google representative, the company constructed ads for carefully targeted sites with keywords that related less to specific Seventh Generation products and more to eco-friendly lifestyles. "If people are buying organic cotton baby clothes, they're likely to be receptive for an all-natural detergent," he says.

With this strategy, the environmentally conscious company made some green and saved some in the process. Seventh Generation saw a 102 percent increase in conversions in a single fiscal quarter and the cost-per-conversion declined by 28 percent over the same period.

Marketers can take this success story as a cue to boost the contextual relevancy of their own display ads, and this may be a tip put to use by a number of brands. According to Borrell Associates, targeted display ads will drive digital ad spend in 2011, with the platform growing as much as 60 percent next year.

Moreover, generating content that makes a brand relevant to consumers can impact conversion beyond the realm of display ads. Brands might consider Brafton's earlier report that marketing blogs are burgeoning tools among SMBs; these social sites offer the opportunity to provide ample context demonstrating the need for products and services, and they can help establish businesses as industry thought leaders.   

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.