Google was intentionally slow to roll this feature out and makes the feature a bit hard to access, because they would prefer to automate the process using smart pricing and get you to buy as much advertising as you can afford.
Put another way, Google thinks that they algorithmically can determine the value of an ad better than you can estimate it. Having said all that, they do realize that sometimes the feeling of control will increase ad spend from some advanced advertisers, so...
Content bids let AdWords advertisers set one price when their ads run on search sites and a separate price when their ads run on content sites. If you find that you receive better business leads or a higher ROI from ads on content sites than on search sites (or vice versa), you can now bid more for one kind of site and less for the other. Content bids let you set the prices that are best for your own business.
I think a large part of the reason for the early success of Chitika has been that for certain types of content (like consumer electronics) image ads do have more value than the typical textual search ad.
If you have found underpriced content inventory look for this added control to cause more people to dip their toes in the water and drive up costs.
Not only does this new service allow you to bid differently for content clicks than search clicks, but it also allows you to buy content ads while opting out of search ads. In the past AdWords also allowed content only ads, but required content ads to be purchased on a CPM basis.
Now you can buy targeted content only ads and only pay when people click. Cheap branding opportunity I suspect. Perhaps with that type of distribution it makes sense to craft ugly highly graphical animated contextual ads that say DON'T CLICK HERE.
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