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My email to Adsense

Discussion in 'AdSense' started by explorer, Sep 12, 2005.

  1. #1
    Here is an email I sent a few days ago to Adsense. I've presented the figures below so they comply with Adsense TOS. The email to Google contained actual figures. The reply (within 12 hours) was somewhat generic but did say "I'll make sure to pass on your comments to the appropriate members of our team."

    Dear Adsense Team,

    I've been comparing ad performance on my websites since the number of ads presented in Adsense units began varying.

    The performance has been disappointing on certain pages / sites and I’d like to offer you the reasons why I think this is happening.
    SEMrush
    On some pages and sites, I had added four images above the 728 units to attract the attention of readers. i.e. a generic image above each ad. This was working well, attracting good CTR’s.

    The CTR’s for these pages have now fallen. Unfortunately this has not been compensated for by higher value ads being clicked because eCPM is also down – representing a significant loss in potential earnings for both publisher and Google.

    Here are two examples:

    For the whole site http://www.xxx.com the July (before ad units varied) figures were:

    CTR xxx
    eCPM xxx

    The August figures have fallen markedly:

    CTR down 25%
    eCPM down 40%

    Similarly, on another site where I have added the 4 images on a small number of pages, I'm seeing the same thing. For the page http://www.xxx.html the figures are:

    July:

    CTR xxx
    eCPM xxx

    Again the August figures show a significant deterioration:

    CTR down 36%
    eCPM down 21%

    Many publishers, myself included, have taken some care to blend the adsense ads with their sites in a symmetrical way that’s pleasing to the eye and increases the CTR. This method relies heavily on ads being delivered in a consistent format.

    Would it be possible to give publishers control over the ad units so we can choose whether the units are “fixed” at the default number of ads or whether the number of ads vary as they have started doing recently?

    I believe this would be in the interests of all concerned.

    I hope you will be able to consider this suggestion.

    Thank you
     
    explorer, Sep 12, 2005 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Jim_Westergren

    Jim_Westergren Notable Member

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    #2
    Interesting what they will answer.

    I was not even sure on having images above the ads was ok by Google.

    Can I also do that on my arcade site?
     
    Jim_Westergren, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  3. lorien1973

    lorien1973 Notable Member

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    #3
    its not about your CTR or your ECPM; its about the advertisers' value for the clicks. Adding an image is (more or less) a tricky way to get someone to click on the ad. It cannot serve any other purpose.
     
    lorien1973, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  4. explorer

    explorer Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Hi Lorien,

    That's not how I look at it. The images I use are generic images - they are not directly representative of the ads. What the images do, I believe, is remove some of the ad blindness some surfers now have. Surfer's eyes are drawn to the images and, sometimes, to the Google Ads located near the images.

    Surely, as an advertiser, that's what you really want? - people to read your ad and then, if they're interested, to click through and look at what you have to offer?

    So I truly believe there's nothing tricky at all about the method. It's win-win. I get increased clicks. Advertisers on my site get better exposure. I should also add that, on the sites I'm talking about, I get paid by impression too - indicating advertisers truly want their ads shown on these sites.

    If I believed the images didn't benefit both parties, I wouldn't do it. It's as simple as that - both from the point of view of ethics and, more practically, because I know a number of Adwords advertisers look at my sites. :)
     
    explorer, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  5. aeiouy

    aeiouy Peon

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    #5
    The problem is I think Google is a bit skittish about ads bordering images to begin with. Half the responses suggest a border would be a good idea. I am guessing that the closing rate of clicks on such ads is not as good as they would be otherwise, so I wouldn't be suprised if they eliminate the ability to do that at all.

    I certainly doubt they are going to bring back 4 static ad spots for those ads, but you never know.

    Will be interesting to see if they give an informative reply.

    Edit: Just read your post above.. It is only a win-win if you are delivering the same caliber of click-through that you were without the images. If the images are somehow confusing people into clicking, then it is not a win-win as you get the click but the advertiser doesn't get the sale. A win-win is that more serious clients click-through, and right now there is no evidence to support that conclusion one way or another.
     
    aeiouy, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  6. lorien1973

    lorien1973 Notable Member

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    #6
    If its a CPM ad, I'd agree. But its a CPC ad, so I cannot. I run adwords ads, I'm also smart enough to read log files. I've visited adsense sites that bring me clicks. I've seen sites that put images next to ads - I also know that those sites never convert. the click leaves. the adsense ads that convert are the ones with no "trickery" next to them. As an advertiser, I'd prefer fewer high converting clicks than lots of non-converting clicks.

    You and I both know that people online do not read; they look at a picture and click the nearby text. You show them a picture with a "link" next to it - they don't read the link, they just click it and move on. the picture, for you, served its purpose. the picture for the advertiser did not.

    Want to attract users' attention to the ads? Highlight the colors, make them not blend into the site. Don't trick someone into clicking an ad with a picture.

    Case in point. These are pretty close to actual adwords stats of mine (not adsense so I can talk about CTR I think :p):

    I ran 2 sets of ads:
    1-was a webmaster ad hitting "free web directory" "add url" etc etc - going to my web directory. Google search converted at 33%. Adsense ads converted at 40% Great! I checked out some referring sites -- again -- google makes it easy to find who sends you traffic. Every site I saw used no image near an ad. Go figure, its a webmaster site, most of those lack images almost entirely.

    2-was a commerce site selling sunglasses - hitting relevant terms. I don't hit terms like "sunglasses" or crap, just stuff that converts. Google search converted at 20% (kaching - no I'm not giving up the product LOL. Another different term, google search converts at 12.5% (varies between 7 and 19, 12 on average). Again. Wonderful. Can't ask for more. So I look at adsense stats. Admittedly, CTR of adsense ads is abysmal - like 1 in 1000 or less. but, the conversion rate is like .2% as well. So I check out sites that send adsense traffic. Viola! Images near ads, under ads on top of ads. Gee What caused that drop? So, smart ole me. *click* content ads off.

    Now, everyone isn't anal about their adwords dollars. I am. Enough people start scanning log files, conversion rates on content ads, and you get enough "image" sites out there and you get fewer and fewer adsense publishers.

    Its a problem; it really is.
     
    lorien1973, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  7. explorer

    explorer Well-Known Member

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    #7
    It's interesting what you're saying, because my sites deliver higher CTRs simply by placing a 336 wide Adsense box on the left of a page with no images than they deliver using the 728 wide box with images.

    I prefer using the images and the 728 though because I find them visually more pleasing on the page. But it's only visually pleasing if it's symmetric. When Google places three ads underneath four images it looks pretty awful.

    I suppose in the future I may return to using the 336 box and getting higher CTRs without images. It's a hard life. ;)
     
    explorer, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  8. toocoolforschool

    toocoolforschool Peon

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    #8
    I'm always amused when fellow Adsense publishers try to deny that their purposes for various ad layouts is to trick visitors into clicking. They never want to admit it. I don't know why -- everyone does it for the same purpose. :?
     
    toocoolforschool, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  9. explorer

    explorer Well-Known Member

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    #9
    Putting on my other hat now: as an advertiser I'm happiest to see ads shown prominently but not in such a way that they are clicked by accident - that is "tricking". I'm advertising for exposure - I'm not advertising so the ads can placed in an obscure location.

    I should add that I'm always amused when someone assumes that, from his own motivations, all others' motivations may be derived. ;)
     
    explorer, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  10. Alx

    Alx Member

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    #10
    i think google changed number of ads in unit to get rid of those tricky images...
     
    Alx, Sep 12, 2005 IP
  11. lorien1973

    lorien1973 Notable Member

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    #11
    I agree. I think the randomness of showing 2 or 3 ads instead of always showing 3 or something is a way to avoid that.
     
    lorien1973, Sep 13, 2005 IP
  12. aeiouy

    aeiouy Peon

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    #12

    Yup.. and the reality is there is nothing wrong with tricking people into clicking on ads, as long as they lead to more sales. That is the bottom line. If putting an orange neon monkey on top of every ad lead to more sales for adword advertisers google would absolutely allow it. Increasing costs by increasing clicks, without increasing revenue is not going to be tolerated.

    So the question is if the trick only tricks legitimate customers, than it will make you and everyone else alot of money. If it leads to more clicks with fewer or same sales then it is eventually going to be prohibited.
     
    aeiouy, Sep 13, 2005 IP
  13. Jim_Westergren

    Jim_Westergren Notable Member

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    #13
    So right, so right.
     
    Jim_Westergren, Sep 13, 2005 IP
  14. progeniy

    progeniy Peon

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    #14
    Just wondering.. when they will post a good news on making changes based in your suggestion...
     
    progeniy, Sep 13, 2005 IP
  15. seckin

    seckin Peon

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    #15
    @lorien1973;
    Personally, I don't display images around the ads and use significant colored borders for blend-in type embedded ads in articles. Even so, in many cases I don't think that using images near ads have to be "tricky" at all. You are an advertiser, you want people to visit your site and know about your services, AND finally buy your product.

    Let's assume that you're an advertiser selling mobile phones and phone melodies on your site online: If a publisher displays a cellphone image around your ad, he sure will drive attention to your advertisiment, resulting as a click and a visit to your site. This visitor will then learn about your site, the products you sell and become a potential customer, because he did not come to your site accidentally and he is interested in cellphones for sure. No problem if this visit doesn't lead to a sale. If you have quality services with suitable prices, this visitor will probably come back sometime, and if he is decided to buy a specific product, he will buy it on your site. And assume this person referring your services to friends who want to buy similar products online. More potential customers.

    I advertised with some local services, and I know what converting is. I always got two types of customers:
    1)People reading and invesigating online for a specific product, comparing, eliminating choices,and finally stopping at my door to buy it(mostly referred by search engines).
    2)People buying nothing but learning my name, adding me to their favorites, coming back sometime and buying my product(referred by ad campaigns).
    Thanks to the publishers sending me the traffic for the 2nd type, no matter if they use images or not.

    My thoughts: Please don't wait 2/3 of the clicks to convert into $$$ instantly and remember that those "no-good" visits are always potential future sales. If you find that pay per click campaignes are not beneficial for you, then don't use it. Better use services that require you to pay comissions per sale to referring sites instead.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
    seckin, Sep 13, 2005 IP
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  16. lorien1973

    lorien1973 Notable Member

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    #16
    Not sure why this is hard to understand.

    Let's say you have a cell phone information site and display adsense ads.

    You decide to put up some images there. You choose some of the hot phones of the day (3-4 of them) and put them above, next to, below or whatever the ads.

    #1-you have no idea what ad is going to appear there, and if the phone will even match the picture you have showing
    #2-the site you are displaying an ad for may or may not have this particular phone available.
    #3 (again)- people don't read. They will look at the picture of the phone on the site and click the nearest link. This has been proven time and time again online. People mindlessly clicking around online.

    Is it a coincidence that the 4 pictures you have showing are exactly spaced to the adsense ads? Nope. Its done intentionally. Why? Cuz you want clicks. There can be no other reason.

    The image (for the publisher) served its purpose - a click. For the advertiser, you either get someone genuinely interested (unlikely) or someone who clicked cuz they thought it was part of the site they were previously on (more likely).

    It just doesn't work. If google thought it did work; they would offer advertisers a way to upload a product picture with the adwords ad so the advertiser could choose what picture (if any) that'd go near it. That'd be the only way, I think, a picture near the ad would be tolerable as an advertiser.
     
    lorien1973, Sep 13, 2005 IP
  17. toocoolforschool

    toocoolforschool Peon

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    #17
    Oh come now, let's not keep up this charade. The whole purpose of the 4 images over 4 ads layout is to draw the eye of the reader so they'll click on the links believing the links are part of the picture shown above, to the side, below, or near them. To contend otherwise is just being disingenuous.
     
    toocoolforschool, Sep 13, 2005 IP
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  18. seckin

    seckin Peon

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    #18
    I do understand your concern, but I don't really know why some advertisers have issues in understanding that PPC advertising like Adsense MAY NOT be suitable for them, considering their ROI expectations. I don't think that PPC advertising would be profitable for my industry and eventually I don't use it. I prefer to pay 25% of each sale to the publishers, instead of complaining about them. They may even build their own banners for my product, or people can click "mindlessly" on the ads, no problem.
    Quite irrelevant. Naturally, the publisher wants clicks while the advertiser wants sales. Sure this is no coincidence, but kinda AD MARKETING. Why do you think TV channels show best paying commercials during most popular programs? Google has a map for hot zones and explanations about best resulting ad units. Why, to drive more attention to the ads, or make the advertiser lose more money?
    So? This promotes your service to one more person. As a result, you gain a visitor interested in cell phones, and a chance to sell...How do you know this NEVER leads to a sale now or in the future, or today's customer(who is not referred by anyone, but came directly to your site) was not that troublesome non-converting clicker a few weeks ago?

    Someone participating in PPC programs should have good knowledge and experience of marketing, should not only consider the clicks and conversion rates, but compare and analyze the overall effect of the campaign on total sales.

    If you don't find it beneficial, I think leaving it instead of accusing the publisher of being "tricky" would be more logical.
     
    seckin, Sep 13, 2005 IP
  19. Chopster

    Chopster Peon

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    #19
    This is why Google has said before to use generic images when doing this (as mentioned in that "Quadrupled my adsense thru DP members" thread).

    If people mindlessly click around, why would they NOT mindlessly click a link without the images? I would agree with your statement if the image looked like a clickable button, then it might be possible that it could be confused with being a navigational aspect of the site where the user would click mindlessly.

    However, the fact is that the user has to click the text, not the image. I can't see how anyone would click the adsense text without reading it first. That would be some seriously spastic web surfing behavior that is probably exclusive only to the users that are high on crack.

    To me, I think "blending" is more sneaky than the "4 images". At least the 4images call out and say "Hey look, an ad!". Even as an experienced publisher who knows all the possible layouts, I still on occasion get suckered into clicking ads due to "blending", but I've never unawaringly clicked an ad due to the "4 image" technique.

    *BTW, I use the word "Suckered" as meaning: "I didn't know it was a Google Ad". I still read the text of the ad...like I read anything before I click it...as do most normal people.
     
    Chopster, Sep 14, 2005 IP
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  20. badkolo

    badkolo Peon

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    #20
    Extremely well put. But who cares about adsense anymore, isnt everyone using YPN now anyways.(lol)

    We should all care about the advertisers,If to many tricks are done by to many sites eventually advertisers bu
    dgets will get burned and they will be discouraged to use adwords.
     
    badkolo, Sep 14, 2005 IP