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|Dissapointed with Targeted Adsense Ads|
I have only been using Adsense for the last week so I still haven't come to a final conclusion but the recent results I have been getting are extremely dissapointing.
The first few days were actually more on target than the ones being displayed now for some reason. The last couple of days has seen CTR drop over half to 0.3%, my guess is due to the ads being less targeted.
A little background, my site is geared towards those interested in 'Product A' and 'Service B'. It is a user contributed site and is browseable by location very similiar to the site of 'altyfc'.
I guess since the first page of each section is constantly changing, Mediapartners-Google bot has indexed an older page. On top of that the ads it is serving for the global level are promoting a specific small country which doesn't make any sense. Those ads should be displayed at the country level.
And a lot of other pages are way off, even if they are static. For example, several pages are displaying wicker basket ads even though these pages do not contain ANY reference to wicker baskets.
I would think it should be displaying non-profit ads if it doesn't know what to serve.
In conclusion, I think Adsense has some serious tweaking that needs to be done to improve the targeting of ads it serves.
Has anyone else encountered such issues?
Yes, I am also seeing poorly targeted ads on some pages (although I noticed a marked improvement today). I would like to see Google use the keywords in my meta tags -- instead it seems to be taking words out of context from the text on my webpages, leading to some very strange results, similar to your wicker baskets ads!
I've been seeing poorer targetting too, with a small number of ads showing up on all my pages even though they're not relevant to most of them. I suspect this may be a result of poor targetting by the advertisers involved, though -- perghaps an AdWords user aiming ads for "Arabic books" at a general keyword like "book" and paying too much for it.
I have the same problem, basically after a few days, now the same two ads are shown everywhere, and I'm sure my visitors are starting toget sick of them. Especially since eah and every one of my page is about a seperate and distinct topic.
The ads that are displaying across my sites are very related and I am happy with them :)
Google would not go by meta tags as it would be easy for us to cheat. Webmasters would be adding meta keywords such as "porn" and "online casino" as well as some drugs, to gain a better CPC. Google wants the ads to be related.
I think Google are doing a good job of this from the sites that I have seem. I would be interested in seeing some sites where the AdSense user does not think their ads are content related? It might be a case that MediaPartner does think the ads are related and the pages they are on are just targeted wrongly by the webmaster.
|Google would not go by meta tags as it would be easy for us to cheat. Webmasters would be adding meta keywords such as "porn" and "online casino" as well as some drugs, to gain a better CPC. Google wants the ads to be related. |
Abusing keywords for search and abusing them to obtain targeted ads are two different things. Given that clickthrough rates are higher on ads that relate to a page's content, there doesn't seem to be much incentive to cheat.
I suppose that, in theory, a Webmaster might place "porn" or "online casino" keywords on a page about French medieval poetry if he didn't think AdSense could supply relevant ads, but so what, unless AdSense were accepting ads for porn or online casinos? If anything, the keywords would simply flag the page (and the site) for removal from the AdSense program.
|I think Google are doing a good job of this from the sites that I have seem. I would be interested in seeing some sites where the AdSense user does not think their ads are content related? It might be a case that MediaPartner does think the ads are related and the pages they are on are just targeted wrongly by the webmaster. |
It isn't the publisher's job to target content for the MediaPartner bot. It's the bot's job to match the ads to the content.
Here are some examples of poorly targeted ads from my site:
1) In an article about the Ludwig II Musical in Germany (a show about the late Bavarian king that takes place within a few miles of the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles), I've got AdSense ads for the Internet Theatre Bookshop and JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR on CD. Those ads might be fine on a site about theatre, but on my site, it would make a lot more sense to have ads related to travel in Germany, Bavaria, or--better yet--the tourist region where the theatre is located.
2) In an article on Norwegian Coastal Voyage (a.k.a. Hurtigruten), a ferry line that serves Norway's North Cape, there's an AdSense ad for Norwegian Cruise Line. Now, it's possible that NCL runs cruises to Norway's North Cape, but the bulk of its cruising is done elsewhere--in the Caribbean, for example. It would be better if there were a way to exclude NCL from that page and include ads about travel in Norway.
3) In an article about European vacation rentals, there's an AdSense ad for Florida holiday rentals (possibly because there are several references to "Venice" in the article). This wouldn't occur if I could provide a clue for AdWords such as: "'Venice Italy' NOT 'Venice Florida'."
4) In an article titled "Travel Insurance Revisited: Terrorism and Supplier Default," AdSense can't figure out what the article is about and displays ads for Rail Europe and Smithsonian tours. If I could include meta keywords that would clearly identify the article's topic as "travel insurance" or "trip insurance," AdSense would be able to display targeted ads. (And no, I shouldn't have to rewrite the article to help the MediaPartner bot understand it better. To a reader, the article's topic and message are perfectly clear.)
Don't get me wrong: I think Google's AdSense program does a remarkable job of targeting ads to the page content in most cases, and it's at least as good as, say, the human editors at Sprinks. But if publishers could include keywords and/or other clues for the MediaPartner bot, the targeting would be even better--and both Google and the publisher would profit from the improvement.
Targeting on our sites is pretty good, with one exception. Our front page has a big link for our ezine section which is a "magazine" of articles frequently updated, on management tips, economics, travel tips and cultural business tips. Adwords are showing two ads for ezine marketing - e.g. "get your message in 1 million opt-in ezines" and one on "Email marketing techniques"
It seems to be mixing up the medium with the message. Marshall Macluhan - after several decades at last you are proved right!
No big deal, we will just block them, but i think we may be spending considerable hours looking at all our thousands of pages online to find these strange ones if we get too precious..
If the pages are targeted well the ads will be related. It's called SEO.
Here's another funny couple too. One of our columnists who wrote one column about wedding customs in Thailand, has ads showing up for "Thai Brides - get a "catalogue" etc} and "Meet Thai girls" (please note the copy has been edited but they reflect the pitch of each.)
Another one who wrote a long academic-type article about the social evils of poverty and prostitution in the Philippines is getting ads on how to find "Philippines brides and wives"!
Its easy to see how these pop up. But its an extra cost involved to monitor some of the more "embarassing" ones!
The mis-targeted ads described above are certainly problems, but at least I can understand why the bot would mis-target them. Some ads targeted on my site are COMPLETELY offbase.
This is an example of a contribution by a user within the last 10 minutes of a small object located in a town in England. The AdSense ad is about a RESORT IN THAILAND.
1. Even though it's clear the adsense bot hasn't visited this page yet, why is it displaying for-profit ads?
2. Why is it COMPLETELY offbase? It's not even REMOTELY close! There is no information about hotels, resorts, Thailand etc ANYWHERE on the page.
Since I like clean design with as few words as possible, this is the result I'm getting. Therefore I have decided to refine my site template to put in helpful keywords. Do I want to do this? No. Should I have to do this? No. However I must do this to combat the awful targeting of adsense ads on many of my pages.
>>However I must do this to combat the awful targeting of adsense ads on many of my pages. <<
No you dont. You can decide NOT to use adsense. you can use an affiliate or leave off ads altogether.
Just the fact that you are going to all this trouble surely indicates that you think the revenue is well worth the time.
For me the targeting seems, apart from a few problems, extraordinarily good, for pages with lots of text in normal para form, like an article, news items and such, which is what it was designed for.
Plus i am sure this will improve in time.
"No you dont. You can decide NOT to use adsense. you can use an affiliate or leave off ads altogether.
Just the fact that you are going to all this trouble surely indicates that you think the revenue is well worth the time."
Yes, this is true, I don't think there is anything better than this for text ads. If there were I would certainly try it out.
"For me the targeting seems, apart from a few problems, extraordinarily good, for pages with lots of text in normal para form, like an article, news items and such, which is what it was designed for."
Right, but my pages don't have lots of text. They have maybe a paragraph of text each. And I don't think Adsense is necessarily "designed" for the pages you mention. Afterall, Google has indexed my pages quite nicely. I'd like to see AdSense work as well as Google does.
"Plus i am sure this will improve in time."
Yes, I expect this as well. I trust Google far more than any other company out there.
Rather than saying your ads are not related and banning that ad, think of it as "why isn't my page context clear enough". The basics of SEO come into this a lot.
Make sure your page titles are specific to the context, and not just the same "Site Title" all over the site.
Be more specific, if you have a site about blue widgets then make sure you talk about "blue widgets" rather than just "widgets".
I have found that all my ads are well related.
I've think youve struck on a good point there ewan. In fact i think its (an admittedly very rough) quick and easy way to see how google "views" the subject matter of your page. I know the Adsense algo is a long way removed from the SE algo, but it has pointed out to us a few problems in one or two pages.
For example in one page the first small para makes an analogy of an orchestra to a management technique, and started off stright away talking about orchestras. 90% of the rest of the page didnt mention orchestras, except right at the end again, but talked about the technique. Even the title didnt metion orchestras, but the tehcnique.
You guessed it.
We got ads for classical music CD's and tuition!
We are looking at this as not a 100% reliable but useful flag that our optimization is not up to scratch on a particular page.
In this case, we just added an introductory para summarising the article making sure that we named the technique a few times. Now we wait for adsense to respider and see if it worked.
One reason this may not be a highly reliable way of picking google's view of your page is that it is dependent on what advertisers are advertising. In this case, it could be that no-one was advertising consulting or commercial products of that particular management technique and just chose the next most possible theme, where there are tons of advertisers.
This may well be a great lesson for us in writing for the web.
I agree the concept is working fairly well, and most of the mis-targeting is understandable, but a bit of human intervention would be helpful at times (for Adwords advertisers as well as for Adsense publishers). As Europeforvisitors says, it would be useful to specify 'Venice Italy, not Venice Florida', as showing ads that are so mis-targeted isn't helping anyone and it's annoying for visitors. And for articles about Widget, a town in Europe, it would help to have a blanket ban on any advertiser advertising the US products widgets...
In their pages about Adsense Google refer to human checking, though I suppose that's just for site approvals at the moment. Maybe in future this will be able to go further.
Otherwise, it's just time to re-optimise some of that text. And bar the adverts for ranch holidays which are repeatedly appearing on a totally off-topic site.
|We are looking at this as not a 100% reliable but useful flag that our optimization is not up to scratch on a particular page. |
An article may be perfectly optimized for its topic without being optimized for the keywords that an AdWords buyer is purchasing.
Let's say I've written an article on TGV trains. The page's title is "TGV Trains," the headline also contains the topic, and the anchor text on my table of contents has the words "TGV Trains." The article is likely to do very well in Google if a user searches for "tgv trains."
However, the most appropriate advertiser for the page--Rail Europe, let's say--hasn't necessarily bought the keyphrase "tgv trains." It may have bought "rail tickets," "French railways," "rail passes," "eurailpass," and any number of other keywords--but if it hasn't bought "tgv trains," Google may not figure out that Rail Europe is the perfect advertiser for that page on French TGVs.
So what's the solution? I could pack the article with keywords or keyphrases that I think advertisers like Rail Europe might use. I could change the page title and headline to "Use your Eurailpass or French Railways or SNCF Tickets from Rail Europe on the TGV train." The article would then have a better chance of snagging an appropriate AdSense ad, but I'd look stupid, and readers would wonder why I wrote a long, clumsy headline that really wasn't about the topic of the article.
A better solution would be for Google to recognize keyword meta tags or special AdSense meta tags. That way, I could tell AdSense that an article about TGV trains is relevant to AdWords for "europe train tickets," "eurailpass," "french railways," "sncf," and other terms that I think an advertiser such as Rail Europe might have bid on.
europeforvisitors makes a good point. In a context like AdSense the PPC manager's keyword bids matter along with the webmasters optimisation. Over time Google will evolve in Darwinian style by tracking the click through rates.
My pages are well prepared for Search Engines, and are in a popular wide AdWords category, which maybe explains why I have no problems with AdSense.
"Make sure your page titles are specific to the context, and not just the same "Site Title" all over the site.
Be more specific, if you have a site about blue widgets then make sure you talk about "blue widgets" rather than just "widgets"."
Well, considering that I'm not writing the text, this is a bit hard. I do have titles etc based on the user contributed subject etc, but it seems that I need to do some more tweeking to highlight 'product A' and 'service B'.
Incedentally, I do have a different small site with my own written content and I find the Adsense ads to fit extremely well on it.
|I'm not writing the text... results I have been getting are extremely dissapointing. |
|own written content... I find the Adsense ads to fit extremely well on it. |
It shows that when we have control over the text we can highlight "service B" or "product A" for the MPB. This giving us more relevant ads.
yoyo8: cant you suggest to the content writer that the change their ways, as it may also help target search engine traffic and more people will see their lovely work.
"cant you suggest to the content writer that the change their ways"
Well, since it's user-contributed content, with over 1000 members, I really couldn't do that. More importantly, "Product A" and "Service B" are a by-product of the actual content so the contributors aren't doing anything wrong anyway as far as SEO goes. So it's up to me to format the information in such a way as to highlight the product and service so that Adsense/Google index it properly.
|A little background, my site is geared towards those interested in 'Product A' and 'Service B'. |
So what your saying is your have ads on other pages which are not targeted for 'Product A' and 'Service B' but you want them to be targeted for 'Product A' and 'Service B'?
|Well, since it's user-contributed content, with over 1000 members, I really couldn't do that. |
What if you put a synopsis of the article above it - maybe if that "first paragraph" rule is running the adsense bot it will digest less "orchestra" and more "management".
"So what your saying is your have ads on other pages which are not targeted for 'Product A' and 'Service B' but you want them to be targeted for 'Product A' and 'Service B'?"
To be a bit more specific, 'Product A' and 'Service B' are rather broad. And to add another angle, they are browseable by country. And yes, I'd like them to be targeted, or at least in the same ballpark.
The more I think about this, the more I believe their algo/architecture is wrong. Since the main areas are constantly changing, the BOT indexed certain words and displays ads based on those words until the next time it gets indexed. Since those words become completely irrelevant within hours as they move off the main page, the ads (some of them) also become irrelevant. This is why I need to change the template to display the product and service more prominently.
"What if you put a synopsis of the article above it - maybe if that "first paragraph" rule is running the adsense bot it will digest less "orchestra" and more "management"."
Well, I have been thinking about putting the product and service in the <TITLE> tag. I think this might make a huge difference.
I've mentioned this before, but we need to keep in mind that there are *three* actors involved in the ad-targeting. As well as the content publisher (your or I), there's Google - and there's the advertiser.
We can optimize our pages just right and Google can work out what they're about exactly, but if the advertisers aren't picking their keywords carefully that's enough to produce off-target ads.
|I've mentioned this before, but we need to keep in mind that there are *three* actors involved in the ad-targeting. As well as the content publisher (your or I), there's Google - and there's the advertiser. |
We can optimize our pages just right and Google can work out what they're about exactly, but if the advertisers aren't picking their keywords carefully that's enough to produce off-target ads.
Danny makes an excellent point. As an example today I notice in SERPs for a city in Mexico that contains the spanish part of speech that corresponds to "of" in Spanish are now showing Ad Words in German because this word in Spanish is also the TLD for Germany, and this fool has a worldwide bid on it.
The Media Partners bot primarily looks at the text immediately above the ad, not at the page's title, headers, etc.
Test it out with different positioning of the ads.
DavidT: This could prove to be a very interesting and turning point for AdSense optomisers. Can you show me some proof behind this?
|Even though it's clear the adsense bot hasn't visited this page yet, why is it displaying for-profit ads? |
I had the same experience, adding additional pages to one site. Let's say the site is about widgets, and I added a page on making widgets. The ads were related to widgets. I think if your site is focused, the default for new pages becomes the type of ad showing up on other already-spidered pages.
"I think if your site is focused, the default for new pages becomes the type of ad showing up on other already-spidered pages."
My site is very focused, with topics from around the world. Why should it display Thai resort ads for a Europe posting just because someone else posted something in Thailand previously?
Surely Google can do better than that. I mean, how many PHDs does it take to create an intelligent bot?
"Surely Google can do better than that. I mean, how many PHDs does it take to create an intelligent bot?"
Hmm, something's weird. Now I'm checking new postings this morning, and the ads ARE relevant even though the bot hasn't visited.
Thank you Google. Whatever you did, it's working a lot better than last week.
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