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This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >     
7 day advertiser test on adsense
results are here
Shak




msg:1338472
 10:12 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

As promised: [webmasterworld.com...]

please be advised that having read and re-read terms for adsense and adwords, some data will NOT be shared, but an overall picture will be given.

I, just like you guys am worried about getting my ass whipped by Google :)

so here goes:

7 day test started on 17th Novemeber > 24th November.

Total impressions served: 357,190
CTR: 3.5%
Avg CPC: £0.04
clicks: 12,817

Total search impressions served: 46,782
CTR: 23.7%
Avg CPC: £0.05
clicks: 11,105

Total content impressions served: 310,408
CTR: 0.5%
Avg CPC: £0.05
clicks: 1,712

so in other words, a lot more inventory for chosen keyword/s on content sites than Google and search partners (aol, ask etc).

creatives were written in a way to discourage window shoppers and timewasters with a direct call to action, including dynamic title creation.

the aim of the campaign was to get quality targeted traffic, repeat traffic, branding, and our url in peoples faces as quickly and cheaply as possible.

the 1 surprising thing was that the conversion rate of Search traffic was very very similar to Content traffic, this was the 1 thing that I was really worried about, and glad I was proved wrong (maybe its just my kick-ass creatives that have that effect).

we were also tracking where traffic was coming from, and the biggest surprise was that we were having our ads shown on our 3 BIGGEST competitors, and that money could NOT buy (ever), this meant apart from traffic we were basically getting exposure to our core users, and that I was ecstatic about.

we noticed a number of adsense publishers blatantly breaking the rules, with 2 creatives being shown, and also some serious content spam taking place, these sites should NEVER have been allowed to become a part of the adsense network (imo).

so for us, the pros and cons:

Pros
quality of traffic was SAME as search traffic.
our ads being shown on our rivals sites.
low CTR, but great branding, especially when you pay by CPC and NOT cpm :)
cost was same as search traffic.

Cons
some dodgy publishers, with very bad content. and breaking the rules, but since we only pay by CPC and the traffic converted, i couldnt give a damn. thats for the google police if they want to take action.

I had expected similar results as our banner advertising, but am suitably impressed that our CPC and even CPM rate was so so low on adsense, that banners are bye-bye for now, especially when the traffic converted.

The cheapes banner deal would have cost me at least 5 times more, probably a lot more looking at the sites where most of the traffic came from.

so the final answer:

YES, I shall be continuing with content advertising, it worked for me!

not sure whether you guys expected some mad scientific analysis, and I apologise if I did not live up to that, sorry.

hope you have got some feedback from the above.

and for the doubters out there, I would be glad to show my figures to Jenstar the moderator, or GoogleGuy or AdwordsAdvisor...

Shak

 

mipapage




msg:1338473
 10:18 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thats great stuff Shak, thanks for sharing that info. I may opt-in and try the same tracking, see if I can duplicate....
  1. quality of traffic was SAME as search traffic.
  2. our ads being shown on our rivals sites.
  3. low CTR, but great branding, especially when you pay by CPC and NOT cpm :)
  4. cost was same as search traffic.

All excellent benefits. I like the thought of number 2 and 3 together! Branding on your rivals sites... Nice.

- mipapage

[edited by: mipapage at 10:22 pm (utc) on Nov. 24, 2003]

markus007




msg:1338474
 10:22 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

What industry are we talking about here...?

Fiver




msg:1338475
 10:25 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks a great deal Shak

richardb




msg:1338476
 10:35 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the info Shak, one cup of tea coming your way;)

Cons…with very bad content. Surely that’s a plus from Adsense POV? High quality content site must = low CTR.

…3 BIGGEST competitors – they could have blocked the ads if they wanted too. So gowan spill the beans…!

Rich

Visi




msg:1338477
 10:51 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Glad to see as a publisher that one of my potential customers is happy:)

IanTurner




msg:1338478
 10:53 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

That data is very reassuring from both an advertisers and a publishers perspective. It also seems to indicate that Google have got it right once again and that content targetted ads have a potentially rosy future.

p.s. Personally I think it is impolite to ask someone what industry they are in.

Jenstar




msg:1338479
 10:54 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Great findings Shak.

I don't think the industry matters, we always stick with widgetized keywords on WebmasterWorld, and I don't think it matters if he is in the underwater widgets industry, or the fuzzy purple widgets industry ;)

I must admit, I was pretty surprised at the high CTR of search sites, and the immense number of impressions served on content sites. For branding purposes, content sites seem to be the way to go. That is huge exposure on a CPC basis, especially with a low CTR on £0.05 CPC.

It also shows that competitors are not keeping an eye on what kind of ads are being served on their own sites. That kind of branding and exposure is priceless. It often depends on the market, of course, but it is always worthwhile for publishers to see what ads are being served.

It does definitely raise the question of what is AdSense going to do with these dodgy publishers? It comes up again and again as the number one reason why more advertisers aren't trying or are opting out of content sites. Just in my own general travels, I see several dodgy publishers each and every day. Shak, any idea on what percentage of clickthroughs came from dodgy publishers? Is it a huge problem, or a small one? I have also noticed a lot more double serving lately - before it seemed that publishers were being sent double serving emails immediately, but I am seeing double serving on sites over a period of time now.

I think dodgy publishers could end up being the downfall of AdSense, for the very reason that advertisers see these sites and think "no way do I want to pay for my ads on that kind of a site." This is the one area where I wish AdSense would take a more proactive step, or perfect an algo that would perhaps detect these kinds of sites.

It also does make me wonder how much of a difference well written creatives make on content sites versus creatives in the Google serps. Would you have gotten different results on content with badly written creatives? Or would people have clicked because you were still providing people with what they were looking for in your ad?

Thank you for sharing Shak - I am sure you have opened plenty of eyes, and perhaps more advertisers will opt-in for search and content, especially with that huge branding aspect of it. And the pleasure of being shown on your biggest competitors is always a nice added bonus, too ;)

beren




msg:1338480
 11:11 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Glad things worked out for you, Shak. Your results are not necessarily indicitive of the results others will get, of course. For one thing, your CPC was very low. Fradulent publishers will not click on their own ads for low CPCs when they can create other sites to attract high-CPC ads.

And your CTR was actually lower on the content sites than on the search sites. In my experience, the CTR is as high or higher on the content sites because the publishing sites have almost no content, no reason for any real visitor to look at them, or to place highly in the search engines, and therefore little traffic. They exist only to generate revenue for the publishers. Which is why we have turned off AdSense recently.

Chndru




msg:1338481
 11:32 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

nice to know it worked for ya, shak..

beren, you have to put a secret G's crack-code to achieve his results..hehe ;)

loanuniverse




msg:1338482
 11:49 pm on Nov 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the family Shak. :)

Beren, I would like to see some data if you have it available that pertains to high priced topics. I mean Shak used to be a skeptic, and look at him now.

markus007




msg:1338483
 12:03 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

By industry i ment only, are you selling a product? Are you selling a service? B to C or B to B. I'd like to just have a general idea of where these stats fit.

richmondsteve




msg:1338484
 12:59 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

beren, I'm going to play devil's advocate.

Fradulent publishers will not click on their own ads for low CPCs when they can create other sites to attract high-CPC ads.

By and large you're probably right, but some may prefer to fly under the radar. Just like some publishers would prefer not to be one of 10,000 sites chasing a piece of the same pie just because a piece is so tasty since eventually there will be so many who want a piece most will starve.

And your CTR was actually lower on the content sites than on the search sites.

By and large it's been my experience that search CTRs outperform content CTRs. But for most CTR shouldn't be the important metric, ROI and incremental sales, at least compared to other forms of marketing should.

In my experience, the CTR is as high or higher on the content sites because the publishing sites have almost no content, no reason for any real visitor to look at them, or to place highly in the search engines, and therefore little traffic. They exist only to generate revenue for the publishers. Which is why we have turned off AdSense recently.

Sorry to hear that. I'm with you that low-quality sites should be booted (or ideally not let in to begin with). There should be minimum standards to be admitted and to stay in the program, techniques such as having no/few other exits from a page should get a publisher banned and rules such as not enciting users to click should be enforced. I'm a publisher and an advertiser, both for my sites and for clients. I want the system to succeed, not to make a quick buck. But many AdSense publishers' sites are legitimate and do have real content. I don't know what types of sites your Adwords campaigns were running on, but I've personally visited over 400 sites with AdSense running (I was logging them for a while) and I'd say 3/4 were legitimate content sites which weren't up to any funny business. YMMV.

skibum




msg:1338485
 1:10 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

We've seen dramatically different results from AdSense for different markets. On campaigns related to real estate, lots of clicks but no conversions (CPC above a buck). On lower priced keywords selling stuff you might put in a gameroom, great conversions from content sites, in some cases better than the search partners.

Jenstar




msg:1338486
 1:31 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd say 3/4 were legitimate content sites which weren't up to any funny business

That is 25% who ARE up to funny business - I think that is a huge number of dodgy publishers who are running AdSense. I can see a small percentage that would be able to get away with it, but 25% is at least 20% too much, in my opinion.

What Google really should do is put a flag on all new domains requesting the AdSense script, which would result in a hand check of a couple of the pages running AdSense on the domain. Most publishers have a clean site they can use to apply for AdSense and get approved, then it is a matter of adding new domains with autogenerated spam content with AdSense, and nothing is ever checked unless someone reports it. Their flaw was allowing publishers to add the AdSense code to any site, without there being any further checks by Google in place. But there are many people all over the internet saying apply for AdSense with your best site, then you can add it to all your policy-violating sites after being accepted.

IMO, each new domain should be checked within the first month, not just the "clean" site each publisher uses to apply for. And I think those using the real dodgy auto generated pages should be suspended, rather than just warned. Right now, there doesn't seem to be any real penalty for this, just warnings that the code should be removed from the pages. True, even with checks, there will always be those who can get around it, but it is a start.

skibum, I wonder if that market has more publishers that have created sites strictly for AdSense than the ones displaying lower priced ads. The higher EPC the keyword are worth, the more liklihood of running across "designed for AdSense" sites.

europeforvisitors




msg:1338487
 1:39 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Shak wrote:

YES, I shall be continuing with content advertising, it worked for me!

It's great to hear that the test results were so positive.

JenStar wrote:

I think dodgy publishers could end up being the downfall of AdSense, for the very reason that advertisers see these sites and think "no way do I want to pay for my ads on that kind of a site."

That's the risk Google took when it went for market share at the expense of quality control. Google wanted ubiquity, a la Amazon.com, and soon it will have to make some decisions about all the dodginess that escaped from Pandora's Box. :-)

richardb wrote:

Cons…with very bad content. Surely that’s a plus from Adsense POV? High quality content site must = low CTR.

Never mind the clickthrough rate--IMHO, the correct formula is "high-quality content site = higher-quality, better-qualified leads."

Take one of my favorite examples: Luxury cruises that cost $700+ per day. The ideal clicker for such an ad is someone who's just read a cruise review and knows that a two-week Platinum Cruise will cost ten grand. Thanks to the review site's high-quality content, Joe SixPack (the guy who's looking for a $100-a-day cruise) will understand that a Platinum Cruise isn't for him.

beren wrote:

In my experience, the CTR is as high or higher on the content sites because the publishing sites have almost no content, no reason for any real visitor to look at them, or to place highly in the search engines, and therefore little traffic. They exist only to generate revenue for the publishers. Which is why we have turned off AdSense recently.

That's what might be called a not-so-glittering generality. :-) For what it's worth, I continue to see many of the same travel advertisers in my niche week after week, month after month, so I can only assume that AdSense is working for them.

Maybe your industry is different. Or maybe you should be following Shak's example by spending more time or money on "creative." Not long ago, somebody complained of too many clickthroughs by freebie seekers who were taking advantage of a free offer. That was a perfect example of an advertiser who needed a new copywriting strategy. If you simply want names and e-mail addresses, offer something free. If you want prospects who may actually buy something, you need to prequalify leads by using appropriate ad copy. To continue with my hypothetical cruising example, if you're selling luxury cruises, you can't just say "Discounts on Platinum Cruises." You need to make it clear that Platinum Cruises are for the Bulgari-and-Baccarat set--whether you say so directly or via code phrases like "six-star cruising" or "Platinum Cruises at Sterling Silver prices."

AdSense obviously is working for some advertisers. Perhaps you should be thinking of how to make it work for you.

loanuniverse




msg:1338488
 1:40 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

That is 25% who ARE up to funny business - I think that is a huge number of dodgy publishers who are running AdSense. I can see a small percentage that would be able to get away with it, but 25% is at least 20% too much, in my opinion.

Relativity is the key, even if 25% of the publishers is dodgy, what percentage of the volume is created by them?

Jenstar




msg:1338489
 1:52 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Relativity is the key, even if 25% of the publishers is dodgy, what percentage of the volume is created by them?

You, me, or most of the people in this forum would come across one of those sites, see the AdSense, shake our heads and hit the back button.

Joe Average, who is searching for sites on "Platinum Cruises" (to use efv's example), clicks on a link and ends up at one of these sites of autogenerated keyword after keyword which makes no sense. Thinks to himself "geez, what kind of a site is this? Oh, wait, here's a link right to a site advertising Platinum Cruises on a Sterling Silver Budget" and he clicks. Why? He doesn't realize the site is being dodgy by doing what its doing, and he might not even realize the person who put up the nonsensical page is getting paid because he clicked.

And if this wasn't profitable to the publisher, you wouldn't see more and more publishers throwing up these kinds of sites for AdSense each and every day. I would be interested to have stats on what kind of clickthroughs these sites are generating, but I suspect they are probably higher than many would believe.

richmondsteve




msg:1338490
 2:09 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Jenstar, I agree about the loophole that allows publishers to use AdSense on secondary sites. I like your idea of some type of suspension as a deterrent. Personally I'd prefer Google check each domain before it's AdSense code on it will do anything, even if that means a new site has to wait a week or more to have the code implemented.

And 25% of sites being up to funny business or not providing legitimate content (mind you this is just based on my experience and my personal criteria) is way too much. If more than 5-10% of AdSense publisher sites are considered suspect by the average user I truely believe the perception of the program will take a big enough hit that all parties will feel the effect. I see parallels to banner advertising and pop-ups. The technology was fine, but it was abused and now the majority are blind to banner ads and can't stand pop-ups. There was a time when that wasn't the case. I hope we don't look back at AdSense a few years from now the same way.

europeforvisitors




msg:1338491
 3:10 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Jenstar wrote:

And if this wasn't profitable to the publisher, you wouldn't see more and more publishers throwing up these kinds of sites for AdSense each and every day. I would be interested to have stats on what kind of clickthroughs these sites are generating, but I suspect they are probably higher than many would believe.

That makes sense, if there isn't anything else on the page that's helpful to the user.

BTW, I haven't run across any of those autogenerated sites yet (at least, I don't remember seeing any), and I'm curious to see an example.

toddb




msg:1338492
 4:04 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thank you!

That is agreat thing you did as I also have turned adsense off.

I am now going to do a few tests with some of my stuff.

yzaholdings




msg:1338493
 4:24 am on Nov 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

hey shak,

congrats on your successful experiment. yups, i've always told people around that all sorts of advertising can be made profitable, you just have to tweak, tweak, tweak.

after all, even banners are profitable for some websites. what a lot of folks must understand is to take 'profit' in marketing terms, not short-term money terms. true, many businesses can't wait years for their marketing dollars to pay off, but sometimes thats the way it is.

i hope more site administrators and web marketers will see the value in contextual advertising, its the third generation of web advertising we are experiencing and it's only going to grow.

7_Driver




msg:1338494
 3:11 am on Nov 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for this Shak - interesting data. It's good to see content ads converting as well as search ones - I haven't got round to testing this yet - just relying on the fact that the overall adwords ROI is still Ok.


we were also tracking where traffic was coming from, and the biggest surprise was that we were having our ads shown on our 3 BIGGEST competitors

One question - HOW? Is it really obvious and I'm just not seeing it - or really clever and a trade secret?

Shak




msg:1338495
 8:20 am on Nov 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

One question - HOW? Is it really obvious and I'm just not seeing it - or really clever and a trade secret?

I used to think exactly the same, however Jenstar and jpjones (my head of tech) seem to think otherwise, and worked out it was quite easy.

Shak

killroy




msg:1338496
 1:11 pm on Nov 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

What would be great now would be a comparison between context adsense advertising and an affiliate program, i.e. pay per click VS. pay per sale.

SN

europeforvisitors




msg:1338497
 5:51 pm on Nov 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

What would be great now would be a comparison between context adsense advertising and an affiliate program, i.e. pay per click VS. pay per sale.

In the current month, revenues from my strongest hotel affiliate partner are about 80% of my AdSense revenues. But in October, revenues from my strongest hotel affiliate partner were double my AdSense revenues.

When I compare revenues from my strongest hotel affiliate program and AdSense since June 19 (when I first began to earn income from AdSense), the numbers are virtually identical, with AdSense beating the hotel partner by a 3% margin.

Of course, that hotel partner is just one of the affiliate programs that I use on my editorial travel-planning site. If I were to add up revenues from all sources over that five-month period, I'd guess that AdSense would represent somewhere between a quarter and a third of my site's income.

(Mind you, that's just an educated guess; I don't have the patience to calculate revenues from all of my affiliate partners from June 19 through November 26, and in any case, comparisons get tricky because of different payout schedules. AdSense and some affiliate vendors pay within 30 to 60 days, while other affiliate vendors--such as car-rental brokers--don't pay until they have cash in hand from local rental agencies.)

Caution: As the expression goes, your mileage may vary. I'm lucky in having access to affiliate programs that work well with my site's topic, but some topics (cruising comes to mind) may not have good affiliate programs. Also, different audiences have different buying habits. Amazon was a bust for me even when I promoted both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk on my site, but some people were doing very with Amazon even before the company started selling everything from blues CDs to purple widgets.

jhood




msg:1338498
 3:37 am on Nov 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

"And your CTR was actually lower on the content sites than on the search sites. In my experience, the CTR is as high or higher on the content sites because the publishing sites have almost no content, no reason for any real visitor to look at them, or to place highly in the search engines, and therefore little traffic. They exist only to generate revenue for the publishers. Which is why we have turned off AdSense recently."

I don't quite understand this point of view. Many of us have been publishing content sites for many years prior to AdSense. The content is very real and is avidly read by those who find it interesting, useful, infuriating or whatever. Many of the "content" sites are not e-commerce sites but rather news, public affairs, consumerism, politics, health, etc., etc. People come to these sites seeking information. Sometimes they find what they want in the content, sometimes in the ads.

Speaking as one who has often foolishly put journalistic rectitude ahead of business sense, many of us publishers feel a little queasy at the back-of-the-book ads that AdSense displays. A respectable site dealing with health doesn't enjoy having ads for HGH, Viagra-by-mail and other fly-by-night scams on its site. But Google has created a system that Thomas Jefferson would have loved -- it puts the ads (almost any ads) on as many sites (almost any sites) as possible and lets the public decide what it wants to read and believe.

If we believe there is any sanity or common sense left, we have to think that good content will draw higher numbers (and better click-throughs for good creative) than content spam.

As for displaying competitors, I have no problem with displaying ads for competitors on my sites and will happily take their money, confident that we will get most of the readers back after they've seen what the competition offers. More power to them. Publish and be damned!

donb01




msg:1338499
 5:46 am on Dec 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have been using AdSense for about 16 months now. I am pretty small potatoes when it comes to site promotion, but I am happy with my results. I developed a website for my brother in law's offline furniture store, and I was frustrated trying to get it listed on any of the search engines. When Adwords came out I decided to give it a try. I have a very small budget, as I am doing this out of my pocket and not getting reimbursed, so I keep things to about $60 a month. The method I have been using is to turn on my ads on Friday and turn them off on Sunday. It allows me to cover the whole month during the times when most surfers are shopping. When I first turned it on I started at the beginning of the month, and kept it going, but found I could only last about 14 days before blowing my budget.

I am currently getting about 11,000 reasonably targeted impressions per month for my $60 and am maintaining a CTR of about 3.5% - far cheaper than any bulk mailing campaign I could ever do. I have spent about $1000 over the 16 months, and it has resulted in between $25K - $30K in sales during that time - again, we're talking about a mom & pop company here. I have also found that my ad gets presented on many of the other search engines, and a lot of other strange places, so I am happy with the exposure.

I am fully tracking the activity on my site using AWSTATS, and I can see where all my traffic is coming from. Over the last few months I have seen a huge increase in the number of bots crawling my content, and I think much of it is due to the exposure I am getting from the AdSense program... Chalk me up as a happy customer.

7_Driver




msg:1338500
 12:42 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

I used to think exactly the same, however Jenstar and jpjones (my head of tech) seem to think otherwise, and worked out it was quite easy.

Thanks Shak - that was just enough of a clue for me to work it out!

Fascinating to see which sites we appear on - everything from our biggest competitor, to a site advising which public toilets are the best pickup places. (And we're not even remotely an adult site)!

Lovejoy




msg:1338501
 3:25 pm on Dec 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've been thinking about trying a test myself,
as my main competitors are all using it. But
what puts me off is the fact our site already has
several spots at #1 for our keywords on Google
and is all over the first two pages for the rest.
Is there any advantage to using adsense if you
already rank so high?

This 34 message thread spans 2 pages: 34 ( [1] 2 > >
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