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Off target Ads pay high?
Badly targeted page still pays well

 9:46 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have been struggling to get a page properly targeted because it's ads are wildly off.
But when I look at the stats. it's one of my best paying pages!
Why should people be clicking these ads? - They are for the most unlikely things like industrial fastenings and dog food. (not exactly but you get the picture?)
What should I do? Leave it alone? Anyone else seen this?



 9:55 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I once saw an ad for selling submarines on a completely unrelated page, and site for that matter. I told an adsense person this and said I felt bad for the advertiser and he agreed and said stuff like that does happen. This happened more than a year ago though.


 10:04 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I can see why the targeting is off. There is a keyword on the page that is seriously ambiguous and pulls in adverts from several sectors where that same word is used.
Because the page has been cached by google my attempts to reduce the significance of the word have so far been ignored.
But the point is that people are clicking on these ads - often! Why anyone who has visited my site to read about widgets would suddenly develop an intense interest in left-handed thumbscrews and blotting paper is beyond me.


 10:51 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

While you are wondering about this, they are clickin' and G is paying. Ain't life great!


 10:52 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

BTW, got the same thing going on on one of my pages.
Completely off target ads, but folks clickin' anyway.
It beats me, but I'll keep the cash!


 11:07 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

As you say, the cash is nice.
But I really would like to know what is going on - maybe I could use the effect to make more! ;-)
The only thng I can think is that people are 'rewarding' me for useful content - but that goes against the spirit of the TOS and assumes a much greater sophistication of the users than most of us credit.
Or maybe they just don't care and click the ads simply as a way of moving to another random page.


 11:26 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

If you believe that smart pricing rewards publishers when well targeted ads result in good conversions don't off-target ads go against this assumption? Or will smart pricing eventually catch up and discount everything further down the track?


 11:52 am on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

From what I've read on smart pricing, it is only useable by advertisers who sell direct and being a statistical algorithm it needs lots of clicks (per advert) to work.

I guess that eventually it would start to reduce my page's worth for the particular keyword. The question then is whether google stop serving ads on that keyword because it doesn't pay me as much as others or simply penalise me across the board for a 'bad' page.
It's a complicated game - not being able to see all the rules makes it hard to play.


 1:50 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Well, I can see why the targeting is off. There is a keyword on the page that is seriously ambiguous and pulls in adverts from several sectors where that same word is used.

Your page is topic "A". with keyword widget.
A person has come to your page looking for topic "B" which happens to have the same keyword (widget) as your page's topic "A". Now they are at a page that doesn't interest them, but, the ads on page are exactly for the topic "B" that they are interested in. They click on the ads and may even buy!

This is what makes scraper sites so profitable, visitors that want to leave the site to find the true topic they were looking for.


 1:51 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey Scruffy, funny nick! :-)
Here's a thread related to your worries:


 3:11 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Understood Bumpski.
I can see how this would work but this isn't a scraper site. ;-)
It's a solid information site with an upfront on-topic title. You couldn't come to it expecting to find anything else. That's the puzzle.

And thank you Hobbs. That looks interesting.


 3:37 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

From what I've read on smart pricing, it is only useable by advertisers who sell direct and being a statistical algorithm it needs lots of clicks (per advert) to work.

Google allows advertisers to define a "conversion" as any type of business action such as a purchase, an inquiry, a registration, viewing a specified number of pages, etc. In other words, a conversion can be a lead, not just a sale.

Also, smart pricing can take general assumptions into account (not just what conversion tracking reveals about your individual page or site). This was explained when Google introduced smart pricing back in 2004.


 6:14 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Scruffy, I think bumpski hit the nail on the head. To you, your site's focus is clear and obvious. It may also be clear and obvious to someone who visits regularly or to someone coming in via a link to your home page.

But someone doing a search and getting that page in the top results may well click through to it without carefully looking at the title or the snippet displayed, or they may assume that your page ALSO contains information about the subject they were searching for. Or they may click through on a a vague link description.... In any case, once they are there, yep, the ads have what they want. Those visitors may only be a small fraction of the visitors to that page, but could account for most of the clicks.

FWIW, I have experienced a similar phenomenon throughout my entire site for some time. The site has a clear focus, but many pages have ads on a related but quite different subject, one which I do not cover on my site. But it clearly interests my visitors, and in fact I suspect that that different subject is generating the higher-value clicks around my site....

Have you tried section targeting?


 7:09 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think this is called serendipity...

It's like using Yahoo's random search feature. If something in an ad strikes you, you click on it. That doesn't mean that the ad doesn't convert for the advertiser. Most people are interested in a wide variety of things and will click on any ad that appeals to them, regardless whether it's relevant to the page that it's on.


 7:57 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

As I said, I can't go into detail without saying things I shouldn't but there is absolutely NO possibility that anyone entering the site could be mistaken as to what they will find.
The keyword that causes all the trouble is an accidental word, part of a technical description that taken in a different context can mean different things. It isn't a keyword I use for entry to the site.
Take the word 'tap' - I might use it when describing how to play a drum (assume the site is music oriented) - and I end up with a load of ads for plumbers tools and hitmen. Which get clicks!

Serendipity Publisher? I guess it must be.

One thought intrudes, I wonder if the problem is actually with the Google Adsense tool, maybe the ads it predicts are not those it is serving? Maybe my attempts to target the page have worked and I just don't know it.
Anyway, thanks for all the suggestions.


 10:20 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

Scruffy, didn't mean to imply your site was a scraper.

To go with your example, a plumber is looking for a tap. Your site shows up in one of the Google results in a search for "taps". You do not know what the plumber actually searched for. ( You can if you review your webserver logs though and find the exact search ).

So the plumber arrives at a site that has snare drums, but the ads showing on the snare drum site are for "pipe taps" nothing to do with snare drums, but it's exactly what the plumber was looking for.

So the plumber leaves you site clicking on the ad for pipe taps.

A web site will make more money from adsense when this type of coincidence happens.

You will make more money from Adsense when the ads are more interesting than the content of your web page or web site, again exactly why scraper sites make money (if Google indexes them!)


 10:48 pm on Feb 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

As ad blind as I am, I can see how plausable the likelyhood of such a coincidence would be, especially if the off target ads are interesting.

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