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Adsense - 6 month summary
What have we learned?
Visi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 2:46 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

As we finish our 6th month with adsense what have we learned?

- checks arive about 20-25 days after the end of the month or payments are 45-60 days. Can live with this. Standard business terms.

- tax implications may have initially been an oversite by Google, but finally got it straight by the year end, and fill in screens and explanations were easy enough to follow.

- don't need to know revenue split details to earn money. Seems to be a point of discussion with many, but it's the bottom line results that matter. I find these discussions moot at best as what is said and what is done can be different?

- terms and conditions although adjusted slightly are still basically the same as when the program started and we still think they are some of the better ones available to webmasters.

- Google has adjusted the program over time to allow for type of ads, color and still does not have a above the fold condition. When they made a mistake on ad display in August, they responded to the publishers concerns.

- PSA's are a fact of life for many. This seems to have settled back down somewhat after the October crisis? when broad matching drove the publishers into a frenzied state for a month. Google responded with the ability to substitute ads when this occurs. By the way what ad program do we know of that doesn't serve default ads of some sort. The percentage served by Google has not yet reached the critical stage for us. In this area we feel that there has been a shift since we started the program with targetted ads for the site theme being substituted for some pages. Happened about the same time as Google added the option to substitute ads.

- EPC's have seemed to settled back down, although long term trends have been declining. (our opinion anyways:))

- site layout, ad placement and color will affect the CTR (surprise). There are no general rules here, no easy or tried and proven method, just hard work to improve performance.

- Google has still not responded to webmasters request that different sites can be separated in the stats. Probably the single most requested feature outstanding.

- technical response has been adequate, and our experiance with them has been positive.

- they do enforce their terms and conditions. I find it interesting that with the number of sites displaying the ads, very seldom do I find flagrant misuse of the ads. In general having read numerous posts on this board, many times the "I got booted" threads are a result of TOS violations. There are many here who can also state the ability to discuss the dreaded "email" with Google and reach a resolution.

- in the area of fraudulent clicks, it is in my opinion unknown to us, but the predicted mass withdrawal of advertisers has not occurred, indicating that publishers must be satisfied. As to the ROI from the content sites versus saerch sites, the jury may still be out, but there seems to be a marketplace for this.

Google has achieved what they set out to do initially, having targetted ads served on content sites, generating another source of income. Whether they can maintain the momentum, increase their advertising base and fend off the competition? (if and when it arrives) will determine the longterm success of the program to us the publishers.

Six Month Summary: better than other ad programs we have been associated with, revenues about what we expectd, payments are regular and has support.

 

novice

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 3:10 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

We also learned that Google will conform to publishers request if enough of them request.

Namely the issue of the "related search links" that Google place on the ads a few months back.

So many publishers were angry that maybe Google felt that the program was in jeopardy so they did listen to what the publishers had to say.

Jolly_Roger

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 4:22 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Nice summary, Visi.

I can't really disagree much with anything you said but will add a few of my experiences and opinions, a couple of which differ from your report.

Observations:

With the notable exception of the October check, my checks have arrived in the range of 32-38 days after the end of the month in question. Based on the pattern of east coast arrivals, I am expecting my November check today or Monday.

My long-term EPC has declined substantially over the past 6 months but seems to have stabilized in December -- and may actually be climbing again, although this could just be a Christmas effect.

Opinions:

I have no doubt that there is a solid market for content site targeted PPC advertising. However, it clearly is different from similarly targeted search engine ads. I expect that in the long run, Google will split the two programs and separate the word bidding. If and when that happens, I expect that most words will be bidded to higher prices in the search engine ads. However, as we've seen, performance varies so widely as a product of so many factors that there will surely be exceptions to even that.

The issue of just how large and viable this market is remains the most interesting question to me. I am one of those optimists who believes that the advertising ranks will grow until EPC starts going back up. The publisher community is much more interconnected than the advertiser community, therefore I am led to believe that the ranks of publishers in Adsense will (have?) spread fast and far, quickly saturating the potential market. Then, slowly, advertisers will join as they discover a market where ROI is trivial to calculate. Once Google splits the bids between search engine and content sites, every word will seeks its proper price. Ideally, this will become close to a perfect market. The big wild card being fraud and fraud detection. Hopefully, Google will be able to stay far enough ahead in that arms race to prevent a meaningful reduction to ROI. And, barring a technological solution, they can always just become much more selective in publisher admissions into the program.

As someone with websites that aren't easily monetized (I follow my interests -- just not my financial interests :/), I'm very pleased with the earnings. It pretty much trounces the semi-targetted and RON banners I was showing.

Visi

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 5:30 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good mail service there Jolly:)

Guess best summarized, that Google is processing around that 30 day mark, which is better than most business pay terms in today's market.

One thing I forgot to mention that we have the best TOS investigator here in this forum...Jen....keep up the good work:)

Albaba

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 5:33 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Their Support team very good by fast respond our email.
concern and love their publisher ;) with send us card and 32MB Thumb Drive .
i hope next year will better especially with detail for tracking

figment88

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 5:41 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

predicted mass withdrawal of advertisers has not occurred, indicating that publishers must be satisfied.

I agree that there hasn't been a mass withdrawal of advertisers, but I disagree that this indicates satisfaction.

1) I believe many advertisers are unaware that their ads appear on content sites. If the program was opt-in instead of opt-out, there would be fewer advertisers.

2) I believe some advertisers, such as myself, run mirror campaigns that are content distributed with markedly lower max cpc's.

3) I believe many large accounts are not directly administered by advertisers but through third parties or by lower level employee. These third parties are compensated by traffic or overall ROI, so at times advertisers' interests and AdWords' Buyers interests diverge. E,g. they will use search adwords to subsidise content adwords to make the biggest total possible even when content adwords don't make sense by themselves.

I bet there has been marked withdrawal from content ads among DBA's and other small outfits where the connection between marketing expenses and personal bank accounts is clear. I'd certainly participate a lot more if I was working with OPM.

[oops] edited as per Blue_Fin's suggestion[/oops]

[edited by: figment88 at 6:18 pm (utc) on Dec. 27, 2003]

Longhaired Genius

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 5:53 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

English is my first language but I did not understand a single word of figment88's post.

mlemos

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 6:01 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

- Google has adjusted the program over time to allow for type of ads, color and still does not have a above the fold condition. When they made a mistake on ad display in August, they responded to the publishers concerns.

It could as well allow to change the font family so it would allow to match with the font used in the publisher sites, as well allow clicked link pages to open in a separate browser window.

when broad matching drove the publishers into a frenzied state for a month. Google responded with the ability to substitute ads when this occurs.

AFAIK, broad match lead to less PSA because it would show ads that are less targetted where it would have shown PSA before. I preferred that to serve my own defaults which are often ads paid by direct advertisers or Amazon book reviews in my site, than show broad match ads.

I also would prefer to a broad control of the banners that my site shows. My site is for PHP users. Sometimes Google show banners for Java products. It would be better if we could hint Google to show +php -java -asp -perl -python etc. I am sure this would lead to more targetted ads and consequently more clicks benefitting either the publishers and Google.

[edited by: mlemos at 6:32 pm (utc) on Dec. 27, 2003]

Blue_Fin

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 6:03 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

figment88, you might want to edit your post to indicate Advertiser where it should be rather than Publisher. Also, ROI is typically attributed to the Advertiser, not the Publisher.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 8:03 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

figment88 wrote:

I bet there has been marked withdrawal from content ads among DBA's and other small outfits where the connection between marketing expenses and personal bank accounts is clear.

Could be, but I don't believe those advertisers represent the real future of "content advertising." Over the long haul, Google is likely to be interested in catching bigger fish from the traditional media fishing grounds. The advertiser who's used to paying several dollars (or more) for leads from print publications or direct mail will regard AdSense-generated leads as a bargain at prices that make affiliates, small e-commerce sites, and other first-generation PPC advertisers flinch.

BTW, I think Visi's initial post in this thread is an excellent summary of AdSense's progress over the last six months.

DaveN

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 8:39 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google has still not responded to webmasters request that different sites can be separated in the stats. Probably the single most requested feature outstanding.

Seconded Visi, when you are running 10's of sites with adsense on them it becomes a lot hard to concentrate your efforts on the profitable sites and not the loss makers.

DaveN

IanTurner

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 8:52 pm on Dec 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a summary of the Adsense program Visi has realy hit the nail on the head. Google have been more responsive than most Ad networks and are listening to feedback both from Publishers and Advertisers.

The one advertiser I know who has bothered to look in detail at the results from Adsense in comparison to Adwords on the search results has found that the ROI holds up well from an advertisers point of view, despite a lower CTR. But the branding that comes from being seen on all the major players in an industry can be a secondary benefit of the Adsense program.

As far as click fraud is concerned this is a problem that all PPC offerings need to combat and hopefully they can work together, and with publishers, in combating this problem.

Jenstar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 6:49 pm on Dec 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Excellent summary of the last six months, Visi.

Most others have touched upon the major points already, some very well thought out responses so far.

The AdSense terms, policies and FAQ have become far less restrictive since AdSense initially launched, even though many do complain they are too restrictive. They now allow blogs into AdSense (previously they only allowed blogs in special circumstances). The confidentiality aspect of the terms have been loosened. They have also done a lot more clarification of many of the sections, since many were pretty vague.

It also seems that Google is cracking down on those publishers who are violating AdSense terms/policies/FAQ in various ways. Adwords advertisers are far more likely to opt-in to content ads when they are coming across far fewer spamming/violating sites running AdSense.

I also agree that the AdSense support is tops, responses are usually amazingly fast.

Well done Visi!

humbads

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 1332 posted 12:31 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google has still not responded to webmasters request that different sites can be separated in the stats. Probably the single most requested feature outstanding.

I think you mean they have not implemented such a feature yet. They have responded though, because I requested this same feature last month directly to them, and they said they were working on it. In fact, dogboy posted the exact reply they sent me in this forum here, in response to the, "Can I open more than one account" question.

[webmasterworld.com...]

I especially could use the feature because some of my content has cross-ownership.

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