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Advertisers: "Content is King"
europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 1:11 am on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

There's an interesting thread titled "Content is King" on the AdWords forum in which advertisers discuss how, in some cases, content ads are performing better than search ads:

[webmasterworld.com...]

One advertiser made the remark that AdSense content sites may act as a "filter" for "click-happy surfers." (It's certainly reasonable to assume that a click from, say, a product review is more likely to represent a "qualified lead" than a first-stage click from a SERP.)

It's good to know that, despite the flood of "scraper sites" and the bad reputation that AdSense has earned in some circles, content ads are fulfilling their promise in certain niches.

 

suidas

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 2:10 am on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for posting that. With all the junk-purveyors, that's a pleasant surprise.

Lipik

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 10:36 am on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

It feels good to read this thread. It gives me energy to improve my sites every day and ad good content.

TNJed

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 3:05 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

It also adds an interesting thought to the argument that "made for adsense" sites aren't uniformly a bad thing. I've always thought if Adsense is so good in understanding a site or page's theme then what's the problem? Because all my visitor's, if the engines did THEIR job, are very on target for Adsense which should be very on target as well. Everybody happy.

jetteroheller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jetteroheller us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 3:32 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think "made for adsense" is a rubber paragraph.

The paragraph should work against mainly software generated pages with no real content only made to show AdSense.

I could imagine Google makes statistics about repeated visitors, page views per visit or so.

Nearly no repeated visitors, page views per visit very near to 1 could trigger a human inscpection for the term "made for adsense".

wanderingmind

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 4:00 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, I have seen made for adsense sites consistently beating me in SERPs, staying there for a week or two, then disappearing, a new one beating me again, disappearing again.. :)

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 4:29 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've always thought if Adsense is so good in understanding a site or page's theme then what's the problem? Because all my visitor's, if the engines did THEIR job, are very on target for Adsense which should be very on target as well.

I think you're missing the point. If content ads are converting better than search ads, it isn't because the searchers are looking for a certain keywords; it's because the content site is filtering out people who are only looking for keywords. Let's use an example:

Joe Blow has heard that Widget River cruises can be fun. He searches on "Widget river cruises" and is sent to a cruise-review site, where he reads a review of a Platinum Cruises itinerary on the Widget River. If he then clicks on a travel agent's ads for Widget River cruises, it's because the review has made him a prospect. In other words, he's a "prequalified lead," not just someone who's clicking on an ad because he didn't find the information that he was looking for.

TNJed

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 5:50 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think you're missing the point. If content ads are converting better than search ads, it isn't because the searchers are looking for a certain keywords; it's because the content site is filtering out people who are only looking for keywords. Let's use an example:

Not to belabor this point, but actually you missed mine which is the same as yours. I said "IF the engines do their job" which is to say if they return SERPS correctly then all my "made for Adsense" visitors are pre-screened so to speak.

So, AGAIN I ask, if you make a targeted site for Adsense and your visitors are pre-filtered by search engines and Adsense is on target for your site, how is this a bad thing?

I think "made for adsense" is a rubber paragraph.
I agree with this. I think it's a catch-all phrase and not necessarily aimed towards good original content sites regardless of their initial reasoning.

hyperkik

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 6:21 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not to belabor this point, but actually you missed mine which is the same as yours. I said "IF the engines do their job" which is to say if they return SERPS correctly then all my "made for Adsense" visitors are pre-screened so to speak.

So, AGAIN I ask, if you make a targeted site for Adsense and your visitors are pre-filtered by search engines and Adsense is on target for your site, how is this a bad thing?


Granted, we can complicate the picture by limiting discussion to an imaginary scenario under which SERPs are perfectly aligned with the needs and expectations of searchers, but we all know very well that they are not.

Within the context of the real world, I personally think EFV's point stands.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 6:54 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Within the context of the real world, I personally think EFV's point stands.

Thanks. The point I was trying to make is that content ads can introduce an element of "behavorial marketing" that's absent in the typical "made for AdSense" directory or scraper site.

In the offline advertising world, advertisers pay a premium for ads that reach special-interest groups and/or certain demographics. For example, Ritz Camera knows that an ad in POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY is likely to generate more sales (i.e., convert better) than an ad in the SHELBYVILLE WEEKLY SHOPPER, which is why POP PHOTO can charge a higher CPM than the WEEKLY SHOPPER can.

The same rule would apply in online advertising: A person who's clicked an ad after reading an article on WidjCo Widgets at WidgetWorld.com is more likely to be interested in WidgCo Widgets than the person who was directed by Google to a directory or scraper page that was autogenerated for the keyword "widgets."

The biggest weakness of Google's content network is that advertisers have to take potluck: They're forced to accept poor-quality traffic from "made for AdSense" scraper sites, untargeted but high-traffic premium partners, etc. as the price of getting exposure on the niche sites that can deliver high-quality leads. In other words, they're required to throw away a certain percentage of their budgets as a cost of doing business--and that's on top of the money they're already writing off to click fraud. At some point, either Google will have to give advertisers more control over where their "content ad" money gets spent, or a competitor will.

clearvision

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 9:15 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Before I say what I am about to say I need to be clear.....I am definitely NOT promoting a scraper/made for adsense site.

While I was reading here a thought came to mind:

Say an unsuspecting person lands on a horrible directory style, "steal MY content description" kind of site and decides to click an adwords ad. Regardless of where they are coming from, shouldn't the advertisers site be a visually appealing and trustworthy type site to SELL their product to whoever arrives at the site via their own ad copy?

If the adwords advertiser wrote their ad copy properly, it seems only a person that WANTS what they are offering would click on their adwords link...or am I mistaken :)

lammert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 9:35 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

At some point, either Google will have to give advertisers more control over where their "content ad" money gets spent, or a competitor will.

Efv, I agree about this, but it would be one of the most difficult things to implement. With advertising in magazines or newspapers, there is only limit choice in each market. So it is easy for an advertiser to decide where to advertise and where not. But in the content network, there are uncountable possible interesting sites to use for advertising. The power of Adsense is, that it can decide which content sites are interesting for an advertiser without human intervention.

Suppose that Adwords advertisers have a tool that gives them the freedom to grant ads on some content sites, and reject them on others. There are several ways to implement this.

  1. Manual reject list Adsense gives the possibility to exclude advertisments on a one-by-one base which is appropriate to exclude some off-topic ads. But IMHO it is impossible for Adwords advertisers to maintain a list of all sites they do not want their ads to be listed on, because of the huge amount of "made for Adsense" sites.
  2. Manual accept list It is on the other hand also impossible to imagine that Adwords advertisers maintain a list of sites they do allow an ad on. This would limit the number of content sites that show ads enormous, and no small website with high quality content would ever receive ads again because the Adwords advertisers simply do not know about them.
  3. Automated site qualification by Google So the only solution left is to automate this, and let Google put content sites in groups based on an automated algorithm, the so-called good and bad sites. And here starts a new problem. Developers of scraper sites will try to decode the algorithm to make their sites to appear in the "good" list, and the problem just starts over again.

So, giving the Adwords advertisers the possibility to select content sites has some major drawbacks.

lammert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 9:40 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Clearvision,

Many scraper sites are built in such a way that they are just awful to look at and the visitor wants to get away as quick as he can. I have heard on this forum of scraper sites that received 2 figures CTR on all pages. This is not because the ads are so well written, but because the Google ad block was the only way out.

Conversion rates for this type of visitor will without doubt be lower than visitors entering via proper content sites.

[edited by: lammert at 9:45 pm (utc) on Jan. 28, 2005]

hyperkik

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 9:41 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have found intentionally misleading content in AdWords ads - I'm not sure how well Google polices this, but my impression is that it is no much better than their policing of their rule against "made for Adsense" sites. I have also seen many ads where the advertiser was obviously very constrained by the character limits, such that it was hard to tell precisely what you would find at the other side of the link.

I have also seen AdSense sites where the ads were being pitched as lists of "articles" (not everybody cares about the TOS, after all), or where the links have been very successfully disguised as navigational links (such that, if an advertiser weren't writing very guarded copy, ads were very likely to be clicked by people who didn't realize they were ads).

So it can be darn hard to write the copy "properly" for all contexts, and for AdSense publisher site designs.

europeforvisitors



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 10:19 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

So, giving the Adwords advertisers the possibility to select content sites has some major drawbacks.

"Include" or "exclude" filter lists might work better than you think. In highly targeted niches, advertisers are likely to have a pretty good idea of which sites are worthwhile and/or which sites are garbage.

What's more, you neglected to mention a fourth possibility: Manual review of sites to identify those hat meet certain quality standards or (perhaps) to put special-interest sites in identifiable categories. Google already does manual reviews when a publisher applies to the program, and it also does manual reviews after the fact when suspected fraud or TOS violations arise. To be sure, Google is a company built on algorithms, but the ability to charge a premium (or to remove "smart pricing" discounts) for quality special-interest sites could easily justify the small amount of time required per site review.

Conversion rates for this type of visitor [scraper site visitors] will without doubt be lower than visitors entering via proper content sites.

It isn't only scraper sites. On the AdWords forum, there have been a number of complaints from advertisers whose budgets have been sucked dry by zero-conversion referrals from high-traffic "premium partners" such as weather or mapping sites. If those advertisers had the kind of domain-blocking filter that publishers do, more of them might stick with content ads.

I have found intentionally misleading content in AdWords ads - I'm not sure how well Google polices this, but my impression is that it is no much better than their policing of their rule against "made for Adsense" sites.

I've noticed the same thing. I once searched Google for information on a dog rescue program and saw an ad for "[dog breed] rescue" that had nothing to do with canine rescue programs: It was an ad for an e-commerce vendor of pet supplies. When I pointed the deception out to AdWords, they replied that the ad was within their guidelines. What's next? "Tsunami orphanage" ads that take users to a vendor of strollers, baby carriages, and infant car seats?

lammert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 11:42 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

[...]a fourth possibility: Manual review of sites to identify those hat meet certain quality standards

I was thinking about this option but didn't mention it because it would be out of the control of Adwords advertisers, which was the main point in my post.

I agree that manual review of publisher sites on a regular base would be a good thing. But how many sites are there? There is an estimation of 22k Adsense users paid every month. As many Adsense users don't reach the $100 limit each month and many webmasters have more than one site, the number of sites will be in my opinion much more than 100,000. Even for a well equiped review department it is not an easy job to visit every site about once a month, if you want to review sites in 86 languages (I remember having read this is the number of languages supported right now by Adsense, but maybe this figure is too high).

You have a good point about the mapping, weather and news sites and manual filtering will do a good job in that situation as the number of large general sites is limited. But as it sucks the money out of the pocket of the advertisers, it blows the money in Google's pocket. They are no non-profit company you know ;-) Adding a deny-per-site filter will hurt Google directly, so I can imagine this particular filter has not a high priority in the development department.

But in the long run they will have to give more control tools to the advertiser, I am sure, or all advertisers will leave as soon as a good alternative is available.

buckworks

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



 
Msg#: 4997 posted 11:49 pm on Jan 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Adding a deny-per-site filter will hurt Google directly,

Don't be so sure of that. I manage Adwords for a client who would likely be willing to double or triple his bids on the content network if he had that sort of control.

He's probably not the only one.

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