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Google AdSense Forum

Adsense + Forums: Some success finally
trying a new method of displaying adsense on forums that seems successful

 5:48 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

In the interest of sharing knowledge:

Situation: I have been displaying adsense on my forums for sometime now and had terrible click through rate and it annoyed the regular users.

Since regular users were not clicking the ad's I surmised they were blind to them and that my clicks were probably coming from non-regular users ( ie. search engine referrals )

Action: Yesterday I modified the forum code to only display the adsense if:
- the user was not logged in
- the user was referred via a link off site

I then further modified it to display the 2 sets of the large adsense blocks in the topic on the top post. Thus presenting the nonmember referred from somewhere else with a large block of links to choose from prior to the text they want to read.

This achieves my goals of minimizing annoying regular users and encouraging clicks. Furthermore the new referral wil no longer see the ad's ( in threads at least ) if they are interested enough in the forum to look around more.

The Effect:
Today my clicks have more than doubled. I won't know for certain if this is due to my change for a few days but I surmise it is and will update this on the effect in a few days.

Hope that helps someone else.

night all!



 8:01 am on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

You really need to go a few weeks to know for sure if that worked. Sounds like a good idea if it was bothering members. I guess you could show a smaller less obtrusive ad for the members.


 3:10 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Your right I need to wait and see.

I tried the smaller ads for memebers and was only getting one or two clicks a day in the topics. So with this new approach as long as my daily clicks stay the same or get better I am going to keep it. But I am excited to see the stats play out over the next couple of weeks.


 4:28 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

is this allowed? have you asked google about creating a adsense bot and posting the ads as a message?


 4:48 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

is this allowed? have you asked google about creating a adsense bot and posting the ads as a message?

I think you misunderstood me.

- I am not posting the ads as the message although they are prominently displayed above the message.
- the ad's look like normal ads I am not tricking anyone into thinking they are content.
- not sure what you mean by creating an ad sense bot. If you are suggesting I am autogenerating content then your wrong. Its just a normal and very active forum.


 7:03 pm on Feb 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is ok to do what you are doing. All you are doing is deciding when to show the ads you are not changeing them.


 2:35 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

You might run into problems after some time. The Mediapartners bot visits your site with an empty HTTP_REFERER and will not see any ad code. Maybe this triggers a cloaking alarm bell at Google.

If I were in your situation I would ask Adsense support if this is allowed, just to be sure. The principle itself is not a problem--showing ads to one type of visitors and no ads to others--but it has a nasty side effect.


 3:02 am on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

Showing AdSense to some users and not to others is fine, and it is something I do myself.

The only time they'd have a problem with a similar scenario is if you are also showing completely different content (ie. the AdSense bot sees one thing, while Joe Surfer sees something entirely different).


 11:07 pm on Feb 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

We do a similar thing and have done for almost year - no problems.


 2:38 pm on Feb 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Was there an impact on the number of clicks you recieve?


 3:42 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

Anymore more recent information on this? I currently use adsense on a forum network and any increase in CTR would make a huge difference. This sounds intriguing...


 5:41 am on Feb 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

I screwed up my channels in the adsense script so the reporting is all wrong.

The only data I really have is inferred and that is positive. My clicks are up about 30% - 40% from previous levels.

I'll post better data in a few days.


 5:25 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK I have had some time to look at the data.

What I found using this technique is that there was no decrease or increase in clicks. While this is dismaying the increase in user satisfaction in the forum is well worth continuing to use it for me.


 5:33 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

This sounds like a very good idea, never thought of doing that!

I have a similar scenario where my forum has been around for like 3 years without ad's, and too bring them in now, will undoubtedly annoy some of the regulars.

But it does seem like a good idea to only show ad's to people not logged in, it's kind of a "compromise" and I think most people would understand, and you could display a message like "please log in to remove the ad's" or something to that effect.

I'm wondering, how did you go about only showing adsense to people not logged in? I run ikonboard, not sure how I could try this...


 5:45 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am running a phpbb board.
Actually I am even more selective than that in displaying ad's

My criteria for showing an ad on the forum:
1 - Was the user reffered to my site from another site?
2 - Is the user logged in?

If both conditions are met I display an ad.

I test for my url in the $_SERVER['REFERER'] to determine condition one.

The condition two test is provided via the phpbb api.

Then for phpbb I use a switch on the template engine to display an ad template. This part is fairly easy you could stuff a variable with the html and display it if ikon doesn't use templates.


 7:19 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't understand how this could make your clicks go UP. The non-members from another site were always getting your ads. I can see why it would make your members happier, though.

Forums generally don't get good click through. I think there's a good reason why: People click ads when they see the ad as the most likely place to get the answer to their question. On a forum, though, they go and search the messages on the forum instead, or they post a question. The forum messages compete with the ads for attention...

Still, even with a low CTR you may be able to profit from a forum. Your users are sticky and they come back a lot, and it costs you almost nothing to keep on serving them. Even if they only click on an ad once every 10 visits or less it's basically free organic traffic, so how can you lose?

I'd stick ads all through the forum and just let your members learn to live with it. If you've got a good lively form they won't run away so long as you place the ads nicely.


 9:10 am on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

The OP said he
"further modified it to display the 2 sets of the large adsense blocks in the topic on the top post"
ie he moved the ads to a more prominent position. That explains the increased clickthrough!


 11:11 pm on Feb 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

yes I was thinking that the more aggressive placement of the ad unit would increase the number of clicks. I did change the ad unit to a little less aggressive ( one full size leader board ) yesterday.

The data is minimal ( only one weeks information ) so we'll see for sure in a monthes time.

The important thing to me thought is it didn't decrease the clicks and it increased user satisfaction.

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