| This 119 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 119 ( 1 2 3  ) || |
|AdSense common thread in the AdSense threads: Me, my, mine|
A shift in theme: Them, their's (The advertisers, silly)
I just scanned the AdSense posts to confirm a nagging feeling and, I regret to confirm that what I knew intuitively was confirmed: ~ 85% of the discussion is about "me": My income, my money, my stats are down, how do I make more money, how do you make money so I can learn how I can make money, me, money, me, money.
Dear AdSensers: Why isn't your discussion, thread after thread after thread, about "What can I do to generate qualified leads that will convert well for advertisers so that advertisers are happy and that brings in more advertisers and there's more money in the pot . . ."
If AdSense is not about making money for the advertisers then it will fail. Miserably. Promise. Lot's of $.01 clicks, if that. A system in decline, maybe saved by SmartPricing - if all the advertisers aren't scared away.
Anyone get that? 95% of the threads that read "What's good for advertisers is good for me". 5% "Me, my money, my stats today".
No, a better yield for advertisers hasn't been the theme. Instead, it's incessantly me, more money for me, my income is down, my income trend is bad, I must make more websites so I make more money.
Me, me, me, me, me. This business of "now you can talk about your income" simply heightens the frenzy.
What is an advertiser to think?
Folks, for this to work it needs to be about the advertisers. Not about "me", "my income", etc. IMHO there's a real need to shift the focus or locus of the dialogue.
Every day, in some way, 5 out of 7 posts need to be about delivering better results for advertisers, or AdSense will suffer in some way and so will you.
I challenge everyone of you to make a post a week, or even a month, that is about the who-what-when-where-why-how of generating a better ROI for advertisers.
This business of me-my-mine is poisonous. Every book I've ever read about the essentials of business success has stated this same proposition most pointedly: If it's about 'you' and not your customers, you will not succeed. If it's about "what's in it for me" not "how can I do this better for them" it will fail.
[edited by: Webwork at 3:01 pm (utc) on Mar. 19, 2005]
Even leaving the content issue aside, one thing a publisher can do is refrain from using cheap tricks that jack up CTR at the expense of conversions.
Some publishers need to learn the difference between enlightened self-interest and unenlightened greed.
When GCN/Adsense first launched it presented new opportunities for advertisers to attain a new stream of visitors, they were most likely not reaching.
In the beginning, we saw positive ROAS/CPA across a wide variety of vertical markets.
BUT, over the last 9 months CPA has increased dramatically, and the majority of advertisers we manage, have turned off GCN. There are a few verticals that still produce decent ROAS/CPA, but the majority of the remainder are focusing on branding, and not ROAS.
Lack of targeting probably hurts the advertiser opting in to GCN more than anything. Savvy advertisers configure seperate campaigns for GCN, giving them control of MaxCPC, compared to their GSN distribution.
Lack of understanding the GCN distribution also hurts most advertisers. They really don't understand that the keywords that make up an entire adgroup determine distribution.
Content distribution participation is dwindling at both Overture/Google. Neither have found the magic bullet, to increase participation levels to anything close to their PrecisionMatch/Search Network levels. So, with surplus inventory available, the networks begin to channel distribution to the publishers that generate the highest CTR's.
Just the announcement by MSN alone, should send both G and Y to the development races. MSN touting targeting through "filtering" is an interesting concept, if it proves out.
On the publisher side, two years ago, there were small sites that created quality content, to build a loyal community, versus the majority of small publishers today attempting to create quality content, with the focus on ad revenue.
On the SEO side, it's often been said, create quality content, and the rankings will come. Maybe publishers should do the same where ad revenue is concerned. Focus on your visitor, and the ad dollars will naturally follow?
Maybe it is the advertiser fault they haven't figured out how to convert content traffic yet. I think some people know how, while other's don't.
I am in no way going to help my advertisers and teach them how to convert off my site though, I just put the page up, I don't have time to be their advertising agent as well. Yah, maybe some will drop out because of bad ROI, that is their fault, not mine. And if it cost them a lot to figure it out, once again, their fault not mine.
I would prefer them to convert because then they may get in a bidding war with other ads that convert, all the better.
I don't get why publishers need to do anything. Build sites how you like, and if Adsense approves you, put it up.
The onus is on Google. They need to be the ones approving quality sites, they need to be the ones monitoring the placement of adsense, and they need to be the ones that ensure sites that are bringing zero conversions are dropped.
|Even leaving the content issue aside, one thing a publisher can do is refrain from using cheap tricks that jack up CTR at the expense of conversions. |
The only "trick" that is really a trick is placing AdSense on a page with no other outbound links. As long as the visitor has multiple options for clicking links to leave the page there is no trickery involved.
Regardless of where the ad block is placed, if a visitor clicks a Google ad instead of one of the existing navigation links, banner ads, or the back button, that click is truly a qualified lead. If it isn't a qualified lead that means the advertiser didn't accurately describe the offer on the landing page.
For example, an article page about French cuisine has the following items on it (actual example of a page I visited this morning):
- navigation links to other areas of the cooking site
- a banner ad for cookware
- an affiliate link or two for the latest French cuisine cookbooks
- AdSense ads for Paris hotels located in the left-hand navigation
Here's the deal: the site is about cooking and meal preparation. The page in question is about the joys of French cuisine. First of all, the Mediapartners bot dropped the ball by placing ads for Paris hotels on a site that made no mention in any way of traveling to Paris, or of Paris itself for that matter. That is not the publisher's fault.
Secondly, with so many other options for the visitor to click on, if he chooses an AdSense ad that he knows will take him to a page offering a Paris hotel deal, he has pre-qualified himself as a person interested in such a deal. Otherwise, why would he even bother clicking on the ad when it is obviously unrelated to the topic of the page and there are so many other options available for leaving the page?
At that point it becomes the advertiser's responsibility to convince the visitor to stay at his hotel or use his booking service the next time he plans a trip to Paris.
The fact that the AdSense link was in the navigation colum instead of somewhere else is irrelevant. The ad block was clearly labeled "Ads by Gooooooooogle" and the visitor had multiple options for leaving the page, yet he chose one specific Adsense link out of a total of probably 30 other links that were actually to content that was more relevant to the topic of the page than the link he decided to click on.
It's all about options. Give the visitor other options for leaving the page and then any clicks on the ads are qualified leads by default. The ball is then in the advertiser's court.
|The onus is on Google. They need to be the ones approving quality sites, they need to be the ones monitoring the placement of adsense, and they need to be the ones that ensure sites that are bringing zero conversions are dropped. |
I agree with the first two parts of this sentence completely. But Google has no business trying to determine which sites bring conversions until they have a statistically valid amount of conversion data. Right now they aren't even in the ballpark.
The only entity that can accurately determine which sites convert are the advertisers.
mfishy, the statements you quote were made in the context of comparing the dominant theme of the AdSense posts - "my income, my earnings, my EPC trends, how to get more clicks" - with an alternate reality, one where the posts express concern for the interests of advertisers. That is: Advertiser ROI, advertiser conversions, etc.
Being cognizant of the interests of contextual advertisers isn't the same as saying those interests will dictate what one writes or how one writes. However, the awareness could lead a responsible AdSense participant to modify their text in ways that serve Google, the advertiser's and the writers interests.
A person's motivation for creating quality content is marginally relevant to the issue of advertiser satifaction with contextual advertising. Whatever your motivation, if you write in a way that results in higher quality click throughs the outcome will be happier content network advertisers.
Right now, it's my assertion, that there's an emphasis on "click by design", which can include publishing crap content where the click represents nothing more than a convenient escape route. The emphasis is "on the click", not on "the advertisers ROI". That's my central premise: That a lot more needs to be discussed about advertiser ROI, writing to aid ROI, "how to" write in a way that supports effective implementations of contextual advertising, etc.
Motivation matters, but the outcome of motivation isn't necessarily quality writing. You can write to educate. You can write to inform. You can write to persuade, aid others, etc. One's motivation, in each case, will not assure quality. Noble motivation is not synonymous with quality. Still, I'm a big fan of noble motives, which may explain why I've labored to discuss the present issue - without pay and without even being an AdSense publisher.
What about less noble motivations for writing?
At one time "writing to make money" meant the writer either provided quality work or he/she didn't get paid. With the advent of AdSense you can "write to make money" with little concern for quality.
Worse, in many instances it can be argued that the absence of quality is deliberate. In other words, the writers motives are to not create content that causes reading, reflection or thinking. Instead it's a game whose objective is this: "Just click the link, stupid visitor."
[edited by: Webwork at 4:51 pm (utc) on Mar. 22, 2005]
|Worse, in many instances it can be argued that the absence of quality is deliberate. In other words, the writers motives are to not create content that causes reading, reflection or thinking. Instead it's a game whose objective is this: "Just click the link, stupid visitor." |
On this we apparenty agree. My two highest quality sites were developed by me, with useful, thought-provoking articles and information on several thousand pages. I frequently have advertisers contacting me directory requesting ad space on these pages.
In fact, 160 pages of one of these sites is now solely "sponsored" by an AdWords advertiser who contacted me, puzzled that I had removed AdSense from the site. I explained that "smart-pricing" had driven down the revenue on the site to the point where AdSense was no longer the most profitable revenue source for those pages.
We struck a deal where she now sponsors just 160 pages out of the thousands on the site for more than AdSense EVERY produced on the entire site.
I also have several sites with pretty low quality (almost non-existant) content that I purchased some time ago because they had great domain names. My plan was to fill those domains with high quality content and then find the best way to monetize the pages. I never got to that point.
Why? Because I stuck AdSense on the pages as a simple way to earn a few bucks until I got around to upgrading the sites. Those sites are thriving under "smart-pricing" while my two best sites were beaten into the ground.
What does this mean? A couple of things:
1 - The "quality" of a page's content apparently has little or no bearing on the "quality" of the leads generated from AdSense ads on the page, and the smart pricing algo seems to agree.
2 - The "smart-pricing" algorithm obviously doesn't work as intended, and anyone who didn't sleep through their high school statistics classes can easily understand why.
|Publishers have no control over the ads that are served to them. |
Isn't that really a "yes and no" situation Mike?
Contextual advertising is context sensitive. Therefore there's a degree of control. If my article is about monkeys the content will hopefully trigger ads for monkey stuff. ;0)
|Writing better content for your users does not help generate better leads for the advertisers, rather, their ad copy does. |
Again, I don't quite agree, mfishy.
Say I write convincingly about Widget Cameras. I establish my credentials for opining: My years of experience as a photographer, industry reports that cite my expertise, etc. I then go into detail about my 10 days of using Widget Camera's X777 camera. I post photos taken with the X777. I report that I'm very satified, that it's a good buy.
Then, as if by magic, contextual ads appear on the page. The growing body of savvy surfers understands that I - the expert - have no control over the ads, but, by clever design, ads for the X777 camera appear.
Someone, satisfied with my expertise and reliability, having read my review, clicks on the link and buys the X777.
Did writing better content generate a better lead?
Not if the clicker runs into a crappy landing page :-)
You can pre-qualify or qualify the clicker in any way you want - if the advertiser is not able to CLOSE a sale and turns around to tell google (via smart pricing) that clicks from your site dont convert you are done.
Get rid of smart pricing and give the responsibility for conversion where it belongs - to the advertiser.
|But Google has no business trying to determine which sites bring conversions until they have a statistically valid amount of conversion data. |
They have some data to work with. I'm not saying to compare it to the actual data, but to how other sites are doing.
For instance, if publisher A has gotten a 1% conversion rate on average for clicks over the course of 6 months on a specific keyword, and publisher B is getting .00001%, perhaps it's time for a manual review, or some new keywords.
The problem with content match is that you throw away most of your clicks to garbage. You may be able to convert at 5% on one publisher, but kill it by having some spammy scraper converting at 0%.
If you want publishers to care about conversions, you need to threaten them with taking away their adsense if their site doesn't convert. It's not meant to be mean, but if your site has no value to Google's advertisers, it shouldn't be in the network.
WW, I fervently hope that a groundswell of conscientious web developers emerges that attempts to create "better" content in support of both their visitors and their advertisers.
I really do.
The reason I described your question as "nebulous" is because you ask:
|Why isn't your discussion, thread after thread after thread, about "What can I do to generate qualified leads that will convert well for advertisers so that advertisers are happy and that brings in more advertisers and there's more money in the pot . . ." |
and then we slide into a discussion about "quality content" and its relationship to this question.
We all acknowledge that, barring an unprecedented release of information, there is no way for an AS implementer to know how "happy" the AS suppliers are with traffic generated from their site.
We surmise that writing focused, useful and enlightening content has some effect on AS suppliers' conversions by virtue of its effect on AS CTR. Whether the effect on the advertisers' bottom line is positive or negative is nearly unmeasureable due to the paucity of connected information.
The real question behind your question is: CAN AdSense implementers do ANYthing that has an effect on the AdSense advertisers' willingness to increase their investment in the AdSense program, ratcheting up bids and providing a more diverse, more profitable AdSense base for AdSense implementers to benefit from?
Social enlightenment aside, there is simply no correlated data, and no mechanism for attaining such data with which to measure this. Hence, my use of the "nebulous" moniker.
I mean "nebulous" as in "interesting to ponder but not enough info to generate an answer". Personally, I like those kinds of questions, even if the end result is less than satisfying.
|They have some data to work with. I'm not saying to compare it to the actual data, but to how other sites are doing. |
You can't accurately judge how well one site is likely is likely to convert based upon how well another site in the same industry converts. There are simply too many variables, including:
1 - The relative quality of the the content on each site. For example one site that offers high-tech reviews may have page after page of detailed analyses based on extensive testing and statistical data.
Another site might have page after page of reviews like "The Nikon XX-YYY digital camera is a great camera. It fits good in my hand. I recommend that you get one today!" That's the entire review! And then there are thousands of sites that fall somewhere in the middle.
Conversion data from one site (or even 10 or 1000) is useless when trying to determine the likelihood that a lead from a different site will convert. This is like saying "I was in Georgia last July 15 and it rained. The following week I went to Alabama and it rained. Hmmm... based upon my data it must rain every day in the month of July in the southern states so I had better stay away from the south during July." Yes, it's an exaggerated example but the concept applies to "smart pricing".
2 - The quality of the ads and landing pages. One site about health and weight loss might draw well targeted ads from the mediabot that are well written and lead to great sales pages. Another site with great content might draw ads from the Mediabot that are off-target and lead to terrible landing pages that have little to do with what the ad promised.
Conversion data are only relevant for the individual advertiser in regard to a specific individual publisher. By trying to predict conversion rates for sites based upon very limited data from other sites is what has caused the mess we know as "smart pricing".
|Some publishers need to learn the difference between enlightened self-interest and unenlightened greed. |
Google presents us with the system to make money. ONLY Google can change the rules to make the system convert better for its advertisers. All WE can do is work within those rules. If those rules aren't working for Google and helping ensure the viability of the system and its value to advertisers ONLY Google can change that. Google also has an interest in keeping the program going.
Yes, it would be great if no one ever did anything that was questionable or that irked advertisers within the rules, but, we don't make the rules, we just live by them. Even if me and you and everyone on this board decided to never do anything questionable, there would still be thousands of other webmasters out there doing it. If there's a problem, it has to be fixed at the system level, not the user level.
|Someone, satisfied with my expertise and reliability, having read my review, clicks on the link and buys the X777. |
Did writing better content generate a better lead?
In that rare case, sure it very well may help. But, what if it was a negative review? What would the advertiser than think?
<<whew, too much posting on one topic...I'm gonna bail>>
|You can't accurately judge how well one site is likely is likely to convert based upon how well another site in the same industry converts. |
I think you have to try. Google's responsibility should be to provide advertisers with displaying ads on quality sites of interest.
There are a lot of variables, but there are also a lot of constants in place. If you take one advertiser and their performance on one keyword over the course of months through various publishers, you can summize which publishers are better.
I'm not talking about eliminating those that perform poorly, but those that have no value to the advertiser. It wouldn't be hard to find anamolies in statistics. If one publisher hasn't brought a single conversion to an advertiser over months, while others have brought in a good percent, they should not be allowed to have those keywords shown. This isn't being harsh, but Google looking out for their advertiser, which most real companies do for their clients.
I guess I'm saying is that if you want to make the publishers better, you need to give them incentive to do so. You need to block certain high profile keywords that don't convert on their sites. When publishers are made responsible for the conversions of advertisers, content match will work.
Until Google places some qualifications on publishers, content match and adsense will continue to be a joke to most advertisers.
|I'm not talking about eliminating those that perform poorly, but those that have no value to the advertiser. It wouldn't be hard to find anamolies in statistics. If one publisher hasn't brought a single conversion to an advertiser over months, while others have brought in a good percent, they should not be allowed to have those keywords shown. This isn't being harsh, but Google looking out for their advertiser, which most real companies do for their clients. |
I think there are two basic problems with this approach: Not all advertisers use Google's conversion-tracking tool, and Google probably doesn't have much of a statistical sample (if any) for smaller publishers who get relatively low numbers of clicks.
|When publishers are made responsible for the conversions of advertisers, content match will work. |
I really wish people would stop trying to brainwash others.
The ONLY one who is responsible for the conversion of advertisement is the advertiser!
If you produce crappy, non-effective ads, dont blame the publisher.
As far as adsense is concerned, the ONLY thing you can expect is to receive traffic connected to the keyword YOU choosed.
Now, be happy to get that traffic and work with it - IT IS UP TO YOU, THE ADVERTISER, TO TURN A VISITOR INTO A CUSTOMER!
Honestly, the longer I follow this thread, the more I am getting convinced that Adwords/Adsense Advertisers are a bunch of sleazy, cheap, laizy "business people" who dont have a clue about advertising.
You want to make a sale? Then sell! Advertising is about preparing people to the sales pitch of your sales team.
If you believe adsense is making your sales team obsolete then you are in deep trouble.
You will not sell without a sales team! What is so complicated to understand?
Making a publisher responsible for a #*$!ed up advertisement campaign may save your job, BUT, did you learn anything? will you do better the next time? I doubt it!
Guess it is about time to completly remove adsense from my publications.
Any and all complaints about malperforming content network advertising campaigns should be directed to Google.
You (the advertiser) do not have a contract with me (the publisher).
If you have a problem, contact the person/entitity who is billing you.
I (the publisher) dont care about you (the advertiser) UNLESS you are willing to become a DIRECT advertiser and spend a reasonable amount of money to make it worthwile for me to promote you to my audience.
I had several years a client which even did not read his emails.
Requests from the web site, I made from him, exactly about the items he sells.
Does not matter...
Was one of my first clients and I was much to cheap.
So emails from this web site are seen by him as cheap garbage.
There are now 5 different clients not reading their email.
The one mentioned above.
One searching for an investor not able to deliver what he promises on his web site
One winegrower with to much alcohol
One disabled his web site email address for to much spam.
One company was left by their network admin one year ago. He manipulated something, that it was not possible to receive emails from me and my web site for them. Logs show, every week is the formmail script called, but they do not fix the problem.
Also clients lie. My first real estate client was a real shark. He wails all the time, that my site brings nearly nothing and I should lower my prices.
Same software in an other town, very satisfied client, his sells statistic roaring up.
" ...we saw positive ROAS/CPA across a wide variety of vertical markets.
BUT, over the last 9 months CPA has increased dramatically, and the majority of advertisers we manage, have turned off GCN. There are a few verticals that still produce decent ROAS/CPA, but the majority of the remainder are focusing on branding, and not ROAS."
"On the publisher side, two years ago, there were small sites that created quality content, to build a loyal community, versus the majority of small publishers today attempting to create quality content, with the focus on ad revenue."
Maybe its on trying to figure out what all this GNC, ROAS, CPA actually means .. or whether or not they actually need to know?
"it is recommended that you read what I mean rather than what I write"
|over the last 9 months CPA has increased dramatically, and the majority of advertisers we manage, have turned off GCN. |
CPA works fine for some things, but not for others. Take the travel industry: If you're selling hotel bookings across a continent or around the world, affiliate programs make a lot of sense. But if you're trying to recruit guests for your hotel in Shelbyville or to sell barge cruises in Burgundy, you're going to have trouble getting even minimal exposure (let alone leads or sales) with an affiliate program.
The unique strength of AdSense for both advertisers and publishers is its ability to reach targeted prospects in extremely narrow market segments.
|I think you have to try. Google's responsibility should be to provide advertisers with displaying ads on quality sites of interest. |
No, Google's responsibility is to provide a means for advertisers to place relevant ads on available advertising space. It is the advertiser's responsibility to convert the resulting traffic into sales. If the traffic doesn't convert it's the advertiser's responsibility to make changes, including where the ads run. if this means turning off content ads then so be it.
Interesting thread Webwork. Again. You're making a habit of this ;-)
However, I think you've missed the point.
|My income, my money, my stats are down, how do I make more money, how do you make money so I can learn how I can make money, me, money, me, money |
Absolutely, that is fundamentally the most important thing to the AdSense publisher. The bottom line. It's not wrong for a publisher to think like that.
Similarly. the AdWords advertiser has the same view, from a different perspective - "How do I increase my ROI".
Neither party really thinks directly about their hidden partners.
Thinking about sites from an AdWords advertisers point of view is actually something I have always done. But I don't do it for their benefit, I do it for mine (it increases my bottom line if I send users that convert).
That's no less "me, me, me".
I think the real point to be made is for publishers to stop thinking in terms of "how to get more clicks" and more about "how do I make more money". It's not about "how do I do a better job for the advertisers". It amounts to the same thing, but it's hugely different.
|1. If you scan the AdSense forum posts you will see that the vast majority posts are about "my money, my earnings stats, getting more clicks, etc." |
2. There's very little (if ever?) discussion of "what, if anything, are we AdSensers doing to improve the delivery of high value, high ROI clicks to advertisers?"
If you remove the words "getting more clicks" from your #1 point, then they amount to the same thing. I agree with you that the discussion is likely to be of a higher grade if worded in this way though ;-)
Similarly, if the Advertisers built better sites and wrote better copy that is more likely to convert, publishers will be better off. Again though, that's about the advertisers wanting to make more money for themselves, it's not out of a desire for their publishing partners to do better.
I agree with mfishy that I think you are incorrect in your assumption that quality content converts better. Though it pains me to say it, in some fields, the junk converts like a monster.
So I have an ugly and rubbish site that generates money for me, me, me. The amount of money generated from X number of clicks, knowing the niche well and the cost of those keywords, tells me that Smart Pricing does indeed work, and my ads must be converting.
So who's complaining about my selfish attitude? It sure isn't the AdWords advertisers.
On the one point I agree with you on, regarding "getting more clicks", I would suggest it is up to the more experienced AdSense players to guide the new publishers in the right direction, by getting the thinking away from "clicks" and onto "money".
So advertisers are responsible for converting clicks from bots and other fraudulent activities (which a good % of your adsense clicks will come from)?
My point is that if you want advertisers and publishers to be happy, Google needs to take some responsibility for their publishers. Letting Joe Smith's blog that has been up for 2 days and has 1 post run ads all across his site is just stupid.
When Google cracks down on publishers, more people will use Content match. This means more money for publishers who are legit. This means better ROI for advertisers. I don't see how this is a problem at all.
The onus isn't on advertisers or publishers, it's on Google (the one making a majority of the money on this whole thing).
|So advertisers are responsible for converting clicks from bots and other fraudulent activities (which a good % of your adsense clicks will come from)? |
Not at all. The onus is on Google to do whatever they can to eliminate fraud or minimize it to whatever extent is possible. It's still solely up to the advertisers to see that legitimate traffic converts, with legitimate traffic being a website visitor making a concious decision to click on an ad. Fraud is a separate issue entirely.
Not a solution, but maybe a start?
| This 119 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 119 ( 1 2 3  ) |