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|Site Targeted CPM Ads Negative Impact |
The fact that an advertiser chose our site to show their CPM ads has its psychic rewards and a confirmation of the quality of the site. But I don't need a pat on the back; I need cash. And so far, I don't think it is working for us.
For the past 4 days, our site has been showing the ads of this single advertiser - in our leaderboards, in our skys, in our rectangles - both in text and image ad formats. This advertiser has occupied every single Google ad that we have. It's just everywhere in various formats!
The advantage is that our traditionally low performing pages for CPC are now becoming more productive.
But the downside is more alarming:
- Our CTR is down by almost 60% (afterall, it's the only ad you'll see no matter what page or what ad format you see. They're like the exclusive advertiser on our site)
- Our overall ECPM is down by 30%
- Our revenues are also down
I guess CPM ads will work for sites with massive traffic. But the CPM price is too low I believe to compensate for the CPC revenues that we are getting. We are doing really well with the CPC model.
I'll continue to track this. Unfortunately, I don't think publishers have the option of rejecting site-targeted CPM ads, right?
The main problem of site-targeted CPM ads is that it throws out the entire premise of Google Adsense, which is to serve contextually relevant ads.With site-targeted CPM ads, the advertiser buys the space for their ads to run the entire site, no matter what the content. So the ads run even on pages when it has no relevance at all, just because it is part of the publisher's domain.
The advertiser currently running on our site targets the same business segment we are targeting. But they are showing on pages about getting loan financing, search engine optimization, web metrics, time management, business planning, marketing -- everywhere on our site even if the content of the page has nothing to do with the advertiser. Given that the advertiser monopolized our entire Google ad spaces, it is no wonder that our click through rate plummeted -- our first huge drop since starting with the program when it first started two years ago.
Google has now become a typical banner ad network like Burst who sells targeted ads for their publishers. I never thought I'd say this: but I appreciate the price of Burst's targeted ads wayyyyy much better than G.
I hope that things will improve given that the feature of site-targeted CPM ads is still very new. But it doesn't look promising to me as it breaks the main strength of the Adsense program, which is to serve contextually relevant ads. Relevance goes out the window with the site-targeted CPM ads. CPM ads will only work if your site generates massive traffic, which niche sites by their very nature do not enjoy.
Disable image ads if you don't want the CPM beta ads to show... only way I know of now.
The site-targeted CPM ads are not only image ads, so disabling image ads won't work. They also look come in the form of text ads especially in large rectangles (which typically will not show an image ad), and even the text ad shows several versions. The only way to disable would be to remove the Adsense code from the site, which is not an option for us even with the negative impact of the CPM ads.
so why not just exclude the advertiser that is taking over all of your ad space? i don't get it.
maybe you can talk google into allowing you to have an additional account, where that advertiser can do what he wants on just a few select pages... but he's excluded on the main account.
this lack of control with adsense is rather inexcusable... you should be the one deciding what advertisers you want on your website, not google.
We were at first hesitant to exclude the advertiser in our filter, because we wanted to try how the site-targeted CPM ads will work. After all, this is a new feature available only to the sites handpicked by the advertisers. Also, the advertiser fits very well with some, but not all, of our pages that talks about the need for the types of products of this advertiser. We want them to show on those pages, but not all of our pages that has absolutely nothing to do with them.
After almost 5 days of testing, seeing the same advertiser on our site and seeing the downward impact on our CTR and our revenue, we now have placed the advertiser on our filter. My concern is that the decrease in CTR may also have an impact on smart pricing and reduce our take further on the occasional CPC ads that show up.
Maybe if the CPM price is higher, or we are out of our traditional summer traffic slump, then we can go with the CPM ads again. And if Google would provide a simple option that allows publishers to choose whether they want pure CPC only or CPM/CPC ads on their sites.
"Also, the advertiser fits very well with some, but not all, of our pages that talks about the need for the types of products of this advertiser."
Alika, do you think the lower ctr is because this advertiser is appearing on pages that are not necessarily relevant to his ads, or because visitors keep seeing the same ad over and over and over and are learning to simply ignore it because it represents nothing new?
Why must you be beholden to google? Contact the advertiser yourself and negotiate a deal the old-fashioned way. I don't think Google has completely eliminated the need to communicate. Cut out the middle man and you'll make much more money, I know from experience...
|Alika, do you think the lower ctr is because this advertiser is appearing on pages that are not necessarily relevant to his ads, or because visitors keep seeing the same ad over and over and over and are learning to simply ignore it because it represents nothing new? |
I think both.
The beauty of Adsense is that it will show ads that is contextually relevant to the page. But site-targeted CPM ads do away with the whole premise of Adsense. If a site has diverse content like ours, then it means that the advertiser will be shown on pages that has nothing to do with it. So that makes it just like a typical banner ad network. And hence, click throughs will be just like the banner ad networks - minimal (well, relative to the almost double digit CTR we're getting on our site).
And yes, visitors can get tired of seeing the same ads over and over again, even though it may look different as some are text and some are images.
|Cut out the middle man and you'll make much more money, I know from experience... |
We also sell our own advertising ourselves, and we really do well on it. But G affords us revenue without too much effort on our part in terms of negotiations, etc. Also we're not keen on running after this particular advertiser as we know from experience that they don't typically do well on our entire site. Maybe on a few pages devoted to its topic (which we minimally cover, like only about 10 out of our 5,600+ pages).
i am not surprised that ctr has dropped, since the CPM program was not designed to generate clicks, but rather for branding, but i am a little surprised that revenues have dropped for you.
if i recall correctly, google has specified that CPM ads would only be displayed if it would pay MORE than CPC ads. this policy seems to make sense because it benefits google (as well as the publisher).
i dont see why google would display a CPM ad on a page where CPC was generating more revenue, unless google is keeping a higher percentage for CPM ads than they do for CPC.
one possibility is that the drop you are experiencing is due to unrelated factors.
|The beauty of Adsense is that it will show ads that is contextually relevant to the page. But site-targeted CPM ads do away with the whole premise of Adsense. |
AdSense has never been only about contextual ads. Often, a page won't have ads that are directly related to the page's topic, and AdSense will display ads based on the site's theme instead. For example, if you've got a site about soft drinks and Google doesn't have any Green River ads for your page about Green River, that Green River page will display generic soft-drink ads or ads for Coke instead. Site-targeted CPM ads are in the same spirit as those alternative "site theme" ads.
As for your clickthrough rate being down, that may be of academic interest, but it doesn't mean that CTR is down on your CPC ads--and it doesn't affect the revenue from your site-targeted CPM ads, since you get paid for those whether users click or not. (And remember, not all CPM advertisers are actively seeking clickthroughs; one reason for having site-targeted CPM ads is to reach the larger advertising market instead of relying solely on direct-response ads.)
The real question here is why your eCPM is down. Because site-targeted ads are supposed to display only when they're likely to generate more revenues than CPC ads would be expected to bring in, site-targeted CPM ads should help you, not hurt you, by serving as "infill" for page topics that generate poor CPC revenues. Maybe the problem is as simple as a flaw in Google's CPM-vs-CPC calculations. (The "which type of ad is likely to generate the most revenue on this page?" formula is obviously new and mostly unproven, but it's likely to work better once the bugs are worked out.)
|If a site has diverse content like ours, then it means that the advertiser will be shown on pages that has nothing to do with it. So that makes it just like a typical banner ad network. And hence, click throughs will be just like the banner ad networks - minimal (well, relative to the almost double digit CTR we're getting on our site). |
Again, site-targeted CPM ads aren't necessarily intended to generate high clickthrough rates. And there is one big difference between AdSense site-targeted CPM ads and a typical ad network: Advertisers get to pick where their ads run, with Google recommending what it thinks will be suitable sites. So, while targeting may not be as exact as it would be with contextual AdSense ads, you're still more likely to have ads that are at least somewhat relevant than you would with a typical ad network that dishes up run-of-network ads for cell phones, mortgages, dating services, etc. without regard for each site's topic or theme. (At least, that's how things should work once any bugs are put to rest.)
[edited by: europeforvisitors at 1:52 am (utc) on June 26, 2005]
|one possibility is that the drop you are experiencing is due to unrelated factors |
I don't think so as everything's where they should be -- we're still either #1 or #2 of our main keywords, we still ad several pages of content daily, and traffic patterns are what they should be.
|The real question here is why your eCPM is down. Because site-targeted ads are supposed to display only when they're likely to generate more revenues than CPC ads would be expected to bring in, site-targeted CPM ads should help you, not hurt you |
That's the premise. But how G is determining whether the CPM would generate more revenues than CPC is the great mystery.
Consider this: A $2 CPM ad will only give you $2 per thousand impressions. But if that is a CPC ad with a bid of $0.50 (around the average cpc we're getting) gets a click through rate of 0.4%, then you earn the same amount as the CPM ad. But if your site generates 10% CTR, then you stand to earn $50. Big difference!
So the question is: does G's formula attempts to predict the potential CTR of the ad when deciding whether to show CPM or CPC? Or is it just based on the bid price?
I am inclined to believe that CPM ads work best on high traffic low ctr websites. But not for sites with very healthy CTR levels.
|And there is one big difference between AdSense site-targeted CPM ads and a typical ad network: Advertisers get to pick where their ads run, with Google recommending what it thinks will be suitable sites. |
Banner ad networks like Burst offer targeted ads where you get insertion orders if the advertiser handpicks your site to run its campaign. And yes, the prices are way better than G's minimum of $2CPM.
|Often, a page won't have ads that are directly related to the page's topic, and AdSense will display ads based on the site's theme instead. |
Yes, I do see theme ads on a few of our pages, but we really don't have much of a problem with targeting.
Also, the goal of Adsense is to TRY to show the ads that will best fit the content of the site, and if it does not, then that is often a factor of poor targeting or lack of advertisers. But poor targeting or theme ads throughout the site is not the aim of Adsense.
My beef is that pages showing on-target ads
are now showing ads by this CPM advertiser that has nothing to do with the page. Targeting disappears. Now I wonder about the opportunity cost if the CPC advertisers were shown instead of the CPM ads: would I have earned more if the CPC ads were shown knowing what I know about our site's different topics and type of content?
|Unfortunately, I don't think publishers have the option of rejecting site-targeted CPM ads, right? |
You can either:
a) block the advertiser by domain name like you always did or,
b) cut through the chase and request google block CPM ads from your site like I did when ads for PurplePills and Dodge Trucks started polluting my site, problem 100% solved
"cut through the chase and request google block CPM ads from your site like I did when ads for PurplePills and Dodge Trucks started polluting my site, problem 100% solved"
How did you do that? Email request to adsense tech support? Did they give you any grief on this?
"My beef is that pages showing on-target ads
are now showing ads by this CPM advertiser that has nothing to do with the page."
I had wondered about this myself. If your site is very appealing to an advertiser interested in cpm due to one of your content areas YET that's not your only content area, you could get screwed real fast. That's how it seems to me and it sounds as though this may be the phenomenon you're witnessing as well.
|How did you do that? Email request to adsense tech support? Did they give you any grief on this? |
Yup, just wrote to the adsense team and after getting a couple of canned responses about "the wonderful new CPM ads" someone actually read my email and turned them off. My major complaint was the ads were 100% off topic for my site and they politely disabled them.
I was told I could disable the graphics ads for my site which would've killed those CPM banner ads as well, The problem was there were already legitimate contextual ON TOPIC graphics ads running that I didn't want to lose.
Stand your ground, might take 2-4 emails, they should be willing to fix it for you.
|site-targeted CPM ads should help you, not hurt you, by serving as "infill" for page topics that generate poor CPC revenues. |
If this is the case, can we opt for CPM ads only on those pages that generate poor CPC revenues? In our case, the bulk of our site performs really well with CPC, often generating double digit click throughs and decent EPC. Only our blogs, discussion forum, and glossary of terms pages perform poorly, and I have already yanked Adsense from our forum.
From my experience with banner ad networks, it is not necessarily true that CPM ads perform better than CPC ads in terms of revenue. With the right types of ads (meaning well targeted) CPC can outperform CPM at anytime. Adsense's strength is showing well-targeted ads to the page. If the site is showing theme-ads only, then it means something is not right somewhere (e.g. lack of advertisers, failure of the bot to read the page correctly, etc.). I doubt if the site would do as well as when the ads are on-target to the page. Afterall, we often read of comments and questions here asking how to improve targeting of ads and how to compel mediabot to revisit the page again in hope of serving better on-target ads; and testimonials that their incomes increased because targeting of ads improved.
I am curious to find what types of sites would do well with CPM. I really think that these sites are those with really high traffic; single-topic sites (so ads are on target no matter what page); or those getting low CTR from CPC ads.
I'd like to try cpm ads on certain pages, but have the usual cpc ones unchanged. I'm going to email them to ask if this can be set up.
|If this is the case, can we opt for CPM ads only on those pages that generate poor CPC revenues? |
I don't see how. In theory, Google should be displaying CPM ads only when they're likely to perform better than CPC ads--at least when things are working correctly (a big caveat, IMHO).
|From my experience with banner ad networks, it is not necessarily true that CPM ads perform better than CPC ads in terms of revenue. With the right types of ads (meaning well targeted) CPC can outperform CPM at anytime. |
I agree, up to a point. Targeting is only half the equation: The audience matters, too. I might get perfectly targeted CPC ads on a photo-gallery page about the Truffle Tower in Elbonia, but if the audience for that page consists heavily of schoolchildren who are looking for pictures of the Truffle Tower, CPM ads will outperform CPC ads every time.
|I am curious to find what types of sites would do well with CPM. I really think that these sites are those with really high traffic; single-topic sites (so ads are on target no matter what page); or those getting low CTR from CPC ads. |
My site doesn't meet your definition at all, but CPM ads appear to be helping my site's revenues. As I've mentioned before, their real strength is boosting income from pages or sections of a site that don't perform well with CPC. In my case, that's happening on photo-gallery pages, which traditionally have abysmal eCPMs in comparison with revenues from my travel-planning pages. (That makes sense: The person who goes looking for pictures of the Truffle Tower is less likely to click an ads for tours, hotels, air fares, etc. than is the person who's researching a trip.)
Also, as more advertisers enter the site-targeted CPM ad pool, bids are likely to increase. The largest potential market for site-targeted CPM ads consists of advertisers who aren't using CPC and who are used to paying high CPMs in traditional media. An advertiser that's paying a CPM of $20 or $30 (plus the cost of ad production) in MODERN WIDGETS may feel that a CPM of $10 in a handpicked group of widget sites is a bargain. It's easily to imagine CPM ads for, say, Hilton Hotels or Marriott outbidding CPC ads for arnies-affiliate-site.com.
Again, it's early days yet; site-targeted CPM ads weren't even widely available until a few days ago, and it will be a while before publishers can gauge their effect on revenues. I think they offer a lot of promise, though, in part because they're likely to attract advertisers who wouldn't dream of throwing away money on the "take it all, sight unseen" CPC content network.
I agree that CPM ads have the potential to bring in big bucks -- IF the big boys come into play. But that will take a while. In the meantime, I don't want my site to be a guinea pig and watch my revenues slow down.
The CPM price I'm seeing is just too low to compensate for the opportunity cost of the CPC ads. It's just not working for us. We have very few unproductive channels anyway, and in those sections we've moved towards either banner ads or affiliates.
Perhaps G will create a way for alternative ad delivery to be controlled via the publisher code inserted on their pages? Perhaps publishers could be assigned publisher/member codes with different last or first letters, giving the publisher control over the nature of the ads sent to a given page:
Default code ends in "A" - "Send any and all ads to this page"
Code ends in "T"? - "Send only text ads to this page"
Code ending in "G"? - "Default to sending graphic ads, if available, if not then send any and all"
Workable? More computing cycles and possible delay - sorting out the "what type of ads" issue - offset by better targeting, happier publishers, etc?
Yes, Google could do that, but the question is whether it wants to. After all, if Google is pitching site-targeted CPM ads to advertisers and ad agencies, it needs a decent inventory of quality sites and ad impressions. So Google may not want to make it too easy for publishers to opt out of (or to limit) site-targeted CPM ads.
Don't forget, advertisers still don't have any control over where their CPC ads appear on the Google content network. Why would Google want to treat publishers better than its paying customers?
So now we will need more spaces in our filter to remove CPM ads that we may not want to show.
It took a while for the CPM ad to stop showing on my site after adding it to the filter list, and today the eCPM has improved. And I hope so will the revenues. I should have yanked out that CPM ad sooner from the site. For CPM ads to work far better than CPC ads, it has to be more or less about $6 CPM and above. Anything less than that is like giving away the store, just ain't worth it.
Further to Webwork's suggestion, maybe controls like what we have with image ads right now - a button perhaps allowing us to select if we want to run CPM ads or CPC ads or both. If this materializes, then it will be easier to make the decision as to what types of ads we can show on our site.
|Why would Google want to treat publishers better than its paying customers? |
Ummm, I thought G was heading in the direction of site targeting by advertisers?
So, consistent with the idea that "choice of partners makes for more successful partnerships" it seems natural that Google would give publishers more granular control also.
My guess is that, in the end, the middleman that offers both advertisers and publishers the most granular control will win the most market share. That which gives G an edge in the selling of AdWords is not the same as that which affords G an advantage in selling "off campus" advertising.
In the absence of maximizing 3-party satisfaction(advertiser/aggregator/publisher) I can even foresee the evolution of an open source, quasi public ad marketplace arising - reminiscent of CraigsList. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see such a service in the very near future, where advertisers and publishers open engage in bidding for ad space and inventory.
Of course, G could keep its ad vehicle ahead of the curve by being more flexible, open and aggressive in in efforts to "open up control" - taking more away from "the middlewoman" - and affording more control to the real parties in interest: the advertiser and the publisher.
IMHO G's intermediation needs to be "driven to minimum settings" if G intends to survive and profit in open market advertising aggregation and delivery. That's, in part, where I think G is missing the boat in its 3d party advertising approach: More transparency, more choice, less control facilitated by greater choice, etc.
|less control facilitated by greater choice |
By which I mean less of "one or two or three sizes fit all", thereby forcing controls that don't fit well in many circumstances.
G is starting to look a bit cautiously corporate, sacrificing the powerful, world changing force of inventive genius for what I don't know (but can guess).
IMHO, if G took on the risk and implemented a more "open market bidding" approach (greater bid transparency) and a more granular site selection process - all while being "do no evil, do the very best Google" - they could rule this market for the foreseeable future.
Of course, if they don't execute this approach to the intermediation of the 3d party placement and sale of ad inventory and ad space sales Barry Diller will.
Strange how this works out: The boys from Palo Alto go cautiously corporate and the corporate guy is going Palo Alto in the moves he's been making.
Some part of what we call genius is that thing called vision. Another part of boldness. Diller is an interesting blend of a lot of the components. But I digress: AdSense is great stuff but in the absense of accelerated innovation it will lose ground because it has the burden of elements of old school intermediation whilst there are significant forces driving business processes towards disintermediation, or intermediation of the least degree..
|Further to Webwork's suggestion, maybe controls like what we have with image ads right now - a button perhaps allowing us to select if we want to run CPM ads or CPC ads or both. If this materializes, then it will be easier to make the decision as to what types of ads we can show on our site. |
Yes, that would be helpful, but it wouldn't solve the problem of CPM ads working well on some sections or pages of a site and not on another. For that, we'd need something like what Webwork suggests.
It's possible that Google will give more control to publishers in time--but probably not until it's gathered a truckload of data from the initial deployment of site-targeted CPM ads.
Approximately what are average prices being paid by advertisers for cpm ads so far? I've noticed $2 and $6 mentioned so far. I know it depends on the advertiser/campaign but any consensus as to what the big board price is going to look like yet? Also any big companies signed up so far?
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