A Success Story
Just a follow up on the recent discussion concerning whether site targeting is good or bad.
My viewpoint has always been that unless I see massively undervalued eCPM for site targeted ads or really bad ads, I will accept these ads from Google.
So far, the share of site targeting vs. contextual has been around 0.1%, i.e. neglectible. But even then, comparing the eCPM figures gave me the impression that both are "on par" for my sites. So no big deal at all.
Then, last weekend, on Saturday and Sunday to be precise, I apparently had become the target of site targeting. :-) On these two days, the portion of site targeting went up to 2.5% (i.e. 25x) and -drumroll- the eCPM for the individual ad went up 4x. The spook ended as fast as it came. Since Monday, the portion is back to 0.1%.
My conclusion: site targeting can be positive for publishers, resulting in higher earnings (eCPM wise) than with contextual ads. I will keep investigating this.
I've had surprisingly good luck too with Site Targeting.
It's accounting now for about 20% or so of revenue...a huge surprise. And the CPM is been very, very high. Heck of a lot higher than I would receive with other ad networks.
Same here I remove 250x250 with 350x250 and I'm getting upto 3.5%. I am totally surprised with a new result.
My site-targeted eCMP increased after replacing 728x90 with 350x250 block (900%-1000% increase in site-targeted eCPM). Maybe advertiser has an image ad of that new size.
pssst... what's site targeting?
Site targeting is when an advertiser chooses to advertise directly on your site using a CPM model.
They do this using the 'Advertise directly on this site' link at the bottom of your Adsense ads.
We do really well with our direct advertisers, approx 40% of our Adsense revenue. The good thing is that when we allow them to advertise our CTR drops to well under zero but we end up making more money.
Less people leaving the site + higher revenue. nice.
advertisers have the option to target a specific site, regardless of context, and display ads on your site that are served through Adsense (forced, if you want). Thus, some of the site-targeted ads appear to be out-of-context and are therefor often regarded as "not paying well".
I don't know whether the site-targeting makes sense for the advertisers, but at least I can say that the eCPM is equal to or better than contextual ads.
When you open up yourself for site targeting, how long does it usually take untill you see the results?
|I don't know whether the site-targeting makes sense for the advertisers |
It does for the smart advertisers who know their audience. We all have had contextual advertising pounded into us for a while now so it is hard to imagine seeing an ad that is not contextually related.
Site-targeting, and now the new push by Google to have the branding size ads installed, make a lot of sense and I think the Google kids may be growing up a bit with the effort to do brand advertising. It's all about the reach and mindset of the audience and less to do with the context.
It would be a boring series of commercials during the Superbowl this Sunday if all the advertisers were for footballs and/or football gear as contextual advertising would have it :-/
|When you open up yourself for site targeting, how long does it usually take untill you see the results? |
I think it depends if someone wants to pay the extra dosh to advertise on your site.
For example: I run a wide skyscraper on many of our high traffic pages. It would usually carry 4 or 5 ads without site targeting. With a direct advertiser paying CPM he gets the entire skyscaper with his one ad giving him lots of white space and a good looking ad.
I'm still experimenting with different size ads and placement.
I'm not sure if a smaller ad pays less CPM than a bigger one?
do I get paid for click-thrus as well as CPM?
Do I get paid more if his ad is above the fold?
the value of site-targeted ads is relative to the ecpm of the site.
if your ecpm is averaging around, say, $1-$4, site-targeted ads could look like manna from heaven.
if you have a $20 ecpm, there won't be very many advertisers who will pay google a $40 cpm to get on your site.
|Site-targeting, and now the new push by Google to have the branding size ads installed, make a lot of sense and I think the Google kids may be growing up a bit with the effort to do brand advertising. It's all about the reach and mindset of the audience and less to do with the context. |
It's really no different from advertising in a special-interest magazine like GOURMET or CONDE NAST TRAVELER. CNT may place an ad for a cruise next to a cruise article (think "contextual" advertising), but it also attracts--and runs--ads for companies that want to sell expensive cars, designer wristwatches, upscale perfumes, and other "lifestyle" products to the well-heeled CNT audience.
One can easily imagine site-targeted CPM ads being more effective than contextual ads on a site like NYTimes.com. Why? Because much of the content on the NEW YORK TIMES Web site doesn't lend itself to contextual ads (what's going to get sold in a story about people being killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq or an analysis of Congressional politics in Washington, D.C.?). But the NEW YORK TIMES's audience is certainly desirable to advertisers because of its demographics and known interests.
As Google acquires more behavioral advertising data on users, site-targeted CPM ads could become even more attractive (and costly) to advertisers. Think of a network-wide equivalent of the data that Topix.net gathers on its users (and which Topix.net uses, with Google's blessing, to help target AdSense ads).
|if you have a $20 ecpm, there won't be very many advertisers who will pay google a $40 cpm to get on your site. |
They don't have to, unless you're consistently maintaining a $20 eCPM on every page in every geotargeting region at every moment in time.
|They don't have to, unless you're consistently maintaining a $20 eCPM on every page in every geotargeting region at every moment in time. |
I think you'd have to be making $20+ eCPM on every single ad unit, rather than each page, which is fairly unlikely.
|I think you'd have to be making $20+ eCPM on every single ad unit, rather than each page, which is fairly unlikely. |
Good point. And if you were, you'd either be delivering such astonishingly good traffic that an advertiser would be happy to pay a sky-high CPM, or you'd be running such an obvious keyword-driven scam site that no halfway intelligent advertiser would target your site and audience.
>>>They don't have to, unless you're consistently maintaining a $20 eCPM.<<<
they have to beat the ecpm of the individual ad block to get on the site... and the higher the average ecpm is, the fewer site-targeted ads the site will get.
the math is really pretty simple.
|Then, last weekend, on Saturday and Sunday to be precise, I apparently had become the target of site targeting. :-) On these two days, the portion of site targeting went up to 2.5% (i.e. 25x) and -drumroll- the eCPM for the individual ad went up 4x. The spook ended as fast as it came. Since Monday, the portion is back to 0.1%. |
I believe something "unique" happened on that weekend, at least from our figures which look a lot like yours. It could be that there was a sudden surge of site targeted ads that lasted a day or two, AND, were placed on your site and ours. Although since we have 6-7 sites on different topics that seems unlikely.
Or, google "did something" for that period. What, I cannot even guess. But definitely we got a pile of cpm ad impressions, at a rate MUCH higher than we've ever seen (on the average).
Just wanted to let you know we saw the same thing, and I have no idea why.
|or you'd be running such an obvious keyword-driven scam site that no halfway intelligent advertiser would target your site and audience. |
I don't think that the new advertisers that are related to this big push have actually reviewed the sites that they are targeting. Their campaigns are simply too large.
The HRB ads last weekend were showing up on one of my sites that launched on Dec 26 and was receiving all of around 20 uniques a day.
I suspect that their big push to get certain ad sizes is because they have a bunch of monster campaigns lined up, where they don't much care what sites the ads run on.
|. It could be that there was a sudden surge of site targeted ads that lasted a day or two, AND, were placed on your site and ours. |
They were ads for H&R block tax software that ran for those two days. They were EVERYWERE. I saw them in at least 3 different ad formats, wide skyscraper, banner and box. They were animated and loaded and ran slowly. Given the sites that I saw it on, there is no way that it was restricted to sites that anyone sat down and selected, it was network wide and probably geotargeted to the United States.
|I suspect that their big push to get certain ad sizes is because they have a bunch of monster campaigns lined up, where they don't much care what sites the ads run on. |
My understanding of the big push (the new 'pack' arrangement) is that in effect google is creating a set of "premium channels" that large institutional advertisers can choose as a "package". It would be equivalent to "run of category" ads used in some display advertising, with special attention paid to the "quality" of the ad space -- hence the
1) request for a particular size (which they want to sell to advertisers).
2) a request for above the fold position
3) a situation where google will decide if the quality is good enough to sell to advertisers.
It's smart. Create relevant high quality packages of sites that have been hand-picked by google, and then charge more for them.
My guess is that if you become part of a package, (and someone buys) the determination of what shows on your site will be done differently than for non-package type ads.
|They were ads for H&R block tax software that ran for those two days. They were EVERYWERE. I saw them in at least 3 different ad formats, wide skyscraper, banner and box. They were animated and loaded and ran slowly. Given the sites that I saw it on, there is no way that it was restricted to sites that anyone sat down and selected |
Certainly so. My guess is that it was a test - a proof of concept that google offered them.
Is there a direct indication from Google that your site has been site-targeted, or is it something you have to figure out on your own via eCPM changes?
|Is there a direct indication from Google that your site has been site-targeted, or is it something you have to figure out on your own via eCPM changes? |
The simplest indication is when you see oversized text (including a fairly big headline) for a single ad within an ad unit.
You can also tell by looking at your AdSense reports. Go to "Advanced Reports" and look for the little window that says "Show data by [?]". Pick "Individual ad," and you'll be given a checkbox that says "Show data by targeting type - contextual or site [?]." Check the box, hit the "Display Report" button, and you'll get the statistics for "Contextual" and "Site" targeting.
Caveat: In the "Individual ad" report, eCPM is shown for individual ads, not by page, so the number will be smaller than you're used to seeing.
As was discussed in another thread, tax prep ads are ideal for a network-wide buy in the U.S. Everyone pays taxes, so everyone is part of the target audience for H&R Block.
Contextual advertising is actually a rather crude concept but Google has executed it so well that it has become a very effective tool for certain types of businesses.
Will Google do the same with demographic and behavioral advertising? No reason to think they won't.
If you find a MFA or such targeting your site you can block them, then turn around in Adwords and target them for say $1.00 CPM as a starting point. If they are taking up clicks in your niche they will also be taking clicks from your competitors and other related sites. There is no reason why you can't take clicks from them for a penny or two and do the dance on them. About 1/3 of them are CPMable the others you can CPC by using the URL as a keyword but CPM is more effective.
Just food for thought, I have been doing it for several months and it has been very productive. Just never start one and go to bed, some can run away on you in the beginning until you get the correct bid amount.
[edited by: TheTraveler at 8:44 am (utc) on Feb. 1, 2007]
I'm thinking of opening the door to site targeting. On the one hand, I won't know how well it can work if I don't try it. On the other hand, I don't want to open the door to advertisers I don't like. I mean, if you try it, let them choose you, then turn around and ban them, it seems rude. :/
I would prefer to screen the site targeting advertisers. I'd like to limit the ads to Fortune 500 companies. But the problem with big firms, of course, is they have so much ad money to burn, they don't handpick sites, and overpower the ones they choose, making them spammy (off-topic and/or often-repeated ads). Microsoft Vista has nothing to do with my site, for example. Banned.
The other problem is I won't even know (!) which companies are targeting my website. Sure, I might know a few, when I visit my own site, but we all know that Google ads allow geotargeting, and that we never see all the advertisers, even for our own country. It's bad enough with contextual ads; site targetting just makes it worse.
Google refuses to disclose the list of which ads it intends to serve or previously served on your site. So you could have some scam or nonsense acting as a parasite and not be able to do a damn thing. It just seems like a lot of control to give one company in blind faith which can affect your site's rep/image.
The idea that an advertiser can make a campaign just to target your site can be flattering if it's a great company, but annoying if it's bogus. I would want to approve not only a company which wanted to build a campaign around my site, but also its individual ads. However, there's always a two-edged sword with Adsense. Google has to work on that.
Meanwhile I'm increasing the quality of my site so that firms will want to advertise on it. I like the idea of a bidding war to be on my turf. Want to smoke the competition so badly, they feel embarrassed at their sites, and when advertisers shop around for sites to target, they know where to start.
The other advantage, of course, is it allows you to try direct advertising, if and when you want to try that, or want to leave Adsense.
|I'm thinking of opening the door to site targeting. |
Isn't your site always open to direct advertising? I'm not sure how to turn off the 'Advertise directly on this Site' link under all of the ads on my site. There probably is a way but I have never wanted to turn it off.
It is very easy to filter out anyone running a bad campaign on your site and I don't think it would offend the advertiser if you did this as your site would probably be one of many that they have checked off in a list of sites to advertise on.
For example, the HR Block ads mentioned earlier were probably running on so many sites because it is very easy to do this. The direct advertising interface brings up a huge list of related sites and I think you can basically just 'select all' to run a huge campaign. No need to sit down and hand select sites.