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Site Targetting - A success story (part 2)
Now its getting weird
mzanzig




msg:3248351
 8:49 am on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

You might remember the recent thread on successfully running site targetted ads. At that time I was quite happy with it.

Now, here's an update.

Since Thursday I have been the target of site targeters, which is fine, but apparently their ad copy is too good to be true, in fact so good that almost everyone clicks the ads. Number of clicks went through the roof (of course without matching increase in earnings, because they are site-targeted and paid CPM). Needless to say, the overall EPC has dropped like a stone, but when separated (i.e. contextual/site-targeted) the figures look OK.

But there still is something fishy about this, because my click tracker seems to be unable to capture the clicks. I emailed Adsense support and offered any help.

Has anyone of you seen such a behaviour before? What could it be?

 

MikeNoLastName




msg:3248357
 9:12 am on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing the exact same thing (in fact that's the very reason I checked in here tonight). I just recently started offering the channel targeting option just this past week. Hopefully it's only an error in tracking on Adsense's part. I'm not seeing any ads that look different on the pages which show 100% targeted ads, unless it's in a different country? I'm getting 50-100% clickthrus as of mid-day Thursday only on the targeted ads, but they don't pay much. It was enough to triple my overall CPM though.
I notified Adsense that I was noticing some "odd clicking" on specific pages so hopefully they will look into it. In fact I already got a semi-generic answer back (since we're not allowed to post the exact content here I'm FORCED to paraphrase and "interpret" for them) that they can't tell us anything because everything is very hush-hush at this point, because they're still clueless as to the cause, but that they'll probably be adjusting all our totals back down sometime in the future to compensate for their screw-up.
I'm guessing someone in the tracking department set ALL impressions for targeted ads to positive for clickthru. Overall earnings are down considerably too, probably because someone duped them into showing all those G.D. cheapo targeted ads instead of the high paying contextual ads.

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:26 am (utc) on Feb. 10, 2007]

mzanzig




msg:3248386
 10:10 am on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

MNLN,

thank you very much for your info - at least I am not alone with this problem. :-) Let's see what Adsense support replies to me.

You see, I don't mind having CPM ads on my site, but if they mess up the stats like this, well, it's not fun.

iwannano1




msg:3248414
 11:52 am on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

My site targeting (it was up for first few days) is down but income is stable.

mifi601




msg:3248425
 12:14 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

It might have indeed something to do with channel targetting.

I have a travel forum where, starting yesterday my CTR went from around 1% average to 18% with no real increase in earnings.

I also got a little worried.

MikeNoLastName




msg:3248806
 9:07 pm on Feb 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

mifi,
Check each ad or adblock individiually. At some point you'll probably see, as I did, that certain blocks are in fact registering consistently 98-100% while the rest are not at all (or extremely low), resulting in the higher average overall which you are seeing.
I'm a little unclear on this site targeting option. When an advertiser does that: 1. are they guaranteed to be the only ad in the block. 2. Does it always look like a graphic or can it be text as well?
I'm not seeing ANY graphic ads on the pages where it says the site targeted ads are. Unfortunately the Adsense ad pre-viewer does not seem to work with showing site targeted ads, either in mine or other countries.
M

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:10 pm (utc) on Feb. 10, 2007]

robzilla




msg:3249232
 2:08 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

When an advertiser does that: 1. are they guaranteed to be the only ad in the block. 2. Does it always look like a graphic or can it be text as well?

1. No, there's no guarantee. From Google Adwords - All About Site-Targeted Ads [google.com]:
How do site-targeted campaigns compete for ranking with traditional keyword-targeted ads?
When site-targeted and keyword-targeted ads both are eligible for display in a given position, they compete equally for ranking. The AdWords ranking system takes into account the max CPM prices of all site-targeted ads, compares them to the combined cost-per-click prices and clickthrough rate of keyword-targeted ads, and then displays the highest-ranked ads.

2. It can also be text.

mifi601




msg:3249301
 4:58 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

each of my adblocks is a different channel.

The CTR for one particualr channel = 1 adblock went up 20 fold. That is HUGE imo.

It stayed up for yesterday and seems to be 'normal' by now. Earnings went up a little, but not nearly as much. maybe in the 2 to 5 % range, which over such a short period of time is not really significant, statistically.

mzanzig




msg:3249331
 5:48 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

It stayed up for yesterday and seems to be 'normal' by now.

Yep, I confirm that things seem to be 'normal' again for me as well. Both the site targeted ads as well as the associated unbelievably high CTR are gone. - Hopefully it stays that way. :-)

Thank you, Google, for fixing this.

mifi601




msg:3249342
 6:03 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

The high CTR is NOT gone - it stayed. What I meant was that the high CTR feels normal by now.

mifi601




msg:3249380
 6:45 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is too strange. I just checked back and the numbers seem to be changed. CTR for that channel back to the low single digits and I believe the actual clicks showing are much lower than when I checked before my previous post.

I am confused to say the least.

MikeNoLastName




msg:3249451
 9:03 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yep, we're back to normal too. Either someone bid an extremely high CPM for site targeting and then showed an ad like "Free $100 bills no strings attached", or GAd screwed up and had all channel targeted ads logging as an automatic clickthru. Or they're experimenting with some new site targeting option.

TammyJo




msg:3249460
 9:15 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Will these CPM or site targeted ads still show up if they have been filtered?

I filtered one last week and I still see it being shown on the site.

MikeNoLastName




msg:3249519
 10:36 pm on Feb 11, 2007 (gmt 0)

Check out this posting on the Adwords side. There might be a connection:
[webmasterworld.com...]

Maybe it's some sort of 'Quality Rating runaway' that occurs when either some type of browser accesses a page and automatically clicks on the ads over and over (browse-ahead?) or too many visitors click and adsense raises the Quality of the ad rapidly which in turn increases the amount of the ad's appearance, etc. In one sample channel affected the stats went from IMP=61 CTR=0 CPM=$1.97 typical (where site targeted CPM is about 1/2 that for context ads and the number of impressions for site targeted are about 1/10 that of context) to IMP=140 CTR=52.82% CPM=$26.72! (almost 9 times context CPM and 1/5 as many imps as context)

I guess it COULD happen quite legitimately if, like previously mentioned, one VERY good site targeted ad that everyone would click on, was targeted to an otherwise lackluster CPM page and GAd decided this page was a very good quality match and thus charged more. But if on the other hand the advertisers aren't really seeing that clickthru registered with GAd, then there is indeed a problem somewhere in the middle. The publisher gets blamed, the advertiser gets upset and drops the campaign and the ads go back to normal.

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 10:40 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2007]

mzanzig




msg:3249748
 5:27 am on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

mifi:

I just checked back and the numbers seem to be changed. CTR for that channel back to the low single digits and I believe the actual clicks showing are much lower than when I checked before my previous post.

Yes, same here - all the current figures seem to be back to their normal values. However, the 'historical values', i.e. the strange values of Thursday through Saturday, have stayed in the stats.

Mike:

"Free $100 bills no strings attached"

Well, that offer is too good to be true. I would certainly click the ad, just out of curiosity who might advertise such B.S. Maybe I'd even order some $100 bills (if free of charge), which would increase conversion rate as well. ;-)

or GAd screwed up and had all channel targeted ads logging as an automatic clickthru

Hmmmm. Sounds more like it. Like mifi, I am in travel niche as well, so there might be a connection, e.g. some advertisers targeting specifically for travel sites? That would explain why we are not seeing straight 100% CTR for all ads (some ads might not be coming from that new option, and might therefore not be logged as 'automatic clickthrough').

But if on the other hand the advertisers aren't really seeing that clickthru registered with GAd, then there is indeed a problem somewhere in the middle.

While at the very first moment I was thinking that someone might be mis-using my ID, I soon came to the conclusion that this is not possible, because then the page/ad numbers must have gone up as well (but traffic reported by Adsense stayed the same).

As I said, I am using a click tracker, and it failed to capture the clicks. If the click tracker does not capture the click, I assume the click never occured, at least not by a normal visitor browsing the site with a JavaScript enabled browser.

I'd put my money on "Adsense problem with new site targeting offer for Adwords customers (maybe beta), and the programmer forgot a few bytes of code to log pageviews and clicks correctly".

mzanzig




msg:3249769
 5:50 am on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

Could it be that all this is related to the new video stuff that they have been discussíng about in the thread "AdSense Testing 'Playlists' of Ads Publishers Can Choose" here?

[webmasterworld.com...]

The last post of netsnets in that thread sounds very very familiar...

i guess impressions are listed when someone plays the video, and conversions when someone sees an ad

That could explain the high number of clicks ("conversions") that we have been seeing - people are seeing a new attractive ad format, possibly with interesting content, and then viewing the ad? But could that also explain why the click tracker does not capture the clicks? A new ad code?

MikeNoLastName




msg:3251040
 9:09 am on Feb 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

If this is really a GAd bug, in the long run Google Adsense has made early adopters of this faulty channel site targeting look really, REALLY bad by this deceptively small mistake. Which means money out of OUR pockets, AS WELL AS THEIRS. As evidenced in the other forums, advertisers are getting really upset about specific PUBLISHERS (like us) whom they THINK are scamming them and the system and it's not even our fault! That means lost revenue for US down the road. G apparently isn't admitting any fault. I will definitely think twice about adopting future options early until they have been VERY WELL TESTED!

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:14 am (utc) on Feb. 13, 2007]

Zygoot




msg:3253798
 10:30 pm on Feb 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

Mostly I see less than 5-10 site targeted ad impressions a day but since yesterday it's more like a couple hundreds.

They seem to be paying quite well, the eCPM of these site targeting ad units is 3-4x higher than the eCPM of my contextual ad impressions.

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