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What is Quality Content in Relation to Smart Pricing?
What is the Best Definition of Quality When We Speak of Smart Pricing?
martinibuster




msg:3338880
 1:31 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

In another thread someone said this about smart pricing:
Sending through a lower volume of high quality, pre-qualified traffic...

I think the part people may get hung up on is how they define high quality and prequalified. I have seen some people refer to the authority of their content in explaining the high quality of it, in the context of detailing the the sad state of their AdSense earnings. But are we sure that the authoritativeness of the content has much to do with the quality of it in the context of smart pricing?

For instance, will authoritative content about the cosmos written by a PHD in astronomy translate into sales of telescopes or Discovery Channel DVDs? Or will those ads generally go uncliked, despite the "high quality" of the content?

  • Is there really a connection between the authority of the content and conversions?
  • Or is the quality of the content tied closer to the topic and it's relation to buying and selling products?

What is your opinion on authority in the context of Smart Pricing?

What is the best definition of Quality when we speak of Smart Pricing?

 

koan




msg:3338907
 2:38 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

My opinion on quality in relation to smart pricing may be how effective your content is to motivate someone to actually go through what is required by the advertisers, such as buying something or registering to a web site and such.

So an astronomy article may be authoritative on the subject and have a high position in Google SERP, but if it only brings curious clickers who will never by a telescope, it might get smart priced, as opposed to an article on telescopes where people are reading up before buying something.

That's how I view it. It's like StumbleUpon's traffic. They can bring thousands of people in one day and none of them will ever check out the rest of the site or sign up, etc. They're just wasting a few minutes checking out something that seems fun, not really exploring a site in depth. It wouldn't be worth more than a few cents each.

celgins




msg:3338912
 2:48 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is there really a connection between the authority of the content and conversions?

I don't think so. If pages containing ads were manually reviewed and their sources researched, then maybe an authority factor would weigh more. For example, MB's observation of an article written by a PhD would hold more weight than an article written by a non-experienced high school student.

But ad-serving is automated and based on keywords and other factors. This leads me to believe that Smart Pricing is more connected to hard conversions and the site's history of converting.

I believe websites with the highest conversion rates are those which sell tangible products... (ie. computer equipment, restaurant coupons, online dating subscriptions, airline tickets, etc.), but I also believe Google keeps a track record of conversions to scale a sites' overall conversion rate.

For example, a site may start off with a conversion rate of "10" and have it lowered to "9" if no conversions take place after some specified interval. The lower this conversion rate, the more the site is Smart Priced.

ken_b




msg:3338916
 3:01 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

What is your opinion on authority in the context of Smart Pricing?

What is Quality Content in Relation to Smart Pricing?

I'm not sure that quality and authority are interchangeable in the context of AdSense.

From a Smart Pricing perspective a "quality" page probably raises questions or issues for which the advertiser provides the answer.

I don't think that "Authority" on a topic is always needed to raise questions or those issues. I'm not even sure that being an authority on a topic is always an advantage.

europeforvisitors




msg:3338928
 3:27 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

When Smart Pricing was launched, Google talked about type of content, but in the context of whether clicks from a page would convert, not the quality or authoritative nature of the page itself.

The examples given were:

LIKELY TO CONVERT: Clicks from ads in a camera review.

LESS LIKELY TO CONVERT: Clicks from ads in a page of photo tips.

We can assume that Google has gathered a lot of conversion data since Smart Pricing went public in June, 2004, and the Smart Pricing algorithm may be more sophisticated now than it was back then.

Another factor that's seldom discussed here, but that ought to be considered, is whether the type of content plays a role in what share of net revenue from an ad goes to the publisher. If Google wanted to discourage junk sites and encourage content that's useful to visitors (and to Google searchers), one obvious way of doing that would be to use a "quality score" of some kind based on type of content, readership statistics (e.g., whether users leave a page immediately or stick around), and--conceivably--"TrustRank" or "authority" data from Google Search. Publishers with higher quality scores might receive bigger payouts than publishers of made-for-AdSense sites. Mind you, this is pure conjecture, but so are answers to questions about quality of content in relation to smart pricing.

Eazygoin




msg:3339057
 9:25 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am not sure that the correct angle on Smart Pricing has been tackled in many of the threads on it.

There are a considerable number of anomalies to take into account, were this to be the case.

Firstly, how would Google know if a conversion had taken place? For example, many users browse a page, save it to favourites, and return to it later. I, for one, often look at a page, save it, look at others, and then return to buy something.

Secondly, would saving a page to favourites not be considered an action worthy of a click?

If clicks were smartpriced to such an extent, how come some clicks come in at 2 cents and others at 2 dollars, displayed on the same page.

There are a number of websites that advertise on Google who don't even offer things for sale, but want to advise on information, such as the new home buyers guide in the UK.

I believe that if smartpricing were that prominant, then there would be many more PSA's showing on websites.

Hobbs




msg:3339078
 10:57 am on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

To build a smartpricing algo based on the data they have is like drawing whiskers on a duck and calling it cat. And I hear the quacking every time there is an unexpected EPC fluctuation, no matter how much kitty litter they spread.

Perhaps with the latest and some future acquisitions, they would be able to access more reliable data, right now it's still a duck.

sailorjwd




msg:3339112
 12:13 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Let me preface this by saying I don't even now if my site is being smart priced.

I think authorative content could be a negative factor in terms of the value of click throughs. Since I would think an authorative site is where you'd want to go to get the Answer, Product, or Service you're looking for - no reason to go further.

I believe that G is smart pricing particular visitors. (As said above): Yesterday I had a nearly $xx click 1st thing in the morning, followed by 5c clicks rest of the day. The only thing that changed was the visitors (and likely the ads), content is the same. this was on a single page of my website.

europeforvisitors




msg:3339159
 1:38 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Firstly, how would Google know if a conversion had taken place?

Google doesn't have to know if a conversion has taken place. Google merely needs to estimate whether, based on data about the type of content, user time on site, etc., a conversion is likely to take place.

Secondly, would saving a page to favourites not be considered an action worthy of a click?

It might be, depending on how "conversion" is defined. (In one of its early explanations of AdWords/AdSense conversion tracking, Google stated that a conversion could be a transaction or other "business action" such as a registration, viewing of a certain number of pages, etc., depending on the advertiser's chosen definition of "conversion.")

If clicks were smartpriced to such an extent, how come some clicks come in at 2 cents and others at 2 dollars, displayed on the same page.

Different ads, different bids.

There are a number of websites that advertise on Google who don't even offer things for sale, but want to advise on information, such as the new home buyers guide in the UK.

See "definition of 'conversion'" above.

I believe that if smartpricing were that prominant, then there would be many more PSA's showing on websites.

It's likely that there would be far more PSAs if Smart Pricing didn't exist, because the pool of advrtisers and ads would be smaller. By tying price to actual value (or anticipated value, based on Google's statistical data), Smart Pricing makes the Content Network more appealing than it would be if advertisers had to pay full retail for low-quality traffic.

Eazygoin




msg:3339175
 2:04 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Google doesn't have to know if a conversion has taken place. Google merely needs to estimate whether, based on data about the type of content, user time on site, etc., a conversion is likely to take place.

This sounds a bit like Crystal Ball stuff to me. Taking into account so many anomalies such as time on page, how many pages seen, location, etc. etc. is just too much to expect a 'likelihood of conversion' taking place.

Yes, I agree that anomolies can be considered, BUT not leading to a 'likely conversion', but more of a 'general interest' in what they clicked on, rather than a click and then close the page after 2 seconds.

europeforvisitors




msg:3339240
 3:29 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

This sounds a bit like Crystal Ball stuff to me. Taking into account so many anomalies such as time on page, how many pages seen, location, etc. etc. is just too much to expect a 'likelihood of conversion' taking place.

From Google:

We are constantly analyzing data across our network, and if our data shows that a click is less likely to turn into business results (e.g. online sale, registration, phone call, newsletter sign-up), we may reduce the price you pay for that click....We take into account many factors such as what keywords or concepts triggered the ad, as well as the type of site on which the ad was served.

More at:

https://adwords.google.com/select/news/sa_mar04.html

annej




msg:3339256
 3:42 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Am I right in thinking that smart pricing is set account wide? I can see which pages get the most click rates but it appears the smart pricing is the same.

I can see if the page is about a widgeting pattern that more people click which makes sense as the ads are mostly about widgeting supplies. I'm sure the conversions would be better too. But I can't see how AdSense would be able to see the difference if Smart Pricing is account wide. Many of my pages are the academic type article that were discussed earlier in this thread.

zett




msg:3339274
 4:01 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

By tying price to actual value (or anticipated value, based on Google's statistical data), Smart Pricing makes the Content Network more appealing than it would be if advertisers had to pay full retail for low-quality traffic.

More appealing? For whom? The users? I am not so sure, and I can not share your excitement on SmartPricing. The MFAs? Absolutely. For Google? Very likely.

I'd like to reverse the scenario: first, Google cleans up the content network (publishers), then Google increases bid prices for advertisers. The whole SmartPricing thing (i.e. "we estimate how likely a conversion is") could be disabled.

martinibuster




msg:3339288
 4:12 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Am I right in thinking that smart pricing is set account wide?

A bit off topic, but we had a thread about that a month or so ago and many members provided compelling arguments and anecdotal evidence to believe that it is not account wide.

europeforvisitors




msg:3339319
 4:37 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

More appealing? For whom? The users? I am not so sure, and I can not share your excitement on SmartPricing.

More appealing for advertisers, obviously. Users don't care what price was paid for a click.

And BTW, I don't feel any "excitement" about Smart Pricing. It's just a fact of life, so arguing about whether it should or shouldn't exist is a waste of breath. I am inclined to think that Smart Pricing is a good idea, though I like the idea of site-targeted contextual ads (which are coming soon) even better.

netmeg




msg:3339324
 4:38 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

It's an interesting question, but judging just from my own sites and experiences, not one I could begin to even guess about. My sites are all informational; none sell any particular product. The busiest site is an event listing site specific to my state. Ads that are specific to that actual type of event are not likely to appeal to most of the users - they are more targeted to the people who actually put on the events than the ones who are looking to attend them. I only know what types of ads I see when I pull up the site, and those tend to be a wide variety of goods and services specific to my state - but in no other way particularly targeted to the theme of my site. So how can anyone (including me) measure the quality of my site? I don't know - I get clicks of $1-$5 per click every day, but of course I have no idea where specifically they're coming from; I don't even know if the ads I see are at all the same ads that other people see when they come to the site. I'd like to know a little more about it though, because I'd like to bring some of my other sites up to performing as well and as consistently as the bigger one.

oddsod




msg:3339401
 6:30 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

What is Quality Content in Relation to Smart Pricing

An MFA site is probably "quality content" if its visitors are more likely to convert than the traffic to your carefully researched, professionally written articles (who all happen to be broke students researching their term paper).

europeforvisitors




msg:3339454
 7:36 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

An MFA site is probably "quality content" if its visitors are more likely to convert than the traffic to your carefully researched, professionally written articles (who all happen to be broke students researching their term paper).

1) That's a big "if."

2) I've never heard of an article that was a student researching a term paper. :-)

nomis5




msg:3339484
 8:25 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Define smart pricing, convince us that you have a hold on exactly what it is, when it comes into effect, and the effects it has, then it's worth comparing to quality content. But if we cant't define reasonably precisely what smart pricing is then comparison is pointless. Smart pricing probably doesn't exist, normal market forces do exist.

europeforvisitors




msg:3339486
 8:30 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Smart pricing probably doesn't exist

From the AdWords Help Center:

With Google's smart pricing, we'll automatically adjust the price of a content click. If we find that an ad on a content site is less likely to produce results, we may reduce the cost of your ad below the minimum bid assigned to it.

ronin




msg:3339508
 9:09 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it's probably helpful to distinguish between the concepts of quality traffic and quality content.

The former is traffic which yields conversions for the merchants - assuming that the merchant site converts - while the latter is well researched, useful, original information. These are two completely different things.

Quality content may or may not yield quality traffic.

Likewise, low-quality content may or may not yield quality traffic.

In an ideal universe all quality content pages send quality traffic while MFAs never do. But we know that isn't going to be the case.

Pages which send quality traffic (ie. people looking to buy) are most likely to be pages which people read as preparation for buying something.

So... an amateurish page which compares credit cards, for instance, is going to be most heavily visited (we might assume) by people looking to obtain a new credit card. Consequently the traffic that it sends through adsense panels advertising credit cards is going to be higher quality (ie. more likely to convert) than an identical panel appearing next to a high quality online newspaper article talking about how the population has never been so up to its eyeballs on credit card debt.

In this case the page with quality content yields lower quality adsense traffic than the low-quality page.

europeforvisitors




msg:3339518
 9:21 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Ronin, you're comparing apples to oranges. The motives of the two audiences are completely different: One audience is looking for credit cards, while the other is reading an analysis of credit-card debt. The quality of the content is beside the point.

That doesn't mean a "quality factor" may not be at work, in terms of smart pricing and/or publisher payout. But it's a separate issue from the question of what the page is about and what the audience is looking for.

martinibuster




msg:3339529
 9:29 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>The quality of the content is beside the point.

It's the topic of this thread. ;)

ronin makes excellent points.

oddsod




msg:3339548
 9:55 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

So it's agreed then that the way to make more money is to concentrate on conversion potential rather than quality content? To monitor the quality of your page - maybe even reduce it bit by bit - to see at what level you're getting the higher conversions? (Time consuming if you're dependent on Google reading conversions and adjusting payout, but there's always eCPM to work from).

Depending on the sources of your traffic, your subject area, and CTR your optimum "quality level" could be at MFA or ... Encyclopedia Britannica.?

[edited by: oddsod at 9:56 pm (utc) on May 14, 2007]

europeforvisitors




msg:3339549
 9:56 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

Martinibuster, the quality of the content is beside the point in the examples that Ronin gave, simply because the comparison wasn't about quality (it was a comparison of two different types of content and audiences).

I'm not suggesting that quality is beside the point in this discussion. Indeed, I talked about a possible "quality score" in an earlier post, and it wouldn't surprise me a bit if AdSense took Google Search factors such as TrustRank or "authority" status into account when calculating Smart Pricing discounts and/or publisher payout. And if that isn't happening yet, it probably should at some point, because it would go a long way toward starving out publishers whose sites are "made for AdSense" (a term that I use broadly, not just to mean scrapers or click arbitrageurs).

oddsod




msg:3339551
 9:58 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

it wouldn't surprise me a bit if AdSense took Google Search factors such as TrustRank or "authority" status into account when calculating Smart Pricing

It would surprise me enormously (particularly as I never heard them announce this in public). And if they do introduce this please visit my BuySellGoogleTrust.com site and buy your massive traffic MFA a few steps up the smartpricing ladder.

ronin




msg:3339612
 11:52 pm on May 14, 2007 (gmt 0)

the quality of the content is beside the point

Yes, precisely. What matters is the audience demographic which is attracted to the page and visits the page in the largest numbers. I'll freely admit that I'm making educated (as opposed to idle) speculation here, but, I'll reiterate, I suspect it is quality traffic that counts here, not quality content.

That is not to say that quality content is an irrelevancy. I don't think you'll get very far in the organic SERPS for instance if you don't research and write original and useful information. But I don't think quality content per se has much bearing on smart pricing.

it wouldn't surprise me a bit if AdSense took Google Search factors such as TrustRank or "authority" status into account when calculating Smart Pricing discounts and/or publisher payout.

Nor me if we were talking about pre-IPO Google with its mission to re-academise the web. But we're not, we're talking about post-IPO Google and while I think that Google still maintains that ideal to some degree, I also think that - more often than not - it plays second fiddle to other real-world concerns like providing returns for its shareholders, so it can keep raising equity to fight off the behemoth from Redmond and other contenders.

iamlost




msg:3339627
 12:11 am on May 15, 2007 (gmt 0)


So it's agreed then that the way to make more money is to concentrate on conversion potential rather than quality content?

Not exactly.

If you are putting contextual advertising on a page the aim of the content shifts from being simply a quality answer to a quality answer plus encouragement/reason to click an ad link.

Shift from teacher to teacher-salesperson. A good sales pitch can educate while it sells. And up-sells. And re-sells.

What seperates 'smart pricing quality content' from 'quality content' is presentation designed to convert as well as inform.

I would paraphrase oddsod: ...the way to make more money is to concentrate on conversion potential when writing quality content?


I think it's probably helpful to distinguish between the concepts of quality traffic and quality content.

The former is traffic which yields conversions for the merchants - assuming that the merchant site converts - while the latter is well researched, useful, original information. These are two completely different things.

ronin is absolutely correct. But also misleading.

From a straight ROI viewpoint quality traffic is converting traffic.
Quality - well researched, useful, original information - content may convert, or it may not. However, in the context of this thread the definition of 'quality' content must also include its conversion rate.

If you have no interest in conversion, you have no interest in contextual ads. Once the ads become part of the page, they become part of the content. ROI becomes a quality content factor. To leave conversion or ROI out of the definition of quality content in this context is misleading.


but, I'll reiterate, I suspect it is quality traffic that counts here, not quality content.

The traffic won't convert if the content doesn't make the sale.

europeforvisitors




msg:3339634
 12:35 am on May 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

The traffic won't convert if the content doesn't make the sale.

Or if the content doesn't help to prequalify leads by filtering out readers who aren't interested in the products or services being advertised.

Let's go back to Google's example of a camera review. That camera review, assuming that it's legitimate, is likely to deliver more qualified leads than a scaper page does, because the latter merely passes along search-engine traffic. What's more, the scraper site is, most likely, set up to encourage clickthroughs whether or not the user is interested in the product or service that's being advertised. This means the scraper site's leads are, in many cases, the opposite of prequalified leads: They're clicks by users who have no idea what they're doing, not by users who go looking for a dealer (via the AdSense ads) after they've read a review.

A quality site will also tend to draw a more committed audience than a scraper or MFA site does, all other things being equal. Let's say you've got a respected site about cruising, and one of your articles is a review of Elbonian steamboat cruising aboard the SS WIDGETONIA. Thanks to the quality of your content, you attract an audience of people who are serious about cruising and routinely use your site as a place to research their cruise purchases. The quality of your content contributes directly to the quality of your audience and the traffic that you send to advertisers.

What I've just said is nothing new; it's a basic principle of publishing and advertising. It's why publications like GOURMET, CAR AND DRIVER, POPULAR PHOTOGRAPHY, and INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY attract better-quality ads and higher CPMs than no-name, low-quality publications do. Quality really does pay off, for publishers and for advertisers.

runrunrun




msg:3339691
 2:20 am on May 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

One has to wonder how "smart" smart pricing is when Adsense seems to do a pretty crude job of associating the best ads with content. Smart pricing seems to assume that Google has the ability to make sophisticated judgments, to determine which sites will likely lead to conversions, and which won't. But when you look at the associations Adsense makes, they are quite literal and show no real signs of subtlety.

This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55 ( [1] 2 > >
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