Congrats, jbayabas! Rock on.
I completely agree with your suggestions to use Google Analytics [google.com] (and I'd suggest Webmaster Tools [google.com] as well). I'm also all for moving ads to the places on the page where users are most likely to see them. You can check out this heat map [google.com] to get a sense of which placements your users are probably paying the most attention to.
There's one point where I don't quite agree. While reducing the number of ads on your page might have worked for you in this case, it's a move I'd be wary of suggesting to others. We've found that publishers overwhelmingly do better with three ads than with one. There are always exceptions, but reducing the number of ads on your page is not something I'd personally recommend.
Seriously, congratulations on seeing your hard work pay off.
Anybody else have success stories or tips to share?
Congratulations on your success, it is refreshing to hear success stories in these tough times.
Not to highjack your thread, but, I must be one of those exceptions ASA referred to. As soon as I try to add more adblocks my CPC for those blocks plummets.
I'd go as far to say that my overall cpc eventually drops also.
I used to run a site with about 25 or more adblocks and when gradually, i cut them down my cpc and my total income increased. Over time I removed most of the remaining ads whenever faced with minor downturns and came to a point where a couple of ads on my best performing pages achieved reasonable stability for a couple of years.
The current downturn adds a new dimension, however.
I'm not advocating that what I did will work for everyone
[edited by: Scurramunga at 2:32 am (utc) on Mar. 21, 2009]
Small changes can have massive impact.
For me, 1 ad performs far better than 3.
I also agree that lesser ad performs better. That's also based from my experience and lots of testing. Congrats!
I've seen the less is more theory here for years on WebmasterWorld. It clearly doesn't work in all cases.
We made some changes about a week ago with the new custom search. The new search box a well as a change in placement has resulted in a four fold increase in revenue (although this is very small compared to other ad forms).
When you say 3 ads on one page do you mean three layouts or just 3 links?
"my Page CTR went up to 0.58% compared to my usual 0.25%."
That would relate to the number of ads shown. I think you’re losing on that end. If it was no change, or some improvement the number should be .75 or higher. Those extra ad blocks lower on the page were bringing in lower paying ads so you’re not seeing those now. That would explain the higher ECPM. Correct?
>>When you say 3 ads on one page do you mean three layouts or just 3 links?
I believe program rules allow a maximum of:
2 Custom Search Boxes
|I believe program rules allow a maximum of: |
2 Custom Search Boxes
Up to 3 AdLinks are allowed per page
I use 1 regular ad units and 1 link unit. As far as I know, link units don't suffer from the 'lower paying ads get shown after the first unit'-issue, because they take the visitor to an entirely new ad landing page.
I did some tests recently and also found less ads performed better.
My theory is that when there are text ads - the ads that are higher on the page pay more (I believe ads are displayed in order of the advertisers max CPC right?). When there are more ads on the page, there are more low paying ads - so even though u might get more clicks when more ads are on the page, they are often lower paying.
When I have less ads on a page, my average CPM is much higher, but my CTR is lower - overall I'm making more.
I mean no offense here ASA - but I hear your message quite often on adsense blogs about placing more ads but I constantly see in forums people saying less ads is performing better. I wonder if it is just google policy to promote people to place more ads ;) I can imagine that would be a good thing to get more advertiser impressions.
Congratulations, you have experimented and found a formula that has doubled you site income. Continue to experiment, there's more gold in them there hills!
|I joined Google Analytics. The program is integrated with Adsense. Adsense gets an accurate reporting about my visitors so I believe it's the reason why it bumps my eCPM. |
I find that hard to believe. If that were the case, we would have heard this from other people. I think the reduction in the # of adblocks is sufficient explanation.
Great ASA. Now we are encouraged to smother the visual hot spot with ads.
Are you also suggesting that we remove the content too and disable the back button - I hear those trick greatly increase ctr. No we can't do that since that would be the same as domain parking.
Sailorjwd, it's your job as a publisher to decide what's acceptable to your audience. Surely you aren't ready to abdicate that responsibility to Google?
sailorjwd and signor_john
All ASA is pointing out is that webmasters need to experiment and figure out what works on their sites. I run three ads on each page but the pages look clean because the ads are relatively small, but well placed.
The average page has about 1,200 words on it, so each page is very long and if anything the pages look pretty empty of advertisements.
Ya, I figured out what is acceptable about 4 years ago - one ad mostly and occasionally two on larger pages. I just felt that originally Google encouraged smothering the visual hot spot with ads and then they backed away from that recommendation and it is funny to hear ASA encourage it again now.
Pretty soon they'll be encouraging arbitrage again :)
Well I have to agree with ASA on this one.
At the top half of my page I have the navigation on the outsides and the content between them(free software download site). On the bottom half of the page(entire page is above the fold) I have 3 blended 250x300 adblocks set to image and text. I thought the same thing less maybe more and put a 728x90 in their place, a total disaster! The downloads average 2 minutes and the general user only starts one download at a time. Nothing else to do but read the ads that are specifically targeted to the page content. b2b> b2b sports>sports etc 10 pages, any ad that does not fall under the subject matter is blocked (lots of work) The users were actually disappointed that there wasn't enough ads for them to read through and pick one, imagine that!
Pre recession this was a multiple 6 figure site with evergreen content now it's down to mid five figures. Hanging in there just very a painful position right now. (I do this full time and yes I have 10 more sites but that is the breadwinner)
Also the Advertiser money is there but my CTR is 30% of what it used to be. People just don't have the money so they don't click but the still take the free software, just going to have to wait it out.
[edited by: Khensu at 5:48 pm (utc) on Mar. 22, 2009]
Anybody else have success stories or tips to share?
ASA, I would share my story if I considered it a "real" success.
Earnings are good for me but what's stopping me from calling it a "success" is the complete lack of any certainty regarding the income due to a specific factor: smart pricing.
I understand it might be a useful tool but the fact the publishers have no kind of knowledge or control about it and still are penalized for it causes too much "instability" in the system.
An ad that doesn't convert well might have a million causes, among them:
- Google delivered an ad that wasn't exactly in theme with the content
- The ad was misleading and the landing page showed a product the user didn't expect
- The landing page itself is badly designed and doesn't help conversion
... and so on. But it is the publisher that get penalized and no one else.
I could add I find unfair that it is the entire Adsense account that get smart priced, including sites without low conversion.
Also, if the ultimate goal of an ad should be to convert, why doesn't google give us more information so we can take the appropriate actions about it and improve it?
|I mean no offense here ASA - but I hear your message quite often on adsense blogs about placing more ads but I constantly see in forums people saying less ads is performing better. I wonder if it is just google policy to promote people to place more ads I can imagine that would be a good thing to get more advertiser impressions. |
I'm happy to talk to some folks here about the more vs. fewer ad units question. The one thing I'd say is that what's best for you in this case is what's best for us. We don't want to just generate ad impressions, we want to provide great value to advertisers so they'll keep investing in Google's Content Network.
|Ya, I figured out what is acceptable about 4 years ago - one ad mostly and occasionally two on larger pages. I just felt that originally Google encouraged smothering the visual hot spot with ads and then they backed away from that recommendation and it is funny to hear ASA encourage it again now. |
I have to agree with signor_john on this one. I'm not encouraging anyone to smother anything. I'm trying to give you tools to make the best decisions for your site's users, but you need to choose what's best for your users.
Just to follow up, I asked the experts. In general, we've found that more ads will give you higher revenue per impression.
Of course, YMMV. That's why we give you the tools to test different strategies on pages using channels.
I would like to perform a similar experiment on websites I run, but downloading, amending and uploading files from a large scale website which does not have a CMS can be a bit of a chore.
Can you tell me if I would be violating the AdSense TOS if I were to place a "display:hidden" command into my CSS in order to switch on and off the AdSense units? Each of my AdSense units has it's own class or ID attached and being able to control the units via CSS would save me a hell of a time and allow me to perform many more experiments with AdSense.
Thanks in advance.
FWIW, I'm approaching my 6th anniversary with AdSense. I have AdSense on a number of sites on a variety of unrelated topics, layouts, etc.
I've tried the "less is more" approach.
I've tried the "more is best" approach.
Result: For any given site on any given day, I wouldn't bet the farm on whether "less" or
"more" is better.
If I had an extra hour today to spend on testing the "less" approach vs. the "more" approach, I'd decline and instead spend the hour making one of my sites better for my visitors.
Back to work.
This thread just got a shout out from @adsense on Twitter. :)
I've participated in that program where someone at Adsense takes a look at your site and makes suggestions. I've participated twice I think.
I was hoping for some real meat-and-potatoes kind of thing where they would refer you to the heat map, explain positioning, give you some examples of other sites that they knew about that implemented Adsense well. Instead all I ever got was just paste extra Adsense units on your pages. I never once saw any evidence that doing this marginally or substantially improved income for my site. It just made my site look more spammy (oh yeah, they were big on using image ads too).
The last time they offered to let me participate in this program I just ignored the invitation.
It's been a month since I first posted this thread so I'd like to give you an update.
So far, my earning is steady and doing very very well. I expected it to go down because of the economy but surprisingly, my daily earning is up, sometimes way up.
I can't pinpoint exactly what I am doing right. Perhaps I am getting many advertisers because of great content? Or because of the ad placement changes that I made? Or the lesser number of ads on a page? Or Google Analytics? I honestly don't know.
All I can say is that the changes that I made seem to be working so I'm sticking to it and not make any more changes.
But I'm not advocating that what I did will work for everyone. Just experiment and experiment and see what works for your site.