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Ad blindness or Ad familiarity
Is either one of those a problem?
farmboy




msg:4046457
 2:56 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've read here where some people theorize that "Ad blindness" is a reason why some publishers have seen some declines in revenue.

What about ad familiarity? Do repeat visitors see the same ads again and again when they visit our sites? Is there any indication that Google stops showing an ad to a visitor (A) after a visitor has clicked on the ad or (B) after a visitor has seen an ad X number of times without clicking.

(Yes, I know some people need to see an ad multiple times before being motivated to act. But after some number of impressions, it's probably a good idea to assume the person isn't interested and show other ads instead.)

FarmBoy

 

Lame_Wolf




msg:4046483
 4:12 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thing is, how do you know which visitor is or isn't interested ?

I change colours or sizes sometimes, but if it ain't broke...

celgins




msg:4046529
 5:17 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think ad blindness is a growing concern for Google, Adsense publishers, and any advertiser who uses the Content network.

As users become more Internet savvy, image and text ads have appeared to become "ignored parts of a page," rather than a highlighted offer generated by the page's keywords.

IMO, online advertising has progressed in three stages: 1) Initial marketing efforts included the newness of contextual advertising. Those flashy banners and targeted text ads were fresh, and everybody clicked; 2) Once branding, familiarity and name recognition set in, user click-throughs leveled off. In other words, "I know it's an ad for a particular item, and if I'm interested, I'll click. If, however, the ad isn't well-targeted and consists of junk words, I will totally ignore it;" 3) Ad blindness, which includes users ignoring ads and ad-spaces, is the avenue I think we're venturing down now.

An "ad-space", IMO, is a location on page where a user is accustomed to seeing ads. Many users I've observed no longer look at those areas because they know ads are there, and no matter what is being advertised, they're not interested. This is akin to the popular left-navigation pane of a website, which we all know is recommended for left-to-right readers.

For those sites that re-position ads and still experience ad blindness, I think it could be due to the over familiarity. How many of us really pay attention to big brand name television commercials? We already know what they're offering and if we're interested, we will buy. If not, we ignore.

Either way, I don't know if Google will ever stop serving an unclicked ad after so many impressions. It might be something they would want to investigate though.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4046534
 5:33 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

We ought to have the ability to use different sizes like premium publishers have. That will freshen things up a lot.

Clear out the MFA / scraped sites. It is giving Google a bad name IMO.

Ban any advertiser *immediately* that redirects their advert.

Make it more difficult to add the code to other sites. (This should stop a lot of people who get approved with one site, then make lots of spammy sites).

Update the algo so we have more related adverts. I am in a niche that has tons of related adverts, yet often see adverts totally unrelated. (This has always been a problem - not because of personalised searches).

Doing all this will give Google a better name, and people will more than likely click on them.

farmboy




msg:4046535
 5:35 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thing is, how do you know which visitor is or isn't interested ?

I was thinking Google might take care of that.

FarmBoy

farmboy




msg:4046537
 5:50 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think ad blindness is a growing concern for Google, Adsense publishers, and any advertiser who uses the Content network.

You know, that's really not something that concerns me. Newspapers and magazines have placed ads beside content for centuries and "ad blindness" didn't seem to be an issue. I still see advertising of various types in newspapers and magazines.

Sure, a lot of newspapers and some magazines are having a hard time now, but that's because they are having to share ad revenue with the Internet and the quality of content they present to readers. It's not an ad blindness issue. I advertise in magazines and people respond.

FarmBoy

dataguy




msg:4046549
 6:41 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I think the immediate rise in CTR after font size changes were allowed, and the subsequent gradual decline in the following weeks, indicates ad blindness is a real issue.

I'm 3 days into testing something. Four years ago I decided the standard rectangular AdSense ads were ugly and detracted from my site. I ended up putting borderless ads in the center cell of a 3x3 table, allowing me to use 8 separate images in the surrounding cells to create rounded-corner borders.

Then comes Google, offering rounded corners as an option. I decided to just continue using my own rounded corners but they look almost completely identical to Google's rounded corners.

This past week I was adding Christmas graphics to my site to get into the Christmas spirit (better late than never I guess.) Then I got the idea, why not put red bows on the corners of the borders? They look festive, and they don't draw undue attention to the ads, but if you're used to seeing the standard AdSense everywhere, they would likely make you look twice.

With 2 full days of data in, CTR has increased about 15-20%. Not bad at all. Now I'm wondering what I'm going to replace the red bows with after Christmas. New Year's fireworks? Valentines hearts?

signor_john




msg:4046552
 7:18 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd guess that whether ad blindness is a problem depends, to a great degree, on what the user is doing when he sees an ad, and whether the ad offers something that he's actively looking for.

In other words:

- If the user is researching a widget purchase, has just read a positive review of the Widgetco W-1 widget at widget-reviews.example.com, and sees an ad at widget-reviews.example.com that says "free shipping on Widgetco W-1 widgets," there's a reasonable chance that he'll click on the ad because it meets his immediate need.

- On the other hand, if the reader is just skimming a news article about widgets while bouncing from story to story on the Sci/Tech page of Google News, he may not even see that ad--or, if he does, it probably won't register on his consciousness.

To some degree, user motivation has always been a factor in CTR, but I'd guess that it's even more important now that AdSense ads are ubiquitous instead of being novelties.

[edited by: incrediBILL at 7:33 pm (utc) on Dec. 20, 2009]
[edit reason] exemplified [/edit]

incrediBILL




msg:4046578
 8:03 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'm finding it interesting that during a down economy with record unemployment, aka no money to spend, that people are thinking it's the ads that are the problem.

I think it's the lack of jobs and money.

People are more worried about making the next mortgage payment and feeding their brood than they are clicking ads on the internet.

When the economy is fully back on it's feet and the ads still aren't paying well, then you know it's something about the ads.

Also don't forget those good paying US ads are worth a lot less now than they used to be for people in CA, AU and the UK thanks to the exchange rates.

ken_b




msg:4046584
 8:24 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

When the economy is fully back on it's feet and the ads still aren't paying well, then you know it's something about the ads.

And some ads are paying better than ever now, for some of us when they do get clicked, if you go by the EPC is UP posts around here.

incrediBILL




msg:4046600
 8:48 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

And some ads are paying better than ever now

Merchants offering to pay more for end of year shoppers

Google's recent culling of junk sites and advertisers

With less outlets, Google will push more higher paying ads first

Not to mention sites with higher quality scores will get higher quality paying ads

signor_john




msg:4046657
 11:19 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not to mention sites with higher quality scores will get higher quality paying ads

Some of us have speculated about the possibility that Google has publisher "quality scores" that might affect ad allocation, compensation rates, etc. Has Google ever given any indication that it does have such scores? (If not, it probably should, since that would be in the best interests of advertisers and the network.)

zdgn




msg:4046664
 11:39 pm on Dec 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Some of us have speculated about the possibility that Google has publisher "quality scores"

Doesn't Google already have a "quality score" for websites (PageRank)?

KenB




msg:4046678
 12:02 am on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google has countless ways to calculate "quality scores" for AdSense websites and everyone had better believe that they use them. The whole thing AdSense is built upon is about putting the right ad in front of users based on the webpage being displayed. By inference this means Google must be making some calculation about the qualities of the webpage & website.

celgins




msg:4046710
 2:06 am on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

You know, that's really not something that concerns me. Newspapers and magazines have placed ads beside content for centuries and "ad blindness" didn't seem to be an issue. I still see advertising of various types in newspapers and magazines.

Yes--but I think that has to do with the fact that newspapers and magazines can vary their ads sizes, colors, layout, etc. That, alone, disrupts ad blindness. Especially when the same ads don't appear in the same spots (ad spaces) day after day, week after week. Some ads do, but many do not.

Like Lame_Wolf and others suggested, if more custom variations were available for publishers, maybe ad blindness would be an irrelevant discussion.

Has Google ever given any indication that it does have such scores?

Not that I know of. But like many publishers, I wish there were such a thing.

incrediBILL




msg:4046730
 2:49 am on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

By inference this means Google must be making some calculation about the qualities of the webpage & website.

Which explains why 2 sites with roughly the same traffic and CTR can result in 1 site making $10/day while the other site makes $200/day.

The source of that traffic is also a factor of the quality of the traffic, yet another consideration impacting EPC.

Newspapers and magazines have placed ads beside content for centuries and "ad blindness" didn't seem to be an issue.

Newspapers and magazines also didn't have millions of people using Firefox running the AdBlock add-on automatically zapping AdSense ads either.

Additionally, the truly paranoid run NoScript disabling all javascript, which includes AdSense.

Ads missing in the first place due to technological interference is far worse than "ad blindness" where you still have a chance someone might see the ads.

I think part of the decline in ads can easily be attributed to the increase in Firefox usage and those add-ons.

KenB




msg:4046731
 3:14 am on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

I used to run some very draconian ad-blocking countermeasures on my site. My focus on detecting and blocking those who blocked ads on my site would probably rival incrediBILL's obsession with bad bots. After a year or two of tracking ad-blocking behavior I came to the conclusion it was an overblown issue.

If the primary ad models were CPM, then yes I'd agree ad-blocking was costing websites ad revenues. From what I have read, only about 2% of users actually ever click on ads. I suspect, that those who go to the trouble of installing add-ons to block ads aren't part of that 2% to begin with so we aren't really losing that much revenue from ad-blocking. Now if ad-blocking is being implemented at a network level (e.g. by corporate or school IT department) or being enabled by default by other "security" tools (like Zone Alarm Plus used to do), then yes ad-blocking would be a concern.

I'm sure I've seen a drop in ad impressions due to school districts implementing content filters because a large percentage of my traffic is educational based, HOWEVER, by in large, from what I can observe, the biggest cause in my drop in revenues has been caused by the bad economy. My CTRs and impressions are fine, but my eCPMs have dropped significantly since Oct 2008 and eCPMs are not affected by ad-blocking. I am starting to see a recovery, but eCPMs are down.

IanCP




msg:4046798
 6:50 am on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Also don't forget those good paying US ads are worth a lot less now than they used to be for people in CA, AU and the UK thanks to the exchange rates.

A HUGE impact in recent years. More so over the last twelve months.

netmeg




msg:4047030
 4:20 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Is there any indication that Google stops showing an ad to a visitor (A) after a visitor has clicked on the ad or (B) after a visitor has seen an ad X number of times without clicking.

To answer this specific question - AdWords advertisers have a setting in their Content Network campaigns called "frequency capping" where they can set the maximum number of times an ad is shown to a unique user. I've never used it myself. You can set the number of impressions the ad gets, and also the time period over which they get them (day/week/month).

That setting seemed to just appear with very little fanfare; I'd be surprised if most advertisers even knew it was there.

It'd be kind of nice if we publishers had something similar, but I don't see it happening any time soon.

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