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|Google Continues Pushing Image Ads - Latest Message|
Do They Pay As Much As CPC Ads?
Here is my latest message from AdSense -
<edit> saying at least 50% of pages are opted out of image ads and advising that opted in earn more revenues</edit>
Uh, that would be 100% of the pages on my site.
(Notice the typo - "opt-in to text ads" s/b "opt-in to image ads")
The problem is, I don't believe this.
I believe that ALL image ads are CPM, and do NOT pay as well as text ads. They cannot possibly compete with the eCPM of over $10 for CPC ads. From reading this forum, I have concluded that, if opted in, low-paying image ads get "jammed in", in spite of not paying as much. There is NO "pure-auction". I believe that many threads have proven this.
[edited by: martinibuster at 4:16 am (utc) on Nov 1, 2010]
[edit reason] Paraphrased email. [/edit]
|At least for me Link Units produce more than 30% of my earnings. |
Not trying to pick a fight, but that really doesn't tell you much about the added value of link units.
For example, if you replaced that link unit with an ad unit and the earning results stayed the same, then the link units weren't adding any value.
Now suppose you had ad-units-only on a page for a period of time, added a link unit and experienced a 30% increase in earnings over what you were getting with just ad units, then you could tell the link units had added value.
|Not trying to pick a fight, but that really doesn't tell you much about the added value of link units. |
Not at all you're absolutely correct.
But I can say there was even a larger earnings increase when Link Units were first introduced by Google. So at that time I did the test you suggest. Basically I've followed Google's recommendations and now run 3 Ad Units and 3 Link Units, pretty much in a way following Google's search results design of a long column of ads down one side of the page. (Actually the number of Ad Units is dynamic based upon page size) With text only, this format is pretty unobtrusive to the visitor.
So I'm fairly certain the Link Units do ad substantially to some website's earnings. As always it depends upon the topics and content.
And I believe the many redundant image/branding ads Google is running may actually drive more clicks to the Link Units. The image/branding ads typically have nothing to do with the page content, but the text ads and link units usually do.
So I keep experimenting with Image versus text but there are so many variables determining whether there's an advantage or not is difficult.
What I believe I see to date is, while Google's claim the bids can be higher for image ads, the decrease in CTR seems to offset the higher bids which results in no increase in earnings. I'm sure Google's problem is really a huge inventory of CPM ads that they must show somewhere, so plaster the content network with them! Frankly they tend to be far more obtrusive and delay total rendering of the page even longer, which is another topic altogether.
So here's a question: Why doesn't Google show the image ads they tout so much alongside their search results?
I've been thinking.
What if an image ad bids just below the top-paying text ad? Since adwords advertisers always pay $0.01 above the next bidder's bid, shouldn't opting in improve overall CPC?
I saw a leaderboard size ad for a politician (candidate for Governor) on one of my sites just now. Totally unrelated to the site's topic and with about half the people in that state opposing the candidate and half supporting, it's surely to give a negative impression of my site to a number of visitors.
Plus, the state is 500 miles away and yet it's shown to me.
That never seems to happen with text-only ads.
Don't forget the Ad Review Center filters. There is one for "politics" and I haven't seen political ads on my sites.
But for sure many of the "display ads" are totally untargeted branding ads that are displayed redundantly, and displace the PPC ads which probably pay better for low traffic highly targeted content.
I've again requested Adsense turn CPM off but haven't heard a word back. In 2006, they graciously responded immediately and my earnings jumped 40% for 10,30,60 days compared before and after. But when they introduced third party ads CPM came back with a vengeance!
I find that image ads pay better, but have a worse ctr, giving overall a lower ecpm.
Thats in one particular niche.
|Don't forget the Ad Review Center filters. There is one for "politics" and I haven't seen political ads on my sites. |
I usually try and avoid getting into these games of whack-a-mole.
Besides, I have a hard time understanding why there would be a need to use a filter to keep political ads off a site not at all related to politics when the ads are supposedly "contextually based."
|if an image ad bids just below the top-paying text ad? Since adwords advertisers always pay $0.01 above the next bidder's bid, shouldn't opting in improve overall CPC? |
I believe that is correct.
That said, I have my channels set up so that I can avoid having the same image ad appear on hundreds of consecutive pages. I do that by rotating which pages a channel appears on.
Channel "A" page 1 - 3 - 5 - etc
Channel "B" page 2 - 4 - 6 - etc.
When one ad appears on all pages I set one channel to "text only" and leave the other channel set to "text and image".
I think auction theory is nonsense, I get $0.03 and $10.00 click on the same unit.I can't understand where is auction. Bumpski where in Google search you find link unit? but i agree with you image ads make site look sick, who will give a natural link with those image ads on.
|I get $0.03 and $10.00 click on the same unit. |
It's not unusual for lower traffic sites to have that kind of disparity.
|who will give a natural link with those image ads on |
I got one from michigan.gov. Pretty sweet link, actually. And I didn't have to ask; it just showed up one day.
There's a lot of things happening at the time of a click, and you have to be somewhat familiar with both sides of the equation (publishing and advertising) to understand that.
On the advertising side, you have budget, multiple types of quality scores, frequency capping (if they're a smart advertiser), negative sites and keywords, placements, bidding strategy, publisher blocking, campaign and ad group organization, day parting, geo targeting, competition and so on.
On the publishing side, you have smart pricing, advertiser blocking, competition for ad space (i.e. how many ad units you make available), the types of ads you've enabled or disallowed, and the big mucky opaque area of interest based advertising and remarketing. Google has never said (to my knowledge) that traffic quality enters into it too, but it does for Yahoo and I'd be kind of amazed if Google didn't figure it in as well (maybe it goes into smart pricing)
All these considerations have to come together in a fraction of a second when someone clicks on an ad in order to come up with a value for that ad. Knowing that, it is not in the least bit surprising to me that one ad unit can product a three cent click and a ten dollar click - indeed I would expect it to be possible to get those two disparate clicks within seconds of each other.
That's why I think it's useless to spend too much time batting mosquitoes on your site. It all comes down to a whole lot of math. And either the overall numbers for your earnings make sense to you or they don't.
I've done separate testing on two different niches and what I found was text ads paid almost 60% more than image ads. I usually have image ads but anything above the fold, is reserved for text ads. It is different from niche to niche but at least for us, text ads pay a lot more.
Ken_b, are you saying that you can turn images on and off for a whole channel at once? If so, could you explain how to do that please. (Maybe I'm missing something really obvious, but I can't see how it's done.)
OK. I did the test.
I enabled images on my top-paying page for 1 week.
Here are the results, comparing the seven days before I made the change, to the 7 days after I made the change.
For the 7 days after the change -
Impressions were up slightly (3%).
Clicks were down (-1%).
CTR was down (-4%).
eCPM was down (-7%).
Earnings were down (-4%).
Good enough for me. In spite of all the hype, results were WORSE, when I enabled image ads. Do not believe everything you are told. I think I will wait another 6 years, before trying them again.
For me, I should add that the biggest reason NOT to use image ads, is the fact that you cannot specify "static" image ads. If you specify image ads, you get Flash. I detest Flash, because I detest ANY SCREEN MOVEMENT not initiated by the user. EVERY DAY, ALL DAY, AS I SURF, THE FIRST THING I DO IS SHIFT THE WINDOW TO PLACE ANY MOVEMENT ADS OFF SCREEN, SO THAT I CAN READ THE CONTENT IN PEACE. I REFUSE TO READ ANY CONTENT, THAT IS POKING ME WITH A STICK IN MY EYE, WHILE I AM TRYING TO READ. Maybe I am a freak, but I simply won't tolerate it. My computer screen is NOT for TV commercials!
If there is movement on the top, on the left, AND on the right, I leave immediately. No way, I am gone like a bullet.
I refuse to subject others to that which I myself hate!
Another nice choice to have would be the ability to specify CPC image ads vs. CPM image ads. The way it is now, you must accept the cheapo bulk CPM ads, along with the far-fewer, better-paying CPC ads.
Sorry the test didn't work out. I also enabled the image/text ads and have been trying them for about 10 days. CTR dropped by about half, but the EPC doubled, so at this point it is a wash.
Is a week long enough for AdSense to get relevant ads? I'm just wondering if adding new ad types and tons of new ads to the lottery would mean it takes a bit of time for it to all shake out. And I'd also think that the sizes of the ad units would make a difference, too, once you enable image ads, since those ads are more plentiful in certain formats.
Not that I'm saying anyone should do a long-term experiment fiddling with all this with their top paying pages...and as for me, I'm usually too cowardly to rock the boat at all.
Incidentally, did you guys notice that in the new AdSense interface, we're able to see what portion of revenue comes from image, flash, html, text, and dynamic image ads? I don't think those metrics were available in the old one. It's pretty interesting data.
|Incidentally, did you guys notice that in the new AdSense interface, we're able to see what portion of revenue comes from image, flash, html, text, and dynamic image ads? |
I'm just getting started with the new interface, where do you find the info breakdown that you mentioned?
OK, I found it... performance > products > more reports > ad types
[edited by: ken_b at 10:08 pm (utc) on Nov 11, 2010]
bumpski, I was thinking the same thing: Why doesn't goofle use the image/rich media ads that they are shouting about from the rooftops?
It's interesting that Google wants every publisher running display advertising (image ads basically), but they won't do it themselves.... a bit hypocritical, no?
Personally I use text & image ads pretty much everywhere. I have found that I make more money with the text & image ad combo. I do see both text and image ads in the spots, and fortunately the image ads aren't too bad. They're better quality than some of the other display ad networks I've used (ValueClick, Tribal Fusion, etc.) so I'm more willing to put up with image ads with AdSense.
In theory if you enable text, image, rich media, and any other type of ad, as long as they all participate in the "ad auction" process then you should nearly always be showing the best paying ads on your site. I do give props to Google, the AdSense product is one of if not the best ad serving system out there. Just don't get me started on their data retention / privacy issues LOL.
|Do not believe everything you are told. |
Sorry but enabling img/txt ads was the best decision I've ever taken. I'm glad I listened to Google for once. I always ignored their messages. November so far has been the best month ever with both ad types enabled. CTR and EPC are way up. I guess it all boils down to ad placement, font color, etc.. I don't expect one ad here and there scattered all over a site to work well, although it could. Myself I put three ads together and the visitor can't miss them.
For those on the fence, you should give img/txt ads a test run. A few days is not enough. You should mass ping all your urls to speed the deal, to get those Asense bots on your site. You have to play with ad placement too! Small, silly changes can bring you hundreds, thousands xtra/month.
|I detest ANY SCREEN MOVEMENT not initiated by the user |
I hear what you are saying, and I've been known to do the same thing when really trying to concentrate on something complicated - wouldn't it be nice if one of the perks of being logged in was that you could specify 'all ads to be non moving'.
That'd be like, a benefit to *us* of being logged in, not all for Google...
There are many days that I dream/wish for the simplest system from AdSense/AdWords. I really do not have the extra time or energy required to evaluate everything when there are so many factors playing into it all on both sides.
Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the very existence of AdSense/AdWords.
I think Sally might have a point with G pushing image ads even if they're not relevant
I pulled an all nighter last night and here's what I experienced with one of my websites. I was checking my website and adsense stats at hours I don't usually check them.
At one point all the ads on the website were image ads, for the same company, that were completely off-topic in regards to the content of the website. No matter how many F5s I did and no matter the page, and no matter the browser, all the ads were image ads for that company. Targeted ads are OFF for that website, and third party networks are ON.
As you know, when you put a domain in the 'compatitive add filter' it takes at least a few minutes before it gets filtered. However, as soon as I inserted the domain for that image ad in the 'compatitive add filter', it got filtered. And I mean in less than a minute!
For me, that proves Sally's point. What do you think?
You can't turn interest based ads off, so your "test" was flawed from the start, and doesn't really "prove" anything.
I'm not crazy about the flash ads either (although the ones I hate most are the ones that pop out and cover content) But I don't design my AdSense sites for me.
For sites where aesthetics matter, I don't use AdSense.
Reading almost everywhere that image ads paid less than text ads, I made myself believe it because there was no way to know, though, at the recommendation of G, I left them.
For those of you have who may have seen the latest data in AdSense beta interface, this data is now available and you can judge for yourself and decide accordingly.
For me, I am glad that I listened to G all these years.
|You can't turn interest based ads off, so your "test" was flawed from the start, and doesn't really "prove" anything. |
What do you mean? You can turn them off from AdSense Setup > Channels > Targetable
Isn't it a bit peculiar that all the ads on the site to be the same image ad? and i mean all of them, on all the pages, on every browser....
And the ad had absolutely nothing to do with the subject of the website, nor its keywords. It was like advertising airplane tires on a woman cosmetics blog (it was not this. it's just an example.)
I probably didn't make myself clear. I was not experimenting. I was working on something else and I happened to notice this issue
|What do you mean? You can turn them off from AdSense Setup > Channels > Targetable |
I think you can turn them off but what you are seeing probably is the result of this below which I don't think is considered by Google as interest based advertising. A bit confusing:
"However, you cannot opt out of showing ads to users based on their previous interactions with the advertiser, such as visits to an advertiser's website."
So, "Do not show ads based on user interest or demographic categories. Visitation information from my sites will not be used to help create interest or demographic categories." doesn't really turn off what we thought was "interest based ads" I guess.
[edited by: cien at 10:00 pm (utc) on Nov 12, 2010]
|Another nice choice to have would be the ability to specify CPC image ads vs. CPM image ads. The way it is now, you must accept the cheapo bulk CPM ads, along with the far-fewer, better-paying CPC ads. |
It's my understanding that Google does this to lower revenues.
|I like the use of a single ad unit, as well, because it doesn't look spammy. Every time I have added a second ad block, the results have not been that great - poor, in fact. |
I am in exactly the same situation. I have tried adding more ads on many an occasion over the years and the result is exactly the same.
I agree with Sally that allowing publishers the ability to choose static (only) image ads and opt out of CPM ads would be a positive move.
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