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Responsive Design and AdSense
Can it be done?
netmeg

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 5:13 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

So I've been launching most of my sites recently in responsive design (where the layout shifts depending on the device / viewport) but I'm running into issues with regards to advertising.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that, at this time, there's no good way to serve up AdSense on a responsive design site, and still maintain a good user experience, avoid click fraud (unnecessary clicks) and stay inside TOS.

Link units don't work at all - the smallest link unit is 468x15, I believe, and that won't work on an iPhone or otherwise 320x viewport. I mean, it displays, but scrolls off the screen. And if you have breadcrumbs, your link units can look mighty like breadcrumbs on a small screen.

468x60 ads are problematic as well. Google now "automatically" detects the device and serves a slightly differently formatted ad, but it still scrolls off the screen on my iPhone. Plus the ads are formatted kind of strangely - two of them, separated by a bar, with a condensed font.

300x250 ads in the sidebar work fine; the sidebar is usually served in a single column underneath your main content (on a WordPress site) - BUT if your user is scrolling down with his finger, it's difficult to avoid touching the ad, which could result in a lot of accidental clicks. Too many of them and you get frustrated users AND Google notices and sends you "the email."

Eventually they'll have to address this, but at the moment, the only solution I have is to keep using the mobile plugin (and not the responsive design), until Google catches up.

(The idea of using jquery has also been tossed about, but I'm not sure about the TOS there either)

Anyone else dealing with this yet? A third to half my (considerable) traffic is mobile now, and it's becoming more and more important.

 

levo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 5:58 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

You can use viewport meta header for mobile devices. If you set the viewport to, say, 500pixels, the browser would render it as if the screen is 500pixels wide. Apple and Mozilla have great guides/examples.

netmeg

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 6:12 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

But don't you get a horizontal scroll on a 320px device?

ken_b

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 6:19 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Why can't you use one of the rectangular AdLinks sizes? Like the 160x90, or such?

levo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 6:30 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

But don't you get a horizontal scroll on a 320px device?


No. Viewport is a virtual window, you can set it any 'pixel-width.'

https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Mobile/Viewport_meta_tag

netmeg

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 6:39 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

Rectangular AdLinks won't fit in the design. Plus, depending on how you specify different sizes, the code still loads, so you can have issues with how many ad units are on your page.

justa

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 9:57 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

Check out the implementation that Boston globe has done with regards to their advertising. They have empty divs and load in the appropriate sized ads based on the current breakpoint.

[edited by: martinibuster at 5:58 pm (utc) on Apr 16, 2012]
[edit reason] Removed link [/edit]

netmeg

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 3:13 pm on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yea, the Boston Globe has ads, but I'm not sure they're running AdSense. There have been a whole host of issues with this - we ended up giving up and going back to the mobile plugin for everything smaller than an iPad. Thanks for the link though; I'll check that one out.

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 12:05 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I know I'm a bit of a dinosaur but my sites have 300x250 and 336x280 ads on them and they display fine on mobiles.

And, similar to Netmeg, mobiles and the like now account for over a thrid of my site views. Looking at the stats for CTR and eCPM etc, the ads shown on mobiles are about the same as on PCs.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 12:22 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

What I wonder about those 300x250 ad blocks though is if your visitors have to scroll down with their finger on an iPhone, don't you generate a lot of accidental clicks?

justa

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 12:28 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

The touch devices often allow for a touch/drag across the page elements to avoid for accidental clicks.... At least that is what I've found with its devices (*fanboy)

Leosghost

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 1:23 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

The touch devices often allow for a touch/drag across the page elements to avoid for accidental clicks.... At least that is what I've found with its devices (*fanboy)

IME "android" 2.3.5 is a bit less "forgiving" ( tends to "launch" a lot when you only want to "scroll" ) on a 480x 800 display... a 300x250 ad block is as big as I would risk..

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 9:14 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

What I wonder about those 300x250 ad blocks though is if your visitors have to scroll down with their finger on an iPhone, don't you generate a lot of accidental clicks?

Good question, I've no answer to that. I have those ad size blocks on my pages plus I have in-text Vibrant media ads. When i view the pages on my mobile I can avoid the accidental clicks but that may well be because I know what's an ad and what is not.

When I view my pages on a PC I almost always end up showing one of the in-text ads cos my mouse is going past them across the page.

But my earnings in Adsense at the end of the month seem to be about 98% of the click value so as far as I can see Google aren't detecting invalid clicks. And mobiles are now 30% plus of my page views.

I would really appreciate any opinions on this.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 5:21 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I didn't want to risk it, so I am not serving anything but mobile ads on mobile devices. Who knows what Google will decide next.

hal12b

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 4:07 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

They'll close your account with no recourse should they decide, happened to me about 18 months ago.

econman

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 8:12 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Link units don't work at all - the smallest link unit is 468x15, I believe


There are additional sizes worth considering.

For example, the 120x90 works well in regular browsers, but I have no idea how it displays on mobile devices.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 9:07 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Right, it probably works, but then I have to get into swapping out ad blocks based on viewport, and that's a bit more complicated. I'm sure there are ways to do it, but I have to consider 1) Site performance - I get some insane traffic peaks and 2) Time spent - for the moment, it was faster to just put the mobile plugin back for everything with a smaller screen than an iPad.

Sgt_Kickaxe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 10:23 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

You need to set up adsense for mobile when you detect a mobile visitor. It's not as critical to have a mobile version of your site if you're using a truly responsive design but the ads should switch between traditional and mobile if at all possible, for the reasons you mentioned.

blend27

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 11:42 pm on Apr 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.


and then somehow when caught a senior tech invokes the Fifth?

It's OK what a regular clueless Joe thinks or a Politician interested in... , but there is another angle at it. from the people that actually do understand whats up..

zarathustra2011

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 7:53 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I use the 120x90 and 468x15, and both are pretty good earners for me. They display fine on my mobile phone, and don't have those stupid big arrows that appear on my other ads.

Assuming somebody sees your site on a mobile and you do not have a mobile version of the site, do the clicks count the same as they would from a mainframe computer?

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 11:08 am on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

They'll close your account with no recourse should they decide, happened to me about 18 months ago.


For displaying normal ads on a mobile?

I haven't read anywhere from Google that there is a problem with dsiplaying normal Adsense ads on a mobile - is there any documentation that indicates g have a problem with this?

As far as I know there are millions of sites out there with Adsense on them that display only normal Adsesne all the time whatever is being used to view them.

If there is a risk of G banning a site / account becuase it can't serve up mobile ads on mobiles then I guess 90% of sites are at risk?

netmeg

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 2:27 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google hasn't addressed this as far as I can tell, and they say that for some ad units, they'll display a more mobile friendly ad themselves when they detect a mobile user.

But that doesn't get around the issue of the big square/rectangles. IF you are viewing on a touch screen such as an iPhone, which has a 320x480 display, typically in portrait mode, and a 300x250 ad is shown, there's a significantly higher risk of an accidental click, because it's almost impossible to avoid the ad when swiping down. Now as far as I know, only the LINKS are clickable, but it's still (to my mind) a potential issue.

As far as closing accounts - I don't think it's likely either, but it's *possible*. I dunno how many times I gotta keep saying this - IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU DID ANYTHING WRONG OR NOT. If your ad serving, or your traffic presents a significant risk to advertisers (WHETHER OR NOT YOU DID ANYTHING INTENTIONALLY) you are at risk of being shut down.

That's why I took the AdSense off first thing when my bot attack started. I didn't create the attack, I'm trying like heck to stop it, but if I kept serving ads to it and something went wrong, it wouldn't matter.

(And for what it's worth, I agree with Google on that - as an advertiser, I don't want to pay for bogus clicks, no matter whose fault they are)

FourDegreez

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 7:10 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm about to release a mobile version of my site, and I'm trying to figure out the ad units. Definitely going to use the 320x50 "mobile banner". I'm not totally sure about placement. Are best practices emerging yet? I notice some sites place the banner at the extreme top, above logo, navigation, everything. I'd like to place it closer to the content, but avoid locations near links (accidental click problem). Avoiding the bottom of the "above the fold" space is probably important, since that's where people initiate the finger-scroll action. My idea for placement was below nav, logo and page title, directly above the start of content. Thoughts on that are welcome! I was also thinking about using the 250x250 or 300x250 on some pages (below the fold), but netmeg is making me a little nervous!

The 320x50 banner is *everywhere* in apps and mobile sites, so Google must be aware of what "normal" accidental clicks look like for that size, at least.

hal12b

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 7:30 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

""The 320x50 banner is *everywhere* in apps and mobile sites, so Google must be aware of what "normal" accidental clicks look like for that size, at least. ""

I'd hope so. My kid plays games all the time on my Android phone and clicks the ads by mistake continually... or perhaps great news for the publisher.

netmeg

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Msg#: 4430922 posted 8:09 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

On my sites, the 320x50 is either at the very top center or the very bottom center of the pages.

I don't mean to make you nervous, but these are the things that go through my head when I'm planning my designs.

I don't think AdSense is quite caught up to the technology yet. I think they *think* they are, but they aren't.

And if I'm gonna err, I'm gonna err on the cautious side.

nomis5

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 8:42 pm on Apr 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

All this talk about pixels on mobiles and accidental clicks doesn't ring true with what I see on mobiles.

My main site (and very similar on other my other sites) is 1100 pixels wide. Typically my Adsense ads are 350 wide. So, when i call up the page on a PC or a mobile the ad occupies about on third of the page width. The same proportion applies to whatever device I use to view the page.

On a mobile ( and a PC for that matter) there is two thirds of the page left for the user to scroll up or down. Even if they (or me) scroll up and down using the ad space no clicks are made when I experiment with it.

Either my mobile devices are acting usually or all this business about false clicks is not based in reality.

And yes, I agree with the last poster that Google is fully aware of the possibility of unintentional clicks on mobiles (if there really is problem) and adjusts accordingly.

Agreed, some on WW site may have gone to enormous efforts to cater for mobiles but that doesn't mean that their efforts have paid any dividends.

Facts only will convince me otherwise and to date no facts have been presented that serving mobile ads is better than serving normal ads to mobiles.

ADObjects



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 7:15 pm on Apr 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

In a Responsive site their are different views that have different sizing, As Google Ads are fixed this is not possible from my understanding.

Zivush



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 9:24 am on Jun 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hi netmeg,
the only solution I have is to keep using the mobile plugin (and not the responsive design), until Google catches..

Can you recommend me a good mobile plugin (worpdress type) you're using.
Thanks

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 11:08 am on Jun 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've been using WP-Touch. And for the most part it works well (there's a free version and a paid version) However, my hosting company tells me that it's pretty CPU intensive, and if you get a ton of traffic, it might not be the best solution for you. Because my traffic is seasonal and spikey, we never noticed, but they did some performance tests for us and said we better get rid of it. So we basically wrote our own. But if we weren't expecting this ginormous rush of traffic, we'd probably still be using WP-Touch quite happily.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4430922 posted 12:45 pm on Jun 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

(I might add that the issue seems to be with WPTouch and W3 Total Cache working together)

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