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Switching account from interest based to contextual. Will it improve?

 4:32 am on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

With COPPA, I really had to make a hard decision to switch my account from interest based ads to contextual based ads. Trust me, I didn't take this lightly and I knew, or at least suspected that this could all but shut me down.

Questions to myself included:

-what about all the ads that found their way onto my sites over the years?
-is it a total refresh, like a start at ground zero, first day of a new account?

So I'm just wondering if anyone has done this abrupt move and how long the impacts lasted. I realize a lot of people question the reliability of contextual (as in not showing contextual) but that is what my account is set on now.

I know that most significant changes in Adsense are measured in weeks and months. I saw what happened to one of my sites ad revenue when switching from a .net to .com so this is a dreadful feeling that I have.

I'm grateful for any insight into what might happen and how long it might take to turn around. I also accept that my depleted earnings are related to other things, but obviously this is (unless told otherwise) a biggie.



 12:45 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's misleading for Google to have that option. You can't actually turn off interest based ads. It was about not collecting data but they will still show interest based ads regardless, based on habits and location.

As for your revenue, you would only see a drastic decline if you changed domain per your example (.net to .com). Since your domain is still the same, then your traffic and ranking won't be affected.


 1:56 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Given the volatile nature of the Adsense environment right now, it's very hard to measure the effects of the Interest-based ads setting (let alone any adsense setting). Many people that have taken a long-term strategy as relates to interest-based ads (either opting-in or opting-out) are on a roller-coaster to begin with so making any kind of changes might appear to have an effect for a moment and then the moment is gone as the roller coaster continues careening up and down and around the track. That setting is really about what data G collects anyway which you could argue has more to do with Privacy than with ad-serving effectiveness. And that's just the two cents I have to spare from my meager earnings this month. Got to save enough to get another ride on the roller coaster.

p.s. You're probably right to think of this setting in terms of how it relates to COPPA. COPPA and other laws are probably the only reason for this setting in the first place.


 5:49 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the input.

It's what I'm reading in Adsense COPPA policy that you have to turn off interest based ads.

I agree that the roller coaster makes it very difficult right now to determine effects and causes.

I understand that a true "contextual" based ad via Adsense may be next to mission impossible, but again it's pretty clear that from their end, Google wants me to turn off interest based ads because of COPPA. I'm pretty sure that once my site is deemed COPPA, then revenue would dry up. In a sense I wonder if the message to advertisers is that my site caters to children and they don't make the purchases. Of course my site is parent related but I'll lose the non COPPA argument.

Hopefully somebody has also had to click that button from interest to contextual recently and can post their findings.


 9:32 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

@MrSavage Are you saying that most of your income comes from ads that are identified as interest-based in your Targeting Types performance reports? It doesn't matter whether I turn that setting on or off, I still get about the same amount of interest-based revenue each month (a sliver of the amount made with contextual). I normally have it off because of my personal feelings on invasion of privacy generally but have done some experiments and, from my perspective, being complicit in helping G gather data from my trusting user community hasn't proven to be worth the hit I feel my karma is taking for selling out my audience. That's just my personal view though. It may not be the best business view but I don't think turning that setting off has hurt business either. Google's ad serving has been whacked out for me for awhile now and turning on Interest-based ads doesn't seem to help one bit in that department. Again, one person's experience here.


 10:38 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have been making more money and more clicks from contextual. I'm assuming that when I click the "master switch" to contextual that my reports shouldn't show ANY interest based ads. If it does, I suppose I question the COPPA policy within Adsense. I need to comply, so it's off. What they serve, they serve.


 2:50 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm assuming that when I click the "master switch" to contextual that my reports shouldn't show ANY interest based ads.

Actually, I think you'll find that that's not true. You will still see interest-based clicks in your reports. Since the setting is so deceptive in it's description one would think that but the fact is that this setting really just seems to affect the amount of information gathered from your visitors that can be used for the purpose of targeting (which is why it relates to COPPA). It's been discussed in many threads so maybe some others can help clarify/confirm this.


 11:00 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Is there a new 'master switch?' The old one sure doesn't switch off interest based ads.

"Google will not use visitation information from your sites to help create interest and demographic categories."



 12:51 pm on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Google will not use visitation information from your sites to help create interest and demographic categories."

Yes but keep the following in mind (from the same page)...

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 there appears to be no practical way to control interest based advertising because you can't control where people have been in the past or where they go when not on your website. This is about whether Google can collect information from your visitors while they're on your site and whether that information can be added to other information already in use to target the visitor with ads. That's how I see it. Of course, seeing a mirage, doesn't mean it's anything more than a mirage.

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