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New Nessie Redesigned AdSense Text Ads

 9:14 pm on Sep 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

I haven't noticed anything about this so I thought I'd post. I've noticed a significant drop in CTR since Google redesigned the nessie button to a round one.


I'm sure I'm not the only one. On top of this update AdSense gives me a notice "Your earnings on September 18 were 34% below forecast" yeah, I wonder why that would be Google. Maybe instead of the "learn more" link going to some generic nonsense it could link to the blog post? It's annoying that this comes around just when I'm starting to recover from the nessie penalty I got hit with in March.



 1:50 am on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

The biggest change to text ads made in years has been the addition of the button. Now they are messing with it and it's having a great affect on CTR. I just want to know what others are experiencing, so far the only responses I've seen are on AdSense Google+ page.


 4:16 am on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

The biggest change to text ads made in years has been the addition of the button.

My point is that they are not just messing with the button now so how can you have a discussion about just the button. The whole format of text ads has been changed radically so it's hard to say that any changes in CTR are related to the button or the layout of multiple ads into panels or the bigger title text (now NOT underlined) or the interactive features or the imagery that is becoming part of the "text-ad" landscape. There are so many new variables in the equation at this point that it's almost impossible to evaluate them in any sensible fashion. They're all pretty much a package (to enhance or not enhance? that is the question). Also, if you're seeing ads that look nessie-ish except with a round button instead of a rectangle, you might want to look at them in different browsers. Ads don't render the same in all browsers yet (at least the last time I looked). This is crazy. I was in the middle of evaluating enhanced text ads (when they started showing favicons) and the next thing you know panels started appearing. It may take awhile for all this to settle down before any real data is available. Some people literally aren't even seeing this stuff yet or just started seeing it a day or so ago. It's pretty hard to say anything definitive with just a few days worth of data. As many will attest, Adsense isn't as predictable as it once was.

--Added. I didn't see round buttons (and many other didn't either) until the other changes mentioned above were released. So not everyone has not the same history with round buttons that you may have had.


 4:40 am on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

...I could agree that nessie "was" the biggest change in years until now. I think what's happening right now though is way bigger and more comprehensive than anything I've ever seen with Adsense before and it's gonna require people to break out their designer hats all over again and in a very big way. I know these changes haven't really worked with some of my layouts out of the box.

@simplo Just for some context, how long have you been seeing round buttons? Some reported it about a month ago I think, I didn't see them until much later.


 6:42 am on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've seen the circles on and off for a while. They have been permanent since the 18th, when it appears the change took place. All the font/text business is controllable and you can re-optimize it, we have absolutely no control over the arrow, so it's a bigger concern for me. My text ads don't look that much different and I've viewed them on 3 platforms with 3 browsers.

I can't recollect exactly when I first saw them but I first noticed them on a competitors site about a month ago and I thought to myself "I hope that doesn't stick around" because I think they look too integrated, too dismissive and don't look appealing enough to click. The arrow with the round background looks more like a logo than anything actionable to click on. The old arrow had a rectangular background which symbolized a button, something people are used to clicking and feel safe about. It appears as if adsense just wants to get rid of the "button" and create something suspicious only adventurous users want to click. There's nothing about a color matching circle with a contrasting right chevron that says click me, at all.

I think Google dropped the ball on this one. (with pun)


 2:30 pm on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

All the font/text business is controllable and you can re-optimize it

Please tell me more. Yes I can change font-type and color but, I don't see that changing font size has any effect on the size of the title and the titles no longer look like links (i.e. no underlining). Heck, even the url's aren't underlined so I challenge your contention that "all" text features are controllable (please note that I'm using async ads which may not work like non-async ads).

we have absolutely no control over the arrow

Well, actually you do. Just change the following setting...
Allow Block Ads - Ad Serving - Enhanced text ads - show performance-enhancing features on text ads and they will go away. Of course, I'm guessing that you like having the arrows and just want the old style back.

The arrow with the round background looks more like a logo than anything actionable to click on.

So does removing underlining from a hyperlinked title make it look more clickable? We're both making the same point here. You're saying the arrow looks less clickable, I'm saying the title looks less clickable. Together it's a lethal combination and, while you can get rid of the circle "button" by using the setting mentioned above, changing that setting won't bring back the underlined title (at least not in Firefox which I just used to view an un-enhanced text ad about two minutes ago).

I think Google dropped the ball on this one. (with pun)



 5:04 pm on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

the titles no longer look like links

I haven't underlined my titles in 5 years. I don't like misleading the user and I'm not a fan of having a high percentage of invalid clicks. I'm on the paranoid side when it comes to interpreting Googles policies, the less attention I can bring to myself the better.


 7:50 pm on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

My CTR is up since the new ads appeared.


 9:22 pm on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

I haven't underlined my titles in 5 years.

Well maybe I've been under a rock for the last five years but I can't remember ever seeing an option to control underlining of the text in a text ad (specifically the title). And why is an underlined text link misleading? I call it intuitive. Heck, I call it a World Wide Web best practice.

Google's own example showing new font faces for text ads even shows underlined titles (see the Inside Adsense blog post of August 29, 2013). Anyway, you want to have a discussion about the button and our experiences seem vastly different so I'll butt out and move onto dealing with circumstances that I can actually relate to. Wish I had an answer, any answer right now because I could use one myself.


 10:45 pm on Sep 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

"I haven't underlined my titles in 5 years." LOL, I guess I was referring to my banners. I just looked through some historical screenshots and they did have underlines back to 2007 so I admit that I'm wrong here.

On a positive note, I am seeing some recovery here. I guess people are getting used to the new ads. Some people on the AdSense G+ page are still pretty upset.


 12:06 pm on Sep 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

If it's true that underlines are gone even with Enhanced text ads turned off, then that could be the single stupidest thing they've ever done. The whole foundation of Google's ad success was built on text ads and still is! They aren't doing this $&#! over on Google Search I can assure you. Ridiculous.

Maybe earnings will tank big time for AdSense and they'll put the underlines back, because if we're not making money then Google isn't either. Fail.


 1:41 pm on Sep 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

CTR is way down here since the 19th, down to almost half of what it used to be historically. I hope they are not simply trying to starve publishers to push them out of the network Amazon-style. Any indications that AdSense may be phased out at some point? This would be a good way to do it without too much bad publicity.


 2:01 pm on Sep 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

> underlines are gone even with Enhanced text ads turned off

Now that my account preferences have had enough time to switch over, I'm sorry to confirm that indeed the title underlines are gone. Dumb AdSense. So dumb! :-|


 4:57 pm on Sep 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry to confirm that indeed the title underlines are gone.

At least for the moment, it looks like the only way to address this problem is with color. I've been running some tests this morning that involve making the title stand out a bit more with color. Seems to be having an effect though it's too early to tell definitively. May also try working with fonts a bit too.


 10:31 am on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Can I say, that this type of discussion happened at the back end of June over on the Adsense 'support' (I use the term loosely!) forum.

People's CTR had dropped and they were noticing that their today's earnings would increase and then drop X amount - like clicks had been shaved.

People were mistakenly thinking this was down to the Text Ad change, when in fact it appeared to be a Google 'error'.

My CTR has halved which started on the 19th September. The same thing happened from 30th June, until around the 6th July, but it was worse back then. I've not been effected quite so much this time. Whilst a colleague of mine who has the same themed site, has had no change at all. Text ads have changed the same on both sites.

IMO, any ad changed has not suddenly made less people click the links, but more to do with the same thing happening again that happened in June/July.

The reason? An interesting theory put forward was to do with Google's financial Quarter. In that April/May/June was below what it was last year. So they've shaved clicks off random X accounts to make this money back. Of course, the reply to this theory was that, if that was the case, then Adwords users would get their money back, but that wasn't appearing to be happening.

You can make your own mind up on this, but it's quite apt that it's happened again, coming towards the end of the 3rd Quarter of 2013 - July/August/September.

Take note, that people were putting this all down to ad changes, nessie, enhanced text ads etc, when in my view, it's not down to that at all. It's either a genuine Google problem they haven't yet fathomed out, or something more sinister.

Like a poster above said though, this did rectify itself within 2 weeks. People such as myself had the problem from around 30th June to about the 6th July - some others had their problem from around the 19th June until the beginning of July.


 1:49 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Really? Sunday was my worst day since (well, I don't even care to look) but it wasn't due to overall CTR believe it or not. It was due to the fact that ALL my clicks were on LINK UNITS with not a single click on any other type of ad unit (and I used text ads exclusively). Was getting pennies per click on the Link Units BTW. Had a similar situation yesterday, just a couple of ad unit clicks and all the rest were clicks on link units. The difference, great CPC on the link units so a good day overall. People aren't clicking on the text ads in the numbers they once were. Some color changes helped a bit yesterday I'm thinking but it's still a mess in my opinion. Would love the previous poster to be right (especially if it corrected itself) but I'm sticking with what I can see right in front of my face for now (or at least until I wake up).


 6:21 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Our AdSense CTR for September is running about 16 percent higher than in August, with no changes at our end.

The new text ads aren't ugly like the old ones were, and so far, they seem to be performing better on our site.


 6:23 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Made adjustments to link color, changed font and adjusted page templates. Today back on track, earnings almost back to normal. Will be making the same changes to my other sites today and hopefully this train wreck is over. At least until the next upgrade.


 6:59 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Our AdSense CTR for September is running about 16 percent higher than in August, with no changes at our end.

This definitely isn't having the same effect on everybody. I'm guessing it may have something to do with how your ads were set up originally. In some cases, the new format looks pretty good out of the box using the settings I originally had in place. In other cases, yuck. The differences people are seeing may be directly related to size of ad unit, positioning, and actual color settings already in place. In some cases, tweaks may be necessary while in others, things may be just fine the way they always were.

Are you noticing any increase in any particular size ad-unit? Just curious. 160x600 has been a disaster from my perspective so far but smaller units seem to be catching up a bit.


 7:52 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Are you noticing any increase in any particular size ad-unit? Just curious. 160x600 has been a disaster from my perspective so far but smaller units seem to be catching up a bit.

Our 300 x 250 ads had about double the CTR of our 728 x 90 ads last month, and that's holding true this month. No significant change.

On the other hand, average EPC for the 728 x 90 ad units was 32 percent higher than for the 300 x 250 ads in August, and that difference has jumped to 50 percent in September.

(On most pages, we have a leaderboard at the top and a rectangle in the right margin--never more than two ad units per page.)


 8:35 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

CTR up 300% haven't touched anything in about 6 months


 11:49 pm on Sep 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a 300x600 unit with rounded corners that no longer allows rounded corners because the text ads in the unit each get their own dropdown area and each area is rectangular. I HATE these units, they look tacky and when someone hovers over the ad the unit opens up and the ad may jump up or down so much that the visitors mouse is no longer pointed at the same ad. Very cheesy!


 12:35 am on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

This new update is terrible. My CTR (and my earnings) got chopped in half the second they rolled this through. I'm going back to media.net unless they fix this crap.

To be honest, media.net almost performs just as well as adsense


 1:06 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

@EditorialGuy What's interesting is that you did not list skyscraper ad sizes which is a size I've had issues with and have seen others mention specifically as well (negatively). I'm wondering if the different results people are experiencing with these units is related to what size ads they normally use e.g. perhaps some ad sized are performing better than others across the board.

What might be helpful for all is if everyone here could chime in on success or lack thereof recently based on the size of the ad unit your using. They don't all have exactly the same features it seems.

ADDED: Guess I'll start it off by saying that I was having no luck at all with skyscrapers but the way my site is designed, I can quickly move to leaderboards and back to skyscrapers any time so leaderboards it is for now and they're quite a bit better (728x90). Yesterday, saw decent CTR on them as well as a few mega-clicks. Over the past few days though, Link Units are what really saved our bacon. Also never use more that 2 Ad Units per page although there's normally also a link unit somewhere on the page as well.


 1:53 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

@webcentric: it is not only the skyscraper that's affected. Most certainly the former best performing unit - 300x250 is affected as well. Interestingly, in the past I've removed leaderboards where it was possible since they were so much worse than 300x250 but now it looks like 728x90 is not affected by the recent change (perhaps because they have so many graphic ads that the recent change makes no difference).


 2:37 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

@1script Interesting. Does the 320x250 also utilize panels? I don't use them because of layout restrictions but I'm thinking the panels might be an issue. Leaderboards don't employ the panels as far as I can tell.


 2:50 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

One of the things I like about the new ads (besides the aesthetics) is the fact that it's harder for site owners to pass them off as editorial content. This should discourage accidental (or deception-induced) clicks, which in turn should make advertisers less leery of the "content network."


 3:12 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

One of the things I like about the new ads (besides the aesthetics) is the fact that it's harder for site owners to pass them off as editorial content.

I'm all for getting deception out of the game as much as possible but I see that in some ways, some of these ads look more like editorial content than ever before e.g. Large non-underlined title looks like a page heading and if you were to position a leaderboard for example (with borders the same color as your page background and colored to match your site), it would almost look like just another header on your page followed by editorial content. Not pointing out a strategy here. Rather, I'm saying that by using the same fonts, font-sizes and colors that are in the ad to design my page, I could make a leaderboard text ad virtually disappear into the editorial content, and this may be what's happened to some folks who don't regularly look at their sites. Hiding the border with these ads (something Google has done for years with their example ads) could be akin to camouflaging the ad to the point of invisibility. I personally hate the boxy look for a site in general and avoid borders when I can. Having said that, I've always used tried to whitespace or other mechanisms to help keep content clearly distinguishable from ads.


 7:54 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)


OMG, they are AWFUL!

My CTR has been cut to nothing!

I just noticed today something was wrong, then I went to look at my sites and these AWFUL, UGLY new text ads are showing up!

I only use text ads, and now I'm stuck with this?

CTR is abysmal! I want the old ones back and so does the public!

Way to go, Google! Hope you enjoy a huge loss in profit this quarter!


 10:05 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not sure if this is an anomaly or not yet but I'm noticing faint borders are now showing on leaderboard ads that have background and border colors set to the same background color as the page. Looks like G wants to definitively define the ad space with a border now whether you want one or not. We'll see if this is just a test or not soon I'm sure.

This 58 message thread spans 2 pages: 58 ( [1] 2 > >
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