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Google AdSense Forum

This 40 message thread spans 2 pages: 40 ( [1] 2 > >     
Why Does Google Keep Experimenting With AdSense

 1:43 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Their ad layouts keep changing all the time. When are they going to stop doing this? My CTR keeps dropping and rising. Now they have bolded everything and put the regular round arrows back and my CTR is 0%...

I was enjoying 2% CTR with the regular font size and medium square arrows.



 2:00 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Desperation and fretting spring to mind.


 2:42 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've been pretty vocal about this for months now. They have to have statistical significance on most tests, yet every now and then I see a terrible format test start up again. It is definitely desperation and I'm almost convinced it's incompetence on the AdSense team. This type of stuff does not happen with Adwords. Sure, testing happens but not the way it's been rolled out for AdSense in the last 90 days.

Think they even have a testing plan? Doubtful.


 2:42 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Did you verify that all your visitors seeing the same thing? Have someone from a different geographic area check the site if not.

Also check for differences between browsers, not just your browsers but in different areas.


 2:46 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Restating the original question..."Why..."

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know it's the end of the world...

Some axioms that come to mind are

Axiom 1: "Change is the only constant.


Axiom 2: "Evolve or Die"

These are probably mantras at Google.


Your guess is as good as anyone's. See axiom 2.


 2:54 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld Calum_Jones

I agree, it's frustrating, especially when something works and another format doesn't. There could be many factors that affect the CTR.

I would like to think that Google are trying to gauge which formats produce the best performance, and therefore are going to constantly a/b test and apply the best.


 3:04 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Why does Google keep experimenting?

Simple, they need to keep shareholders happy by continually making more and more profit. It really doesn't matter how any individual publisher does, it's about "does this change result in more overall revenue for the company?".


 3:05 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

For me, I noticed three drops in earnings.
1: When Google Images altered the way they serve images.
2: When Google altered the 728x90 to align to the left, instead of being central.
3: Mega huge buttons.

They should give us more options.
1: How we would like the adverts to appear (align left / central / right)
2: Choose what type of buttons we wish to use - and be universal between browsers.
3: Make Flash adverts a separate option.
4: More fonts.

Those are what I can think of, off the top of my head.


 3:43 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Don't you experiment with changes on your site? Nothing stays the same. Everything changes. I'm glad google is testing and experimenting. Companies that reach the top will not stay there if they do not adapt to changes in the marketplace.


 3:49 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's not going to stop. Like ember says, you *have* to continuously be testing. I sure am. Why wouldn't Google? Mantra #1 for conversion analytics is Always Be Testing.

(And I'm also positive it's not just Google, every other ad network is no doubt continuously testing too)

It's what we signed up for, like it or not.


 3:54 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Of course I experiment. Duh.


 4:00 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nothing stays the same. Everything changes.

I used to have a senior director I worked for, his tag line on emails was "Change nothing, nothing changes"

ie if you're failing do something else

just my two penneth worth



 4:33 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

To me the system is in a state of flux thanks to the many many viewing options these days. They have to test. At some point I'm hoping for a settling effect. To me though, this is still an amazing income option. If only I could get to the level some of you here have.

I think to answer "why"? It's Google being Google. They don't sit still on anything. It's called technology. If you're not attempting to move forward you will be gone in no time.


 8:28 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you're not attempting to move forward you will be gone in no time.

Again, see Axiom 2. Get's right to the point.


 8:52 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Axiom 2: "Evolve or Die"
Gators haven't changed in millions of years.

No one has really altered the wheel either.


 9:42 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Gators haven't changed in millions of years.

I'll bet they no longer eat pterodactyl but their taste for domestic dog and cat has become much keener.

No one has really altered the wheel either.

The fate of the human race and it's many inventions are still undetermined. Gators have a much better track record. Those who insist on looking at Adsense (or the entire Internet Marketing Paradigm for that matter) the way it was even a couple of years ago are in for some rough times ahead. Yes, some fundamental things don't change very often and the piece of knowledge that says "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is still applicable. But, in general, the Internet is in the early stages of its evolution and a lot of "tried and true" approaches are sure to be nothing more than fossils in a few short years. For every species on earth that got it right for the long haul, countless others, missed the boat (including the Dodo). Anyone remember Archie or Infoseek or even that not-to-reptilian beast Netscape Navi[gator]?


 9:58 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

But let's get a little more relevant. Anyone remember AdBrite or perhaps Click Agents which was acquired by ValueClick which is now part of Conversant. The list of extinct advertising networks is a long one. Many others were swallowed up by the bigger fish. Internet marketing evolution is in high gear.


 10:05 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't mind them testing things, but they are normally done in beta testing.
Also, they should try something for a while before venturing onto the next change.

G seems to be doing something different every week.

And when someone suggested "Don't you experiment with changes on your site?"
Well, no amount of testing is going to alter the way G decides to bypass your page and allow a visitor to see your images.

No amount of testing will alter the 728 advert from being aligned to the left.

Why does the button have to be different in IE as to compared to Chrome/FF?
I could understand if you were looking at your site on a desktop, then on a smartphone. But not when I am on the same PC.


 12:56 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't mind them testing things, but they are normally done in beta testing.

I agree with this but, it's not really possible to test the effectiveness of an ad format on any truly representative focus group the way just putting it out there and seeing what happens can. Not saying I like being a guinea pig but I'll bet it's the fastest way to get the market research data their looking for. Testing to make sure something works consistently in all browsers vs. testing to see if it's effective from a marketing perspective are quite different.

No amount of testing will alter the 728 advert from being aligned to the left.

Frankly, the day this happened I was ecstatic. The centering of those banner ads was a peeve of mine for years (as are designers who insist on center-aligning all their text). At least now I can predict where the visual weight of the text is going to be. Before, the options for that space were wildly unpredictable, given the variety of ways the space could be broken down with one to many ads. Also, I grew up reading books and magazines with either left alignment or justified alignment and I design that way. The change was one of the most welcome things to come down the pipe for me in a long time. Having said that, one would think it wouldn't be that difficult to add ad alignment option to text ads. Right now, Smart Sizing (along with the horizontal, vertical and rectangle parameters combined with container div size restrictions) for responsive ads allows for some very interesting ad spaces to be achieved and a similar type of parameter for alignment would be a very nice improvement.

Early on, I was commenting about the pretty dramatic differences in these ads from browser to browser. I can't abide Chrome on my computer but know a few who use it and get feedback from them where testing my sites are concerned. Ads are not the only thing that renders differently from browser to browser. Drop down lists, radio buttons, heck, even the way broken image link placeholders appear on the page, vary from browser to browser. Part of this is the way the browser renders an element and part of it is plain old branding (unique button shapes, menu items, etc). Each browser has it's own feel and I know when I'm not using my favorite browser, it feels foreign in a way. It's not that surprising that G would try to tailor the ads (e.g. optimize them) to each specific browser. Just as "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," "the Internet is what our browser renders". And given the fact that everyone has a different browsing history, different habits, etc. this diversity is only going to get more extreme in the future, I believe. There may be some simple psychological reason why Chrome users interact more with one kind of button than IE users. One thing I'm fairly sure of is that G isn't doing this on a lark. Every thing they're doing is being analyzed and tracked and things are gravitating toward what works best in a great many different situations and environments. It's not a one-size-fits-all Adsense anymore and I don't think we've seen the tip of the experimentation iceberg yet. My conclusion is that this is necessary and will be good for future earnings. The tricky part here is keeping up with the changes and making adjustments when necessary to get the best advantage possible from these new features.

Added: I'll just quickly add that it's easier to complain about a feature (giant titles for example) than it is to come up with a strategy of how to work that feature into the visual language of your website. I'm finding that there are significant rewards to be had for the effort though.


 4:16 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

All I want are text ads that look the same as what Google Search uses.


 4:39 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

All I want are text ads that look the same as what Google Search uses.

Don't we all!

As long as we're making up our Christmas list for this year, I'll take a 100% CTR for the rest of the year please, oh, and a modest $10.00 CPC will do nicely. Give me that and I don't care if the ads all look like cow pies. Hmm. Manure. Now there's a niche.


 5:48 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

4: More fonts.

Really? What fonts would you like for your site?


 5:09 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

What happened to the TEXT ADS WITH MEDIA? They had little photos inside of them?

Those were great! They seemed to dispense those the past week and my CTR has suffered. I got the feeling those media text ads were working -- heck, I'd want to click on those.

We must continuing experiment with everything -- colors, fonts, etc.

Right now I've got a dark green theme w/ Verdana and black text and it's FAILING.


 6:56 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I saw these mixed media ads many months ago and then they vanished. Same thing more recently. This seems to be a long-term experiment that hasn't run it's course yet.

Orange will scream in a dark green environment if you provide a bit of white space around it. Rember, white doesn't have to be white. Try a very light green (almost white) ad background with orange title and URL.

Something else that I've been playing with is building my own ad frames so to speak. Example: 250 x 250 ad inside a 270 x 270 div. The div has a border and a bg color set. The ad has the same bg color as the div and the ad has the same border color as its bg color. This causes the ad to float inside a bordered space that is larger than the acual ad. It keeps text in the ad from getting jammed up against the edges of the ad space becase the ad space has some padding built around it now and the border is now set a bit away from the ad. In this case you're using your border not G's. Use padding and centering to keep the spacing inside the div somewhat balanced. I'm not sayin this is the best approach for every situation but these are the kinds of tweaks that are paying off for me. Typing this on a touch screen has been greuling so that's what I have to offer at the moment. This is earnings observation because it's the kind of thinking that's drving my earnings growth. That and constantly watching for the next thing G rolls out.


 7:45 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Duh, forgot what thread I was in. IMHO. Works either way.


 8:44 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Light green background and orange text/url actually works?


 9:03 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

It really doesn't matter how any individual publisher does

Not a bit. What actually happens is no matter what Google does the advertisers use up their budgets. So Google needs to attract more budgets to make more money.


 9:39 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Red is actually the complement of green but that also screams Christmas. Dark orange will pop off very light green though too and is related to the complementary color (red) because it is composed partially of red. When I say light green, I'm talking almost white. Just a slight shading. This is basic color theory. You can move this same concept around the color wheel for any dominant color on your page.

Or flip this around and use a pale orange for the bg and use dark green for your link and title. That would be a more blended approach but either way, it's actually using both blending principles and contrasting principles at the same time.


 1:15 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

And I'll add that you can use violet in the same way as you would the orange when working with a green palette. It as has a similar color relationship to green that orange has. Both have red in them so both are built in part on the complementary color for green. Violet and green can produce a very rich color palette.


 4:22 pm on Mar 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

^ I have never heard of messing with colors like that. I always thought you should match it to your site's color scheme and links. Might try it out!

As for Adsense, their most recent change was so poor they actually just reverted it in under 24 hours! I had 400 visits with ZERO clicks.

They tried putting the circle Nessie buttons aligned right for some reason, then aligned center, now they have put it straight back to the square buttons thank God...

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