netmeg - 8:43 pm on Sep 4, 2012 (gmt 0)
Wow, we've really veered off the original topic, but it's still a good one.
I have said this many times and I will keep saying it - you can never really understand AdSense unless and until you get a handle on how AdWords works. And most publishers don't. But it's like driving with one eye closed. You might avoid hitting anyone, but you also might not find the best way to get to where you wanna be.
I was an AdWords advertiser for almost three years before I jumped into AdSense (and I still am an advertiser) and I absolutely believe it has informed my experiences with AdSense.
First of all, let me correct this:
netmeg's case is an exception ( as are others ) as there are not ads available due to G adwords TOS, for certain site KW subjects..so related or general IBAs will do well there, and on sites in a similar situation vis a vis KWs..
The subject matter, lack or ads, or AdSense TOS is NOT why IBA and non-topic-related ads work for me.
The reason these types of ads work for me is that I not only know my subject matter, but I know who and where and what my audience is.
There most certainly ARE ads in my niches, mostly for professional grade products (the consumer ones are against TOS) and I block them, because the people they're targeted to aren't usually the regular visitors to my sites.
I obviously can't influence when a user clicks on an ad on my site, but if I know what kind of users I have, and when they visit, and I have a fair idea of when my earnings go up, then what I *can* do is concentrate on attracting more of that traffic.
When I first started, I got really mistargeted ads too, and it took a slap year or more for Google (and me) to start learning what works on my sites. And I had to make some changes in the way I wrote for it. And I paid attention to who was using it and how they were using it. And I developed some strategies to find where else these people hung out and how to maybe bring them to the sites, get them to share it with their friends, etc. And so far anyway, it's worked.
IBA ads are NOT the same as remarketing (also called retargeting) Unfortunately Google put that loaded gun into a bunch of advertisers hands without properly teaching them how to use it (can you say impression caps? I knew you could) which is why I'm occasionally stalked around the internet by a giant glazed donut. Properly done, it actually does work.
If you want to successfully advertise on AdWords, you have to know who your audience is. I'm reasonably sure that the most successful people on AdSense also need to know who and where their audience is; maybe even more than they need to know the subject matter. At least, that's my experience with it.
AdSense is really easy - you can just set-it-and-forget-it. But then you get set-it-and-forget-it earnings too. And you have to find the balance between putting too much effort into something you can't control and no effort at all. But if you can find the balance - that's the sweet spot.