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New AdSense case study available

"How they grew ad revenue by thousands of dollars per month"

     
4:39 am on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



A new case study is online for PetPlace.

But he has opted to spend about an hour each day closely monitoring ad performance and testing such AdSense features as background and font colors, borders, and selective ad blocking, all of which may affect response rate. "It's fascinating to see what affects our readers," says Zucker. "I gained 1.5 percent on my clickthrough rate by changing our background, text and border colors."

The full case study is available here:
[google.com...]

5:00 am on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



the most interesting thing about this quote is if you visit the petplace website...

Looks like after all that study petplace has decided that blending the background of the adsense to the site its better than high contrast adsense ads.

6:05 am on Nov 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yeah...talk about blending, I almost missed them completely.
5:41 am on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Interesting though since the horizontal line under the welcome almost suggests that the "Ads by Google" text is a stand alone link.

--q

5:53 am on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



horizontal line...almost suggests that the "Ads by Google" text is a stand alone link.

It is a stand alone link. Click on it and see where it leads you.

6:09 am on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ads by Google is part of the Adsense javascript code, so I wouldn't consider that a stand alone link. It's the same for everyone who uses Adsense.
6:18 am on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

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See what I mean? LOL

--q

10:47 am on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I went for a highly blended approach because I assumed that surfers would be "turned off" by the high contrast style. I felt that visitors would desperately avoid clicking on "obvious" adverts, so I tried to make them look as natural as possible, as if they were my personal recommendations, while still (hopefully) keeping in line with Google's terms and conditions.
12:28 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I like to think myself adsense-savvy but even I clicked on one of the ads thinking it was content.
3:11 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I wonder how Google feels about hiding the borders?
3:48 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Hmm, it's a case study but hte home page shows PSAs? Not good publicity I'd say...

SN

4:11 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Google has no problem with hiding borders - hiding text or URLs is what they have problems with.

Interesting about the PSAs - they had targeted on the main page before, and the few other pages I checked are still running targeted.

<edit>darn typos</edit>

[edited by: Jenstar at 6:04 pm (utc) on Nov. 18, 2003]

4:51 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Jenstar,

Is this the official word from Google - that hidden borders are ok?
If not, has anybody asked them?

I know, PetPlace does that, but it's indirect evidence, would be nice to hear it directly.

Seems like hiding borders is a cool thing to try, but I wanna stay on the safe side.

Andy

4:57 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've been hiding the borders, and the background for that matter, ever since I started with AdSense. All that's visible is the text of the ad, the links, and of course the Ads by Google link. Thus far, I've received no indication from Google that what I'm doing is unacceptable.
4:59 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Is this the official word from Google - that hidden borders are ok?
If not, has anybody asked them?

I know, PetPlace does that, but it's indirect evidence, would be nice to hear it directly...

Would be kinda of dumb of G to feature the site as a case study if was not ok!

BTW WW has brought the petplace server to a stand still :)

Rich

5:05 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If would be funny if because of this WW thread petplace recieved a huge increase in clicks and thus gets the dreaded google email :)
5:34 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



zulufox, yah this would be funny. I'm still laughing. Cheeeech ... what if petplace would be your site? How funny.
9:21 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Is this the official word from Google - that hidden borders are ok?

Google would indicate in their FAQs and/or Program Policies if there were limitations placed on the color combinations publishers were allowed to choose. Since it's not addressed, there is no violation.

9:53 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Google would indicate in their FAQs and/or Program Policies if there were limitations placed on the color combinations publishers were allowed to choose. Since it's not addressed, there is no violation.

Actually, there are limitations on color combinations for ads - when they updated their policies on October 16th, they added "the ad colors must be such that the ad text and URL are visible." [google.com...]

When you are designing your ad layout, you can still choose and get the AdSense code for color combinations that would result in invisible ad text and URLs (by giving your background, URL, title and description identical or near similar colors). But doing so would be a voilation of their policies.

10:29 pm on Nov 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



When you are designing your ad layout, you can still choose and get the AdSense code for color combinations that would result in invisible ad text and URLs (by giving your background, URL, title and description identical or near similar colors).

In theory yes, but in practice, Google will change the ad text color so it is displayed.

2:24 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



How does one hide the borders?
2:36 pm on Nov 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Select the same color for the background and border.
9:35 am on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Isn't a 1.5% gain what they call "statistically insignificant"? I don't mean that 1.5% means nothing to the site owner - just that whatever measuring system they used would have an margin of error higher than that.

Seems like G is try to make AdSense users feel like they have more control than they actually do on click-thru rates.

10:15 am on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I assume they don't mean an overall increase of 1.5%, but rather the clickthrough rate increased from say 1.5% to 3% - i.e. doubling.

If they mean it went from 20% CTR to 20.05% CTR then yes, I think that would have to be classed as statistically insignificant.

10:37 am on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



That would make more sense - but without any figures the 'case study' is completely meaningless. Like the sports drink that re-hydrates your body "three times faster than water" ;)
5:33 pm on Nov 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'm testing a couple of no border layouts (only 2 pages) which I'm sure are still within TOS BUT my stats stopped (impressions stalled though traffic is still fine).

Hopefully its just a slow update... THEN I see this email come through with a topic "Google Review Services".

...so my heart stops for a minute. Turns out to be just some stupid spam. Guh... git out da gun.

--q

edited: btw - it was just a long stall. I really need to get back to twice a day checking. geez

5:44 pm on Nov 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The official tips from Google Adsense (GA from here on) is that blending the background colours to fit the theme of the site is a good design idea.

They say to pick up a prominant colour (color) from the site for the border to match.

White seems to be the main colour here so the site is complying with the rules.

Google have not complained to me about my sites hiding the border on the domains I have chosen to do so. At least not yet. Maybe that is coming once the other problems are ironed out.

I supply the link info here for those who want to look it up
[google.com...] along the lines that Jenstar has placed the address [google.com...] in the first post.

If it is wrong to do so, delete it please.

If I cut and paste the section mentioned (section 3), I stand about as much chance of breaking copyright as the rules for the forum about URLs, so I cannot win either way.

[google.com...] is also useful, I must try it soon.

3:21 am on Nov 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It appears at this time that hiding the border is acceptable with Google.

The thing to remember is not to have other text link ads on your page that mimic the AdWords ads. Hiding the border can make the AdWords ads look like other text ads on your site, which is against AdSense policies

Consider the following policy when using Adsense:

"We do not permit AdWords ads to be published on web pages that also contain what could be considered competing ads. This would include all content-targeted ads as well as text-based ads"

 

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