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What have you learned from your channels?

It has been a week

   
10:24 am on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



So it has been a week (of collected data) and while it is not enough data yet to make any changes yet, it has provided some interesting insights.

Since I use a very dynamic web applications server, I just made one channel each of my 5 sites and dropped it in the ad serving software. I didn't change anything from a look and feel aspect and overall the aggregate hits have been right on target for this month.

The channel data is WAY off from what I thought

- The biggest site (cars), with over 61% impressions had 43% of the clicks had only 33% of the revenue. Also has the lowest CTR
- The second biggest site (community) with 30% of the impressions had 20% of the clicks and 23% of the revenue. Also lowest CTR.
- The third biggest site (travel) has just 8% of the traffic, with 27% of the clicks and 35% of the revenue. Yup, it earned more than the other two big sites and has a CTR 4 times the other two sites.

Now, to be fair that last site has a leader board and the first two have normal ad banners (468x60) but the CTR is just way out of line.

It is way too soon to tell whether this is the industry, the banner size or the quality of ads, but has made me think about which sites are more "valuable" than others.

What have you learned?

BZ

11:15 am on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



In my case the channel in the content pages has a low CTR, but due to the number of impressions, it makes up for 50% of my revenue.

The content list channel is the highest CTR, because the number of impressions is low, and the revenue was 25% of my total.

My forums are very low in CTR, but 50% of impressions of my content. So I had 12.5% of my revenue from there.

My frontpage is very low in impressions, because my main entry pages are content - thanks Google search! - but it's also 12.5% of my revenue.

In summary - keeping AdSense in all these places, because it's a good balance. And I wouldn't give away 12.5% of my total income on the program simply by looking at the CTR. We have to look at the bottom line, as you did too.

I've changed colours in my leaderboards and saw a very small increase in click throughs. But I can't change much in my current layout.

[edited] just a comment: note that I did not disclose any specific numbers here.[/edited]

12:34 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



the most number of clicks and the highest CTR comes from our homepage (no surprise)

in our articles pages, the skyscraper gives significantly higher CTR than leaderboard

rectangles and skys perform about the same

1:42 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



BZ, I'm not surprised at all by your findings. Community sites will always have the lowest clickthroughs. Forum sites with regulars are less likely to click on ads. I mean, they're not looking for information. They want interaction. They're not new visitors. They're ad-jaded barflies.

It makes sense that your travel site should do well. As far as the car channel, that one is a bit of a surprise. As long as it's a content-based site (and not a community one) it should be doing better -- and I would think that the AdWords served on car pages should be more lucrative.

4:14 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



All our evidence so far points to 2 main conclusions (which are a bit obvious, but nice to have some data to backup)...
1. The more single-topic the page, the more targeted the ads and the higher the CTR.
2. The more important and immediate the visitor requirement for information, the higher the CTR eg. searching for something specific for this week.

On our site its not just a minor difference, we are talking a factor of 5-6 between general content pages and the above.

Plus it also seems that visitors will read important information about issues that are relevant to them, but won't click on any ads, if the information isn't their core reason for visiting the site. ie. they are just collecting info. as it crosses their path, not pursuing info.

5:46 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I learnt that forum is just not the best place for adsense. Very low CTR, and not worth having.
6:00 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I think that when you start looking at channel data you also have to consider page views per visitor.

Some channels might generate many page views per visitor before they click on an ad, while other channels may have pages that lead folks to click on an ad on the first page they see.

It may be more valuable to look at the effective CPM per channel when looking at channel data.

10:47 pm on Mar 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



One fact I learned is that low-volume stats vary too much to be usable.

I set up one channel on a very small site that gets steady traffic around 600 impressions per day. The EPC has a 15:1 variation from one day to the next (i.e. the highest day earnt 15 times the next day, with the same traffic and CTR!).

For the channels with real traffic, the variations are not so extreme.

It's also confirmed to me the obvious fact that Adsense works best on exit/data pages, i.e. where the user is likely to have finished with your site.

On one site of mine, the search page gets 25% of the traffic - but only 9% of the total revenue. The exit/data pages get 3 times the CTR of the search pages (it would be higher, but each user looks about 7 data pages on average).

Still, 9% of the revenue is worth having...

1:50 am on Mar 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Channels are great. Now I can already see what works. There are definitely some surprises, but I won't go into details due to AdSense TOS.
6:46 am on Mar 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



You don't need to go into details but you could give us some hints of what you found.
6:51 am on Mar 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



robho: you can not add adsense to exit pages, see TOS
7:24 am on Mar 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I only have Adsense on a few pages, and I suspected most of my clicks were coming from one particular page where AdSense is very prominently featured and the targeting has been very good. And lo and behold... so far, that page is the earner.

And AdSense banner ads at the top of the page don't seem to work at all for me... something else I already suspected.

12:24 am on Mar 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wish I had channels a month ago, so I would know where my revenue was coming from then. This month there has been a very significant drop.

What is *fascinating* to me is that most of my revenue is coming from just one of my sites!

This is very, very valuble information.

3:02 am on Mar 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



What is *fascinating* to me is that most of my revenue is coming from just one of my sites!

That's the same piece of information that scared the **** out of me.
Way too much of our Adsense revenue is coming from one site. Cool now but all that needs to happen is getting kicked out of Google's index again ala Florida and we take a major income hit.
We're now pouring a lot more time into pumping up the content in our other sites.
4:53 am on Mar 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



robho: you can not add adsense to exit pages, see TOS

Sorry, different terminology. What I mean by an exit page is a content page that has the content the user is looking for (i.e. on a site that has data sheets for different widgets, it's the page that has the widget they are looking for, so is likely to be the last page they want).

Not a "thank you" page or popup/popunder or exit window - just the last page they are likely to be interested in that session, if they've come looking for something specific (which most of my users are).

7:17 pm on Mar 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



I'm getting enough from my channel stats that I can see a very definate trend in favor of content/article pages compared to any sort of list of contents or index page. I guess that is encouraging as it looks like people are more interested in following the links to my content than to the ads. Some of my content pages apparently don't trigger anything more specific and are simply bring up the usual general widget and widgeting supplies ads. They do well but the the ones that draw more specific ads related to the subtopic addressed on the page really bring great CTRs. This means to me that if the Google algo could get more specific it would really boost CTR.
7:44 pm on Mar 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I run mostly content pages of highly varying topic, but exclusively with tower ads on the right side of the page.

Channels reveal that 50% of my income is from one group of pages that represents only 20% of my total traffic. I knew this group was a leader, but the magnitude is astounding.

I learned that where the money is really has to do with who is spending the advertising dollars. Some people are spending a lot more online than others. People considering new high-revenue content should find out who sells high margin products and has the big online ads budgets first.

7:08 am on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I was very surprised to see my forum is having a three times higher CTR then my content pages.

My content pages are about a theme that is unfortunately not having many ads that are competing.

My possible explanation therefor; I have lots of traffic to the forum via search engines (so if they look and dont find it in the post they maybe find it in the ad?). And the best performing forum is the off topic section.

cheers
viggen

8:01 am on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)



is it bad not to use channels?
8:54 am on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



What I mean by an exit page is a content page that has the content the user is looking for

There's a good point here for those who haven't recognised it. Analyse your stats and see which pages visitors are normally leaving your site on. Use the best Adsense colour/size ad on those pages and give the ad priority of place. If they are going to leave anyway let them leave via an ad.

10:48 am on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This is nice when it comes to geting info on this! I got one site that makes up 20% of the page views, yet it makes about half the income. Golly, it's my info content site that covers high bid terms like medical info, web hosting, finances.... My old content sites that get three times the page views generated a little less than 1/3rd the income! For my newer site with high bid terms, the clicks are worth over twice as much as my older content site. As for my store sites, per page view, it was a little less than the info site with high paying topics.
10:49 am on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Traffic from Google's image search is useless (at least for AdSense purposes).
1:50 pm on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



is it bad not to use channels?

Use of channels is optional. If you want to see which pages do well and which don't it's a way of finding out.

4:44 pm on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



For people who are intrigued that the income is not evenly spread... this is just the 80/20 rule. Broadly speaking, 80% of your adsense income will generally come from 20% of the pages you have with adsense panels.

Likely as not, 80% of that portion of income will come from 20% of those selected pages.

So, give or take, you can expect 64% of your adsense income from 4% of your pages hosting adsense.

5:46 pm on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Broadly speaking, 80% of your adsense income will generally come from 20% of the pages you have with adsense panels

ronin, the 80/20 rule is bandied about a lot. I'd just like to point out that it isn't a law of nature and isn't applicable to everything in life. And it's not a valid truth for every site.

A site may well end up getting 80% of earnings from 40% of the traffic.... or, indeed, 80% of the traffic :)

Now on what % of sites does that rule hold true? Er, maybe 80% - or 20% :)

6:13 pm on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



The 80/20 thing doesn't apply across the board.

On my 1,200+ page site 20% of my income comes from 22 pages. But those 22 pages get 20%+/- of all my page views.

Site navigation options have a lot to do with it.

11:10 pm on Mar 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



At least sod's law doesn't work anymore, so if you had previously decided not to bother much about content on 20% of your site, it doesn't turn out to be the 80% earner. (Because the channels can now tell you to spend the most time on it).
4:28 am on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've learned that there is no such thing as a page that does not produce at least some revenue. Some produce more than others, but I was surprised to see how dispersed the revenue streams are across my site.
6:09 am on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



well. I'm definatly not getting the revenue from where I thought.

one of my sites get's about 90-95% of the content (not file download) traffic on my servers. oddly enough it gets <1% of revenue and ctr. and the clicks I get aren't as high as I would have thought.

one of my top level sites on my server which only gets around 2% of my total traffic is making more than 75% of the revenue with about 40% of the ctr.

odd. not what I expected. I think I'll kill the ads on the site that recieves about 13,000 hits a day and maybe one click at minimum pay.

6:00 pm on Mar 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



@zebthepilot: perhaps you can reposition your adsense ads?
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