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Will you change colors to match your site?

Tempting, but what is the downside?

     
4:05 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Now we can make the ads match our sites, but it's not clear to me what the ramifications of doing that will be. What are your thoughts?
4:32 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I tried several color schemes that better complemented my website and ran them in two-hour sessions last night. I noticed a significant drop in CTR.

I don't know whether it was the related searches that did this, as both launches coincided each other. I'll be able to tell soon enough as I've changed back to default colors.

I slept on it and woke up thinking, if anything, the default colors will be more effective than my guesswork. Surely Google would only put out default colors that it believes will bring the best results overall.

I'd guess some websites will find better results with a change of colors, tweaked here and there. Some might just want ads that fit in perfectly with their site.

What I do notice is, that from the new pre-set color schemes, higher one's abide by one rule. Blue title, green url.

4:39 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think that my CTR has remained constant since I changed the colours this morning - but it's far too soon to draw any conclusions.

Incidentally, you can reduce the impact of "Ads by Google" and "Related Searches" by setting the background colour to be just dark enough for the text in the header and footer boxes to be in black.

If you set the background colour to be too dark, the text becomes white.

So ideally, you need "Ads by Google" and "Related Searches" text to be black on a dark background!

D

4:49 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I changed mine this morning. The ads now look really nice on my site now but I haven't had a single click today.

Too soon to tell if the color change caused this since my traffic is also down today for some reason.

I've also had to pull the Adsense code off of the pages that were getting that stupid "This blank space brought to you by Google..." box. That was just intolerable no matter what color it was.

5:16 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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hmmm - I put a bit of though into this

Should I change the colours to stand out more (=clearly marked exit) - or change the colours to match my site as close as possible (=looks like an internal link)

I suspect it depends on the visitor profile, so I decided not to do anything until the stats from Google let me measure things better.

5:21 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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No intention to do any further testing/change before make the decision whether to keep Adsense ads running on our site.
5:57 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I changed mine this morning. The ads now look really nice on my site now but I haven't had a single click today.

you use .html pages, it must take you ages to update your ads.

6:42 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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you use .html pages, it must take you ages to update your ads

I also serve up .htm pages. But with Dreamweaver, it's easy to do a site-wide search and replace, then use DW's synchronise function to upload all the changed pages. Took me about 10 minutes to change the 500-odd pages on one of my sites. when I changed the colour scheme.

Parts of my site (such as the header) are DW 'library' items. Change that one file and again synchronise the site.

Or there's server-side includes. I don't use them much because it slows down page loading. But that's another (even easier) was to update otherwise static pages.

Static page sites aren't dead yet :-)

6:53 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think I am going to keep the original color scheme. I want to make sure that people understand that these are ads. Of course the "ads by Google" also helps on that regard.
7:10 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I want to make sure that people understand that this are ads.

This is a significant concern. The Google ads look a bit more like content than some banners, and we've already had one visitor who didn't realize that he had left our site to go to an advertiser site.

7:26 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Good idea Devlin! I changed my colors to lighten up the border to the point that it was dark as possible while showing the black text.

Those related searches are nice and difficult to read now. :)

8:13 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I made the border white (on a white background) and made the background color of the ad blocks grey. It looks like it are four different textblocks now, which have nothing to do with eatch other. It also fits more in the design of my website.

It's still a little bit too early to see the effect of this, but my CTR doubled.

8:27 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Rearden, Zygoot - I've just stickied you both with the URL where I've implemented a colour change.

Let me have your URLs, and we can compare notes on how the colour scheme integrates with our sites.

D

11:38 pm on Aug 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

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you use .html pages, it must take you ages to update your ads.

Took maybe three minutes to change the colors. The adsense ads are set up as server side includes. I had my host set the server up to parse .htm and .html files about two years ago when I first started using includes because I did not want to change all my extensions.

However, the pages I removed the code from had to be done one at a time. Looks like I jumped the gun on that since the blank boxes are already history.

12:01 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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aroach told us:


I changed mine this morning. The ads now look really nice on my site now but I haven't had a single click today.
Too soon to tell if the color change caused this since my traffic is also down today for some reason.

how it is going aroach with clicks by now? now, when there are no "Related searches" links do you score good? Anybody else?

And which method you used: you changed colors to underline/highlight the banner or to make it the same color as the rest of your web site?

12:19 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Change mine yesterday. My CTR remained constant throughout the day and today - 1.2% ~ 1.4%. I like it because make it clear it's an advert.
3:24 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm keeping mine just the way they came "out of the box", so to speak. Seems to work well enough as it stands now - and the colors do seem to fit in quite nicely with my site.

One good reason to use the default colors, I guess, is because it's the colors used on Googles search page. Thus, people will be "familiar" with them. Still, for many sites, changing around the colors will probably be a good thing if the default color scheme really contrasts badly with the overall site design.

By the way, what type of font/typeface is used in Google ads? I really like the typeset but have not been able to figure it out.

Jim

3:39 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Notice it let's you pick the color of the URL. I don't think the advertisors would like the URL being the same color as the background.
9:08 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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This was really a nice offering from Google. I also went with a white boarder on a white page and it looks much nicer. My CTR yesterday was up .9% from average.

I guess I'll wait and see how my average is for the next few days to know for sure!

9:58 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Changed my colors too (see my profile for the site). I'll probably wait a few days before I make any judgemements on new clickthrough rate changes though, they tend to be a bit 'bumpy' usually anyway.
1:27 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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rogerd noticed...


The Google ads look a bit more like content than some banners, and we've already had one visitor who didn't realize that he had left our site to go to an advertiser site.

You say it in a way that makes me think that it is something wrong! It is good, man. Don't be ashame of it.

This is the whole idea of AdSense: providing content to readers + possibility to find interesting Ads to click on.

If the reader "didn't realize that he had left your site" then your banner worked perfectly! Congrats!

1:36 pm on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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how it is going aroach with clicks by now? now, when there are no "Related searches" links do you score good? Anybody else?

And which method you used: you changed colors to underline/highlight the banner or to make it the same color as the rest of your web site?

It ended up being an average day but I want to give it a few more days before I draw any conclusions. Like I said, my traffic was a little off yesterday which may or may not be a permanent condition.

As far as your other question, I set mine up to match my colors perfectly. The exact same background, border, link, etc. color that I have throughout the site. It looks nice but it really doesn't stand out so I may need to do something different.

11:33 am on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Greetings.

My first post afther a month of intense lurking.

The past month I've had a Z CTR. When I've changed the color scheme to exactly fit on my site, the CTR has dropped until a Zx0.75.

Now I've setup the box in a bright-eye-catching red (ff0000) to absolutely dismatch with my site and my CTR pump up till Zx2.

Great.

11:43 am on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Well, a big welcome to you, Mauricio!
3:00 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Polishguy, at least in the case of this site, I disagree that having visitors think they are staying on-site is a good thing. The site running the ads provides high quality services. While we have knocked out directly competitive sites from Adsense, we don't want this site's brand image to extend to other firms.

Your comment would be true, perhaps, for an affiliate site or a content site created to generate ad revenue. In the case of any site expecting to maintain a brand image, though, I'd be sure that ads were quite distinct.

3:40 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've changed the colors. But definitely not to fit in with my site.

Quite the opposite really. The more they stand out the better I think. And the CTR's seem to prove it.

6:00 pm on Aug 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My click through is still up after the color change.

I think that perhaps it makes the user see the ads as more personalized. If they were the default color then that looks like a banner thrown up and people ignore it due to banner blindness. But since mine now match the color scheme of my site perfectly it looks more like I've spent some time customizing it so they are more likely to take a look.

Of course that may not have a thing to do with it. Just a guess.