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Comparing with the same three days (thu, fri, sat) the previous week, CTR is up about 25%. But, CPC is down 18% or so (perhaps more lower-paying ads shown in the 4 ads?), so the effective CPM (which is what really counts to me) is up less than 10%.
However today sunday both the CTR and CPC are way down so far, so I can't make any conclusions yet. I'll give it at least a week.
From the design point of view my preference is for resizing skyscrapers, but now that they are no longer available the leaderboards are not too bad. However they do have smaller text than the banners, which might reduce their effectiveness.
Also, how were they split as to traffic on those pages? In other words, what size did you have on your most heavily trafficked pages and what size did you have on your least heavily trafficked pages?
prior to Thursday, approximately what percentage of your banners were 468*60 and what percentage were skyscrapers?
About a 1:4 page ratio skyscrapers:banners - skyscrapers on selection pages, banners on item pages (which contain wide data tables, not suitable for skyscrapers). In terms of traffic, it's nearer 50/50.
The CTR and CPC have improved since earlier today so it's now looking nearer to the last three days. Still too early for firm conclusions, but leaderboards look just about worthwhile for me so far.
I flirted with the leaderboard format a couple of days ago but reverted to skyscrapers. I didn't like the look of the leaderboards, and I prefer having the AdSense ads below my affiliate links (which are in the right-hand margin of my pages). Although AdSense is working very well for me, affiliate sales continue to produce at least 2/3 of my total revenues, and I don't want my affiliate links to look like afterthoughts.
Is it possible that with a lot of people displaying 4 ads instead of 2 that the inverntory is exhausted quicker, and there's no ads left to display?
I also made the change from 468*60 to 728*90 within a few minutes of when they began offering the leaderboards and I have not had a single charity ad.
If I make $10 for each ad, then I don't care to have the ad clicked 10 times or 1 million times. The more clicks, the more money I make. So it's not just that there is a deficit in advertisers, there is a near unlimited need for clicks. Only when ROI is not positive does this decline. Of course it takes time to balance out as advertisers earn more money to increase their budget.
Of course order fullfillment plays a role as well.
What I'm trying to say is that the existing advertisers have a demand for more clicks.
Now let's assume this happens with every advertiser. I know it's a stretch but let's pretend. Now every advertising campaign comes to a screetching halt and your peice of that campaign goes away as well. Now if you were the only site displaying the ads you probably wouldn't care that much as you sit on your private island :-)
Unfortunately by the time they can handle the volume they have already lost customers. Remember that's one reason why this whole Internet stuff never panned out. The hype was get on the Internet you'll sell more instantly and retire. Not true, You have the potential but the reality is you cannot feed the Internet as fast as it would like. That's why I say there is a limited number of advertisers and advertiser dollars.
Supply and demand are most likely out of sync. Remember that there are *many* more sites than there are advertisers. I think that the business model will be hard for Google to sustain in the long run. The hope you have is to ride this out longer than others. As others drop off you'll get less public service ads.
It's impossible to make an accurate generalization about AdSense supply and demand because AdSense is targeted contextual advertising, not the kind of RON advertising that we're accustomed to seeing from ad networks. It isn't like an AT&T ad, where AT&T buys 10 million impressions from FastClick, Burst, or Tribal Fusion and the impressions are divvied up among all of the ad network's sites. Depending on the keyword, there may be extreme demand for AdSense clicks or there may be none at all.
If a site is getting a lot of public-service ads, it isn't because AdSense has excess inventory (there's no such thing as excess inventory with a CPC campaign). It's because the site's pages are on topics that don't attract AdSense ads. Not all content sites are equally suited to a program like AdSense. If you've got a site about French medieval poetry, you're likely to see a lot more public-service ads than you would if your site were about cruising, digital cameras, financial services, or weight loss. On the flip side, if your site deals with a topic that has great e-commerce potential, you may never see a public-service ad on your pages.
I attribute this solely to the fact that there are 4 ads displayed vs. the former 2 ads, meaning that I wouldn't suspect there would be a significant difference for those who had always been serving skyscrapers.