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I recently added forums to a website I run and I also run AdSense on the forum pages. The forums, let's say they are about green and red widgets, generate targeted green and red widget ads, however click through on these ads is virtually non-existent. I mean zero clicks on most days, not just 1 or 2. Click through rates under 0.1%.
I'm just curious as to whether anyone has ever run AdSense on a forum and NOT seen abysmal performance! If so, what did you do that others don't?
But as someone said, I do see a lot of the same ads keep showing up, so I've blocked the vbulletin ads (my site uses vbulletin), and all the other forum/blog ads. Because my site is a movie site, now all the ads I get are very relevant, movie-related ads.
So while the CTR is low, I'm hoping it'll pick up soon. Then again, I once had Burst! ads on the forum for about 3 days, and the entire profit of those 3 days totaled less than 2 bucks! That means my Adsense basically makes the same amount! And Adsense doesn't annoy my visitors nearly as much as Burst's random ads, so there you go.
I've patched the forum software so that ads will be inserted directly into the forum entry. It does not look very good but it works.
Adsense code is only inserted if a forum entry has more than 100 characters. Maybe 150 would be even better. This way I try to make sure to give enough good content to Adsense. So no Ad will show in a "I have this problem too"-entry.
And it works fine - no bad ads :-)
My forum is meant to develop into more of a knowledge base over time, than to serve as a discussion board. Somewhere between a regular phpbb board and Google Answers (focused on a particular subject). I think that helps the ad performance, even if it also translates into less of a "community" (and thus also into less "return traffic").