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Actually I'm not certain about this one. Google might not allow this because you are drawing more attention to the ads.
To get a definite answer it would be best to contact the Google AdSense help team.
If the images are context sensitive, I can't see anything wrong with this technique, it seems pretty creative.
If your page is about fast widgets and you have four images of fast widgets at the top of your page, and adsense targetting is spot on, this strategy could be an absolute winner.
But I can also see this technique being open to abuse....Webmasters using unrelated images, or pics with arrows pointing downwards towards the ads.
Is adsense advisor around to confirm if images above ads are ok?
I dont think this is against tos . This is normal. I have used it in the past and did not gain anything at all. I removed it and put horizontal adlinks and got a nice ctr jump.
OTOH, recently I saw a troubling version of this that may have violated the TOS. There was a square of four electronics ads, and lined up beside it to the left, an Amazon-generated column of four pictures of the electronics in question. The ads lined up so neatly that it looked as though the pictures were part of the Adsense ads. I had to roll my mouse over the pictures to figure out that they came from another service. Legal? Illegal?
The latter. The 4 images make the ads look like captions, also the images at the top of the page, drop the leaderboard (borderless) right into the hotspot boosting ctr. It's a lot more effective (in terms of ctr) than just having a 728x90 leaderboard at the top of your page.
".....The ads lined up so neatly that it looked as though the pictures were part of the Adsense ads. I had to roll my mouse over the pictures to figure out that they came from another service. Legal? Illegal?...."
It's a real gray area. I think the idea though is just to get folks to see the ads, after that isn't it up to adsense targetting, and visitor preference whether anyone clicks?
But could this be construed as drawing "undue attention to the ads"? In my opinion no more than placing two borderless large rectangles right in the center of your page.
Here is an image of my site before and after this change and how I setup the table:
And the full thread which includes image rotation scripts and peoples posts on increased CTR and the such is here:
I even at one point made the images fade from one to another using flash, G also said this was OK..
HOWEVER, flashing arrows pointing at the ads would not be OK :) so use common sense.. and in all cases, if you are un-sure, email G, they are quick to reply on these matters AND appreciate people taking the time to comply with the program policies.
[edited by: Jenstar at 1:04 pm (utc) on July 19, 2005]
[edit reason] No screenshots or URLs please, as per TOS [/edit]
But back on subject, I changed to a similar format on my front page after reading your post on the other "unmentionable" forum. It increased my CT on those ads by 200% but EPC dropped 25%. Still on the plus side though.
[edited by: Jenstar at 7:20 pm (utc) on July 20, 2005]
[edit reason] TOS #24 [/edit]
For instance, if I was getting a 2% CTR, I'm now getting about 14%. It was an instant phenomenon.
Also -- this is a page where I bring new visitors in through AdWords, so I just need to to gain in exposure and break even.
Looks like I'll have no trouble breaking even now, even if smart pricing kicks in.
I wish I could share it, but it is also a page with tons of identifying information and it would expose all my other sites to scrutiny if I revealed it.
Please don't sticky me... I feel bad enough that I really shouldn't share it!
The four different images are extremely relevant to the topic of the page, and even sometimes match the ads that randomly appear beneath. It is really cool.
Publishers may not label the ads with text other than "sponsored links" or "advertisements." This includes any text directly above our ads that could be confused with, or attempt to be associated with Google ads.
The "attempt to be asociated Google ads" scared me from using it. It is no doubt that these images are certainly attempting to be associated with the google ads!
I imagine Adsense support will be getting hundreds of requests for permission to use this techniqe in the next days :-)
Encouraging users to click on the Google ads appearing on your site is prohibited by AdSense program policies. The reason for this is to prevent artificial inflation of advertiser costs. This benefits both advertisers and publishers by preserving the integrity of the network, and maintaining its long-term viability.
If you have concerns about whether you have implemented your ads in a way that complies with AdSense program policies, feel free to email us with your URL. A specialist will be happy to conduct a review, and you will not be penalized.
Also, if you notice a site using what might be using images in a deceptive way, please feel free to email us at email@example.com .
No images or graphics are permitted. Also no red and green color fonts for Christmas. I don't know about blending, now I am worried about that. People who add grapics or pics are going to receive at least a warning when Adsense team reviews the site. Me, I am trying to comply with all Adsense rules. Drop the pics and graphics. If you don't believe me, just email the Adsense team through your account. Fast enough you will learn the truth.
I already e-mailed them and was told it was just fine! Perhaps you should e-mail the AdSense team instead of telling others to do so.
If you'd like to see my site, feel free to sticky me.
IMO, it is better to have stable 4% CTR with good ROI, than 20% CTR with low ROI. However, I am just speculating here -- let us know what your earnings are after, say, one month.
You may have 90% CTR but if you have $5 eCPM (due to SmartPricing applied to your site, because of small ROI), I will be more successful even if I have 5% CTR, because my average eCPM is $30.
So the important question is: How did your eCPM (not CTR) change after 1-2 months after you placed the images above the ads?
I have an email from the Adsense team which states: NO GRAPHICS, no pictures. NO CHANGE OF COLOR IN THE PRINT inside the ads. Sorry you are so unaware...
Guys,, we are talking of pictures OUTSIDE the ads, above the leaderboard!
i guess many people are still thinking of pictures inside the ad code.
To be on the safer side, i have emailed google and send them my site for review. I shall post what they say. i have put 4 very attracive and hot pictures just above the leaderboard ;)