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CPM and site targeted campaigns

Bonanza for community sites?

     
4:16 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Prenote: have been an active lurker on the Adsense Forum of WW since more than two years. You guys have helped me enormously, and since the quality of your posts is so amazingly high, hardly ever could add something - you usually cover it all. Thank you! And thanks as well for the countless times I have been laughing out loud in front of the computer :-)

Finally have something though: I didnt find much beef about CPM ads and site targetted campaigns so far. Would love to stir up a little exchange of opinions and experiences. Here is mine (excuse the bullet points):

- I run a mid-sized community which gets lots of repeat traffic, and some search engine traffic
- we were contacted by the Adsense team some weeks back and did a bit of optimization together (heatmap stuff, moving ads closer to content etc.)
- shortly after, CPM ads started to show up every now and then, so I guess the Adsense team was happy and turned on some quality flag for the site.
- when I noticed I signed up for Adwords (finally, after having been on the Adsense side since the very beginning) to take a look from the other side. To my happy amazement I saw that we show up nicely with lots of traffic for some very generic terms.
- our earnings went up and up thanks to the optimization and CPM ads, to a level where I can now happily live thanks to Adsense, something I had never planned when starting the site (labour of love)
- now this week has been crazy - almost only CPM-ads site wide - about 5-10 different ones. I know that our repeat visitors hardly click on ads, the best performing pages are those that get search engine traffic. So this CPM model is actually a life saver for us.
- the last days it now seems as if the CPM ads are auctioning themselves higher and higher, which would make sense until we reach their max CPM price ($2?...who knows). Especially if more and more advertisers enter the CPM model in our niche.
- anyway, yesterday was our biggest day ever since July 2003, I'd love to throw a party for all of you who have helped me to get there ;-)

Some questions in my head:
- have some of you observed similar CPM effects on community sites that made you just as happy as me?
- did you see any upward-spiral like I am observing right now?
- or did it end abruptly in some niches after CPM advertisers pulled out again?
- we now run 2 ad blocks on most member-pages (skyscraper on right+leaderboard at bottom), often both of them show the very same CPM-ad. Is the CPM price actually split between those two spaces, or do we get "double"? Also, sometimes there is CPC in the skyscraper and CPM on bottom. Should we add a 3rd ad unit? :-)

BTW, I am fully aware that this bonanza might end soon, once CPM advertisers get more selective, or track conversions better. If the same CPM ad displays 100 times to one user during a session, well, don't know how much good it will do in the end. On the other hand those CPM advertisers really know what they get for their money: branding, and not necessarily immediate clicks+conversions. I really hope it will last for a long time!

So, who is getting site-targeted right now? :-)

12:47 pm on Sept 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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how exactly do you know its a CPM ad?
2:17 pm on Sept 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Font (huge fonts with one ad in skyscraper or leaderboard) and Stats (channels with tons of impressions, very few clicks, but high earnings).