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Is targeting improving or getting worse for you

     
12:46 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed ad targeting on my site getting worse and worse recently. How is it for your site?
1:02 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The quality of targeting has been more variable than usual lately, at least on my index.html pages. Right now it's okay, but I was getting ads for "hotels in Chicago" on my home page the other day, and my topic is European travel.
2:41 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've tried writing to support about targeting problems. But they always find an excuse to feed me. I'm not buying it though, the same pages targeted just find in the past. Why are they so bad now?
3:45 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My niche covers a fairly broad range of related subjects and I know the inventory is big, so there is not really any problem for me... except funnily... I do get diaper ads occasionally on some pages... can't figure out why!
4:04 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'm also seeing section targeting failures. Ads are showing up for keywords that are in ignore sections. There's definately something wrong at Google.
4:05 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I do get diaper ads occasionally on some pages... can't figure out why!

I don't see diaper ads but all too often I see perfume ads on pages dealing with Linux. Very impressive ;(

4:17 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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For that matter, why am I seeing ads in Mandarin?

hunderdown

4:19 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I tried to tweak the section targeting on my home page, which has an adlinks box that had drifted off focus, and this morning the adlinks there were what I had hoped for, but tonight it's back to what it was before.

The #1 item on the list shouldn't be there if the ignore targeting is working....

6:00 am on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So how do we get Google to admit to a problem? Or better yet fix it!
2:51 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I do get diaper ads occasionally on some pages... can't figure out why!

It Depends.

2:54 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Looking for targeted ads?
Find lots of new and used targeted ads on eBay!
7:29 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Looking for targeted ads?
Find lots of new and used targeted ads on eBay!

I'll have to give that one a 2.

8:45 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It Depends.

LOL Don't start that, EFV.

You're a senior member and a long-time WW member Pampers and supports members experiencing this issue.

9:02 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've given up worry about, or trying to figure what's happening with targeting.

For the life of me I can't make sense out of it.

9:27 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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we know that the adwords program overall has plenty of advertisers, but only google knows how many of 'em have bailed out of using the content side... so is it really a targeting problem, or is google simply trying to fill vacant ad slots?

what i've seen occasionally on my sites isn't a targeting problem, because none of the keywords match... the ads are completely off-topic for the site.

9:41 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My targeting is generally good.

However there have been cases of bad days or geographic regions where the ads displayed are music industry ads, the San Francisco hotel Ads, buy a house in Spain Ads etc etc. In a few cases I have contacted support but the most common response is the response eek describes about receiving excuses.

[edited by: Scurramunga at 9:44 pm (utc) on Aug. 12, 2006]

10:00 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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so is it really a targeting problem, or is google simply trying to fill vacant ad slots?

It's a targeting problem, and there's nothing new about it. Besides, Google doesn't have to fill all vacant ad slots. It merely needs to display something in each ad unit.

11:27 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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One of my sites has much more trouble staying on track than my others. Usually when a page gets off track, I can identify the errant word in the content that the bot picked up on and remove it, and some time later, sometimes weeks, the page gets back to normal.

(I currently have one of these in progress right now. One sub-page that has mostly articles now about an upcoming movie currently mentions trailers for this movie a lot. It's now got Adsense ads for trailer hitches and double-wides. I removed the words and I had to change the page to alternate ads for the time being.)

But last night, the home page of this site got totally off track with ads I could find absolutely connection to in my content. I replaced G with alternate ads at that time, and this morning, my correct ads are back, and they seem to be holding.

But today, I've lost a subcategory page of that site. It's totally off track like my home page was last night with no connection to the ads from anything on the page I can discern. I'm waiting to see if it comes back. I hope this isn't spreading...

And yes, if you report this to G, as I have done several times in the past, you will only get a canned response. IN MY EXPERIENCE they are totally unwilling (or unable) to manually intervene in a targeting problem.

If anybody's listening to this over at the Plex, I'd guess there is one server (or cluster of servers) that is missing its targeting database, so we're starting to see this intermittently (in the same way that the "invisible titles" problem was intermittent).

11:37 pm on Aug 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I hope this isn't spreading...

For a while late last night things seemed to very much improve. But today I'm getting a national park at on linux pages.

12:31 am on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A page that mentions modem drivers had an ad for a (motor vehicle) driving school. Neat.
1:01 am on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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A page that mentions modem drivers had an ad for a (motor vehicle) driving school.

At least it's easy to see where that came from. There are all too many times where I don't have the slightest clue what they're keying off of.

6:31 am on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Would you belive "free lipsticks"?

System

4:55 pm on Aug 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The following 8 messages were cut out to new thread by jatar_k. New thread at: google_adsense/3045933.htm [webmasterworld.com]
10:54 am on Aug. 14, 2006 <small>(pst -7)</small>

let's try and be civil thanks

[edited by: jatar_k at 5:55 pm (utc) on Aug. 14, 2006]

9:03 pm on Aug 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Today I'm seeing "Blackhead removal tool". How does that relate to Linux?
1:35 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This is really really bad.

Next time I see a well targeted ad I'm going to contact the merchant and offer them a specific slot on my site, possibly via Adbrite.

Three things are certain in life - death, taxes and Google stuffing up a good thing.

2:58 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think there's different kinds of targeting issues.

On my primary Adsense site, most of my ads are pretty well targeted to the subject.

One problem I have, though, is that there's not many people (legitimately) advertising on my main keyword, so I tend to have the same half dozen ads running ALL the time throughout the site, and as my site has a very high return visitor rate, my visitors just see the same thing over and over unless I go ahead filter out ads for no other reason than I'm sick of seeing them.

The other issue I run into a lot is that my site is really targeted to the end user or individual who enjoys a particular activity, and the ads that tend to come across are more targeted to businesses, organizations or other entities who would normally sponsor or present these activities, and might be purchasing supplies for them. The ads are certainly relevant to the text on the site, and use all the same major keywords, but the audience is different - so there's a certain disconnect.

I wish there were a way for us to specify whether we want consumer-oriented or business-oriented (b2b) ads on our sites. That would be a very useful thing.

4:06 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I wish there were a way for us to specify whether we want consumer-oriented or business-oriented (b2b) ads on our sites. That would be a very useful thing.

That isn't a bad idea--it might eliminate the "ATM equipment and supplies" ads in my travel article about using ATMs abroad, for example. Trouble is, Google would have to give advertisers checkboxes for "consumer-oriented" and "B2B," and advertisers would have to use them correctly. As it is, some of the targeting problems are likely to be the result of overly broad keyword choices by advertisers.

AdSense works well with unambiguous niche topics where the audience is defined by the keywords. For example, a page about "canal cruising in France" will probably get relevant ads that are of interest to readers, because the audience is defined by the topic and the topic doesn't have multiple meanings. Things may get trickier if Google's ad bot looks at a page in the same article about "locks," because the bot lacks the intelligence to know that "locks" in this context refers to canal locks, not the locks that you put on a door.

Keyword-based ad targeting will never be perfect, just as spidered search will never be perfect. It's likely to get better over time, but until or unless Google gives hints (or at least negative keywords) to rank-and-file publishers, mistargeting is something that AdSense publishers will have to live with--especially if their page topics are at all ambiguous.

4:15 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Trouble is, Google would have to give advertisers checkboxes for "consumer-oriented" and "B2B," and advertisers would have to use them correctly.

Since you rather notoriously don't use AdWords (ork ork) you might not be aware that Google already asks us this in our AdWords accounts, under our profiles. I don't know what if anything they intend to do with the information, but at one point we were asked to provide it.

Umm, the ATM supplies ads - that actually might be one of mine for one of my customers. I hope not, but it could well be.

4:28 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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you might not be aware that Google already asks us this in our AdWords accounts, under our profiles.

To solve the mistargeting problem, the question would have to be asked for each ad, not in an account profile. Why? Because Google can't assume that a B2B advertiser never buys consumer ads, or that a consumer advertiser never buys B2B ads.

But that's not all: Publishers would also have to specify whether their pages (or at least their sites) fall under the "consumer" or "B2B" heading, because--to use just one example--the ad bot isn't intelligent enough to determine whether my "using an ATM abroad" article is geared to people who get money from ATMs or people who make money with ATMs.

Would it be worthwhile for Google to add greater complexity on both the advertiser and publisher side just to avoid a relatively small number of mistargeting issues? Google apparently doesn't think it would, even if some publishers might like the idea.

4:47 pm on Aug 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Actually, it could probably be specified on the Ad Group level. Yes, it would certainly be a little more complex, but as someone who spends a pretty good amount on Adwords, and whose clients mostly sell to other businesses rather than to consumers, I for one would welcome a little complexity to better target my ads. And I'd certainly welcome it on the Adsense (personal) side.

I'm not sure that it would have to be all inclusive (by which I mean some folks could opt in, while others could go on as they always have, but it wouldn't be required), but I haven't thought it through yet.

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