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Now, here's an update.
Since Thursday I have been the target of site targeters, which is fine, but apparently their ad copy is too good to be true, in fact so good that almost everyone clicks the ads. Number of clicks went through the roof (of course without matching increase in earnings, because they are site-targeted and paid CPM). Needless to say, the overall EPC has dropped like a stone, but when separated (i.e. contextual/site-targeted) the figures look OK.
But there still is something fishy about this, because my click tracker seems to be unable to capture the clicks. I emailed Adsense support and offered any help.
Has anyone of you seen such a behaviour before? What could it be?
[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:26 am (utc) on Feb. 10, 2007]
[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:10 pm (utc) on Feb. 10, 2007]
When an advertiser does that: 1. are they guaranteed to be the only ad in the block. 2. Does it always look like a graphic or can it be text as well?
1. No, there's no guarantee. From Google Adwords - All About Site-Targeted Ads [google.com]:
How do site-targeted campaigns compete for ranking with traditional keyword-targeted ads?
When site-targeted and keyword-targeted ads both are eligible for display in a given position, they compete equally for ranking. The AdWords ranking system takes into account the max CPM prices of all site-targeted ads, compares them to the combined cost-per-click prices and clickthrough rate of keyword-targeted ads, and then displays the highest-ranked ads.
2. It can also be text.
The CTR for one particualr channel = 1 adblock went up 20 fold. That is HUGE imo.
It stayed up for yesterday and seems to be 'normal' by now. Earnings went up a little, but not nearly as much. maybe in the 2 to 5 % range, which over such a short period of time is not really significant, statistically.
Maybe it's some sort of 'Quality Rating runaway' that occurs when either some type of browser accesses a page and automatically clicks on the ads over and over (browse-ahead?) or too many visitors click and adsense raises the Quality of the ad rapidly which in turn increases the amount of the ad's appearance, etc. In one sample channel affected the stats went from IMP=61 CTR=0 CPM=$1.97 typical (where site targeted CPM is about 1/2 that for context ads and the number of impressions for site targeted are about 1/10 that of context) to IMP=140 CTR=52.82% CPM=$26.72! (almost 9 times context CPM and 1/5 as many imps as context)
I guess it COULD happen quite legitimately if, like previously mentioned, one VERY good site targeted ad that everyone would click on, was targeted to an otherwise lackluster CPM page and GAd decided this page was a very good quality match and thus charged more. But if on the other hand the advertisers aren't really seeing that clickthru registered with GAd, then there is indeed a problem somewhere in the middle. The publisher gets blamed, the advertiser gets upset and drops the campaign and the ads go back to normal.
[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 10:40 pm (utc) on Feb. 11, 2007]
I just checked back and the numbers seem to be changed. CTR for that channel back to the low single digits and I believe the actual clicks showing are much lower than when I checked before my previous post.
Yes, same here - all the current figures seem to be back to their normal values. However, the 'historical values', i.e. the strange values of Thursday through Saturday, have stayed in the stats.
"Free $100 bills no strings attached"
Well, that offer is too good to be true. I would certainly click the ad, just out of curiosity who might advertise such B.S. Maybe I'd even order some $100 bills (if free of charge), which would increase conversion rate as well. ;-)
or GAd screwed up and had all channel targeted ads logging as an automatic clickthru
Hmmmm. Sounds more like it. Like mifi, I am in travel niche as well, so there might be a connection, e.g. some advertisers targeting specifically for travel sites? That would explain why we are not seeing straight 100% CTR for all ads (some ads might not be coming from that new option, and might therefore not be logged as 'automatic clickthrough').
But if on the other hand the advertisers aren't really seeing that clickthru registered with GAd, then there is indeed a problem somewhere in the middle.
While at the very first moment I was thinking that someone might be mis-using my ID, I soon came to the conclusion that this is not possible, because then the page/ad numbers must have gone up as well (but traffic reported by Adsense stayed the same).
I'd put my money on "Adsense problem with new site targeting offer for Adwords customers (maybe beta), and the programmer forgot a few bytes of code to log pageviews and clicks correctly".
The last post of netsnets in that thread sounds very very familiar...
i guess impressions are listed when someone plays the video, and conversions when someone sees an ad
That could explain the high number of clicks ("conversions") that we have been seeing - people are seeing a new attractive ad format, possibly with interesting content, and then viewing the ad? But could that also explain why the click tracker does not capture the clicks? A new ad code?
[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:14 am (utc) on Feb. 13, 2007]