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When is "blending" considered too much?

When is "blending" considered too much?

10:56 am on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'd like to understand when blending is acceptable for google and when it isn't.

There's a site (not mine) that is blending the ads 100% with its content... at first i thought google wouldn't allow it but now some time has passed and those ads are still online.

what do you think?

[edited by: jatar_k at 12:46 pm (utc) on Oct. 5, 2007]
[edit reason] no urls thanks [/edit]

12:06 pm on Oct 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I believe they are premium publishers (like Digg, etc.). They can do what others can't :)
2:28 am on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I once received an e-mail from G encouraging the blending a few months ago. I have a mostly white background with blues thrown in the mix. There's a little bit of pink in the layout scheme. My ads were initially one particular shade of blue with a darker blue border, which was also the color for the urls. They encouraged me to make it borderless, white background for the ads, and use the blue and pink schemes for the headlines and the urls, with black descriptions. They wanted me to blend it in.
3:25 pm on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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IMHO you can "blend" as much as you like.. Google encourages it, and I do it.

I believe you go over the line as soon as you start "disguising" ads so that they appear as menus, or something else other than ads.. it's a fine line..

6:57 pm on Oct 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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When is it too much? When it gets you smart priced. Blending and positioning ads within content can easily mislead visitors into thinking the ads are a part of the site's own navigation.
12:26 am on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I feel there is no such question about allowing when blending the ads are concerned. In fact, G encourages blending the ads to the content. Probably, there is confusion between a point where people place images besides the ads (which is not allowed of course) and normal blending.

You cannot confuse people by placing images near ads.

Natural looking blending is not only allowed but encouraged.

Now there is a point to think about the “Over blending”. Or is there anything like Over blending?

People think that if the ads are too much blended, visitors may completely ignore them. I wish to get the opinions on this point. I personally believe that there is nothing such like over blending.

3:57 am on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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People think that if the ads are too much blended, visitors may completely ignore them. I wish to get the opinions on this point.

I recently realized that I may have 'overblended'.

I had my own ads and AdSense in a column , and I made them all look alike. The ad formating also blended stylistically with my content, but that's not the point. I believe I was in violation of TOS by presenting non-AS ads and AS side-by-side, so to speak.

I 'un-blended': gave the AS blocks a very distinct border and a lot of space above and below from any other content or non-AS ads. I expected a decrease in CTR and then, quality of advertiser as conversions fell (a lower eCPM).

I was wrong. Both factors increased significantly. (My old CTR and eCPM was satisfactory, above the ranges frequently quoted in this forum.) I'm now wondering if its a permanent uptick, and something I should pursue even more.

5:33 am on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Most of my ads are blended in the sense that there is no border and the background and font color are the same as the site. I do keep a good space between the ads and my content though as I don't want to confuse my visitors.

Recently I put a border on the ads on a small site of mine and they seem to be doing just fine so I wonder if blending really helps. In fact I wonder if the border actually brings attention to the ads. If the eye is attracted to them people might be more likely to notice an ad they are interested in.

I guess what I'm saying is I wonder if people are tired of blended ads.

3:33 pm on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think it's all going to vary with the site and the audience. My ads currently blend with the site, have no borders, and are 160x600. I ran a test for a month randomly showing different setups of ads (lighter/darker background, border/no-border, different colors) and found, for me, the blended ads worked the best by a long shot.
4:37 pm on Oct 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think it's all going to vary with the site and the audience.

That's my opinion also. I blended the ads on 1,200 or so pages at the urging of the AdSense optimization person and it made no measurable difference, good or bad, that I could see.

Now I'm slowly moving back to using a multi-style settings so the ads are not blended on all pages. Eventually I'll take the blending off most pages.

2:31 am on Oct 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I think there is serious inconsistency, even within the Adsense staff ranks, as to what constitutes un-acceptable blending and what doesn't, but from what we experienced, they obviously DO believe there can be TOO much blending and have a procedure to handle it.
We've been an Adsense publisher for years, and got an e-mail notice on a recent Friday that if we did not make changes to a particular URL on one domain, and all others like it, within 3 days, they would deactivate all the ads on that domain (not the account they were careful to say). We wrote right back for clarification, as there were a number of possible issues mentioned (like misleading, pictures next to ads, etc) and a number of different ad units on the page and we were totally stumped at what could possibly be the exact issue. Since it was a Friday we got only the generic auto response that they were out until Monday.
Everyone in the office took turns looking at our ads, vs. the blending examples on the Adsense support website all weekend, as well as at other major publishers like that Los Angelese newspaper site and that site ABOUT just about everything, and in every respect ours was more obviously ads than theirs!
The ads do quite well on CTR simply because they are very well targeted and our readers are very highly motivated when they visit the site. Our readers, I won't call them all cheapskates, but they tend to like to compare all the options before making their final purchase... and they DO purchase a lot. In fact we've had direct advertisers tell us we had 5-10 times the favorable response of our competitors, and I guess some old foggies in the mainsteam media have a hard time buying that.
Anyway, the ads simply ARE very similar colors, and fonts (although not exactly) nor are they in quite the same format to other navigation links on the page. They are clearly in a separate, differently colored box (the nav links are NOT in a box), which is about 3/8" away, and which clearly indicated that items inside it were ads. No pics within the same screen. So we made no changes other than deactivating the ads on the screen to show good faith until we got a response and saving off the original so they could use it for review.
Well, come Monday, we discover that apparently the first staff person who reported it was taking prescription medicine which made him hallucinate, had bad training, or simply needed to fill a quota before going home Friday, because first thing Monday, we got back an apologetic response, that said basically: Well, the notes here about your case say such-and-such ad on that page was misleadingly blended, but from what I can see, there clearly is no such violation. Never mind, you're fine.
BTW, our smart-pricing has apparently risen by exactly 33% since then. Another 66% and we'll be back to where we were in Feb. I wonder what OTHER alleged violations they penalized us with and didn't bother double checking or telling us about?

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