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Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen image ads on Google - hmmm.
Google could make a ton of money with display ads ("image ads") if it were a player in that market. But it isn't--or at least not yet, if we're to believe an ADVERTISING AGE article [adage.com] from the other day that said:
For all its effort thus far, Google is still a nonplayer in display, and earns 99% of its revenue from search, while Yahoo dominates 33% of the $7.1 billion U.S. online-display market, according to eMarketer.
As far as AdSense is concerned, page-targeted CPC ads have always been the main event, and "imaage ads" aren't contextual. Also, while some niche publishers and vertical ad networks are doing well with display ads, online CPMs for most sites (even name-brand media) are pretty awful these days. So it stands to reason that "image ads" shouldn't bring in much money for the typical AdSense publisher's site.
Yup. Just turned them off this morning (I checked my logs and actually it's been two weeks since enabling the image ads. A 40% pay cut? That's enough 'testing' for me!).
[edited by: Play_Bach at 3:49 pm (utc) on Feb. 5, 2009]
Sometimes a new advertiser comes in and target your site, so for one day your revenues might suck until Google decides that they need to pay more to compete with your regular advertisers.
I agree it's important to allow enough time to make an informed decision regarding an AdSense product. That said, if you start losing money shortly after changing something in AdSense, you might want to reconsider reversing that change as soon as possible and going back to where you were before. While greener pastures may exist, it's been my experience that AdSense moves very slowly when it comes to changes. You can easily wind up taking a bath for quite awhile waiting for a boost in your AdSense earnings thanks to some 'improvement' you made.
[edited by: Play_Bach at 3:50 am (utc) on Feb. 6, 2009]
I always turn off image ads January-April to avoid having tax related CPM ads show up. Even if they do make me money, I hate seeing them and having them associated with my site.
That's the fundamental problem. Without the tools needed to make an accurate statistical assessment, all we can do is speculate. Accordingly, I pay attention to the bottom line (mine that is!) as that's one metric that makes sense.
[edited by: Play_Bach at 5:15 am (utc) on Feb. 6, 2009]
Yes, earnings are going back up. Haven't reached the same level they were at before I added the image ads, but they're close.
[edited by: Play_Bach at 3:29 pm (utc) on Feb. 7, 2009]
CTR: up 30-40% (over normal, not total!)
EPC: down somewhat
eCPM: bottom end of normal range
Basically I had more clicks, and SLIGHTLY less money. So, I'm back to letting it decide what to show and my eCPM is at "normal" levels (which frankly suck lately, but that's besides the point...)
For all the calls for us to diversify against Google's unreliability it is interesting to note that Google themselves have been unable to diversify and remain a one trick pony. A common theme among internet companies.