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AdSense Competitive Ad Filter Limit Raised to 500

One of your Top 5 requests (quietly) launched

     
5:59 pm on Apr 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Top 5 Adsense Publisher Requests
1. Minimum CPC
2. More channels
3. Block ads by keyword
4. Bigger competitive filter
5. Smart pricing information

Check your account. We have more than doubled your number of filters (to 500).

Please don't go crazy with this. The reason we're not announcing it on the blog is that we don't want to overload our system with everyone filling their filters to capacity at once.

Huge thanks go to the awesome engineering team that implemented this for us (I'm an AdSense publisher, too, after all).

Please feel free to leave love letters to our engineers below.

ASA

11:28 am on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm surprised that blocking by advertiser account isn't on the top 5 list

Seconded.
Blocking by advertiser should take a high priority.

Without revealing too much ASA, does the number of blocked advertisers slow down a publisher's ad serving speed (We know this feature affects the whole network infrastructure performance but I'm asking about individual performance)

BTW blocking by advertiser could also save Google infrastructure costs as it will free up most filter slots.

12:17 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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It would, of course, be naive to think this news won't spread beyond the limits of the WebmasterWorld community, but I understand your motives -- there are, after all, 12800+ subscribers to the Inside AdSense blog -- and I do appreciate the scoop. Not quite as much, however, as my appreciation for the fact that our list of requests is taken seriously by the Adsense team. Kudos!
2:04 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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i've tried IE and Firefox, and both still say I have 58 channels left. No increase for me. Any others seeing no change ?
2:36 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This is regarding the competitive ad filter, Lame_Wolf, not channels.
3:00 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If lots of publishers start filtering out lots of URL's, I wonder what the impact will be on (1) those who block lots of URL's and (2) those who don't block lots of URL's.

To paraphrase something I read over at JenSense, when you filter out a URL it will be replaced by something that pays less. So for (1), will those publishers be sacrificing income in exchange for peace of mind about what ads will appear (or won't appear) on their site(s)?

And for (2), with less places to have their ads displayed, will some advertisers have to raise their bids to get the exposure they want and thus create an opportunity for increased revenue for publishers who do not block their ads?

FarmBoy

3:23 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am not convinced that a filtered ad will be replaced by a lower paying ad. How much income an ad is projected to deliver has to do with the amount of clicks it's estimated to generate plus the budget allocated, the limit to how many of those high CPC clicks. AdSense has consistently insisted that an ad with a lower cost per click but higher estimated amount of clicks will generate more clicks. This is in my opinion is where the low quality advertisers are exploiting the system.

The idea is that there will be less competition in the auction when you filter out an ad. This doesn't mean that a lower paying ad will replace the ones removed however, the system is, I believe, more complicated than that.

This is fairly unsubstantiated but my gut feeling is that these rogue advertisers are exploiting the system by bidding low but maintaining a high daily budget. In theory multiple clicks on their ads will generate more income than less clicks on higher paying ads. But because the ads are so off topic I don't think that actually pans out and the net effect of removing those advertisers may not necessarily result in lower costs per click.

[edited by: martinibuster at 3:32 pm (utc) on April 8, 2009]

3:26 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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is regarding the competitive ad filter, Lame_Wolf, not channels.

Doh !
May be I should go back to bed and start again.
Thanks robzilla, that'll teach me not to read things correctly. I shall walk away with my tail between my legs.

[edited by: Lame_Wolf at 3:27 pm (utc) on April 8, 2009]

3:27 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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...when you filter out a URL it will be replaced by something that pays less.

That's true. And when I filter out enough URL's, the garbage URL's that my visitors can't possibly be interested in clicking on, my CTR goes up and the overall effect is an increase in earnings. The clicks pay less but there are more of them. I've seen it happen again and again. I dump the comp ad filter and I lose money. I replace it and the daily earnings go back up.

I understand that many publishers don't want to have to micro-manage their adsense accounts in such depth and I don't blame them. If I had any sort of a life at all I probably wouldn't either. There are also publishers whose particular niches don't warrant this sort of policing. Mine's not one of them. I get totally off topic ads all the time based on a single word in the text body of my page(s), and yes, I've used section targeting and weight/ignore extensively. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's much easier for me just to stomp the ad. I'll stomp ads with phone numbers regardless of whether they're on topic or not. There should be a rule against phone numbers in ANY PPC ad text if you ask me.

This increase in the competetive ad filter is good news for me. It's been a successful tool for me and this has been proven beyond any doubt numerous times.

And for (2), with less places to have their ads displayed, will some advertisers have to raise their bids to get the exposure they want and thus create an opportunity for increased revenue for publishers who do not block their ads?

Yeah, I think you might see this. The ads have to go somewhere. I think you'll see it more in smaller, less mainstream niches than anywhere else though. I don't know. I'd certainly be interested in seeing some numbers on this in about 6 months or so...
4:39 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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500 thank yous. Well actually 400. But thank you!
4:49 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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> Seconded.
> Blocking by advertiser should take a high priority.

I asked for this three years ago. That it hasn't been implemented speaks for itself.
[webmasterworld.com...]

6:06 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Should this even matter since we won't be seeing the same ads that follow visitors around?
6:32 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Yes I remember that discussion Play_Bach, the good old simple MFA days, now that those are morphed into harder to shoot down targets, landing page quality score is in effect, I'd say today we have a relatively better Google that listens, but also much more complicated issues to contend with.
7:48 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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That's true. And when I filter out enough URL's, the garbage URL's that my visitors can't possibly be interested in clicking on, my CTR goes up and the overall effect is an increase in earnings. The clicks pay less but there are more of them. I've seen it happen again and again. I dump the comp ad filter and I lose money. I replace it and the daily earnings go back up.

If that is true, then the auction system is not working as expected. At all. It's a major bug and it should be fixed by Google, not worked-around by publishers and their competitive filters (I know that the workaround is needed until the bug is fixed).

7:55 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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No, no, no, no... you're not reading what I'm saying. The auction system is working perfectly. It's working as it should.

Read that post again and this time read for comprehension...

9:38 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I am not convinced that a filtered ad will be replaced by a lower paying ad

Neither am I. Don't some of the low paying ads get top places because of their high ctr (projected or otherwise)? With regards to mfa's; Isn't that ctr usually higher because of deceptive ad copy?

[edited by: Scurramunga at 9:46 pm (utc) on April 8, 2009]

9:44 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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n theory multiple clicks on their ads will generate more income than less clicks on higher paying ads. But because the ads are so off topic I don't think that actually pans out and the net effect of removing those advertisers may not necessarily result in lower costs per click.

********************************P r e c i s e l y.*********************************
I have always said this.
Martin, have you always been of this view? Does this mean that you are 'pro' filtering?
In theory at least? ;-)

I think two things can happen with low quality ads (of the deceptive kind) Here is my piece of speculation...er, I mean theory:
1. Depending on your audience, your readers might be savvy enough to ignore these ads, leaving you with less clicks at a lower average CPC.
2. The other possibility is that these ads might generate the high ctr as expected. In this scenario you get many clicks but your average CPC stays low. A likely manifestation of this could be what we perceive and term as the "ceiling" effect. You may also find that the MFA landing page results in many visitors pressing the back button on the browser. Google would know if this happens and it could trigger Smartpricing if the back tracking is prevalent enough on your site. Best case scenario here is that even if Smartpricing doesn't kick in, you are left with a bunch of invalid clicks and no income for said clicks, which in turn dilutes your average CPC.

[edited by: Scurramunga at 10:34 pm (utc) on April 8, 2009]

11:10 pm on Apr 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for listening!

4 more to go and I'm sure we can come up with dozens more as needed ;-)

12:18 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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On my family friendly site, right now, I have a

"Meet your silver daddy" ad, about a dating site for meeting older gay men.

Its fixing problems like this that need to be addressed.

12:20 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I hear ya Nippi. Same here.
1:01 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure 500 is enough as AdSense appears to have lost it's ability to target on one of my most popular pages which is now overflowing with garbage and AdSense support won't respond to my email.

I'm so impressed I don't know where to start...

4:44 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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when you filter out a URL it will be replaced by something that pays less.

When I filter out a stupid ad (i.e. an irrelvant ad) it gets replaced by something someone might click on. It doesn't matter how much an ad pays for a click if nobody is interested.

7:45 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If that is true, then the auction system is not working as expected. At all. It's a major bug and it should be fixed by Google, not worked-around by publishers and their competitive filters (I know that the workaround is needed until the bug is fixed).

No, no, no, no... you're not reading what I'm saying. The auction system is working perfectly. It's working as it should.

Read that post again and this time read for comprehension...

Eh?

The auction system is supposed to rotate all the available relevant ads whose eCPM is expected to be around a certain level. The system is expected to show each of these ad for a sufficiently long time to be able to measure the performance of the ads on your site. If the system finds out that performance of some of those ads in the pool is lower (which means lower eCPM, not CTR), the system is supposed to stop showing such ads.

The ads are expected to be compared according to their eCPM, not CTR. And that's not just because you have CPM ads in the auction too, but mainly because eCPM is the only sensible thing to compare (if we disregard AdWords conversions, which most advertisers don't track).

What you described doesn't meet those expectations and so the auction system does not work perfectly. At least I would consider it a bug if I were getting your results.

[edited by: true_INFP at 7:54 am (utc) on April 9, 2009]

8:01 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Check your account. We have more than doubled your number of filters (to 500).

finally, see it was that hard. what about the rest AdSenseAdvisor?
8:08 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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bad ad = dead slot
deceptive ad = plunging ecpm
good ad = good paying click
lesser paying good ad = lesser paying click
8:36 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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(I'm an AdSense publisher, too, after all).

Google employees are allowed to use AdSense? That's a surprise.

I thought there were a number of ways that position could be abused. For example, wouldn't it be easier for Google insiders to commit click fraud? Some of them could find out how exactly their fraud detection algorithms work and evade them. Even if the employee didn't work for the click fraud department, a very good friend of his could...

8:38 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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good ad = good paying click

Actually, that's not always true. You disregarded CTR. The correct formula is:

good ad = good eCPM

eCPM reflects both CTR and CPC.

9:02 am on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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This WOULD have been very welcome, useful news, (last year) except for having read the most funniest, yet pathetic, Inside Adsense statement to date which I read today. The April 7 "A Clarification on Ad Serving" news, partially about the new interest based ads, ends with the statement "However, you can also continue to prevent specific ads from appearing by using..." [these filters]. Well a large part of the news entry had to do with the new "interest based advertising". Is this Inside Adsense Team blogger brain dead, or did I fall asleep and miss a new publisher report release?

Unless we ARE EVERY user accessing our site (or they are actually going to start SHOWING US what ads EVERYONE else is seeing, ha-ha an even far funnier concept), there is NO WAY we can filter the SPECIFIC ads (even with the new 500 limit) that EVERYONE else is seeing with interest-based advertising... because WE will NEVER SEE THEM! Somebody over at the Gplex needs to google the "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle" (or at least try applying their own software). The ads are/will be shown, but not to US, so we can't tell which ones to filter 90% of the time anyway. Even more so when the new type of ads kick in.

In the end, a very small victory. Too little, too late. Actually a teeny-weeny-tiny bitter-sweet victory, since the whole thing is about to become totally obsolete. The filters are about to become 90% impotent! They might as well just send everyone a TRS-80 for Christmas this year to check their earnings reports, as hand out this knife for the upcoming gunfight? Don't even get me started on the uselessness of the current adsense Preview Tool - UNLESS it is going to finally be upgraded to accurately show what interest-based visitors see - ha-ha-ha nah, this just keeps getting funnier...

[edited by: MikeNoLastName at 9:37 am (utc) on April 9, 2009]

1:13 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Mike,
You can always do what I did and switch the buggers off.
4:14 pm on Apr 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

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What are these 2 features ?
1. Minimum CPC
5. Smart pricing information
8:11 pm on Apr 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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How do I find out how many filter slots I have left?
Is the only way to find out, by jamming hundreds of URLs into the filter?

Must I HIT the limit, in order to SEE the limit?

Is there not an easier way?

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 8:12 pm (utc) on April 11, 2009]

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