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AdSense Category Filtering Expanded to More Publishers

     

chrism

5:38 pm on Aug 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I've just spotted this on the Ad review centre page - has that been there long, and has anyone used it to good effect?

chrism

5:39 pm on Aug 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Oops - just seen it on the Adsense blog - just been added apparently [adsense.blogspot.com].

[edited by: martinibuster at 6:20 am (utc) on Aug. 5, 2009]
[edit reason] Added link. [/edit]

piatkow

8:48 pm on Aug 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Looks like it is out today. This is something that many people have been wanting for a long time.

A quick look at my site shows that 5.6% of ads were in blockable categories and accounted for zero clicks.

robho

10:07 pm on Aug 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I didn't even realise Adsense was now showing ads in categories like "Sexually Suggestive" and "Sexual & Reproductive Health" on my sites aimed at all ages, including children.

Again though this is account-wide, rather than for a particular site, so is essentially useless.

It's quite possible (indeed normal) for sites in the same account to be aimed at different markets. For example a debt-reduction site, and a business opportunities site. You'd want to ban "get rick quick" from one, but (maybe) not the other.

I've never been able to use the "account review" either as it doesn't say which site the ad is for. With several hundred ads to review, and a dozen sites they could be on, it's impossible to guess.

swa66

11:15 pm on Aug 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Their announcement is here:
[adsense.blogspot.com...]
Category filtering lets you prevent ads from up to 5 specific categories such as religion, politics, and dating from appearing on your pages. Your filters will be applied to ads in English, regardless of how they're targeted. In addition, you'll be able to see the percentage that each category contributes to your earnings, which can help you understand any revenue impact you might notice as a result of filtering.

Unfortunately they neglected to include all advertisers, as I'd love to exclude all those categories.

koan

11:18 pm on Aug 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Again though this is account-wide, rather than for a particular site, so is essentially useless.

I find the Ad review center to be of limited value because we don't know what site an ad is targeting. That and the general usability is rather poor, one advertiser takes a page and half to scroll down. I haven't peeked in there for a very long time until today. Glad it's being improved though.

bgd2006

12:16 am on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Assuming you only had one site that this would apply to would it make sense to block a category that was serving a higher percentage of ad impressions than it was delivering in earnings? This seems obvious but something tells me it's too simple a solution with too many variables involved to try and filter out a low paying category.

stuartmcdonald

12:25 am on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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About time! Easy to use and makes sense -- bye bye dating sites!

Across all the categories listed, the total came to 11% of total impressions for 6% of total earnings.

Keeping the above in mind, it would be great to have this data for ALL categories so one could see what is underperforming.

For example, in my report, video games had only 0.8% of total earnings but accounted for 2.2% of total impressions -- I've got nothing against video games, but it doesn't seem to be a good match to my site, so I blocked it -- and hopefully will see more ads that are well matched to my readers.

dibbern2

5:26 am on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Again though this is account-wide, rather than for a particular site, so is essentially useless.

It's quite possible (indeed normal) for sites in the same account to be aimed at different markets. For example a debt-reduction site, and a business opportunities site. You'd want to ban "get rick quick" from one, but (maybe) not the other.

Not so. In your given example you could still exclude dating, religion, dieting and many others. Its not 100%, but its not "essentially useless" either.

loner

9:54 am on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Not being able to choose but a few categories, it looks like pick your slop to me.

koan

11:44 am on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Not being able to choose but a few categories

I think they mostly put categories that people might find objectionable and wish to block.

john5000

1:01 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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it'd be nice if we could choose which categories we do want to show for our site, and to emphasize keywords.

piatkow

2:36 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Some of the complaints here seem to be based on the idea that if you can't do everything at once then you shouldn't do anything.

By doing this G have accepted the principle that this sort of filtering is a requirement and that is a huge step. I am sure that we will see the implementation improved in the future.

AdSenseAdvisor

3:51 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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By doing this G have accepted the principle that this sort of filtering is a requirement and that is a huge step. I am sure that we will see the implementation improved in the future.

Thanks. I appreciate all the positive posts, and so will the team that's worked so hard to build and release this feature.

With that said, we do also appreciate your constructive feedback about ways to improve category filtering (and publisher controls in general). I'll be sure to pass along your ideas about making more categories available for filtering, allowing site-level filtering in addition to account-wide filters, and improving the Ad Review Center.

it'd be nice if we could choose which categories we do want to show for our site, and to emphasize keywords.

The challenge here is that when an advertiser uses keywords or categories to target your site, they want to reach the most relevant sites in our network through our advanced system of contextual targeting. Publishers choosing keywords might help some people in the short term, but in the long run, it's very important that we honor advertisers' intent when they run on our network. Does that make sense?

As an aside, I've been learning a lot more about the technical aspects of contextual targeting, placement targeting, and auction dynamics lately. While there's not a lot I can share publicly, I can tell you that it's unbelievably awesome. Cheers to the teams that make the auction happen in a tiny fraction of a second each time a page loads.

ASA

graeme_p

4:20 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Once again Google rolls out the feature based on the publisher's address, rather than the site language or where the traffic is coming from.

It is very frustrating that my .co.uk loses adsense features because I am not in Britain at the moment (that I will have to open a new Adsense account when I move back is another bit if Google stupidity).

londrum

5:17 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As an aside, I've been learning a lot more about the technical aspects of contextual targeting, placement targeting, and auction dynamics lately. While there's not a lot I can share publicly, I can tell you that it's unbelievably awesome. Cheers to the teams that make the auction happen in a tiny fraction of a second each time a page loads.

ASA

but surely this roll-out is a bit like admitting that your contextual advertising needs more work.

i sometimes see ads on my site which i can now block (which is great) but if truth be told, they should never really appear on the page in the first place -- i don't talk about diets and dating, and as far as i can tell i don't have any of those words or any other related words on the page.

presumably the kind of words that these advertisers are targeting are general ones which might appear on 95% of web pages, so they can blast their ads out all over the web.

obviously that is the advertisers intent.

it's very important that we honor advertisers' intent

when they're only paying for clicks it doesn't really matter if their ads are displaying on hundreds of unreleated pages as well. it's all free advertising for them, at no extra cost. it's a bit like mass-mailing millions of letters through everyone's letterbox, hoping that you get a few bites on the cherry.

i can understand how difficult it must be for google to fathom what their subject is. if these weight loss people targeted a word like "loss" then you can imagine the ad appearing on every kind of page from football results to legal court cases.

i'm pretty happy to see that google is now introducing some stuff that's aimed purely at us -- the publishers, rather than the advertisers -- like when you increased the number of URLs that we could block. lets hope we carry on getting more stuff like this.

ken_b

5:31 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I'm glad to see this, and more than glad to use it.

But I can't help wondering why ANY ads in the categories listed would EVER appear on my site if AdSense is about.......

CONTEXTUAL ADS.

My site topic: automotive

Categories available to block:
(which of these categories is automotive in nature?)

Cosmetic Procedures & Body Modification
Dating
Drugs & Supplements
Get Rich Quick
Politics
Religion
Ringtones & Downloadables
Sexual & Reproductive Health
Sexually Suggestive
Video Games (Casual & Online)
Weight Loss

I would gladly block all of those categories, if I could.

netmeg

5:41 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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when they're only paying for clicks it doesn't really matter if their ads are displaying on hundreds of unreleated pages as well. it's all free advertising for them, at no extra cost. it's a bit like mass-mailing millions of letters through everyone's letterbox, hoping that you get a few bites on the cherry.

As an advertiser, it sure as heck matters to me. I (almost daily) weed out an awful lot of completely non relevant, non converting sites that click on my ads when they appear.

I would gladly block all of those categories, if I could.

I have the same question about contextual, but then, who knows. On the face of it, one would think one of my main sites should show only entertainment ads, and what seems to attract the most clicks are ads for local goods and services specific to my area (totally unrelated to the topic of my site, but definitely of interest to my particular demographic)

At some point I would also really love to see AdSense acknowledge that sometimes people have multiple sites on widely different topics catering to entirely different users; when it comes to the competitive filter (and even this category filter) I might want to filter for one site, but not for another. Can't imagine why that hasn't been addressed yet.

LifeinAsia

5:48 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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At some point I would also really love to see AdSense acknowledge that sometimes people have multiple sites on widely different topics catering to entirely different users; when it comes to the competitive filter (and even this category filter) I might want to filter for one site, but not for another. Can't imagine why that hasn't been addressed yet.

Ditto that! I have several location-based sites that often get ads that are completely off-topic for one site, yet would be perfect on another site.

OTOH, I also acknowledge the logistical nightmare of having to manage that this particular ad can appear on sites 1 & 2 but not 3, 4, and 5. Not to mention compounding that issue millions of times on Google's backend...

londrum

5:51 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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As an advertiser, it sure as heck matters to me. I (almost daily) weed out an awful lot of completely non relevant, non converting sites that click on my ads when they appear.

i suppose the profit you make on each sale is a factor. if you're a dating site you might get fifty quid for every sign-up, so you can afford a load of non-converting clicks from speculative adverts.

netmeg

8:38 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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i suppose the profit you make on each sale is a factor. if you're a dating site you might get fifty quid for every sign-up, so you can afford a load of non-converting clicks from speculative adverts.

Whether or not I can afford them doesn't enter into it; I sure as hell don't *want* them, and will do everything in my power to prevent them. As will any advertiser who's paying attention.

(!)

londrum

8:47 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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what i mean is... if you have a certain kind of business then it might pay to target a general word, because you'll likely end up with loads more impressions. and impressions are free adverts. they are not wasted.

it's exactly the same thing as mass mailing, or cold-calling on the telephone. if you can get a few buys out of it, then you might not mind the higher phone bill.

and some advertisers out there treat adsense the same way, that's what i'm saying -- by targeting a general word or phrase which might appear on any type of page. and publishers end up having to display a load of unrelated ads.

hopefully these kind of things that google are rolling out will combat that

martinibuster

9:19 pm on Aug 5, 2009 (gmt 0)

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...by targeting a general word or phrase which might appear on any type of page.

netmeg presented an interesting example of geographic/demographic targeting:

...what seems to attract the most clicks are ads for local goods and services specific to my area (totally unrelated to the topic of my site, but definitely of interest to my particular demographic)...

farmboy

9:33 am on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Sometimes I think Google is made up of a good mix of brainy-technical types and common sense decision makers who are mature, experienced and forward thinking.

Sometimes not so much.

FarmBoy

rajivatre

12:42 pm on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Its too early to ask But anyone find any effect of using this feature on their revenues?

Rajiv

farmboy

1:42 pm on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone know for sure if you block a category, does that block ads from that category that have been specifically targeted at your site by an advertiser or does it also block ads that would otherwise appear on your site because of usual keyword/contextual process?

For example, let's assume I have a site about industrial widgets. "widget" is also a name for a drug supplement. Ads for the drug supplement are being contextually matched to the content on my site and thus those ads are being shown to my site visitors.

If I block the Drugs & Supplements category, will these ads disappear, or will that only stop those ads from that category if they were targeted at my site by an advertiser?

Also, who decides in which category the drug widget ads belong? If an advertiser fears publishers will block the Drugs & Supplements category, can the advertiser place his ads in a different category to avoid being blocked?

FarmBoy

swa66

2:26 pm on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Only a small number of categories that can be blocked, only a small number of countries you need to live in to be allowed to block anything.

Sure: it's a step in the right direction, no doubt. But can we have a significantly bigger leap?

Who determines what category an ad is in ? Esp. with that fine a category it seems hard to let it be done by Google (an algorithm that understand it from a few words in the ad copy and a landing page?) nor would it be "google-like" to have humans do it, So I'm afraid it's based on advertiser input, and then I'm not sure it'll amount to all that much once they figure it out.

it'd be nice if we could choose which categories we do want to show for our site, and to emphasize keywords.

The challenge here is that when an advertiser uses keywords or categories to target your site, they want to reach the most relevant sites in our network through our advanced system of contextual targeting. Publishers choosing keywords might help some people in the short term, but in the long run, it's very important that we honor advertisers' intent when they run on our network. Does that make sense?


What I'd want is a (long enough) list of negative keywords:
if that negative keyword appears in the ad copy, I do not want to show the ad at all. (not based on what keyword they target, not based on any word on my page, based on their ad.

E.g. any ad with the word "free" in it: gone. If they pay to advertise free stuff, they're scamming somebody, and it makes me look like a scammer too.

Now take it a a next level: and make that regexps so that I can ban phone numbers with it as well.

londrum

2:34 pm on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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blocking location-based ads are the hardest thing.

if you have site about the beaches on Timbuktoo, and a Tibnuktoo plumber targets the word "Timbuktoo", then you might end up with the ad. google would think that it's related, but it isn't.

but what would you put in a negative word list? you can't put "Timbuktoo", because you need it. Putting "Timbuktoo plumber" isn't going to help, because that's not the word he's targeting.

farmboy

3:19 pm on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If they pay to advertise free stuff, they're scamming somebody, and it makes me look like a scammer too.

I disagree with this point in your post. I am currently advertising (although not via AdWords) a free email newsletter for people in a particular industry. There is no scam - the newsletter is free and legitimate. I generate revenue when people reading issues of that newsletter visit my site.

FarmBoy

rajivatre

5:26 pm on Aug 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Farmboy
Category filters allow you to block contextually and placement-targeted ads in certain ad categories from appearing on your site. We've provided the percentage of total earnings and impressions recently generated by ads for each category below to help you decide which categories, if any, to filter.
this is what is mentioned in adsense account. So it clearly states that it will block contextually as well as placement targeted ads from particular category.
Rajiv
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