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How length of time spent on a page affects revenue

Theory: Smart pricing is result of page un-stickiness - VIDEO works!

     
3:11 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I've had this theory for quite some time now, but didn't know how to remedy the situation!

I noticed that my AdSense revenue was much lower per click on pages where I got more clicks. For instance, if I had 100 visitors on a page, but only ONE click, it tended to be $1.00. If I had 100 visitors on another page, but 10 of them clicked on ads, I'd get only 10 cents each. Same revenue, but frustrating that I couldn't get $1 out of each click!

At first I thought that Google was discounting those clicks as less important because there were so many. But after awhile I began to wonder if this seemingly 'adjusted' lower payment (smart pricing) was directly related to the length of time a visitor had been on a single page before clicking an ad to leave. Of course, Google would deem that user's click as more valuable due to the length of time (thoughtfulness, seriousness) on the page before clicking. A user who bounces around the net, spending less than 30 seconds on each page, might be deemed as less important (not serious) and have their click discounted.

So...

That left me with only one way to really find out. I needed to make those pages where I got lower ECPM much more "sticky". But how to do this?

Then one day a light bulb went on. After reading countless articles about how Google LOVES for websites to embed video's from YouTube, presumably making them "more important" in the search engines and raising ranking there, I realized something very exciting.

What would keep a visitor at a web page longer than watching a 5 to 8 minute video? Or even a 1 to 3 minute video? Maybe those pages were higher in the search engines mostly due to the "stickiness" result of embedded video?

It all came together for me. Perhaps Google DOES "love" video, but they also seem to love page-stickiness.

My experiment has begun!

A few days ago I started adding relevant embedded videos to over 100 of my most popular pages. Already I am seeing amazing results! Visitors are still clicking ads to leave the page, but not until after watching the videos. Google is paying me MORE MONEY. Clicks I normally got 10 to 20 cents for are now over $1.00.

I will keep everyone posted about this experiment... hopefully the increase in revenue will itself be sticky! :-)

Try your own experiment and let me know how you do... especially adding video to high traffic pages that give you low per-click revenue.

YesMom in Michigan
4:33 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the informative post YesMom.
This thread will be well worth watching.

I don't recall ever even thought of making a connection between time on page and EPC. I've got to check my stats and see if I can find a similar time/value connection.
5:35 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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After reading countless articles about how Google LOVES for websites to embed video's from YouTube, presumably making them "more important" in the search engines and raising ranking there


Hi, do you mean google increases search rankings for pages with embedded video ?
7:34 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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That's unique thinking. Keep the experiment focussed, it sounds fascinating.
8:06 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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maybe you're just measuring something else, without realising. we all know that you get more money if the user does something worthwhile at the end of the click, like stay on the advertisers site for a while, or visit their checkout page, or whatever. and they are more likely to do that if you have presold them beforehand. so maybe you sticking all these videos on your page is just making people's minds up to buy -- you are doing a better job in pre-selling the advertiser's product. the users that you are sending the advertiser are more likely to buy, and it is THAT that's earning you the extra money. not the fact that they sat at the starting gate for five minutes before clicking the link.
8:08 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi, do you mean google increases search rankings for pages with embedded video?


From the articles I've read -- yes. You'll notice video results closer to the top of search results pages. Supposedly, pagerank is affected too. Try Googling "google loves video" and you'll find a few blog posts. One article I remember was from WebProNews.

I do plan to keep the experiment very focused! Would love to hear from anyone else who has been adding video. It is kind of fun to search YouTube for really good ones related to each of my pages... and the embedding takes only seconds.

I suppose just the fact that I'm adding new content (in general) might also be a factor, but these are pages already ranking as top result for their main search terms, so looking at strictly the changes/increase in EPC is easy to focus on.

YesMom
8:22 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Londrum --

In my case I'm not selling anything; I only offer free information at this site, which I've had for over 10 years. Without the videos I am looking at visitors who stay less than 30 seconds on average. They are searching for info that I rank high for, but they tend to hop around to see what else is out there. Other sites I have offer a bit more stickiness and visitors do stay longer.

Basically, I'm taking an informational site where folks historically haven't stayed too long on each page (and, in theory resulting in lower EPC when they do leave) and lengthening the visit to see if I get improved EPC. There isn't any other real way for Google to know the "quality" of the visitor -- and since my stats show me the length of visitation time for each guest I'm thinking Google has access to this info as well.

Most of my traffic is organic search traffic... so if the visitor used Google to search -- and subsequently come to my site -- then I would think Google can measure how long they stay. We know they can follow people from site-to-site because they do those interest-based ads... I think the sophistication is there to see how long they stay! It also would offer a good explanation for why the MFA/junk/scraper sites typically make only pennies per click. (Correct me if I'm wrong on that, but that is the impression I've gotten from years of reading MFA-type webmasters' posts here.)


YesMom
10:01 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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google works out the quality of the visitor by what they do on the advertiser's site, not what they do on your site. if someone stays on your page for two seconds or five minutes it doesn't matter, you won't get a cent if they click off the advertisers site within a blink. but if you send them someone that does something the advertiser wants, then i'm assuming they don't care how long they spent on your site. that's why you need to get the user interested in what the advertiser is promoting. thats probably why your videos are working.
10:58 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Londrum --

What you are saying about how you think Google determines a "quality" visitor is also just speculation on our parts -- albeit that is somewhat what Google has led us to believe. We really have no concrete evidence as to *exactly* how Google determines how much to pay us and whether it is partly based on either or both scenarios. (How long they stay on *our* page before clicking away, or how long they stay on an AdWords client's page.)

And as to "getting the user interested in what the advertiser is promoting", well my site has nothing to do with that. Not a single page promotes anything the advertisers are offering. They are interested in the ads because of what type of person my site attracts, but I am not promoting what is in the ads. It is hard to analyze someone else's site without specifics, I know, since not all websites operate in the same way.

One example would be if my site was about adopting pets. I could have hundreds of pages about pet adoption and never once mention anything about pet care products, however those ads would be of interest to my visitors. I wouldn't have a single video (or any content) about pet products, but those ads would be the ones typically and consistently displayed.

YM
12:59 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I do plan to keep the experiment very focused! Would love to hear from anyone else who has been adding video.


Is the theory that pages with video that result in a visitor staying on a page longer earns more per click OR is the theory that pages where a visitor stays longer earns more per click?

Does it have to be a video on the page that is causing the visitor to stay around?

If you had a long article that is now spread over 10 pages and put it all on one very long page, is the theory the longer one page will result in a higher earnings per click?

What about other methods of getting a visitor to stay on a page for a long time?

--------------------------------

FWIW, my highest earnings per click are on my "shortest" pages - pages that give a visitor little reason to hang around for a long time.


FarmBoy
1:12 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Good questions, Farmboy.

I guess the theory is that keeping the user on the page longer results in more per click. I just think video may be my answer to keeping visitors there longer. I don't think the "act" of having video existing on a page is really the bigger contributor -- although there are articles and blog posts out there saying Google favors pages with video in the search engine results.

I am going to speculate that your "shorter" pages actually may be short enough for the visitor to think they have TIME to read the whole thing, so they stay. Just a thought here -- the longer ones might be ones they jump away from quicker. I mean, that COULD be a possible scenario.

Remember, we aren't talking LONG stays. I'm calling anything beyond 30 seconds "long". Staying just over 30 seconds to read a shorter page may be long enough to call it a sticky page.

What do your stats say about those high EPC "short" pages? Can you see if folks are staying over 30 seconds? Just curious.

YM
1:52 am on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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YesMom,
Its been 15 days since you last posted on this thread.

Any more observations?

I would like to know about it as after reading this thread I was also experimenting with video on page and it has certainly reduced the Bounce Rate atleast by 3-4%.
I have not seen any significant change in Adsense earning though.

Rajiv
2:15 am on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Nothing conclusive yet, Rajiv. The videos might actually be a distraction from visitors clicking on ads! The few clicks I *have* gotten have been great... but I'm getting less clicking on those pages. :-/
3:48 am on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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YesMom Thanks for the feedback. I will keep you posted about my experience in next few days.

Rajiv
 

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