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Adsense is testing new units on my site, earnings down

   
9:11 am on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



I noticed a sharp decline in my adsense stats today despite receiving the expected amount of traffic and so I dug in to find out why. I found that many of the text only 250x250 units in particular, which normally display 3 text ads one above the other, were instead displaying one boldly worded ad with the standard two lines of text and that the bottom 40% of the unit is turned into a big arrow.

The arrow box, when hovered over, highlights the entire ad and places a border around it. For obvious reasons I didn't click on them but I hate these already.

- just ugly, they do not fit well with my particular template, not even close.
- The border from the mouseover effect appears if you hover over ANY part of the ad, not just the arrow button
- This is not a flash or other media ad, it's a standard text ad receiving css manipulation triggered by javascript

For lack of a better way to describe these units they behave more like image ads now than standard text ads and I have image ads disabled after extensive A/B testing showed it was not a good match on my site. Obviously my earnings today reflect this as well.

What's up with these? Are they the new norm for text only 250x250 units? Can I stop these from appearing?

edit: Ok, these arrow ads are appearing on ALL text only ad units including the 728x90, 336x280 and 468x60 units. Did I miss a "we're changing how Google ads look" post?
9:25 am on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Additional info.

The ad units occasionally display two text ads one above the other with a distinct border between them and places a big arrow to the right side of each ad. Double the big arrow boxes... Are these big (huge) arrow boxes here to stay on text units?

I'm expecting to see an adsense post about the updated "look" of units like we did in 2007 and 2010 but can't find one yet. If you are seeing these and have an image hosting account would you mind posting a pic?
9:49 am on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've reportesd about these arrow/boxes before, but was largely ignored by people here. What browser are you seeing them in ? For me, it was IE8 (Not being shown in FireFox or Chrome.)
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11:12 am on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



I see them in both IE8 and in Firefox, but not Chrome. The arrows, and mouseover border, are extremely disruptive and having just two adsense units on your page can lead to 4-6 HUGE arrows grabbing visitor attention, and not in a good way.

These are not just showing up "occasionally" as I have seen in other Google tests, they are on every page all the time. My CTR has been cut in half since this time yesterday. I can't believe more people aren't voicing concern over these, is not everyone seeing them or are they improving CTR for some sites or... ?

Help, I've got what looks like HUGE one way signs on my pages right now!

edit: ugh, now I see a telephone picture instead of an arrow on one ad and it's not pretty either. Months of A/B testing just got thrown out the window on my site, and I don't even know if this is permanent or not, thanks G.
12:09 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I no longer see them on any browser. (Can't say for Chrome as I removed it after testing.)

Yep, when you get them, you have them all over the place, and on most ad sizes.

It made me wonder if only a section of people who had them, due to the lack of replies.
12:50 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've not seen them yet. Presumably if the test fails, Google will pull them. Not to say there won't be collateral damage though. They kind of sound like a desktop/mobile hybrid. They are really trying to push mobile-ish ads these days.
1:05 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



3 days ago I received a message from Google saying that I should opt in to image units on my site in some 1500 locations. I did test the request for 24 hours but the results were well below the norm and so I set the units to text only again. Is there any chance that this "test" is to get me to turn images back on to get rid of the oversized one way signs? If not, do you think the suggestion and the new layout are related?

Yes, the ads would be more suited to mobile but these are on the desktop pages of my site.
1:08 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



3 days ago I received a message from Google saying that I should opt in to image units on my site in some 1500 locations. I did test the request for 24 hours but the results were well below the norm and so I set the units to text only again. Is there any chance that this "test" is to get me to turn images back on to get rid of the oversized one way signs? If not, do you think the suggestion and the new layout are related?
No.
1:25 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



*update*

I cleared my browser cookies and the arrows have vanished, the old units returned. In testing with multiple computers and mobile devices I noticed that not every computer/device was displaying the units which suggested a trigger on my end, which turned out to be cookies.

Now my question has become: Was this a Google test or was it possibly a hijack by some other site messing with my cookies?

I know that a lot of my regulars are seeing the new units too from some forum posts (and my results). I sure would like confirmation from Google about these big arrow units, are they legit or ?
4:33 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have them on my site as well. Yesterday they were blue boxes with arrows - today ugly grey boxes with arrows. Seen them on a couple of other sites too that are not mine.
6:15 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I have not seen them anywhere yet, in either FF 3.6 or 15 or IE 8.

Not looking forward to seeing them either.
6:58 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)



I see them on Ipad. The 160x600 has only one ad and big ugly arrow. They pay better but if the ad is not relevant to content CTR goes down the toilet bowl. Google seems to consider tablets as a mobile device even though screen resolution is a lot bigger.
10:39 pm on Oct 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Yah; I've seen em on iPads. Not on desktop so far though.
2:21 am on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Can you write to support and ask them what they are?
4:05 am on Oct 28, 2012 (gmt 0)



This is a Google Split Test. Google is trying to see which ad look and feel performs best. Google does these test all the time, and if the test show that the new ad look and feel doesn't increase CTR they will go back to the old look and feel.

I have seen these test a lot, and in the short term your earning do suffer. If you're using an adserver like Google DFP switch to a different size unit that isn't being tested.
12:11 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Can you write to support and ask them what they are?


I did, no response yet. Clearing cookies has gotten rid of them completely for me but my visitors are still mentioning it in a forum thread.
1:22 pm on Nov 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I was shocked to find these everywhere on my site as well. Same deal here. CTR tanked completely. Cleared my browser cache and they went away but I'm sure many visitors are still seeing them.
12:47 pm on Nov 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



@Netmeg I see them on my laptop but only in Chrome, not Firefox. They are horrid.
10:07 pm on Nov 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The ugly new ad styles have contributed towards a 40% drop in revenue on the same month last year. It was bad enough when Google underlined all the links. Now there is only one ad where two, three, four, or five ads should be. Previously at least one or two ads would actually be relevant. Now it's pot luck whether or not the one ad shown has anything to do with adjacent content. Often the ad is very tenuously relevant, but obviously not relevant enough for visitors to click.

Another thing I've noticed is that more and more advertisers are Starting Every Word Of Their Snippets With an Uppercase Letter. Advertisers should be banned from doing this. It looks horrid.
2:34 am on Nov 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Another thing I've noticed is that more and more advertisers are Starting Every Word Of Their Snippets With an Uppercase Letter. Advertisers should be banned from doing this. It looks horrid.


Meh. I'm an advertiser, and I do it because it works.

It's moving away from contextual and more towards personalized and interest based, because that's the kind of advertising that works best for the advertisers.
 

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