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AdSense & In-Text Advertising. Anyone Still Use Both?

     
7:26 pm on Sep 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Once upon a time, in-text advertising was a pretty substantial moneymaker for my site, but I haven't used in-text ads in a few years now. Wondering if anyone else still uses them -- do they still work, and who do you use?

I used to use Kontera, but I think they got out of the in-text business, leaving only Vibrant and InfoLinks left in that space. But I could be wrong.
9:52 pm on Sept 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I still use Vibrant with Adsense but the returns from Vibrant are decreasing rapidly. The company is in complete disarray from what I read, exec and staff turnover is huge.

But I have set myself a tipping point that when they return less than 100 per month for a couple of months in a row I will remove them. To date they haven't. Vibrant also have "in-picture" ads which are a little less intrusive and they work OK for me and I think the idea is excellent. No-one else seems to offer that.

I only have the Vibrant ads on one of my sites and I wouldn't really consider introducing them to the others given the current decline.
1:23 am on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I did until earlier this year. I had a pretty good ride with Vibrant until the bottom fell out of the revenue bucket.

So long story short I dropped Vibrant and did not try the other ad networks. Then there was a leaked Google quality rater document that came out lately specifically stating you will be given a low quality score just for having in-text ads on your site. So they are history to me.

Prior to Vibrant I was with Kontera until my revenue with them dropped drastically. The extra in-text revenue was nice while it lasted, but honestly after running sites now for 14+ years the most reliable has been AdSense, who've I've used for 11 years now.

As more webmasters become aware of the potential for a permanent low quality Google SERP rating I think we'll see in-text die off almost completely.
10:05 am on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Then there was a leaked Google quality rater document that came out lately specifically stating you will be given a low quality score just for having in-text ads on your site.


Hi, where I can find the leaked doc? Is your site rank better after removing the In-Text ads?
I'm using Adsense and Infolinks for now, and limit only show 3 in-text ad links per page.

[edited by: robzach at 10:11 am (utc) on Sep 11, 2014]

12:20 pm on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Good points Swanny007, but my concern with

As more webmasters become aware of the potential for a permanent low quality Google SERP rating I think we'll see in-text die off almost completely.


is that it is a neat way of getting rid of some of the competition. I too would appreciate reading where G guidelines to manual site reviewers say this.

Is Vibrant the only company offering in-picture ads? Has anyone any opinions on this type of advertising?
12:21 pm on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The doc can be found in various places around the web - I don't think we want to link to it here.

Personally, I've always been leery of the in text links; I'm not crazy about them when I run across them mysef, and I can't imagine that it wouldn't have some kind of affect on site quality. Plus, I'm not sure I'd get anything relevant on my sites anyway. I'd be careful about them in 2014.
12:28 pm on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The doc can be found in various places around the web - I don't think we want to link to it here.


Yes we do, what exactly are your reasons for not wanting to refer to it here? And who is "we"?! Am I part of "we" or am I excluded?!

Your opinions on in-picture ads are?
3:00 pm on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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The doc is out there, I won't link to it directly. The top of the first page of the document that I saw said General Guidelines Version 5.0 March 31,2014 in case that helps.

I'm not a fan of in-picture ads. I have not seen any change in rankings since removing in-text ads. I suspect you are probably OK until you get some G quality raters looking at your site, as they will flag it as Low quality at that point and then your ranking could suffer.
3:22 pm on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There is a discussion here: [webmasterworld.com...] about the doc (and a link to read it) in case Search is not cooperating.
4:43 pm on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I don't know anything about in picture ads - I have almost no pictures on any of my sites.
9:34 pm on Sept 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I still use Vibrant with Adsense but the returns from Vibrant are decreasing rapidly. The company is in complete disarray from what I read, exec and staff turnover is huge.


Good to know and thanks for the info, nomis5. It sounds like no one sees Vibrant or InfoLinks as something you can count on -- the revenue just isn't steady, and can swing wildly from great to terrible in a matter of a couple of months.

I've always wondered about the future of in-text, especially since it was once a great performer for me. But I had an experience much like yours in my last few months of using Kontera, and so we both went our separate ways.

When you think about it, the path that Kontera and Vibrant have followed are much more common than AdSense, which has been a remarkably stable business for a decade now.

In-text also just doesn't work at all, IMO, with mobile devices, which is probably why advertisers would balk at signing up with them.
10:12 pm on Sept 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

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atladsenser,

I agree with what you say.

It's a bit ironic though that Vibrant in-text ads on mobiles are much less likely to result in accidental clicks compared to Gs display ads.

Just an observation which makes me smile rather than a significant point.

I have no way of knowing from Vibrant reporting how many of their mobile in-text ads are clicked on, their reporting is sadly lacking. I would dearly love to know because the huge majority must be intentional.
8:40 pm on Sept 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I still use both. As long as the money continues to come in, and well exceeds my costs? I'll continue.

Alert readers well know that this is not a business for me, primarily I'm a tutor in my genre, that's my real Gig.

When I no longer enjoy it? I'll close the shop and fade away.
9:23 pm on Sept 16, 2014 (gmt 0)

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IanCP, my concern is that Google's quality raters will give your pages/site a low quality rating in part due to in-text links and you'll suffer because of that. Having the goog rank your pages higher than "low quality" will provide you longer term success.

With that said, if Vibrant was still raking in the cash for me I would put them back for a month or two (Q4 is always my strongest quarter) if I knew the money was good. My earnings with them dropped so bad it wasn't worth running them.
9:48 am on Sept 17, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Here is the part of the document with the relevant info -

Here are some examples of pages with poor page design, organization, layout, or use of space, which should be rated Low:
Many Ads or highly distracting Ads on the visible part of the page when it first loads in the browser (before you do any scrolling), making it difficult to read the MC.
Repeated insertion of Ads between sections of the MC, so that the page jolts the user back and forth between MC and Ads in a way that makes the MC difficult to read.
Invasive Ads, such as popups that cannot be closed.
A large quantity of Ads with a relatively small amount of helpful MC.
(here it is->)Text ads, placed beside or within the site's navigation links, which may confuse users.


[Bold was made by me.]
It doesn't actually specify in-text ads but navigation text links but it might get the same treatment..
1:09 am on Sept 18, 2014 (gmt 0)

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No, look in the examples. See my bolded section:

Low or lowest quality MC
Poor page design

This content has many problems: poor spelling and grammar, complete lack of editing, inaccurate information. The poor quality of the MC is a reason for the Lowest+ to Low rating.
In addition, the popover ads (the words that are double underlined in blue) can make the main content difficult to read, resulting in a poor user experience.

and the example after that:
This article is so poorly written that it is difficult to understand. There is no evidence of expertise or even accuracy. In addition, a large amount of SC and popover Ads interrupt the MC.


So, technically we're talking about ads that "popover" the content (like Vibrant in-text ads). In their explicit examples, they are choosing sites with low quality pages to begin with. So... I guess we could debate on how much of an impact the in-text (popover) ads would have on an otherwise high quality page/site. My earlier statement about popover ads that cover content alone might be enough to give a low rating may not be correct. That's how I initially interpreted that but I'm not so sure now.
 

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