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Incredibly Bad Targetting

Ads are totally irrelevant since switching off personalised ads

     
3:04 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Since switching off personalised ads, I have noticed just how bad the ad targetting has become on my sites.
To use the widget example: the ads that I see on my 'Blue Widget' site are mostly for 'Blue Sprockets', but my audience has no interest in sprockets at all. I know that there are plenty of ads out there for 'Blue Widgets', but they just don't get displayed on my site.
Apart from 'sprocket' ads, I also see ads for 'Pink Widgets', but again these are of no interest to my readers, since pink widgets are not popular in this geographical region (EU).

I can speculate that this is related to the use of AI, but that worries me, since that may mean that I need to display a massive number of incorrect ads before the 'AI' starts to get the targetting right.

I cannot emphasise just how bad this targetting is: I have literally seen no relevant ads at all in the last few days - except for the occasional personalised ad (which I should not be seeing at all).
3:43 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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May be Adsense had downgraded its contextual ads to push advertisers toward interest-based ads, which are more expensive.
3:50 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In EU or everywhere?
5:17 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My audience is nearly entirely in the EU, so I don't know about elsewhere.

I have one site in a completely different category (that attracts advertisers that appeal to a more global audience) and the targetting is fine on that one. Google doesn't need to be very clever to get it right on that one as it's a one word topic for the whole site.

Maybe the Google Adsense algorithm is just not very clever anymore.

Without being too specific, Adsense is showing ads for a place that is 8000km away because the first half of that two word place name, is the same as the first half of the place name here. I am also seeing examples where the second half of the place name here is confused with another unrelated country that shares that very common and generic second word - this time it is 6000km away.

It really is that stupid, and I am starting to wonder if I need to sit through 1,000,000 badly targetted ads before the so-called AI figures out what ads would be appropriate.
5:32 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@glitterball - Tried link units? They always seem to be spot on targeted for my pages - though clicking a link (permissible on 1st click) can sometimes show completely unrelated ads - However, my link unit, 1 per page, is by far the highest earner of the 3 ads per page.
5:44 pm on May 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@No5needinput I do use link units, they are not always perfect (I often see auto-generated gibberish), but they do generate income.
However I have been experimenting with removing these, and have discovered that they have a massively detrimental affect on total page views and traffic. If we are honest with ourselves, link units simply trick users into clicking on what they probably thought was a link to another part of the site.

I found an old thread from 10 years ago here:
[webmasterworld.com...]

Maybe Adsense has always been very bad at contextual targetting, and I just forgot about it as I got used to personalised ads.
8:22 pm on May 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Now seeing ads selling hovercrafts on a mass-market tourist destination page . Seriously Google, wtf?
So far today 20x less clicks than at the start of the month.