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Auto-Ads Revisited

HELP - What to do?

     
3:28 pm on Jul 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I did the site search of this site for - auto-ads.
I wish that it were possible to list the results by date, because one must search through a TON of old posts to find the gold.

Google has been pushing me to use "Auto-ads" for a long time, but I have resisted due to all the issues described here.
I thought I would give them a try, but I am bewildered by all the options -

1. Display ads
2. In-feed ads (clear where to use these)
3. In-article ads
4. Matched content ads
5. Anchor ads
6. Vignette ads

Which options should I try/ use?
I would like to save time by getting advice from you folks, to avoid any known pitfalls. By learning from others.
What say you?

Do you have any strong opinion about which options are GOOD?
Do you have any strong opinion about which options are BAD?

Can I specify auto-ads by page, or must it be a blanket, site-wide choice?

I will experiment, of course, but if you have any guidance in this matter, I would love to hear it.

Thank you for any hints that you can give me.
.
EDIT -
I am concerned about the "all or nothing" nature of this implementation. Can I just try it on single pages to see how it works?
Under "1 - Choose Global Settings" - all options are enabled. Do I just click on "Save" at the bottom, to enable all auto-ads globally?

Under "2 - Place code on your page" - is greyed out - how do I see the code? WHEN do I see the code? Is this URL page-specific code, intended to override the global settings?
4:00 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I did the site search of this site for - auto-ads.
I wish that it were possible to list the results by date, because one must search through a TON of old posts to find the gold.

You can select which search engine to use to do search. If you use Google (likely possible with the others too) you can set a date range.

Which options should I try/ use?
I would like to save time by getting advice from you folks, to avoid any known pitfalls. By learning from others.
What say you?

This is not so easy, the impact/results from using auto-ads is really dependent on the specifics of your site.

Can I specify auto-ads by page, or must it be a blanket, site-wide choice?

It's both. Auto ads are switched on for the account but will only take effect if the ad-code appears on the page.

In-feed ads (clear where to use these)

In-feed ads are intended to blend in with content. Specifically if you have a news feed or a feed of blog posts. The in-feed ads get inserted between your feed elements the typically have an image and header, so they basically look like another feed element.
5:09 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do you have any strong opinion about which options are GOOD?
Do you have any strong opinion about which options are BAD?

All these options are good and worth the try, excepting "6. Vignette ads ", (in "my" opinion). I believe that Vignette ads can impact your Google Search ranking, and in worse case scenario can lead to have Chrome blocking ads on your site. Full page ads is against the "good ads" standard :).

Now, that being said, I am not sure that auto-ads are good, on a long term, because, you loose the control of what is being shown "where" on "your" site. With Auto-ads, Adsense will insert ads where it "believes" this is "good". So you loose the control of your page layout, sometimes it can be okay, sometimes not, but you will never really know, because what "you" see , will not necessarily be what "others" are seeing. Also, Adsense can be very aggressive in ad placement which "might" penalize you at Google Search ,and "might" annoy your visitors.

I am old school, so, I want to select the type of ads, and where they are authorized to appear on my pages. May be this is not optimizing my earnings, but at least my pages look like what I decided they should look like.

Finally, I "do" use auto-ads, but exclusively for "5. Anchor ads". In fact, on mobile devices, this is the only ad I am showing on my page, nothing else. I find this good compromise, to have just one banner sticky on top (or bottom, I am still experimenting). The ad is not big, looks nice (so far), and I think it's better user experience than having a 300x250 ad in the middle of the screen , disrupting the reading.
5:10 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS
"but will only take effect if the ad-code appears on the page"
AH. Some clarity.
But since the #2 option "Place code on your page" is greyed out, what is the "secret handshake" to get it to appear?

Also, will my custom channel be included with each ad? Currently, I have one for each page, added to the (single ad) code on each page?

Thank you.
.
5:19 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Dimitri
You're scaring me, buddy. Sounds a lot like what I DON'T want.
But, for mobile, I'll try anything once. The difference between desktop and mobile ad performance is HUGE.
Earnings and CPC vary by a factor of 10 - an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE.

Typically, I see desktop CPM=$10, and mobile CPM=$1.
Is it the advertisers who are doing this, because mobile users are less serious visitors,
or is it a broken, skewed system, caused by all the mobile "gotchas"?

Since I am using the Google suggested responsive implementation with a viewport specified, all my pages are identical.
(I'm an ex-hardware person, who barely gets by with this self-taught software stuff.)
I'm not smart enough to serve a different page for mobile, nor do I wish to deal with twice the number of pages.
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 5:28 pm (utc) on Jul 10, 2019]

5:27 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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All these options are good and worth the try, excepting "6. Vignette ads ", (in "my" opinion). I believe that Vignette ads can impact your Google Search ranking, and in worse case scenario can lead to have Chrome blocking ads on your site. Full page ads is against the "good ads" standard :).

This is not true. Not at all.
Vignette ads are interstitial ads (postitial according BAS), that is they appear only after the user has left the page and before the next page loads. They do not cover content, they are a page on themselves. They are not against Better Ads Standard. [betterads.org...]

Where the standard states explicitly:
Postitial ads with countdowns that can be dismissed immediately did not fall beneath the Better Ads Standard.

The Vignette ads can be dismissed before the ad even has time to load.

It must also be noted that the vignette ads are not triggered on every page load, they appear intermittently and I believe only once per sessions and only appear on mobile.

Vignette ads are the only the only auto-ads that I use. I find them to be a great means monetizing mobile users. I prefer them over anchor ads, as the anchor ads interfere with my navigation. This goes to my point in my previous post, it really depends on your website, layout, content, tech and audience.
5:36 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So, a couple of senior members disagree. PERFECT!

This is exactly the kind of info I am looking for, to help me figure this stuff out.
Any and all comments are welcome - the more diverse, the better.
One man's meat= another man's poison. How should I behave, if I don't know the difference?
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 5:39 pm (utc) on Jul 10, 2019]

5:39 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is not true. Not at all.

Okay, I should have said good ads practices, than standards. I mixed my thoughts. To me, but this is just my opinion, this is not good practice, because, when someone leaves a page, this is not to be shown a full page ad (even if , yes it can be dismissed before it has the time to load). But, at least this is something you control. While the auto ad placements, is another thing.
6:19 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I got the code. I guess I didn't hit "Save", which then presents the code.
And I see that the reporting is separate, so you can see what is happening. No custom channel required.
I like that I can just try it on individual pages. What have I got to lose, when I can turn it off at any time?
Now, about those options.
Anyone else?
.
6:47 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Dimitri
I think the problem lies with AdSense not being clear enough about how these ads works, in this case regarding the Vignette ads, but this applies more generally to the whole suite of Auto-Ads.

The vignette ads are fundamentally different than a standard pop-up implementation, for which I would fully agree with your position. The vignette ads are targeted, that is they are not shown to every user, only engaged users (how they determine engagement is a topic for another thread), they do not appear on every page load and as I mentioned only appear once per session. To put this in perspective last month vignette ad impressions accounted for less than 0.5% of mobile impressions despite appearing on every page of my site.

They perform orders of magnitude better than any other ad type that I use. Impression rpm for the vignette ads are more than 10x the average. Despite the fact that they generate few impressions they do contribute to the bottom line.
7:01 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This page blows me away.
[support.google.com...]
I have no idea what they are talking about.

For instance, I shouldn't have to override anything, if the code is not on the page, right?
No ads will appear on my index page (desired), if I don't put any auto-ad code in the header, right?
So, why must special action be taken to "prevent ads showing on my home page"?
As in, URL groups?

And other pages as well, contact, privacy, about, etc.
.
7:16 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Sally_Stitts
After you've set up Auto ads for your site, you can then use Advanced URL settings to show different ad settings on different parts of your site.

As it mentions the URL Settings allow you to control the auto-ads that appear on a specific subset of URLs. Otherwise the configuration is applied on the account level. So assume you wanted to show Vignette ads only on Forum posts but wanted Anchor ads everywhere. This would not be possible without using this "Advanced URL Settings" feature. You would need to create a URL group of Forum posts and then apply vignette ads to that group. I'm not sure about the specifics, but that is what the link you shared is for.
9:00 pm on July 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thank you @NickMNS for your explanations about Vignette ads.
3:30 pm on July 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Typically, I see desktop CPM=$10, and mobile CPM=$1.
Is it the advertisers who are doing this, because mobile users are less serious visitors,


Probably yes, although Google itself may also be making adjustments.

In my experience as an advertiser promoting physical goods, we get far fewer conversions on mobile vs desktop. so we bid a lot less to be seen on mobile.

We're happy to run ads on mobile but it has to be cheap to be cost-effective.
4:13 pm on July 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Personally, if I have to buy something online, I 'll do it from my desktop , and not from my mobile device, so I assume this is the same for a lot of people. However, I believe that people can use their mobile device, during spare times/transportation/toilets, to gather information about such or such items, that they'll finally may decide to buy when they are at home. So mobile ads are valuable to establish a brand, promote a product/service, if they are not generating measurable direct conversion. (I am sure that Internet Giant have tricks to more or less be able track people across several devices, such as if you are logged to your Google/Facebook/etc... account on both)
4:56 pm on July 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In my experience as an advertiser promoting physical goods, we get far fewer conversions on mobile vs desktop. so we bid a lot less to be seen on mobile.

From my experience as a publisher, I see a difference in RPM between desktop and mobile, where desktop earns more, but it is nowhere close to the 10:1 ratio. The difference I see is in the order of 10 to 20%. more than 60% of my traffic comes from mobile, so even with the difference mobile users contribute more to my revenue.

@Sally_Stitts
Is your site optimized for mobile users, or is it simply a responsive version of a desktop site?
3:43 am on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have done single page AB tests of auto ads, with mixed results. The more text on a page the better auto ads perform.

Personally I don't like anchor as it interferes with my EU cookie consent bar which performs best at the bottom of a page, but have all the others switched on.

In general bounce rate appears to improve by 1-5% using auto ads when compared with fixed position ad units.
7:02 pm on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"Is your site optimized for mobile users, or is it simply a responsive version of a desktop site?"

"Simply a responsive version of a desktop site."
But is passes all the Google mobile emulator tests at 99 or 100. Can't be too far off.

After a couple of days, with auto-ads running on some of my top, high-volume pages, I am seeing ... nothing?
Maybe I am not looking in the right place.
The only reporting I can find is for "Anchor/overlay ads" - 49 impressions. Zero earnings.
This is on thousands of page views.
I have all options enabled.

I am about to respond to their feedback request. It won't be positive.

My wondering suspicion is that - they went too far with ad proliferation, and now they have drawn WAY back.
Is this possible? Dunno.
.
7:46 pm on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"Simply a responsive version of a desktop site."
But is passes all the Google mobile emulator tests at 99 or 100. Can't be too far off.

Google mobile tests simply check to ensure that the content has been squeezed into a format that fits on a mobile screen and remains usable. Most responsive sites achieve this by simply pushing all the content down the page into one very tall column. But this is by no means optimal. If all you have is a simple blog, that might work but even then.

For example, multiple images may be relevant to a small block of text. Stacking the images under the text, is not optimal as the user will need scroll a lot to go between an image and the text. The use of carousel, or tabbed content may solve that issue. Ultimately it depends on the content and how users expect to interact with it. Obviously this impacts ad placements, with 3 ads in a very long column layout the user is not likely to spend anytime looking at an ad, as they will scroll through and this will certainly impact CTR and AVV.

The only reporting I can find is for "Anchor/overlay ads" - 49 impressions. Zero earnings.

Go to the default report, then at the top left, where it says
Report by > Days

Click on "Days" and select "Ad Formats" from the drop down menu. That should show you all the various ad formats used.
8:05 pm on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Cool. Thank you very much.

I see (rounded off) -
In page - 6,000 (Aren't these all the single ads I had already placed?
-------- or are all the Auto-ad Display ads and Auto-ad In-article ads included here?)
Other - 200 ---- (this must be matched content, because I see I got 9 cents for 1 click?)
Anchor - 50

I see that Matched Content has its own tab.
Nothing about - Vignette ads, Display ads or In-article ads
Is this normal?
How do I see the Vignette ads? Or, did I simply not get any?
.
6:26 pm on July 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Aha! I finally got ONE Vignette ad.

Today's "Ad Format" report -
In page - 5,800 (went DOWN?)
Other --- 400
Vignette - 1
Anchor -- 97

The Matched Content tab, now= 900. Doesn't equate to "other", as I had suspected.

I was afraid I was going to get too many ads. The opposite seems to be true.
Maybe it takes more time - a lot more time?
Or maybe, I just don't matter that much now, since Google has severely reduced my traffic with their "updates".

Or maybe, something is going on with something, about which I have NO CLUE WHATSOEVER.
I'm betting on this one.
.
2:59 pm on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This morning, I noticed a new custom channel - "Automatically inserted Auto ad code", is listed at the bottom of my custom channels list.
This new channel contained 15% of my total impressions for the morning.
Just WHAT is included is not revealed. I would guess this would include "In-page", but maybe also "Anchor"? "Other"?

So, yeah, it looks like Auto-ads are starting to work for me.
In their documentation, where they say it takes "hours", they should change that to say "days".
Otherwise, we are left to wonder, in the dark, until they send some auto-ads, and TELL us they did.
It was SEVERAL days, for me.

Cheers.
.
6:38 pm on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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For me it was at least 3 months before my auto ads pages started performing well.
7:11 pm on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@IanTurner
"at least 3 months before my auto ads pages started performing well."

Thank you so much. This is exactly the kind of thing we need to know.
And to hear it from one with such established authority, hey, I'm a believer.
This info will help me to keep swinging the pickaxe with zeal, for a much longer time, because
I usually abandon new stuff that performs poorly, pretty quickly, due to initial experience.
I've been disappointed too many times, and I usually JUMP to contain my losses, and stats erosion.
.
12:44 am on July 19, 2019 (gmt 0)

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OK. This is not looking so good. I have added the code to most of my top pages.
I see that I now have a new "Custom Channel", called "Automatically inserted Auto-ad code".
It is now my #2 channel for "Page Views", but only my #7 channel for "Impressions".
There are NO "Clicks" or "Earnings".

What I can't figure out is, how do I see on which pages the "Automatically inserted Auro-ad code" is inserted into.
As in, this is kind of important. It just can't be this opaque, can it? If it is, then I have no reason to continue with "Auto-ad code".

Thank you if you can tell me how to see this. I smell early termination coming.
Plus the fact that I can't see what my visitors are seeing. Not good. I could be wiping myself out with inserted junk, that I cannot see.
Is the "NO Clicks or Earnings" a result of this?
.
7:56 am on July 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The one site that I have now moved entirely to auto ads has seen the following changes in stats.
Income +100%
Visits +15%
Bounce rate, pages per session and session duration all up but not by more than 1%
9:26 am on July 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Ian Turner - Can u tell me what u have all activ? Vignette, Anker, Infeed, Native etc.? And did u use AdBalancer?
5:12 pm on July 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Right now, I am "all in" with Auto-ads. I don't use any Feeds.
In-page, Anchor and Vignette are looking good, RPM-wise (Vignette is double-digit).
"Other" is not so good, lots of impressions, poor results. Horribly poor results.

Does anyone know just what the heck "Other" includes? I had thought it was "Matched content",
but the numbers don't jive with the "Matched content" tab.
I'm going to have to turn "Other" off soon, if I don't know what it is, and the performance stinks.

EDIT -
WHOOPS! I can't turn "Other" off, because it is not a choice.
Choices, under "Auto-ads", under "Global Settings", in order, I get -
1. Display Ads (other?)
2. In-feed ads (other?)
3. In-article ads (in-page?),
4. Matched content,
5. Anchor ads,
6. Vignette ads
I feel like I'm trying to navigate the unfathomable.

In "Reports", under "Ad Formats", in order, I get -
1. In-page (third best RPM)
2. Anchor (second best RPM)
3. Vignette (best RPM), and
4. Other (worst RPM),
Plus the "Matched content" tab.

Button, button, who's got the button? As in, where's the data?
.
7:58 pm on July 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@izzak - All except anchor are on, as that interferes with my cookie consent bar.

I use ad balancer and have that set at about 50% as that was where it recommended in the end. I'll probably need to reset that after a while on auto ads.
8:31 pm on July 20, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thx for answer. I use always the 99%Revenue in AdBalance, so the button is at the end of good ux. but dont sure, is this the right way, cause rpm last months big Rollercoaster
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