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All blue ads are gone?

What is the deal?

     
3:17 am on Sep 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Maybe this is just a glitch, but I noticed all ads in the blue moved to the side for a bit. Nothing was showing ads in the blue.

Anyone seeing this?

3:57 am on Sept 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I justed checked <with an online tool>. The situation appears only on certain DC's.

[edited by: tedster at 8:36 pm (utc) on Sep. 17, 2006]

4:31 am on Sept 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Still up on certain keywords.
4:41 am on Sept 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I spoke to my account rep. They are testing a new feature whereby when a user performs multiple searches and does not click an ad, the ads are all moved to the right side of the page. The rationale is that the user does not want to see the ads anyway and it lessens the chance of a poor prospect clicking on an ad. If you clear your cookies, the results will go back to normal.
2:04 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Steve Bryant over at eweek is working on an article [googlewatch.eweek.com] about it. I think we will see more on it this week from eweek.

Google is testing a new advertising layout on search results pages in which ads are removed if a user consistently chooses not to interact with any of the ad elements on the page.

According to posters in the WebmasterWorld forum, Google is removing the top blue ad from search result pages and only showing ads on the right side of the screen. The blue ad is removed if a user consistently does not click on ads. The blue ad is restored if the user clears his or her cache.

2:48 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I do not like that. If the user does not click on an advertisement then may be google should serve up a similar keyword advertisement.
3:11 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Trinorthlighting
I think you are missing the point

I suspect that there are some Surfers who never, or very rarely, click on a Ad.

I also suspect that there are some Surfers who never click on a "Blue Ad" but may click on a "right hand side" Sponsored link.

If I understand this correctly, if G recognises a particular Surfer as haveing this behaviou, they will vary the displayed Ads to try to creat some variety in the Surfer's behaviour - just showing another Ad that the Surfer is equally blind to will not accomplish this.

3:11 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google trying to show up their "no-evil"?
For me, that's a good example of shooting themselves in the foot.
3:39 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The rationale is that the user does not want to see the ads anyway and it lessens the chance of a poor prospect clicking on an ad.

With respect, this explanation does not make any sense. By this logic, Google shouldn't be showing such users any ads at all. IMO it's more likely to be about ad blindness, as Pengi says.
4:59 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've been wondering about the "blue" ads since Adsense decided to push the "blended" default color scheme to combat banner blindness.

If they really want to give those ads a premium space, they should remove the blue shading, but then they would be indistinguishable from regular SERPS (not that the average user knows or cares about it anyway).

Are there any eye-tracking or statistical studies about the performance of the top 3 blue ads versus top of the SERPS and top of the right hand column?

6:12 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Any chance of Google making this feature available for us publishers. Perhaps pull the alternate ad if user does not interact with Google ads after many page views. Will greately help our ECPM I think.
7:45 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I can understand changing the ads around, especially for the color blind.

But, most people surf from work, and people behind those computers can change easily. So I still do not agree.

They should put a way in the google toolbar for the user to choose to turn them off though.

11:25 pm on Sept 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The ad-blind flag may time out after a certain number of hours.
2:04 am on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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----Surfers who never, or very rarely, click on a Ad.

Hello World..

2:39 am on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Humm .. but what if I want to see the ads and I don't want to wipe out all of my cookies?
3:52 am on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The idea that it was implemented in order to not show ads to people who usually never click them is foolish.

If this was the real behaviuor of people, my CTR wouldn't have been ~5% lower that day across the board. It should have stayed the same, but it didn't.

5:48 am on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The rationale is that the user does not want to see the ads anyway and it lessens the chance of a poor prospect clicking on an ad.

Another way of looking at it. If a user never/rarely clicks on an ad, and happens to click on an ad, it may be because -

- The regular SERPs weren't good enough that he/she chose to click an ad instead. (I rarely click an ad, and there are few rare occasions when I had to look at the ads to get the site I wanted)

- The ad creative (Title/Description were just what the user was looking for and induced him/her into clicking, vis-a-vis not so relevant regular SERPs)

I guess, it is quite assumptive to generalise a user who never clicks an ad and if he/she clicks then that is a "poor prospect"

6:40 am on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If the user does not click on an advertisement then may be google should serve up a similar keyword advertisement.

What a great idea!

Now, why didn't the rocket scientists at Google think of that?

Why keep showing the SAME ads when the same user repeats a search? Do they think if they repeat the same ad a number of times, the user will eventually click?

I noticed the move to the right last week. I don't think it is helpful. I think it is distracting. First they're here, then they're there. Maybe that is what they had in mind. If so, I don't think it's working. It makes me less likely to click through.

3:22 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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They prolly worked out by changing the layout it draws attention and more clicks somehow down the track or something. Doesnt really add up otherwise. Maybe I missed something?

also Bewenched, you only need to clear that particular Cookie, not all of them ;-D

- Ben

6:43 pm on Sept 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If the user does not click on an advertisement then may be google should serve up a similar keyword advertisement.

With the exception of broad match, advertisers choose the keywords for which their ads appear. Unless this idea was only in regards to broad match keywords, I don't see how such a system could be implemented to the advertisers satisfaction.

"You asked for your ads to be shown for [green fuzzy widgets], but this one guy was never clicking an ad when he searched for [blue shiny widgets], so I showed him your ad and he clicked! You do sell blue shiny widgets too, right? Oh, you don't? Well, at least I got him to click an ad!"

9:44 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone else seen their campaigns suffering since this change happened? My ads have dropped from a permanent (as in it's been there for over a year) position 2-3 on a very high traffic term to position 5 since this change was first reported. My CTR has taken a beating and I'm having to increase my max CPC to force the position and keep my traffic levels/CTRs up.
11:03 am on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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But what about users at work, behind a network. Most people search and order from work. We all know Mondays and other weekdays that too office work hours get more conversions. Each of these users behind a corporate network may have different user behaviour.

How will google know in such a case, one guy is an ad clicker and another guy is not?

3:21 pm on Sept 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How will google know in such a case, one guy is an ad clicker and another guy is not?

Cookies.

I doubt they even care about IP address unless cookies are blocked.

And there are other techniques that don't require cookies, though I don't know if Google uses them.

One clever technique I just learned of here on WebmasterWorld. It's pretty obvious, actually. Put a javascript function in a seperate file. Have it return a unique ID (i.e. serve a different version of the file to each user). After the first time, the file will be served from the user's cache. Handily defeats users who turn off cookies.