Monday, May 7, 2007

Google Adsense Ads and Content

Google AdSense ads and content is an ad serving program run by Google. Website owners can enroll in this program to enable text, image and, more recently, video advertisements on their sites. These ads are administered by Google and generate revenue on either a per-click or per-thousand-impressions basis. Google is also currently beta-testing a cost-per-action based service. Google utilizes its search technology to serve ads based on website content, the user's geographical location, and other factors. Those wanting to advertise with Google's targeted ad system may sign up through AdWords. AdSense has become a popular method of placing advertising on a website because the ads are less intrusive than most banners, and the content of the ads is often relevant to the website.

It currently uses
JavaScript code to incorporate the advertisements into a participating site. If it is included on a site which has not yet been crawled by the Mediabot, it will temporarily display advertisements for charitable causes known as public service announcements (PSAs). (Note that the Mediabot is a separate crawler from the Googlebot that maintains Google's search index.) Many sites use AdSense to monetize their content and some webmasters work hard to maximize their own AdSense income.
They do this in three ways:
1. They use a wide range of traffic generating techniques including but not limited to online advertising.
2. They build valuable content on their sites which attracts AdSense ads which pay out the most when they get clicked.
3. They use copy on their websites that encourage clicks on ads. Note that Google prohibits people from using phrases like "Click on my AdSense ads" to increase click rates. Phrases accepted are "Sponsored Links" and "Advertisements".

The source of all AdSense income is the AdWords program which in turn has a complex pricing model based on a
Vickrey second price auction, in that it commands an advertiser to submit a sealed bid (not observable by competitors). Additionally, for any given click received, advertisers only pay one bid increment above the second-highest bid.

The underlying technology behind Google AdSense ads and content was derived originally from
WordNet and Simpli, a company started by the founder of Wordnet — George A. Miller — and a number of Professors and graduate students from Brown University, including James A. Anderson, Jeff Stibel and Steve Reiss. A variation of this technology utilizing Wordnet was developed by Oingo, a small search engine company based in Santa Monica founded in 1998. Oingo focused on semantic searches rather than brute force string searches. Oingo changed its name to Applied Semantics, which was then bought by Google for $102 million in April 2003, to replace a similar system being developed in house.

Adsense Ads and Content For Feeds

AdSense ads and content for feeds, In May 2005, Google unveiled AdSense for feeds, a version of AdSense that runs on RSS and Atom feeds that have more than 100 active subscribers. According to the Official Google Blog, "advertisers have their ads placed in the most appropriate feed articles; publishers are paid for their original content; readers see relevant advertising — and in the long run, more quality feeds to choose from". AdSense for feeds works by inserting images into a feed. When the image is displayed by the reader/browser, Google writes the ad content into the image that it returns. The ad content is chosen based on the content of the feed surrounding the image. When the user clicks the image, he or she is redirected to the advertiser's site in the same way as regular AdSense ads.AdSense ads and content for search, A companion to the regular AdSense program, AdSense for search lets website owners place Google search boxes on their pages. When a user searches the web or the site with the search box, Google shares any ad revenue it makes from those searches with the site owner. However, only if the ads on the page are clicked, the publisher is paid. Adsense does not pay publishers for mere searches.

How AdSense ads and content works, Each time a visitor visits a page with an AdSense tag, a piece of JavaScript writes an
iframe tag, whose src attribute includes the URL of the page. Google's servers use a cache of the page for the URL or the keywords in the URL itself to determine a set of high-value keywords. (Some of the details are described in the AdSense patent.) If keywords have been cached already, ads are served for those keywords based on the AdWords bidding system.

Adsense Ads and Content Url's and Channel

Adsense ads and content Managing URL’s and channels, Adsense channels is one area where it’s really easy to go overboard with stats. You can set up URL channels to compare how one website is doing to another. You can also set up sub channels for each URL. If you wanted to you do something channels like - 728 - 336 - text - 728 - image - 336 - 300 blockWhile this is great for testing and knowing who clicks where and why, it makes your reporting a little wonky. Your total number will always be correct but when you look at your reports with a channel break down things will get displayed multiple times and not add up to correct total. Makes things pretty confusing, so decide if you really need/want that level of reporting detail. TIP: At the very least you want to know what URL is generating the income so be sure to enter distinct URL channels.

Site Design and Integration Once you know you are going to put adsense on your website you’re going to have to consider where to put it. If this is new site it’s easier, if it’s an existing site it’s more difficult. While there are some people who will be able to do it, in most cases I’d say if you just slap the adsense code in, you’ll end up with a frankensite monster (props to Tedster of WMW for the buzzword). While every website is different,
Google has published some heat maps showing the optimal locations. No surprise that the best spots are middle of the page and left hand side. Now I’ve done really well by placing it on the right, but you should know why you’re doing it that way before hand, and be prepared to change it if it doesn’t work out.Google has also has published a list of the highest performing ad sizes:

-336×280 large rectangle
-300×250 inline rectangle
-160×600 wide skyscraper

Adsense Managing URL'S And Channel, From the sites that I run, I do really well with the 336 rectangle and 160 skyscraper. My next best performing ad size is the 728 leaderboard, I don’t really use the 300 inline rectangle too often. So really it depends on how well you integrate these into your site. Placement can have a dramatic effect on performance. TIP: When working on a new site or new layout you may want to give each location it’s own channel for a little while until you understand the users behavior. Another ‘trick’ that can increase your CTR is by blending your adsense into your body copy. For example if your body copy is black, remove the adsense border and make the title, text, and URL black.TIP: Try changing all of your page hyperlinks to a high contrast color (like dark red or a bold blue) then change the adsense title to the same color.

The one area where I’ve found blended ads don’t perform as well is forums, especially ones with a high volume of repeat members. Regular visitors develop banner blindness pretty quickly. One ‘trick’ to keep the ads from being ignored is to randomize the color and even the placement. As with any of the decisions about location, placement and color it’s a trade off. How much do you emphasize the ads without annoying your visitors. Remember it’s better to have a 1% CTR with 500 regular visitors as opposed to a 5% CTR with 50 visitors. TIP: For forums try placing the adsense ads directly above or below the the first forum thread.

Using Images One of the latest ’secrets’ to make the rounds is using images placed directly above or below an adsense leaderboard. This has been used for a while but came out in a digital point forum thread where a member talked about
quadrupling their CTR. Basically you set up the adsense code in a table with four images that line up directly with the ads. Whether or not this is deceptive is fuzzy and very subjective. Obviously four blinking arrows would be ‘enticing people to click’ and be against the adsense TOS. However placing pictures of 4 laptops over laptops ads isn’t, so use your best judgment here and look at it from the advertiser or Google’s perspective. If you have a question as to your implementation being ‘over the line’ write to adsense and ask them to take a look. As far as using the images, I’ve done it and can tell you it definitely works. You get the best results when the images ‘complete the story the ads are telling’. For example if you have ads about apple pies, use pictures of freshly baked apple pies, instead of granny smith, Macintosh, pink lady, and braeburn apples. TIP: Don’t limit yourself to using images only on that size ad unit, it works just as well with the other sizes, like the 336 rectangle.Added:I got a little criticizm for this and rightly so, as I wasn’t specific as I could have been. Do not use very identifiable brand name or products for your images. Use generic non-specific stock images whenever possible and appropriate

Adsense Ads and content Multiple Ad Units

Adsense ads and content Multiple Ad Units, another way to increase ad revenue is to use multiple ad units. According to Google’s TOS you are allowed to post up to three ad units per page. Similar to standard search results the highest paying ad units will be served first and the lowest being served last. If there is enough of an ad inventory, place all three ad units. However you should pay attention to the payouts. Current assumption is you get 60% of the revenue (on a $0.05 click you get $0.03). So if a click from the third ad unit is only paying between 3 to 5 cents you may want to omit it from your page. This is one are where giving your ad units channels does have value. If one ad unit is getting a higher percentage of click throughs you’ll want to make sure the highest paying ads are being served there.
Adsense ads and content Multiple Ad Units TIP:Use CSS positioning to get your highest paying ads serving in the location with the highest CTR.Adsense in RSS, with the growth of blogs and RSS feeds you’re starting to see adsense included in the feeds now. IMHO this doesn’t work, and here’s why:1. You only get to place one ad unit.2. You have no control over finding the ’sweet spot’ for the ad unit.3. The ads are usually poorly targeted (this is getting better).4. People develop ‘banner blindness’.

Adsense ads and content Multiple Ad Units, I know people like being able to read full postings in their feed reader, and there are at least a dozen other reasons for full posts from pleasing your users to mobile offline computing, all of which are completely valid. However if your website depends on generating adsense revenue to survive, then bring them to the site and show them the ads there.

Adsense Ads and Content Criticism Abuse

Adsense ads and content Criticism Abuse, Some webmasters create sites tailored to lure searchers from Google and other engines onto their AdSense site to make money from clicks. These "zombie" sites often contain nothing but a large amount of interconnected, automated content (e.g.: A directory with content from the Open Directory Project, or scraper sites relying on RSS feeds for content). Possibly the most popular form of such "AdSense farms" are splogs ("spam blogs"), which are centered around known high-paying keywords. Many of these sites use content from other web sites, such as Wikipedia, to attract visitors. These and related approaches are considered to be search engine spam and can be reported to Google. There have also been reports of Trojans engineered to produce fake Google ads that are formatted to look like legitimate ones. The Trojan Horse apparently downloads itself onto an unsuspecting computer through a web page and then replaces the original ads with its own set of malicious ads.Adsense ads and content Criticism Due to concerns about click fraud, Google AdSense has been criticized by some Search engine optimization firms as a large source of what Google calls "invalid clicks" in which one company clicks on a rival's search engine ads to drive up its costs. Some publishers have been blocked by Google, complaining that little justification or transparence was provided. To help prevent click fraud, publishers can choose from a number of click tracking programs. These programs will display detailed information about the visitors who click on the AdSense advertisements. Publishers can use that data to determine if they've been a victim of click fraud or not. There are a number of such commercial scripts available for purchase. An open source alternative is AdLogger.

Because AdSense adverts use non-xhtml compliant methods to display the advert blocks they will break xhtml strict pages. This is due to the use of the document.write method, which is deprecated in favour of DOM manipulation in xhtml, and the use of the iframe element, which is deprecated because it ties markup to presentation. This can be worked around by keeping the AdSense code in a separate html4 file served as text/html and including this in the application/xml+xhtml file using the object element.

Google adsense ads and content has also come under fire for allowing
AdWords advertisers to abuse trademarks. In 2004, Google started allowing advertisers to bid on any search terms, including the trademarks of their competitors. The payment terms for AdSense customers have also been criticized. Google withholds payment until an account reaches US$100, but many small content providers require a long time - years in many cases - to build up this much AdSense revenue. These pending payments are recorded on Google's balance sheet as "accrued revenue share". At the close of its 2006 fiscal year, the sum of all these small debts amounted to a little over US$370million - cash that Google is able to invest but which effectively belongs to its customer