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Best and Worst Sites for Adsense


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#1 AbleReach

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 03:11 PM

What types of sites are the worst and best for advertising?

When and how does it work for businesses to advertise other businesses?

Would you put adsense on the home page of a nonprofit?

What are some pointers for balancing a professional image with advertising?

#2 kensplace

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 06:58 PM

No matter what the site, there will always be a percentage of people who just cannot stand ads in any form, and there will be people who dont mind them.

Standard google ads are so common place that people are getting more used to them now, which has its pro's and cons. Its good as people are used to them and dont mind them as much, but it also leads to ad blindness as they see yet another similar ad, they switch off...

The lucky few which have large budgets or massively popular sites can have customised google ads, that are different from what mere mortals have access to.
The probably, but I dont know for sure, get much better results than the rest of us, not least due to the amount of traffic they have, but because they have different style adverts. The ability the few have to customise the ads is something that say a non-profit would benefit from. but they probably wont be allowed to have. They have to stick with the "cheaper" looking standard ads, that are used on sites ranging from a teenagers blog to scraper sites and many others.

As for which type of site is best for advertising, it depends on who the "best" applies to, as a site that is best for getting the publisher rich, will probably concentrate on low quality content so the visitor clicks the ads instead, and the pages will be based upon high paying keywords.

A site that is "best" for the advertiser is one that has quality, and results in actual conversions, rather than just boredom or curiosity clicks.

#3 projectphp

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 07:33 PM

Forums are bad. Massive number of page views, small number of clicks. Community sites, in general, where people return often, are usually not that great, as people who know a page are most likely to ignore ads.

The best sites, IMHO, are sites that are non-repeatable, that have large volumes of traffic available that is looking to do a specific thing and probably won't return.

#4 Ron Carnell

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 09:22 PM

I think that depends on how you want to define "best," Michael. If you're going to measure with things like CTR and eCPM, then yea, I'll agree that sticky sites don't look real promising. On the other hand, my local grocer doesn't accept CTR in exchange for food, no matter how high I promise him the numbers will be. :D

Let's say you have a really crappy site. You get ten visitors who see only a single page, and nine of them immediately click an ad (if only to get away).

Or, let's say you have a great site. You get ten visitors and each of them spends an hour browsing twenty to thirty pages. When they're ready to leave, however, nine of them click an ad on their way out the door.

The second site is going to have horrible numbers, but it's going to make just as much money as the first site. And tomorrow, when the crappy site gets ten new visitors, the sticky is site is also going to get ten new visitors -- and maybe one or two return visitors.

Gauges like CTR and eCPM are invaluable for advertisers, but are much less so for publishers, I think. We need to base our efforts not on the number of impressions, but rather on the number of visitors. Do that, and I think sticky becomes an asset instead of a liability. At the end of the day, after all, the only think you can deposit in the bank is revenue. :)

#5 Jammer

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 09:59 PM

I don't know if I agree with you on this Ron.
I own a community site/portal/forum, lot's of interesting stuff there. The site has about 17,000 visitors/day and a lot of loyal visitors.

Then there's this guy I know. He owns a directory site with about the same amount of visitors/day. 90% his visitors come from referrers/search engines. He still makes approx. 5 times more money each month then I do.

For the sake of arguement, it has been like this for more then a year (and yes, it's frustrating... His site looks/is close to a scraper while I put tons of effort in my site).

On the other hand: I have the possibility to explore other methods of advertising where he hasn't. And in the end, that's where the real money is for close niche targetted sites.

#6 EGOL

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 10:00 PM

The best sites are those that have high paying keywords, high traffic, and site visitors who are just one step from buying something. Tim's Ask The Builder is an example.

Ron is right about the crap content and visitors clicking an ad just to keep their shoes clean.

#7 Nadir

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 10:22 PM

You can make loads of money if you give something in return to your visitor, what about giving them a part of the site's adsense revenue in exchange of their participation, like Digital Point does?

I think it's a great win-win situation in that case... Maybe not 100% fair for the advertiser but they do get a lot of exposure...

PS: note the maximum number of members they have had:

Most users ever online was 1,229, Aug 30th 2005 at 9:38 pm.


Edited by Nadir, 27 January 2006 - 10:23 PM.


#8 kensplace

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 12:03 AM

Jammer, do you know for sure that the other guys site is actually making that much money, I mean have you seen the actual adsense reports with your own eyes? Or are you just going on what someone says? There are a lot of wild claims out there, many of which I take with a pinch of salt.

Problem is, your not allowed to disclose earnings so people can claim anything online, and not have to back it up.

Course, it may be making that much money, however that much is, but as with any adsense site, its hard to find out for sure.

#9 AbleReach

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 06:24 PM

What ad placement is not appropriate, for the sake of the site?

For instance, what are good boundaries for a content site aiming for a sleek, almost corporate look, but also wanting advertising income?

I'm thinking of the case of a lot of small shops on small budgets that need to balance branding themselves as not needy, while needing to bring in income wherever possible.

I'd hesitate to put ads on the home page or a contact page and possibly an "about" page - when is that too conservative?

Given that less targeted pages can convert better, perhaps adsense would be good on directory or site map pages with collections of annotated links.

Elizabeth

#10 kensplace

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 07:29 PM

What ad placement is not appropriate, for the sake of the site?

For instance, what are good boundaries for a content site aiming for a sleek, almost corporate look, but also wanting advertising income?

I'm thinking of the case of a lot of small shops on small budgets that need to balance branding themselves as not needy, while needing to bring in income wherever possible.

I'd hesitate to put ads on the home page or a contact page and possibly an "about" page - when is that too conservative?

Given that less targeted pages can convert better, perhaps adsense would be good on directory or site map pages with collections of annotated links.

Elizabeth

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Depends on the site, most sites with only small amounts of traffic will find that adsense is a waste of time and effort. It takes a lot of traffic, or some very high paying keywords/ads to make it worthwile using adsense, especially if branding is an issue.

If a shop is trying to get an image across, they have to balance a few dollars a month from adsense against a clean ad free site. If the site is say one about diamonds, or lawsuits then they would probably earn a lot more from adsense, same if the site is a heavily trafficed one.

But most mom and pop stores who dont get much traffic will probably find that they earn very little from adsense, certainly not enough in most cases to outweigh any issues they have with branding, appearing needy or whatever else they are concerned with.

It may work for some, but the majority wont make much, maybe enough for a nice treat every few months or even once a year...... Unless as I said, they have lots of traffic, or a site that has very high paying ads on.

As for placement, you have to be careful with what pages you put the ads on, you cant put them on pages that dont have content, such as login pages, not sure if that applies to a contact us page or not.

#11 Ron Carnell

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 02:15 PM

I own a community site/portal/forum, lot's of interesting stuff there. The site has about 17,000 visitors/day and a lot of loyal visitors.

Then there's this guy I know. He owns a directory site with about the same amount of visitors/day. 90% his visitors come from referrers/search engines. He still makes approx. 5 times more money each month then I do.

I think the question to ask, Jammer, is Why. It's really, really easy in this business to confuse cause and effect.

Last year I spent several months working with Phoebe Ho at Google to optimize AdSense on one of my poetry sites. The site was designed for traditional rich media ads, which are obviously more intrusive than contextual text ads, and I told Phoebe if we could get AdSense revenues even close to what my networks were making I would be willing to move at least half my inventory over to Google. When we started, I had AdSense running in one small category of the site, Friendship Poems for Teens, and the CPM was running only fifty to seventy percent of what more traditional intrusive ads were doing in other categories.

We tried just about everything.

I set up different channels for every position on every type of page within a category, then duplicated each of those for several different poetry categories, so we could track every possible change. We blended the ads into the content, contrasted them from the content with dozens of different color combinations, used borders, eliminated borders, added Link units, removed Link units, section targeted the ads, tried various poetry categories, and even used some code Phoebe gave me that I've never seen documented anywhere to help the spider better target the audience instead of just keywords. After several intensive months of this, I could tell you exactly what worked best on that site and what didn't work hardly at all.

With Phoebe's help, I was able to almost double the CPM for AdSense, but only in a few poetry categories and only intermittently. We'd run two days hot, then the next day's CPM would drop by half, something I've since discovered is fairly typical of AdSense (whereas more traditional advertising remains remarkably consistent from day to day).

I finally concluded that poetry simply wasn't a good market for contextual advertising. I could get a decent CPC for Love Poetry, but most other categories just didn't attract advertisers who were willing to spend any money. All the tracking in the world, all the changes we might try, wasn't going to make a purse out of sow's ear.

I then almost immediately proved myself wrong. :)

I had another smaller poetry site, one that was a spin-off of the larger site, that I hadn't paid much attention to for several years. The larger site included thousands of poems in dozens of categories, while 100-poems.com was a Showcase site that pulled from the same database but included only the 100 poems with the most votes. More than anything, it was just a pat on the back for my best authors. The design was old, the ad network I was using was doing very poorly, and I was looking for something relatively unimportant to try my hand at a tableless design, so 100-poems seemed like a good candidate.

To make a long story shorter, one of the few things Phoebe and I obviously hadn't been able to try on the larger poetry site was to completely redesign the page. Those pages were designed to use traditional banners and skyscrapers in very traditional places on the page, and we were necessarily limited by that design. No so with 100-poems. I knew I wanted to use AdSense before the first page was ever designed, and because text ads are less intrusive (no blinking colors or shooting at monkeys), I could put the ads front-and-center with only minimal distraction. That one difference turned out to be a big difference.

It was the same exact content being used on the big site, especially since I extended 100-poems into 600 poems by adding a few categories to Showcase more authors. It was also pretty much the same exact audience, and the contextual ads being delivered were identical to those I saw earlier at the larger site. The little site turned out to be stickier than the big site (slightly more pageviews per visitor), possibly because the navigation and choices are more limited and easier.

Yet in spite of the similarities, both CTR and CPM have just about tripled over even our best efforts at the main site. Revenue per visitor remains consistently higher than what I see from more tradition, more invasive advertising networks.

It's easy, I think, to conclude that one site makes less money than another site simply because it's more sticky. You might even be right, Jammer. Then again, I sure thought I was right when I concluded that poetry was a lousy vehicle for AdSense, too. Cause and effect are tricky little critters to capture, especially when the causes can be so ephemeral. I wouldn't give up looking for other possibilities, if I was you, until all possibilities have been eliminated.

Like so many things in a free market economy, I don't think optimal is always (or even frequently) defined by highest, biggest or best.

Chasing after high-bid keywords, for example, sounds like a great idea. Until you remember another word for high-bid keywords is competitive keywords, and an astronomical CPC isn't worth much if you never have a chance in hell of breaking into the top 10 or 20 SERPs. A high traffic site sounds wonderful, too. Until you remember it often means putting all your eggs in one SEO basket, and 50K visitors a day to one site isn't a whole lot different than 5K visitors to ten smaller sites.

The same caveats, I believe, extend into almost every realm of advertising-based revenue. You can throw twenty ads on every page to soak every visitor for all they're worth, or use no ads at all to assure you never irritate a single visitor, but neither extreme is ever going to be optimal for revenue. In an economic model, if no one ever walks away from a deal because they think the price is too high, you can be almost certain that the price is way too low. An optimal price is always going to discourage someone. Similarly, if you're advertising never irritates a visitor, you're not yet using enough advertising to reach an optimal revenue. Just as an e-commerce site should only target traffic that will potentially convert to a sale, an advertising-based site shouldn't be too afraid of losing traffic that can't make them any money. Traffic doesn't pay the rent.

Free markets, I think, are always about finding a point somewhere in the middle of a line. Testing is all about moving that point a bit in either direction to see what happens. You usually don't want biggest, highest, or best. You want optimal, and finding it isn't ever going to be easy.

If it was, it probably wouldn't be fun any more. :)

#12 amorosso

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 06:23 PM

Hi everyone, I'm new here.

I have a ton of sites all using adsense. My main site, the one I spend tons of time on is My Webpage for the life of me I cant get any clicks. Being a new home builder / contractor I was thinking about doing a site like Tim's ask a builder.. Can anyone tell me what I'm doing so so wrong.

#13 bragadocchio

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Posted 07 November 2007 - 07:48 PM

Hi amorosso,

Welcome to the forums.

I would guess in part that you are succeeding at what you are trying to do in getting people to try to watch the videos that you provide on your front page, where the ads aren't viewable unless you scroll past lots of videos that a visitor can view.

On the pages where the videos reside, the adsense ads that you show are below the fold on the left, too. Chances are that many of your visitors are coming to your site and are never seeing those ads.

I don't know how many visitors you get a month, but you could possibly use a tool like Crazy Egg - http://crazyegg.com/ to track them, and see where they are clicking, and perhaps make some layout and other changes and see if it makes a difference.

Testing can be important. so, trying different placements of ads, different types, and so on might be able to help.

#14 Going2Oahu

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Posted 22 November 2007 - 09:08 AM

You mention that community sites such as forums are not ideal sites for Adsense but I was curious about blogs. I have a travel blog[url removed] that receives mostly new visitors each day, and those visitors are landing on individual post pages rather than the full blog. My regular visitors typicaly read the RSS Feed and do not see the ads. Am I optimizing my Adsense exposure here, and is there a way to:

1) Place Adsense in an RSS Feed
2) Encourage RSS Feed readers to click through to the website.

[edited by send2paul Cre8asite Admin as per Forum Rules regarding Link Dropping]

Edited by send2paul, 22 November 2007 - 01:04 PM.




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