Summary. Google AdSense is a context sensitive advertising program that offers blog and website authors the ability to dynamically display advertisements that are related to the content on their web pages. For more on Internet advertising, read Internet Website or Blog Advertising, Stores, and Affiliate Programs.
Effectiveness and Value. Targeted context sensitive advertising has value to the advertiser as well as the person seeing the ads because advertisements are likely to be of real interest to those seeing them. Ads are also geographically relevant, when applicable, so advertisements will be regionally applicable for the site visitor. Advertisers are able to put their advertising in front of people who are interested in their product, and not just annoyed by the advertising.
Drawbacks. There are some drawbacks to adding dynamic advertising to your site.
- Offensive, False, or Misleading Adverting. When unfiltered, AdSense is simply a floodgate that allows just about any advertiser access to your site. As a result, your website may end up displaying ads for sites that you might otherwise prefer not to have any association with, such as get-rich-quick schemes and promises to loose 40 pounds in two weeks. While advertisers must comply with the general AdSense guidelines, inevitably some slip through. Your website visitors who click on advertising links may be sent to sites that are simply filled with advertising and not offering anything of legitimate value.
- Lost Visitor Retention. Your website visitors who click on an advertisement will be forced to leave your site and go to the advertisers site. Hopefully the advertiser has not enabled a redirection that prevents your visitor from pressing the “back” button to go back to your site. Otherwise, you may have lost that visitor. For this reason, you may want to explain to site visitors that if they wish to click on an advertising link, they should do so with a right click and choose to open in a new tab or new window.
Blocking Unwanted Advertisers. There is an Targeted Ad Review Center that allows advertisements to be previewed prior to appearing on your site. However, to work properly, it requires regular (daily) monitoring since ads will appear on your site by default after 24 hours. An alternate method of blocking unwanted ads on your site is to use the Competitive Ad Filter feature. This will block specific domains from advertising on your site. Keep in mind that manipulative advertisers, like spammers, will frequently change the domain name they are using. So, advertisers you’ve previously blocked may come back later using a different domain name. As an example, you may have blocked GetRichQuick.com and then later discover the same advertiser using the GetRichReallyQuick.com domain name. Even so, it seems that the Competitive Ad Filter feature is the best way to limit unwanted advertisers.
Advertiser Protection. Advertisers want to make sure that when they pay for an advertisement, they are getting legitimate potential customers and not just paying money the owner of a website who is just clicking links over and over again. To ensure this, Google AdSense has a monitoring system that will determine which clicks are legitimate and which aren’t.
Sample Advertising. To see Google AdSense in action, visit our sample page, Dynamic Topical Context Sensitive Advertising with Google AdSense.
Advertising Placement for Effectiveness. In the newspaper business, the term “above the fold” refers to the area on the front page of the paper that is most visible because it is above the fold in the paper. In the website world, this is similar to the area that can be seen without scrolling down the page. Advertising higher on the page will produce greater results (more clicks), yet it will also be most likely to get in the way of a pleasant visitor experience on your site. In general, it is best to make the choice to receive less advertising income and provide your website visitors with less clutter by moving ads further down on the page.
General Guidelines on Advertising Design for Effectiveness. Google AdSense offers text, image ads, or a mixture of both. Text ads are a good choice because they don’t contain graphics so are less likely to slow down page load times. Also, because text ads don’t contain graphics, they are less likely to clash with your page design. You can specify what colors you’d like your text ads to be so they can match the color scheme of your site. Some believe that picture ads and/or video ads may generate more advertising revenue. Our opinion is that picture ads, video ads, and advertisements with sound are a nuisance and eyesore.
Steps to Designing Effective Ads. A text ad of 728 pixels wide by x 90 pixels high at the bottom of the page is probably ideal from the perspective of your site visitors. The default advertising “palette” design for text ads is blue with no border. The problem with having no border This may confuse site visitors into accidentally clicking a link thinking it is part of your website. While such a mistake may boost your advertising revenue, it’s potentially misleading, confusing, and therefor not effective. By choosing a palette (color combination) such as Seaside, your visitors will see a thin blue border around the advertisements, separating them from the rest of the content on your site. This alerts the visitor that they are looking at something other than your own site content. Here are the steps for generating an ideally simple and effective ad:
- From the AdSense home page, once you’ve logged into your AdSense account, click on the AdSense Setup tab. The GetAds sub-tab should be selected.
- Click on AdSense for Content. This means you want advertisements for a website rather than the other options listed on the page.
- Choose Text ads only from the drop-down menu for Ad unit, then continue.
- Choose a format of 728×90, for Colors choose the Seaside Palette, for Corner Styles choose slightly rounded (or whatever your preference is). It’s nice to allow the default setting to show public service ads. Continue to complete the ad and generate the html code to be entered into your page.
- When done, you may want to go back and create a Link Unit which is a list of related terms your visitor can click on to go to a new page with advertising on that term/topic. To do so, click on the AdSense Setup tab and then Get Ads, then choose AdSense for Content, then choose Link Unit, and Continue.
- Choose 728 pixels wide by 15 pixels high (to match the ads you created in step #3 above). Pick 4 links per unit for easier reading. Pick Shadow palette for easy viewing and a distinctive appearance, then Continue to get your advertising html code.
- Once you create your basic advertisements, you can go back to AdSense Setup > Manage Ads to modify their appearance. Once ads are created, they can’t be deleted from your list of available ads. So, to use a different look, and discard an old ad design, it’s best just to modify the existing ads you have. This will keep things simple.
- A layout to consider would be to have your 728×90 advertisement above your 728×15 Link Units and then have your disclaimer below them. You may want to save the text of your html code and disclaimer for easy copying and pasting, and/or editing (of the disclaimer) later.
- An example of the above design suggestions can be found below.
Measuring Effectiveness. Advertising effectiveness reports are summarized to provide daily totals for Page Impressions (number of times a page containing advertising links loads), Clicks (number of times a person has clicked on an ad), Page CTR (this is the Clicks divided by the Page Impressions), Page eCPM (the cost per thousand impressions), Earnings (the dollars earned). In general, the more effective the advertising is targeted and placed, the higher the number of clicks will be per thousand times that the page loads. Over time, Google AdSense will attempt to deliver more accurately targeted context sensitive ads. This should increase clicks and earnings (which are typically based on clicks).
Disclaimer. It is helpful to offer a disclaimer somewhere above, below, or beside the advertising on your site. Our disclaimer can be found below.
Resources for Life Advertising System. We believe the most effective and open advertising possible is to have topical links appearing under a disclaimer at the bottom of your website pages. A sample of our advertising method is found here…
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Choose Your Advertising. The topical advertising links below are provided by Google AdSense. In providing these links, we give our site visitors the option to view advertising or not. We don’t necessarily endorse the advertisers generated by these links, but they are supposed to be context relevant and for that reason you might find them helpful. These links will take you away from our site if you don’t right click and choose to open them in a new window or tab. We’re currently experimenting with this form of advertising. Let us know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions. In particular, if you find advertisers listed here that are offensive or misleading, contact us and we’ll have them blocked. Our filtering of ads ensures you get the most useful advertising possible. Click on a topical link below to view a page of ads related to that topic.