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Mar 18, 2008

NEWS: Earning Money from Contextual Ads

March 18, 2008 Earning Money from Contextual Ads

This session looks at the way publishers can generate revenue by carrying contextual ads offered by major networks. Learn about some programs out there and tips on getting more from the ads you carry.


* Chris Boggs, Search Engine Watch Expert and Manager, Search Engine Optimization, eMergent


* Bryan Vu, Manager, AdSense Online Sales and Operations, Google
* Cynthia Tillo, Product Evangelist for Advertising Services, Adobe Systems
* Jennifer Slegg, Owner, JenSense.com
* David Singh, Head of Search Practice Area, Underscore Marketing

JenSense is up first.

What are the most common sites for monetization? COntent rich sites, blogs, business sites, UGC, social media sites, forums, password protected pages, and searches

How do you want to monetize? You need to balance user experience with monetization. If your goals are that you want repeat visitors, you need to make user experience the priority. If you just want to make money, your priority is monetization. It's difficult to achieve both but it can be done.

When shouldn't you monetize with contextual advertising?
If you're a business selling products, why would you entice customers to click ads rather than buy from you? Similar, business sites that sell services have the same problem.
Any sites with content that is against AdSense polices: hacking, gambling, adult, designer imitations, weapons, etc.

Beyond AdSense text ads - there are more than just text ads: image ads, video ads, link ad units, CPA and referral ads, AdSense for search, and AdSense for Mobile.

Common AdSense problems and solutions:
- Section targeting - emphasize a section on your site and deemphasize navigation, for example
- Add meta tags - this can be helpful
- Proximity keywords 
- Contact Google: use this as a last resort (only if you're seeing golf ads on a site about knitting, for example)

Low CTR Rate - how can I ge a higher CTR rate?
- Get better positioning but consider user experience priority
- Change title colors - hyperlink blue and same as other outgoing links
- Borders vs. no borders: it actually works better sometimes. 
- Image ads: especially on pages that are very text heavy.

AdSense Secrets
- Enable image ads on AdSense for an image-only secondary placement. Add a second ad unit that is image only - not many text ads on the page - different visual for people on the site.
- Also helps you take advantage of CPM ads.

Ensure that the ad unit with the highest CTR appears first in HTML code. 
- This ad unit will generally have the highest earing ads. 
- Use multiple channels to confirm highest
- Don't confuse appearing first on the page with appearing first in HTML - look at your code
- In a case study, there was a 25% earnings increase

One ad unit a page can make more money than two or three combined
- More is not always better
- People end up clicking on the 2ndand 3rd ad units, it may mak less EPC than if they clicked on the first ad unit
- Longer pages are the exception
- Do A/B testing

Be aware that your filter list will cost you revenue
- Blocking ads will result in lower paying ads appearing, it will not free up ad space for more higher paying ads to appear
- Use the filter to block ads that are competitors, are grossly mistargeted, advertising something inappropriate for audience
- Case study: publishers with 150+ sites on filter list increased earnngs by 35% when he reduced the list to 14

Use your allowed sites with caution
- Will no longer show ads on cached pages
- Adding google.com and yahoo.com will not work
- IP addresses only for all cache IPs
- Only use in specific cases

Show AdSense on pages hidden behind a login: if you have a members only or premium content section, you can allow the media partner bot to view the content to display targeted ads. 
- "Site Authentication" 
- Fairly new feature

Using Ad links on your sites
- Navigation 
- Footer

Carefully selected referral ads
- Must be extremely targeted
- Don't simply select high $ CPA

ALWAYS do A/B testing
Experiment with different placements, colors, sizes, styles
Consider impact of being too ad heavy
Look beyond traditional AdSense text ads and experiment with other formats

Ed: I'm speachless!

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