By Evan Carmichael on October 20th, 2009
(Photo Credit: Rebecca Bollwitt) A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to head to Google’s office for a full day of AdSense discussion. As part of the event we got to ask questions via an online form and members who attended were asked to vote on the questions. The top 9 voted on questions were answered by Google’s staff.
It was great to see that my question was voted 3rd most popular.
Here’s the inside scoop for you direct from Google:
Question #1: “Ad erosion (aka ad blindness): As a way to fight the inevitable, could the publisher define a section of the page within which Google may embed in a random place the ads, with some features for the publisher to somehow control the decision?”
Google’s Answer: It’s a good idea. There is an entire engineering team dedicated to figuring out different ways in which we can increase partner revenue through UI optimizations, and you can bet that ad-blindness is on their radar. At the moment most partners want ads to appear in consistent places; also remember that you can write a simple script to test different ad codes in different places, which I would strongly recommend.
Question #2: “Does Google recognize semantic tags (microformats and RDFa) to better qualify ads served on the page, which would increase the conversion, hence revenue?”
Google’s Answer: I don’t think so.
Question #3 (mine): “Can you share with us website layouts that are getting > 10% click through rates or higher?”
Google’s Answer: Unfortunately we don’t share any publisher information publicly. Remember though a 10% CTR probably isn’t that desirable, since it may suggest users aren’t finding what they want on your site.
“The fact is that users tend to click on display images more than text images. Also, if you limit to just text than you are disallowing a lot of bidders from entering into the auction, thus driving down your potential eCPM.”
Question #4: “I’d like to see performance standards or ranges for different site categories. In other words, is my site underperforming or overperforming on CTR or CPM? And how do I figure this out? I can do it for traffic in Analyzer – but not in Adsense.”
Google’s Answer: I agree 100% with this, and it’s something we are thinking about. There are certain concerns that we first need to address: for example, we don’t want to disclose CPCs across verticals because that might drive down what advertisers are paying. We are definitely thinking about this though.
Question #5: “When is it best to use “text only” or “image only” ads?”
Google’s Answer: I would say it’s always advantageous to use both, although if you run tests and find one performs better than the other you can optimize accordingly. The fact is that users tend to click on display images more than text images. Also, if you limit to just text than you are disallowing a lot of bidders from entering into the auction, thus driving down your potential eCPM. That being said, if you find your users like text ads more than image ads, you may want to keep just text ads.
Question #6: “Does Google have plans of introducing an AdSense Optimizer? I would like you to figure out algorithmically: 1. what colors are best 2. what positions are best 3. what networks in your inventory pay the best. I define the ad blocks, you do the work!”
Google’s Answer: It’s a good question, but the main issue is that unlike adwords, where simply changes can be made to increase performance, AdSense performs differently on different pages depending on site design, layout, colours, etc. As such, it would be a very large engineering feat to created an automated system that could determine ideal performance simply by reading your code. Our objective is to give you as much advice and access to best practices so that you can figure out what works best for your site.
“Do Google Adsense ads have a positive, negative or neutral effect on a visitor’s perception of a website?”
Question #7: “I’d like info on the review my site makes from each region/country. For example, if I get a large % of my revenue from California or Australia, I could add more content specific to those areas.”
Google’s Answer: Use Analytics! Google Analytics gives you that information specifically.
Question #8: “How can you use Google Analytics data to help your website generate more income?”
Google’s Answer: We have some new videos coming out dealing with this question specifically. In the meantime, check out: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/04/analytics-integration-for-all.html
Question #9: “Do Google Adsense ads have a positive, negative or neutral effect on a visitor’s perception of a website?”
Google’s Answer: That’s a good question and I don’t have any metrics to prove my theory, but what I’d suggest is that, by showing relevant ads Google enhances the user experience by making it easy to users to find additional information regarding what they’re looking for. Also, Google has a well-respected brand which ads credibility to the ads, so overall I think it’s positive.
What do you think? Is there a question you would like to ask the AdSense team? Please comment below – I would love to hear from you!
Tags: bidders, blindness, conversion, different places, different ways, ecpm, engineering team, erosion, Google, Google AdSense, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, layouts, microformats, optimizations, performance standards, photo credit, radar, rebecca, scoop, semantic tags, text images