update: The 2005 Christmas themed ads are up and running.
There’s a lot of talk going around in places where AdSense publishers hang out that they’ve just added ‘themed ads’ as a feature. This seems to be something they are rolling out to some publishers only at this stage – perhaps it will be for everyone in time too. The message that some publishers have gotten is:
‘NEW We’ve added seasonal spirit to our ad units – you now have the option of displaying themed colors and graphics in your ads during holidays and special events. Visit our What’s New page for details.’
This looks similar to what they did for Halloween and Thanksgiving. I personally don’t see it in my ‘What’s New’ page yet which means it could either be something that they are slowly rolling out or something that they are only offering some publishers (as they did previously) either on a localized basis or on a site by site basis.
I know with the Thanksgiving ads I was included in the program based upon the colors of my site so perhaps this is again what they are doing.
update: after a bit more digging around in my Adsense account I can see where I can turn on themed ads. Do this by logging into Adsense, then go to ‘My Account’, then scroll down to ‘Ad Type Preference’ where you click ‘edit’ and then you’ll be taken to a screen where you can select to ‘Enable themed ad units when available.’ There is a ‘learn more’ link there too which explains them with the following:
As part of our ongoing effort to provide ad designs that will improve results for both advertisers and publishers, we now offer themed ad units – ad units that display themed colors and graphics during holidays and special events. You can view examples of themed ad units by visiting our Ad Formats page.
Whenever themed ad units are available, we’ll display them only to users in the appropriate locations, as determined by user IP address. For example, Fourth of July-themed ads would be visible only to users located in the U.S., while users throughout the world might see ads with a New Year’s Eve theme.
You can enable or disable themed ad units by following these steps:
1. Log in to your account at www.google.com/adsense.
2. Go to the My Account tab.
3. On the Account Settings page, scroll down to the ‘Ad Type Preferences’ section and click ‘Edit.’
4. Depending on your preference, check or uncheck the box next to ‘Enable themed ad units when available.’
5. Click ‘Save changes.’ Your selection will apply to all your AdSense ad units.