Interesting post over at Inside AdSense (the official Adsense blog from Google) that explains what has been going on with them having less ads per ad unit than previously. They explain the move as follows:
‘”When we have a set of highly relevant and useful ads, we give them more of a presence in the ad unit by eliminating other ads. In some cases, if we determine a particular ad performs extremely well on a page, we’ll remove all other ads from the unit and show just this single ad….”
“When we tested this feature, we saw that the increased user attention to these relevant ads resulted in a higher CTR. This means more revenue for publishers.”
They then show one of these ads in action (below).
Whilst I don’t want to disagree with Adsense on this one I’ve been considering a post on it all day with a slightly less positive spin. Here are a few thoughts that have been growing in my mind as I’ve noticed more and more of these ads this week:
1. I’ve had a significant decrease in CTR since the announcement of these changes – While I know there are many factors at play that could explain it, I’ve not made any changes this week to my ads but CTR is noticeably lower. Perhaps its something else but it’s a strange coincidence. I should say that I could be in the minority with this – I’ve seen a couple of discussion forum threads today full of people bragging about CTR increases – maybe it’s just me.
2. These Ads impact the Balance of Sites - I’ve posted on this before but some of the ads I’ve seen are quite large and really dominate the pages that they appear on. The example below isn’t too much bigger (font size wise) than the ads otherwise shown on an ad in it’s old format – but some of the other formats – especially rectangle ad blocks – have some quite large ads showing on them. Whilst this might well increase the chances of readers seeing the ads and clicking through it might also increase the chances of readers getting annoyed by the ads and leaving the site – never to return. I have designed my blogs to be balanced and reasonably clean – the ads I’ve always had on them have as a result been quite blended and subtle – I just worry that these ads are more blatant and less subtle.
I don’t want to argue against the ads – I’m sure they’ve done significant testing before going live with this – but I am interested in others experience and hope that the Adsense team are considering the full impact of such an advertising strategy. What do you think?