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YPN – First Impression Review

One of the benefits of moving ProBlogger into the b5media network is that I have access to YPN now as b5 is a US company. I’ve just added switched my AdSense ads over to YPN to give it a test (as we’ve done with a number of our blogs). It’s too early to see any of the stats but the switch was reasonably painless.

Why did I change? The main reason was curiosity. As I’ve said before, I don’t make a lot from the ads on ProBlogger (although it has been a bit higher in the past month or so it is still less than 1% of my daily earnings) so it’s not directly about the money – rather it’s an experiment that I’d like to share here and something I hope to learn from for the time that YPN goes live to international publishers and when I can sign up for my personal blogs.

I’ve changed a couple of the ad sizes as YPN has less options on this front, but have largely kept things exactly as they were before. The only other disadvantage of YPN is that they don’t have an Adlinks equivalent which means the strip of Adlinks that ran between my header boxes and the rest of content are now gone. This is a bit of a downer for me as they were the second best performing ad on this site (but I’ll take a little hit for the sake of the experiment).

So far the ads are very irrelevant but I’ve heard it can take a day or two for YPN to get a handle on what a site is about. The YPN back-end interface is easy to understand and a pleasure to use. Reports seem pretty comprehensive.

Results from the other b5 blogs that we’ve switched to YPN are interesting so far. We’ve seen a definite decrease in CTR (largely due to poorer ad relevancy as far as I can tell) but a quite remarkable increase in Click Value on most blogs we’ve tested it on so far. This has led to most of the blogs having a similar overall income to when they were with AdSense with a couple having higher than normal earnings. It’s too early to tell whether our initial results are going to stay at these levels but the indications so far are that YPN has potential.

I suspect that YPN has less ads in their stock to serve to ads at this early stage of it’s life. They are after-all still in beta so hopefully this will improve and lead to more relevant ads and a higher click through rate. Ad relevancy is something to keep in mind with any ad system as it will not only directly correlate with CTR and overall performance but has the ability to add to or detract from your blog.

At present the ads YPN are serving here are about Real Estate, Graphic Art Designs and Accounting packages – while I’ll give them a day or two to settle I doubt I’ll leave them up for long unless they start serving relevant ads as they disrupt the vibe of the page too much. AdSense on the other hand was serving highly relevant ads on blog software, advertising systems etc. This was probably partly due to some advertisers directly targeting my site.

My advice to bloggers trying to work out whether to go with YPN is as always to test and track. Some blogs will definitely benefit from YPN’s higher click value. If you have a blog on topics where there are lots of ads you could do very well. However other blogs will not do as well and it may be in your best interests to stay with AdSense or other options. The key is to be tracking the performance of whatever system you’re using currently and then when you swap over to track YPN using their channels system.

So here at ProBlogger I had AdSense set up in a way where I could see how each ad unit performed with it’s own channel and now with YPN I have the same channels so I can do direct comparisons. This will enable me to make an informed decision about which one performs best.

Time will tell the story though so I’ll give it a few days to see what happens.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Darren, it is serving fairly relevant ads to me. Two ads from Blogger, and one from blogbinder.com.

    However, one thing you should be aware of is that you can’t have _any_ other ads on the page with your YPN ones and be in the TOS. I haven’t actually read it through since I’ve had some issues with it and never actually was able to get into my account, but when I got called by a yahoo rep on the phone I asked her about other ads and they said while it was in beta you could not have any other form of advertising served in the same page, including a deep link to amazon. She may have been mistaken; I was so fed up with it I never actually looked into it. That might be something to be aware of though.

  2. Darren Rowse says:

    Brem – yeah, although keep in mind that Google is a few years ahead and that Yahoo is still testing. Google started with english sites also and probably had a pretty exclusive testing period.

    Blaine – yeah it seems to have improved a bit – hopefully performance will also as the first stat update was pretty terrible. Will give it a bit more time.

  3. Gary Miller says:

    Darren: If I may be so bold, I’m curious, which of your sites does the best with click thru ads?

  4. Darren Rowse says:

    Good question Gary – but unfortunately I don’t get into discussion individual sites performance. Sorry but all I can really say is that they vary incredibly depending upon many many factors.

  5. Glenn Dixon says:

    I just threw up YPN on my local neighborhood community forum that I run. I did this *yesterday* and I’ve already got a $11.82 balance based on 733 impressions and 2 clicks – that’s a CPM of $5.03 w/ $3.69 for Revenue.

    I really don’t see where the ‘balance’ comes from though.

    I switched the ad block to the bottom of the page (due to complaints) so I’m sure that will affect things a bit. I’m using this site for testing purposes before moving it to my blogs to replace AdSense ……

  6. Matt Watson says:

    Something else to consider is that you don’t get paid until you have $100 in your account. That’s the biggest reason why I haven’t experimented after getting my invitation — I’m small-time, and it would take me a long time to reach that.

  7. Ad relevancy has been a big issue on the page I’ve tried this on (in my name link). Though the ads are nominally real estate related, they aren’t in the correct “niche” and aren’t always geographically appropriate, which is very important with real estate. Lots of ads for a gay real estate referral service, which is not a problem except that it’s only going to appeal to less than 10% of viewers (probably much less) and isn’t likely to generate much revenue as a result. On the other hand, even with lower CTR, the payout looks comparable to Adsense, but not as consistent.

    The only other thing I “miss” is the adlinks format. They are big earners by comparison.

  8. I’ve been in the Yahoo beta since the first wave, and I’ve had problems with ad relevancy. A large part of that might be a limited pool of ads to choose from, because sometimes it’s spot-on — but not usually. My blog is pretty eclectic, and that seems to really throw it for a loop. It’s almost as if the engine gives up and just gives me some generic stuff sometimes.

    But the huge upside is a vastly superior CPC rate. Where Adsense was giving me pennies per click, some Yahoo clicks are in the dollars range.

    In an ideal world, as YPN leaves beta the engine will serve more relevant ads while keeping a nice, hefty CPC. *crosses fingers*

  9. Duncan Riley says:

    Ad relevancy is definately a problem although I’m seeing relevant ads here at Problogger at the moment. The return on the ads though is somthing amazing, a lot lower CTR but much higher returns. With Google smartpricing and that sort of thing I can only guess that Yahoo is paying a much higher cut on the ads than Google is.

  10. buzz says:

    The lack of an adlinks format is the number one issue that needs to be resolved. Targeting remains a problem. Strictly from a business perspective, ads for gay cruises don’t appeal to my particular audience.

  11. George says:

    I had to remove my YPN due to ads not relating to my sites.

  12. Ray says:

    Darren,

    Are you using ad targeting (where you suggest up to two categories per domain)? This can vastly improve relevance. You can also experiment with blocking specific ads. I’ve tested YPN extensively on about 4 dozen sites and the results range from fantastic to poor. If you can get relevant ads, the PPC difference vs Adsense can be huge (they can also be less than adsense). The CTR is always less, but when you have click that can pay over $20, the overall results far exceed anything close ot what adsense pays. Some sites average over $XX.XX per click – even 25 times what adsense pays. You also only get paid on for clicks from US IPs, so your traffic demographics can play a big role in your decision to run YPN vs adsense. I’ve found that YPN produces better financial results approximately 75% of the time – but that number really depends on the type of sites you have.

    YPN also states that there is a promotion pricing in effect during beta, so PPC is likely to decrease by and unknown percentage in the future – after they have lured enough sites away from adsense.

  13. Dave Starr says:

    I’m very new at this game, but I had immediate results from Adsense on a tiny blog .. in the $X.XX range in the first few weeks, enough to make me start learning the ropes. I see in the string above a few seem have had the same kind of person to person experience I’ve had with Yahoo customer service folks.

    Because of a trip I was a few days tardy in implementing YPN’s confirmation link. I received a phone call from a very unpleasant person who began taking me to task for not immediately activating my account and then launching into an unasked for and demeaning discussion of how I must need help in clicking on the link. I’m new to blogging but I’ve been on line since before there was a WWW, I don’t need smart Aleck’s to ‘walk me through’ clicking on a link. When I told her the time she called was not good she veritably barked at me, her voice dripping with exasperation, “Then tell me a good time!”

    My response, perhaps ill-thought out, was to inform her that is Yahoo wanted to be that pushy when I was offering add space at my own risk, that she could just take me out of the program.

    Time will tell if I made a dumb move but my goodness they need to think through their business model and the way they deal with their prospective publishers, or they need to in my view at least.

    Any others have unsatisfactory experiences, or did I just catch this lady on a bad day for her?

  14. im making way more with YPN then I ever did with Google

  15. This is a very very nice blog!… But what made you decide on the theme?