AdSense Begin Serving Themed Holiday Ads

Google AdSense have begun serving their special Holiday Ads to publishers who have elected to allow the themed ads to show on their sites.

The only problem is that the designs don’t take into any consideration the designs that the publisher already had on their site.

For example check out the following screen captures from my Digital Camera Blog which I just spotted the themed ads on.

First here is a screen cap of two of the themed ads. You’ll see they are a rather ‘blue’ design with the Christmas watermarks behind.

Picture 3-2

And now here is the design of the ads I designed and have put on my blog originally. You’ll notice they are much more blended and fit with the total design of the blog.

Picture 4-1

I wasn’t aware when i signed up for themed ads that the who ad would change like this – I’d though they would just serve my normal ads with watermarks. I’ll be interested to see how this impacts CTR in the next few days. Obviously not every AdSense ad is being served up with the themed ads which will make it hard to track their success from a publishers end.

Lastly I would have thought a red/green color combination might have been a little more Christmas like.

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. runs on the Genesis Framework

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  1. IO ERROR says:

    Is there any pattern to them that you can discern? I am only seeing themed ads on some of my sites, and not others.

  2. Darren Rowse says:

    not that I can see – the above two screen caps came up on consecutive impressions.

  3. Darren Rowse says:

    CTR seems in the normal range today – perhaps at the higher end of the normal range but nothing out of the ordinary at all. Time will tell.

  4. IO ERROR says:

    Hm, OK, they’re appearing across all my sites, but only randomly. I may see one out of three ad units themed, two of them, all of them or (most often) none of them. I wish I could disable it on a per-ad-unit basis, or at least track them in a channel or something, so I know how much of an effect this is going to have.

  5. Scott says:

    They are now showing up on my site too. It will be interesting to see what happens with the CTR from now until Christmas.

  6. duncan says:

    Thats “christmas” ads Darren, you are becomming far to American :-)

  7. stuart says:

    Darren you think that’s bad! The images don’t take background colour into account so you can get a particularly ugly effect as per screenshot at following link:

    Still p’haps if they’re that ugly people will click on them – who knows!

  8. Croak says:

    I’m getting sporadic themed ads, and my CTR and meager earnings went up noticably today, though my visitor count is actually DOWN a good bit.

    The ads don’t blend well with my site at all, but they seem to be working, or a least not hindering my CTR.

  9. Croak says:

    Also, red and green would be much too Christmas related…notice that there is no religious imagery in any of the themed ads. It’s more like Google Festivus ads.

  10. My site is blue-themed, so I think the christmas ads fit pretty well… :) Except maybe in the sidebar, but it’s not that bad…

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    stuart – that’s terrible!!!!

  12. Darren Rowse says:

    Dunc – yep I see them as Christmas ads/holidays – but some of my Aussie Jewish and Islamic mates don’t – just trying to be a little inclusive and not American ;-)

  13. I don’t know if this is a browser problem on my end, but I’m getting a big whitespace before the two graphics appear. The same thing happened yesterday with your holiday party post (though that one looks OK now).

  14. Hung Truong says:

    I noticed those ads appearing on my blog as well. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t seem like it will hurt CTR, as those holiday images are fairly eye-catching. Hopefully I’ll see my CTR go up. I’d be interested in seeing this type of theming all year, not just for certain holidays.

  15. Chi An says:

    My yesterday stat was little bit lower that average, both CTR and CPC.

  16. Croak says:


    It’s a pretty common image size and CSS issue with IE, the pics are bumping into his left sidebar just a hair, or conflicts with a padding setting, etc…so IE shoves the main content down below the sidebar. If he was using a right sidebar, it would be moved down below the content.

    No problems with Firefox, (much as it pains me to use that browser even to check.)

    He could probably make it work with IE if he reduced the picture width just a hair. Or he could leave it the way it is, and convince more users to switch to Firefox. ;)

  17. Tim Houghton says:

    While we’re on the subject of broken designs … :-) … the top-right corner banner “six figure blogging” is cutting off part of your Chitika referral banner and the ‘s’ from “problogger news”. It’s been doing this for at least a month or two now. This is in Safari – you’ve mentioned many times that you are also a Mac user so I figured it was just a matter of time before you spotted it yourself, but I keep waiting and nothing happens! :-)

  18. The setting has be set in adwords for the advertiser and in adsense for the publisher in order for them to show up.

  19. Croak says:

    Actually, it’s not the pictures themselves, but the very long text strings for the imbedded images that are most likely giving IE the problems.

    href= onclick=”‘’,’popup’,’width=539,height=305,scrollbars=no,resizable=yes,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=yes,left=0,top=0′);return false” img src= height=”254″ width=”450″ border=”0″ hspace=”10″ vspace=”10″ alt=”Picture 3-2″ span style=”font-size:12pt;”

    IE sees that as one unbreakable line of text, hiccups, can’t figure out how to make it fit between the lines, so it shoves it down below the sidebar. There’s a CSS hack to get around this problem in IE, or you could use a simpler image insertion method, without all the parameters.

    But this has nothing to do with themed Adsense ads. ;)

  20. Joe says:

    Hey Darren and Duncan,
    There is nothing wrong with being an American… Most of us still say Merry Christmas… but we still haven’t figured out what to do about Boxing Day.
    Merry Christmas,

  21. Joe says:

    Ps, Why did all the comments after Croaks post go BOLD?

  22. Gobyfish says:

    My CTR is not showing much change either. And oddly enough, only some of my ads are “tainted” but not even consistently. A longer look will be much more telling.

  23. Darren Rowse says:

    Joe – nothing wrong with being an American at all – it’s just we Aussies like to retain our Aussieness also and there is an ongoing debate here on the topic.

    We also like to rib each other a lot! :-)

  24. Darren Rowse says:

    Joe – cause he didn’t close his strong tags…..

    I’ve fixed it


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