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AdSense ‘Change to ads about’ Ads Reappearing

I’ve just started seeing the following ads on ProBlogger.net today in my AdSense ads.

Adsense-Change-To-Ads-About

They look pretty normal except for the last line or two ‘Change to ads about:’ with alternate ad categories under them.

When you click one of the links under that it reloads the page and you get new ads as follows (I clicked ‘Blog AD’:

Adsense-Change-To

Then you type in what you want to search for ads about (for example I typed in ‘digital cameras’) and your page again reloads and appears with ads like this:

Adsense-Ads

This is a feature that I spotted AdSense testing 18 months ago (I wrote about it here and here) but this is the first time I’ve seen them here at ProBlogger (not on every page impression – but I’ve seen them a few times today. In the previous appearance of these types of ads there was a lot of buzz in AdSense publisher discussion forums – they make the ads much more interactive (I’m unsure who would use the feature though) but I’ve heard very little about them for at least a year.

This could mean that they have been testing them for 18 months in an ongoing way or it could be that they’ve widened their testing and/or are moving towards releasing them into normal circulation.

What do you think of the ‘Change to ads about’ feature? Would you mind them being shown on your blog? Would you want to block them?

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. Matt says:

    Thanks for the heads up, I guess its effectively combining link units in with the standard ads, hopefully surfers will use it.
    Only one downside I can see, many people try to “blend” the ad units with their own site, and the more “This is an ad” type thinks on the unit there is, the less it will blend.

  2. Hm, I haven’t seen this yet, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    Sure, some people won’t particularly care for it, but for the target demographic who do care about it, they may find it useful enough that it generates revenue.

    I’m definitely interested to see how this test goes.

  3. Semo says:

    These ‘Change to…’ ads were shown several times on my blog a month ago. Since then I’ve not seen them again. In my opinion these ads don’t blend with the site design very well, as Matt already mentioned.
    Time will tell whether visitors will use this feature.

  4. Thilak says:

    I’ve seen this thing in Link Units but do they really appear on Adblocks ??.

    They have also changed their “Contact Us” Page in the Adsense Help Section, Now they ask for Windows Version and Phone Number too

    http://tinyurl.com/k786t

    Regards,
    Thilak

  5. JMR says:

    I don’t like them, i cant see a purpose for them really, who would use them? Who would benefit?

  6. RinzeWind says:

    Funny, I’m not being asked for my Windows Version. I was going to try and answer “Debian” anyway…

  7. Indiblog says:

    I don’t see anybody using them – if people want to search for something they would rather use the search engines directly which load tons of ads anyway – who searches for ads specifically (other than webmasters)?

    I don’t like them and think they should be made optional so I can opt out of them.

  8. Dave Starr says:

    I haven’t seen these in my side bar ad blocks as of yet, but on the site where I have a 780×15 link unit across the top they have been showing up pretty regularly for approximately the last 60 days.

    That top unit is the most productive on the site .. although the traffic levels on that site are so low that it is not much of a reliable indicator.

    I was surprised at what seems to be a fairly hostile attitude in the first few comments. I can’t see much harm they would cause, and I certainly could see some advantage. In my view the bug challenge is to get a reader to want to know more and thus click on a link. If there are 5 items shown in major headings on the link and the reader is actually looking for item number 6, s/he is unlikely to click on one of the headings s/he already knows is unwanted. So a click on the search box may just find the one they originally wanted to click through on. If the ‘magic’ one still doesn’t come up, I lose, but if they never clicked in the first place, I’ve lost anyway.

    Just seems a good “second chance” feature … but then I am very new and untutored in this.

  9. teckie says:

    hmm, I’ve been noticing them on the skyscraper ads as well on my site right after I applied the competitive filter

  10. Sammy says:

    Personally, I like the feature. Google Ads are EVERYWHERE and I’m okay with that. What I can’t stand is when the ads either (1) have nothing to do with the contenct surrounding it or (2) no ads at all, so you see the Pulic Accouncements. I’m all about making the world a better place, but showing me a “filler” doesn’t exactly inspire me to take action. Mabye that’s just me.

    Anyway… I can’t “click” the ads away, but now with this feature… at least I can choose what kind of ads show up.

    Bottom line, this nifty little feature to me is very… um… PRACTICAL. :)

  11. Sammy says:

    Sorry… misspelled “maybe”.

  12. John Hood says:

    After reading your post, I took a look at my blog concerning cool collectibles and there was the new AdSense format – the interactivity is a plus IMHO.

  13. Jenstar says:

    I have seen this tested for quite some time now, I think it is a nice feature, but I do wonder how many non-publishers actually click on them ;)

  14. L says:

    I just saw this on one of my blogs. I wanted to screen capture it, but I had pressed refresh and it was one. I think I like it due to expanding visual interest.

  15. I hope they are feeding back that click data into an AI algorithm to make Adsense targeting more accurate.

    If so… genius!

    If not, I imagine they are simply realizing that their Adsense matching algorithm really isn’t all that good… and adding that option to give folks a way to better target it themselves.

    -James Brausch

  16. George says:

    I think these are plain stupid. Who would really go to all that trouble. Really who would?

  17. Nikki says:

    Could it possibly be in response to Chitika’s interactive ads?

  18. A.B. Dada says:

    This definitely appeals to me — I am trying harder not to “blend” my ads because I am starting to realize that the best form of advertising is obvious ads (at least in my niches). Since I added the tags “Sponsored Links” to the top of the ad units, my CTR has gone up. The less I try to trick people, the better my revenue is and the more likely the person is to convert to income for the advertiser.

    This lets a user find interesting advertisers — all good in my mind. I’m not a Made for Adsense site anyway.

  19. articlebest says:

    might be a great idea but it is difficult for those who are blending their ads into their content.

  20. Hatem says:

    Hey darren, don’t click on your own ads :D

  21. Greg says:

    It appeals to me because it potentially increases the chance of someone clicking on an outgoing link from my site. While the initally displayed ad may not appeal to the reader if they can change to an ad more interesting to them then it must increase your chances!.

  22. Looks similar to chitika’s “search without leaving the page” option.

  23. Chris Packer says:

    If someone is actively seeking information, why on earth would they then stop, pause, and start fiddly around with ads so that they can have more relevant ads displayed at them?

    Don’t we fast forward through commercials on TV when we can? Would we really stop and click to view different TV ads if we had the option?

    Think Google got it wrong here.

    2c.

  24. Mr. A says:

    I agree that it is not very smart. Most of people don’t want to see ads, but now they can choose which ads do they want to see. Where is the logic?

  25. bloggertips says:

    I would think that this feature might upset some advertisers, as their ads would no longer be contextual with the content on the website.
    —————–
    bloggertips.net: http://www.bloggertips.net
    bloggerville.org: http://www.bloggerville.org
    —————–

  26. gambling man says:

    I think you can get more hits if people are able to search specific topics from your site. Your traffic might not go automatically to google and just search there. I think it’s a good idea.

  27. When you look at everything through the eyes of search like Google does, it makes sense. If you view their ads as a link database, similar to yahoo directory or something then being able to search them is kinda neat. I’ve clicked on ads when they arouse my interest and they are relevent to the content I’m reading. I’d much prefer Google ads over flash popups anyday – they’re much more useful.

  28. brem says:

    I think it kills the purpose of bidding for being displayed on a page.

    I’m not too fond of the idea.

  29. Michele says:

    I’m seeing them on higher traffic sites

  30. Luckily they vanished :)

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