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Have AdSense Sliding/Scrolling Text Ads Changed Your eCPM?

Just under a week ago AdSense rolled out their new Sliding/Scrolling feature on Text Ads. The response from ProBlogger readers was mixed to say the least and included:

“They’re interesting. I like that the arrows are pretty small, yet visible to those who are paying attention to the ads.” Stephanie

“What a waste – do they really think that people looking at Adsense will take the time find a couple of tiny arrows to look at more ads?” – Blogthority

“I’m not a big fan of bells and whistles, so it annoys me a little bit to see more moving parts on a website. On the other hand, if it offers more-relevant ads and gets more clicking for the bloggers, then I’m all for it!” – Jeff

“This seems counterintuitive. People don’t like ads anyway, why would they actively scroll to see more ads?” – Lulu

“I think it will help people get more targeted ads” – Alex

“I am definitely wanting the option to turn it off.”- Prince John

OK – so there are a lot of opinions – but one of the questions that I’m left with today is – have the addition of the ability to see more ads in AdSense units led to any changes in your actual earnings?

Does the ability for people to see more ads increase the chance of them clicking more and you being paid more? Does it lead to a higher eCPM (amount earned per 1000 page views)?

At this stage it’s too early to be conclusive but in spending some time today checking over my own stats I’m not sure there’s much of a difference. In fact if anything some of my AdSense channels have had a decrease in CTR over the past week.

I’m hesitant to draw too many conclusions but here is a graph (without any figures) of the CTR and eCPM of one blog with AdSense on it at the moment. The 3 April was the day that the scrolling ads went live on most people’s ads.

CTR.png

eCPM.png

As I say – it’s too early for conclusions – particularly with just sampling one blog. There’s many explanations for differences in CTR and eCPM however I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed any changes in your AdSense performance over the last week?

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. Mickey says:

    Interesting chart. I made one with some of my data, but didn’t go back as far:

    http://mickmelseo.com/images/scroll_ads_graph.jpg

    The last few days have certainly been a little better in terms of CTR/eCPM, but I don’t know if I can attribute it to the ad change or other factors.

  2. Frugal Dad says:

    I saw an increase over the weekend while search traffic remained steady, but it has tailed off this week. I wonder if the scrolls have made the general reader more aware of the “Ads by Google” tag and therefore reduced clicks. I guess time will tell.

  3. Google Hater says:

    First of all, Google’s stock is going to PLUMMET this summer. Mark my words. My adsense revenue has dropped by at least 50% and more and I’m not the only one. Do some searching and you’ll find numerous complaints about massive drops in Adsense revenue.

    I’m so sick of the way Google treats their publishers… it is no different than a sweat shop where kids work and are paid little to nothing.

    It’s high time they come clean to how and why they pay exactly what they pay.

    It’s also high time they come up with some new and creative ad formats that work for publishers and advertisers. I rarely click on adsense ads… and I think a lot of people are blind to them.

    The tiny little arrows are a non issue… Google needs some serious help if that’s as creative as they can get.

    So Google… here are some tips for you, if you are listening. I’m sure you’re not….but perhaps the adsense auto reply robot is.

    Idea #1 – A new adsense unit that looks like a blog post. It has a title, image and a bit of text with a link. Make the image and link clickable… or perhaps even the whole ad.

    Idea #2 – Relevant images next to text ads. Let advertisers choose the image. I know you hate this, Google, but they work.

    Idea #3 – Take a look at what blogads.com is doing. Their ad units still look very nice to this day. Hmm… what is that I see? Images mixed with text.

    Google, you need to try some new stuff or your stock is going to keep falling. I hope and pray Microsoft and Yahoo take half your market share as I personally am sick of your arrogance.

    To all that own Google stock right now… I think you should sell it.

    Just my 2 cents. :)

  4. FreePSDLogo says:

    I actually noticed an increase of ECPM in my blog after the change, now I use a lot of filters so I do not let any of the big players get cheap traffic from my sites so my average click per site is pretty high, even if they scroll to other ads I still get pretty high cpc’s.

  5. Darrens true.Its hard to come a to a conclusion in days.As we bloggers know to get on top ofthe search engines it takes us many months of time and some tens and thousands of posts.Why not we wait for some time.Why draw conclusions so early.May be our revenues have dipped but how can we conclude that happened only because of arrows inclusion?Lets wait and see for a months period which is not too long.Let us compare few blogs that were doing good before the arrows and lets also check the blogs that were doing not so good before the arrows inclusion also the bad blogs.Lets compare the revenue after a month or so.Then we talk about this topic.But for now lets just watch it out rather than blamming and shouting unnecesarily.

  6. What I have noticed with my adsense ads is that there must be some sort of bidding war going on. On my STD Forum one ad in particular was taking up the entire horizontal banner and hogging all the space. I like it better when 4 or 5 ads are able to be viewed from those larger banners.

    What I wound up doing was taking the banner down to a horizontal line of 4 or 5 ads and that seemed to do the trick. However, the forum’s earnings went down. BUT, my overall earning went up.

    I honestly can’t say why the earnings went up for sure. I do think that the arrows draw attention to the ads and will get those who don’t visit daily OR frequently to look and be curious enough to see what the arrows will do. (Believe it or not a lot of people do not know what those arrows are and when they see them they will click)

    BTW, Congrats on your book! I’ve been checking our your posts from time to time.

    Lastly, I would really like to know how the ad wars behind the banners go on. Do the highest bidders get the top spots? How do I keep an advertiser from hogging all the spots from the other advertisers?

    My other dilema is this one and maybe this will give you an idea for a blog post.

    What on earth do you do with an affiliate who allows other affiliates to bid on Google? In other words, how in the heck am I supposed to make money with this one particular affiliate program if my competiion is bidding on adsense and hogging up my banners?

    I went from earning aproximately $500 – $700 per month on the affiliate program down to about $100 – $200 per month. It’s really ticking me off.

    So yes, I would like to know more about what happens on the other side of the Adsense Ads.

    I’ll keep my eyes peeled for THAT one. ;)

  7. Dan says:

    Darren
    You are absolutely right!
    My main blog was used to earn about 16 $ a day through adsense. (about 45 clicks per day)

    Unfortunately ,Since 3/4/08 it straggles to earn 6$ with 15 clicks.
    Same blog with the same script and the same ad channel.

    Dan

  8. Four20 says:

    Please do a follow up on this topic later when you have more data to compare.

    Thanks,
    Four20

  9. Bashar says:

    Hi,

    Nice point brought up here, thanks. I’ve been wondering about it my self. Personally, I haven’t seen any notable difference that can be attributed to the change. As an end user, I think it’s useful sometimes I want to see more ads personally. I don’t think many people would like to do the same, and truth is, the arrows are not so attractive and catchy are they?

    Another point I’d like to make is, isn’t it against Google AdSense terms to disclose numbers in terms of stats according to Google Terms section 7? Not sure though, but it seems there is something against it.

  10. I undertook a straw poll this morning of nine Adsense website owners and their conclusion was they had seen no positive or negative revenue changes so far. Six liked the new feature. Three were undecided.

    Early days.

  11. INconstantIN says:

    One thins is sure, they added more visibility to the ads, making the visitors, at least for the first time they came across this option, curios. Which is not so bad, in the end.

  12. Patrick Burt says:

    I’m still getting a similar CTR, but the clicks are paying a lot less…

  13. All went down since the ads got those arrows.
    They are totally useless and it looks like they’re shouting “I’M AN AD, ST*PID! DON’T CLICK ME!”

  14. Shane says:

    I posted this comment on April 3rd on the original article and it still holds true…….now my eCPM is right around 50% of what it was before the arrows were added. I also noticed a slight drop in CTR. All in all, I wish Google would had the option to turn them off.

    “I don’t know if this is related with what happened on my sites today, but I noticed a drastic drop in my adsense earnings per click…each click was worth about 1/5 as they usually are. It slowly climbed throughout the day, but never got back to normal…it’s now at about 2/3.”

  15. Sean Kelly says:

    I haven’t noticed much of a change in my CTR or eCPM. This could change after we get some more data to do a better sample.

    I think it is a feature that although is relatively unnecessary, people who do in fact want to see what ads are available can do so. I don’t think it deters anyone from clicking, but rather opens up to the idea that sometimes the google ads do have what you are looking for.

  16. Why anyone would want to scroll through an ad to find something they like is beyond me.

    I would be very interested to see if Google tracks just how many times the arrows are used. After this week I bet it will be pretty much non existent.

    Adsense really sucks as of late anyway. Their payouts keep plummeting and it seems as if everyone has been smart priced now.

    Even after a month of testing nothing will change and if there is a change it will be based on other random variables.

  17. I don’t know if this is actually related or not but my Google Page rank was dropped one point in the last few weeks. So I’m seeing a few less search visitors to my site. Its not a large difference in volume but I think the search visitors are the ones that typically click on the AdSense ads anyway.

    I really haven’t changed anything and I’m really unsure as to why my page rank was dropped. In fact I’ve gotten some links by some of the better sites in my niche lately so I don’t know whats up. Google hates bicycles I guess.

  18. I agree with Alex Cristache. People see something that looks like an ad, and they immediately think: “Oh, it’s an add. Where’s the content?”

    This is why embedded ads work:
    Users don’t think of them as ads

    They are not forced upon a user

    They are relevant

    A slipping and sliding adbox is like a huge “Click Me!” button. My own google ads only show activity if they are relevant and not that obvious.

  19. Bontb says:

    To be honest, on blogs I use my adsense went up but I must admit I got also lots of traffic since I started to advertise more aggressively.

    By the way off topic I tried facebook advertising, opinion: its not bad but don’t have much clicks as much as I have page impressions.

  20. Cookiemouse says:

    So far my Adsense earnings are down since the change.

  21. Chetan says:

    Down than before.
    I dont think people would spend their time in reading and scrolling through ads.

  22. I kind of like the arrows, because relevance is what makes adsense works.

    I have seen my CTR and CPM drop about 20% since the scrollers went live, but that would be within normal variations for me.

  23. Reginald says:

    Nice post…you answered my bottom line, which is does this new system improve or increase the income range of the individual using it.

    Thanks for providing this practical information.

  24. Google Hater says:

    Ever wonder why you don’t see Adsense on problogger anymore?

    Think about it… hmmm….

  25. I haven’t noticed any difference after they went live with the arrows scrolls, however I do notice that my earnings are down. I need to have a better system for tracking and testing these changes, have you ever written a post about this Darren?

  26. @Google Hater:
    I think AdSense takes up to much space and offers too little revenue. In the case of big traffic blogs like ProBlogger, that space can produce much more than AdSense.

    Furthermore, ProBlogger is somehow a “tech” blog, and tech-people have a habit of not clicking ads. For tech blogs, I think, the best revenue can be generated by ads displayed for a period of time (rented space), instead of pay-per-click ads.

  27. Calvin says:

    the ads need to be more interactive, it should respond to the end user. say, a screenshot of the web when we mouse over the text/link.

  28. Could you tell us what chart scales we are looking at here? Are those massive daily CTR fluctuations, or just 1-2% differences?

  29. Ad Sense is just something I put on my blog late last year to see if I could make a few bucks to cover overhead and it has never been a big deal to me so I just cash the odd cheque when I get it and until today I hadn’t checked my stats for a few weeks. I was shocked to see that my clicks and revenue have gone way up in the last few days. Maybe this new scrolling button is helping but the ads seem much more targeted to my audience now. But then I am in a very specific niche with most of my readers being 50+ so maybe they have different click habits than younger readers.

  30. Nicole says:

    The CTR is pretty low many days on my blog, but I just recently noticed the sliding Adsense and checked my stats. It is too early to tell, but it doesn’t look like the change has made much of a difference with regards to the eCPM. Time will tell if the option to see additional ads are useful or just a waste of time (the extra time it takes for users to scroll to find new ads) and space.

  31. Lisa says:

    In my opinion, the arrows only draw attention to the fact that it’s an ad. I think after the novelty of clicking on them to see what they are wears off, we’re probably going to see a drop in ad revenue.

  32. Preston says:

    My adsense revs have been down in the last week, too, but for some reason, they’re usually a little down in the first ten days of the month.

  33. Ikaro says:

    I don’t see relevant changes of eCPM on my website

  34. Sangesh says:

    @ Alex Cristache : I agree with you very much we should not limit ourselves with any one online advertisement media, we should always look for options. Options which include renting you ad space as well. And it should also be relevant to the web page it is displayed on.

  35. It didn’t change the CTR at all on any of our sites.

    Google should focus on “how to bring more targeted ads on adsense” and raise the revenue per click for the publishers!

    An option to turn the arrows on and off would be a nice thing to do.

  36. Luis says:

    I’ve actually seen an increase. I don’t think the arrows are all that awful. If anything it will cause curiosity in the reader leading to interaction with the ad unit increasing the chances of a click to occur. As far as the arrows making it obvious that it’s an ad I think most people are quicker to see the “ads by google” then 2 small almost translucent arrows.
    I doubt this will have a negative effect on revenue, but like they said before only time will tell. – Luis Gross Topbusinessreviews.com

  37. MTO says:

    Noticing a huge decrease in CPM after this change.
    My conclusion is that those same people who click on the sliding button and then click on an ad would have clicked on one of the first ads if not given the option to see more. Hence the value of the clicked ad is lower the further they click.

    Bad thing, especially considering CTR does not seem to increase at all.

  38. Carleenp says:

    I noticed the scroll ads on my blog on and off well over a month ago, maybe even several months. So I must have been one of the sites that they were testing it on. I can’t say that I noticed any real difference in my earnings, which seem to remain about the same, with slight growth accounted for by traffic increases.

    I did have a period of a week with a bit lower than normal earnings, and it was around the time the feature was formally released, but I also had run some material that led to less relvant ads during that week, plus I was getting a somewhat obnoxious graphic banner ad that didn’t pay well per click. So I think that week was attributable to those. factors. I seem to be back to normal now.

  39. Tamera says:

    Sometimes we have to be patient and wait in order to see if something works. I don’t mind it. It provides more options.

  40. Forrest says:

    I too noticed a dip in CPM not that my blog is making the kind of revenue that yours are but it’s noticeable none the less. One of the ways I am testing to combat that is to use the image banner rather than the text. The image banners don’t seem to have the scroll arrows attached.

  41. Google Hater says:

    Adam Curry and John C. Dvorak have also confirmed Adsense revenues are WAY down even though their traffic is up… I’m telling you…. it’s time to SELL your Google stock.

    Listen starting at around 33:15 minutes into this podcast…

    http://www.podshow.com/shows/?mode=detail&episode_id=102705

  42. thebaglady says:

    Now you mention it, my CPM went down about 10 to 15% since March.

  43. Brandon Lee says:

    Wow, I can’t see much from those charts you posted. After looking at them, I wanted to check out mine and report back here, however the admin is down for 3 hours. Never seen that before.

    So, going off of memory, I too had a decline in revenue from square, banner, and sky ads yet my traffic is up quite a bit. However the Link unit I run on my site is the only thing doing really well and is up higher. So I am not sure how this all ties in to the new change or if anyone else is noticing this kind of change. I still like google adsense, the admin is great and the stats are great. I have been managing sites for 10 years now on the net and it worries me to see declines since this is my bread and butter. sigh… please just be a phase.

  44. Reginald says:

    Personally, I have had colleagues say that they have been with Adsense for some years now and have yet to generate any income.

    In a case like this, whose to blame? Is my colleagues website so substandard or is Adsense just that difficult to generate income?

  45. Mickey says:

    Reginald — Without knowing your colleagues’ sites, the answer seems pretty simple: they’re not generating enough traffic. AdSense doesn’t make your content better or drive more traffic to your site, it simply helps monetize the traffic that you already have.

  46. Reginald says:

    Bontb,

    What is your concept of aggressive advertising?

  47. Googles2big4us says:

    I am new to Adsense or Nosense or Nonsense as I have started calling it !

    I sort of know what I am have been building websites for 3-4 years so I though this sounded like a good op ! Anyway to the chase, these arrow are not a good thing google has it’s head up it’s own … From what I have and read the success to click is to blend it in to your site but the arrow totally screw that up.

    But I noticed on my site one of the adds 300×250 Text ad does not have arrows, I C&P in to the next page then 4 ads appear and them nasty arrows ? I don’t understand ? I visited a site called http://www.lockergnome.com and none of his ads have the arrows ?

    I looked at his code which is different from mine, I took some details out like Pub i.d
    of his code

    google_ad_client = “pub-XXXXXXXXXX”;
    google_ad_width = 300;
    google_ad_height = 250;
    google_ad_format = “300x250_as”;
    google_ad_type = “text_image”;
    //2007-05-29: Nexus
    google_ad_channel = “XXXXXXXXXX”;
    google_color_border = “ffffff”;
    google_color_bg = “ffffff”;
    google_color_link = “0000FF”;
    google_color_url = “0000FF”;
    google_color_text = “000000″;
    google_alternate_ad_url = ‘http://www.lockergnome.com/includes/adsense_alt_336x280.html’;
    //–>

    Now my code is below ;

    I just don’t get it ? I want them arrows off I don’t care what anyone says they will effect you in the end.

    Another point, google is more than happy to give premium users (20 Mill views)
    for the membership, they can get rid of anything they want have “sponsored ads” grey on white background etc… a organic search rip off, but hay thats ok, one rule for you and one rule for anyone else and screw you if you don’t like it.

    Always the problem with these big corps, google are far to big, like ebay. We still need to use them as in all fairness there is no alternatives, I am sure some smart guy is gonna tell me they make billions from some other ad company, but lets face it google is the one and I hate it, but what can I do I need them more than they need me :-(

    So… anyone knows what the crack is here I would love to know, there is a way without them horrible arrows of text ads anyway.