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AdSense for Feeds Ads Showing in Feedburner Email Updates

Today I was chatting with someone that subscribes to ProBlogger via email through the Feedburner RSS to Email service that we offer readers and they mentioned in passing that they see the AdSense ads in the emails that they receive.

At first I was a little taken aback by this. AdSense don’t allow their ads to be sent via email – it has always been in their Terms of Service. I know this because publishers have been asking for it to be allowed for years.

So on getting home just now I’ve checked my inbox in Gmail to see my latest email updates from my sites and sure enough – there are AdSense ads in them.

Here’s how they look on my photography blog’s daily updates:

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and another one:

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The ads are AdSense for RSS ads that I run in my feeds (and have done for a while). They appear at the bottom of each of my posts when someone is viewing them via RSS – but it also appears that they’re showing up in some emails. I say SOME emails because when I view these same emails in my Apple Mail email client I don’t see the ads – but in my Gmail I do.

The person who told me about this also uses Gmail. I’m yet to test it using any other email client but it could just be that they show in Gmail.

I’m not sure if Google’s Feedburner or AdSense or Gmail teams (or a combination of them) are just testing this temporarily or if it is a permanent thing but as a publisher I’m definitely not disappointed by it – it means more ad impressions!

Have you seen AdSense ads like this in RSS to email subscriptions that you have? If so – what email clients have you seen them in? Just Gmail or are they appearing in other email clients too?

update: It seems AdSense did announce this previously – check out the last paragraph on this post on their blog (thanks to @mvizdos on twitter for the link). Question is – when are they going to let those of us with newsletters add AdSense to our emails!? I’d love that!

Google Analytics Integrates with AdSense

One of the earliest requests that I remember seeing AdSense publishers making of Google in forums is for better analytics and stats on their AdSense earnings.

Today (years later) AdSense have announced what we’ve all been suspecting would happen for ages – they’re integrating AdSense with Google Analytics stats.

It isn’t available to all publishers yet (they’re rolling it out gradually) but if it is you’ll see an invitation in your AdSense admin area. Here’s how AdSense describe it:

“you’ll now have access to granular reports that break down AdSense performance both by page and by referring site. Armed with this new data about user behavior, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions on how to improve the user experience on your site and optimize your AdSense units to increase your revenue potential.”

Being able to know which specific pages on your blog are earning a lot (or not much) and which sites traffic earns you the most is going to open our eyes as publishers to many possibilities and hopefully more profitable blogging.

Here’s a video from AdSense that hopefully sheds some more light on this new feature for those of us not yet able to access it.

AdSense for RSS Feeds – How Contextual Are the Ads?

Over the last few weeks we’ve (b5media) been experimenting with AdSense for RSS on our blogs (including ProBlogger). I’d previously had them on my photography blog but not here on ProBlogger.

Since activating them I’ve had around 1 email a day from readers telling me that they are seeing ‘strange’ ads. The feedback is that some readers are seeing ads for scammy ‘make money online’ products (relevant but not really what I’d want to associate my brand with) or irrelevant ads.

Last night a reader (Pawel from SEOblogr) emailed to tell me that he was seeing ads for a Gay Chubby Dating service. He sent me this screenshot (click to enlarge).

Gay Chubby Dating

Now I’m sure ProBlogger has its fair share of Gay Chubby reader who are looking for dates – but it’s not the most relevant ad in the world – certainly not ‘contextual’ as the post it appeared under was about the names that people leave comments under on blogs.

I’m wondering if this ‘irrelevant’ AdSense for RSS feeds is impacting others? I do know that irrelevant ads impact normal AdSense ad units from time to time but it seems I’ve had a lot more complaints about them in my feed than any other ad unit.

PS: I took a few minutes to scan through other b5media blogs to see how relevant the AdSense ads are on them. In most cases they are pretty good. The only other explanation I can think of is that perhaps because the ads are geotargetted that in some parts of the world there are less ads in the system and that relevancy suffers in these places.

Google AdSense Reports to Appear in Google Analytics – [Screenshots]

Have you ever wished that you could get more details of how your AdSense performance is going and wondered why Google AdSense and Google Analytics don’t have some way of talking to one another to give you more effective metrics?

Well it seems that the time is coming soon where you’ll be able to read AdSense stats in your Analytics reports. The kinds of stuff you’ll be able to see:

  • Which pages on your blog get the most AdSense clicks
  • Which pages have the highest CPM
  • Which pages have the highest CTR
  • AdSense graphs/trends
  • Which traffic sources generate the highest income

Digital Inspiration has just published some screenshots of the new reports that we’ll hopefully be able to find in Google Analytics soon.

For example this ‘Top AdSense Content’ page looks at your different pages of content and how they perform (click to enlarge):

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This is the ‘AdSense Overview’ page:

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The AdSense Revenue Page (which gives a graph of AdSense earnings over time)

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‘AdSense Content’ Page

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AdSense Referring Sites Page:

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This kind of reporting is something that AdSense publishers have been asking for years. It is going to open up some amazing possibilities for optimizing your content for AdSense. The only question is – when will it become available???

Interestingly the AdSense blog is saying that AdSense will be down for maintenance this Saturday (13th) between 10am to 2pm PDT. Perhaps what they’re doing is getting this new launch ready?

Update

I’ve asked Google for comment on this and they responded with a ‘no comment’. However I’ve been hearing from a number of services that the maintenance this weekend is NOT to put this new functionality in place and that it’s probably a couple of weeks away before we’ll see this released.

AdSense for Feeds Goes Live

Over the last week or two some Feedburner Ad Network publishers have been transitioned over to the new AdSense Feed Advertising system and over the weekend AdSense for Feeds has gone live for everyone. You should now see them in your AdSense setup tab.

AdSense for feeds is similar to most AdSense ads in that the ads served in your feeds are a mixture of CPM and CPC ads.

Publishers setting up AdSense for feeds have a number of options when it comes to ad formats (text alone, text and image and just image ads), design (colors) and how often ads are displayed (you can have ads appear every 1,2,3 posts or only on posts over a certain amount of words).

If you’re a Feedburner Ad Network publisher you now need to set up AdSense for feeds to keep monetizing your feeds.

For more information see the AdSense Blog announcement.

Split Testing: How To Increase Your Adsense Earnings 94% Overnight

In this post Brian Armstrong from StartBreakingFree.com shares some tips on using Split Testing to increase his AdSense earnings.

Long time readers of ProBlogger know that Darren is a big fan of split testing ads to improve your earnings. I took this advice to heart, and wanted to show you some real world results that I got on my own blog.

Feel free to take these results and apply them to your own site. Or better yet, do some of our own testing and improve on them even more!

I split tested 3 separate regions of my site and looked mostly at eCPM to compare them. If you aren’t sure what eCPM is click here. I think it’s better to use eCPM than click through rate (CTR) because it incorporates not just how often it’s clicked, but also how much you make per click.

Right Aligned vs. Left Aligned Ad In Post Body

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This ad region makes the most money for me, and was smack dab at the top of each individual post page (but not on the homepage).

  • The right aligned ad got a 0.78% CTR and $1.41 eCPM
  • The left aligned ad got a 1.30% CTR and $5.31 eCPM

Clear winner: left aligned (276% improvement)

It’s hard to say why this is exactly. Maybe the left aligned ad looks more like it’s actual content instead of an ad. Whatever the reason, the difference was substantial.

Top Right: image vs. text

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This ad resides at the very top right of every page. I had been running it with image ads for a while and decided to test it against text ads (with some appropriate color choices).

  • The image ads got a 0.35% CTR and $1.74 eCPM
  • The text ads got a 0.33% CTR and $2.15 eCPM

Interesting to note here that although the CTR went down slightly, the eCPM went up. This seems to indicate that the text ads were paying more per click. So even though it was clicked slightly less often it still made more money overall.

Winner: text ads (narrowly)

Under Posts: image vs. text

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This ad was placed at the bottom of each post page and also on the homepage under the excerpts. I again decided to test some text ads against the incumbent image ads.

  • The image ads got a 0.58% CTR and $1.86 eCPM
  • The text ads got a 0.43% CTR and $2.27 eCPM

Again here the CTR went down and the eCPM went up. Also worth noting is that the color scheme I used on the text ad block is consistent with my site. “Blockquote” tags on my site use a similar color scheme.

Winner: text ads

Conclusions & Next Steps

For those who are curious, here is the actual data from an excel spreadsheet. You can pull this out of Adsense under the “reports” tab if you use different channels to compare different ads.

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Overall these results were impressive. The site-wide eCPM from these three ads went up overall from $5.01 to $9.73 which is a 94% improvement.

I could just convert all ads to the better performing version and call it a day, but what I’ll do instead is continue testing….forever.

There are plenty of other things to test, such as…

  • Trying text ads in the post body (since they performed better elsewhere)
  • Left aligning ads under the posts
  • Trying different color schemes
  • Trying other types of ads (Amazon, Performancing Ads, Text-Link-Ads, etc)

Most people focus on growing their blog’s readership to boost earnings. This is a critical component, but don’t forget about the other major tool in your arsenal: split testing.

What ad formats and placements have worked best for you? Leave us a comment below.

To get more tips like these, check out my blog at StartBreakingFree.com. It’s is a blog for people who’d like to quit their 9-to-5 jobs, start their own business, and achieve financial freedom. I’ll even give you 3 of the top 10 books on building wealth for FREE when you subscribe, instantly delivered to your inbox! Check it out.

AdSense Announce Changes to Ad Ecosystem.

Today AdSense publishers (or at least some of them) received the following email outlining some recent ‘changes and improvements’ to the Google ad system.

These changes largely revolve around new features that they’ve added to AdWords to let advertisers target websites differently (more control).

One of the big changes is the introduction of ‘Ad Planner’ (currently in an invite only beta test) which allows advertisers to search for sites with certain demographics and interests. Advertisers can now also target sites with a combination of both contextual targeting (having their ads appear on pages with certain keywords) as well as placement targeting (targeting specific sites and ad positions on them).

Really there are no changes in terms of features for us as publishers – but it will be interesting to see how these changes impact the bottom line. It should advantage bloggers targeting specific niches and lucrative demographics (what those demographics are we’re yet to see). It’s also incentive to develop blog posts that target popular keywords to advertisers. It could hurt sites with more mixed topics and demographics.

Here’s the email from AdSense.



As one of our AdSense partners, we’d like to keep you updated on changes and improvements to the Google ads ecosystem. We’re writing to let you know about some recent developments in how advertisers can find and target your sites, which are intended to bring more advertisers to the AdSense content network. We hope that this will result in increased revenue for publishers like you while also benefiting your users with even more relevant ads.

We’ve recently launched Google Ad Planner, a media planning tool which will help give your sites more visibility and exposure. Using Ad Planner, media buyers can search for sites by demographics and interest. This will be useful especially for sites with niche audiences, since it’ll now be easier for advertisers to find sites that attract the types of visitors they’d like to target. As a publisher, you can also use the tool to gain insight into your audience and their preferences. We’re still beta-testing Ad Planner, but you can sign up for an invitation at http://www.google.com/adplanner/.

Also, we’ve recently made a change within AdWords to allow advertisers to target their ads through a combination of contextual targeting and placement targeting. Advertisers can continue to create campaigns targeted to your sites or ad placements, but can now also add keywords to those campaigns so that their ads appear only in the most contextually relevant placements. In addition, advertisers can now adjust bids by individual site in order to spend more of their budgets on specific sites which give them the most high-quality, converting leads. These changes may help improve the relevance of the ads on your sites, and advertisers who become more confident that their ads are reaching the right audience may increase their ad spend on the content network and on your sites.

With these improvements, we’re looking forward to expanding the number of advertisers who use the AdSense content network, helping them find your sites, and increasing the relevance of their ads on your sites. You can find more information about Ad Planner at http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/06/introducing-google-ad-planner.html and the AdWords changes mentioned above at http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/07/use-keywords-and-placements-together-on.html . If you have additional concerns, please contact your account manager. We’re working towards strengthening the relationship between our AdWords and AdSense partners, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted on these types of developments in the future.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

AdSense Retire their Referrals Program and Launch the Google Affiliate Network

logo.gifToday AdSense announced that they are drawing their ‘Referrals’ program to a close and are relaunching a new Google affiliate network. In actual effect the new affiliate network is not ‘new’ – but a rebranded version of DoubleClick’s Performics Affiliate Network which they acquired in March.

This is news that many of us expected – particularly since Google bought DoubleClick earlier in the year. It’s also not surprising as most publishers that I know have had very little success with the Referrals program within AdSense. In fact I’m one of the only people that I know who made much from it – and that almost dried up when they changed the referrals program for AdSense.

If You Promote AdSense Referrals Products…

If you’re a blogger promoting some kind of AdSense Referrals product it’s time to remove the ad and replace it with something else. You can still run the ads but they’ll stop working in the last week of August.

It is not clear whether the referrals that you’ve made that have not converted will also become void in the last week of August also. This is something I’d like to see AdSense clarify as some of their programs have quite long lead times for those that you refer to ‘convert’ and therefore to earn you money.

Google Affiliate Network

The new Google Affiliate Network does not something that everyone will be able to use. They say that they are targeting sites with largely US based traffic – I’m yet to see any clarification on how they’ll be filtering publishers, whether there is a traffic based minimum to get in etc. Time will tell as publishers start applying. At present I know that Performics has accepted me as a publisher (I was previously using it) so it’s not too hard to get into I hope!

No More Google Affiliate Products

Those of you promoting ‘Google Products’ through the current ‘Referrals’ system should know that there are no plans at this point to have these products available to promote through the new affiliate network. They may come later but my sources at Google say that these programs are coming to an end and there will be no immediate way to make money by sending them new AdSense publishers, AdWords advertisers etc.

How to Optimize Your AdSense Performance [VIDEO]

Two Australian AdSense team members, Mel Ann and Tim, have put together a good introductory guide to optimizing AdSense.

It’s not advanced but if you’re just starting out with AdSense it’s worth a watch.