Switching Back to Adsense from YPN

Ypn-Yahoo-Publisher-NetworkGoogle SmIn mid December I switched the contextual ads showing at ProBlogger from AdSense to YPN to join the beta test (through b5media’s account which is based in the US). I did it largely as an experiment to see how this new ad network performed first hand.

The results of the switch were, at the bottom line, that ProBlogger makes more money via AdSense than YPN – but only marginally.

I’ll stress that this is MY experience with YPN on just one site. b5media has other blogs that do better with YPN than AdSense so it’s very much a blog by blog thing (as it is with any ad system).

My own experience here was that CTR was two to three times less with YPN than AdSense (I put this down to ad relevancy and suspect AdSense has many more ‘blogging’ type ads than YPN. This is what let YPN down the most in my opinion as their cost per click value was significantly higher than AdSense (over double).

As a result the overall earnings between the networks were very similar.

There were three main reasons I decided to return to AdSense:

  1. Ad relevancy and usefulness – YPN was regularly serving me ads that had no relevance to the topic of this site at all. While this impacted the earnings as less people clicked – my main concern with it was that it impacts the usefulness of the ads and look and feel of the blog. ie it doesn’t look very professional for ads about pet grooming (I saw one of these yesterday) when your blog is about making money from blogs.
  2. Ad design – at a first look YPN and AdSense ads look virtually identical (or can be designed to do so) however I noticed one subtle difference with one of the ad formats that I use which concerned me a little. On my individual post page template I use the smallest ad size possible, set inside content and aligned right. In YPN this was a 120×240 pixel ad which shows two text ads in it. The problem with the ad is that because the ad unit is pretty small it doesn’t have room to show the full ad and only included the title and the first few words of the ad (sometimes as few as 3 or 4 words before using dots to indicate that there was more… Time and time again I was seeing ads on this blog that just didn’t make sense because they were chopped mid stream. AdSense on the other hand show the full ad everytime. If the ad doesn’t make sense it’s the advertisers fault and not because the ad unit was too small to show it all.
  3. Advertise on this site – Just before I switched to test YPN I noticed that ProBlogger was starting to get targeted by specific advertisers. Whether they were using the ‘advertise on this site’ feature I’m not sure – but the ability to have people target your sites can actually be a lucrative thing if you have a popular enough site and have a bidding war between a couple of advertisers who both want to compete for placing their ads on your site.

Once again I’ll stress that I recommend publishers test different advertising systems on their blogs to find the best fit for them. While AdSense just beats YPN on ProBlogger it’s not something that I’ve found in every case. I know of bloggers who have seen their earnings triple with YPN in comparison to AdSense while know of others that have had no luck what so ever with YPN at all.

Hopefully the YPN beta test will be widened in the coming months to include non US based bloggers also (I was lucky to have a way around this with b5 but know of many bloggers who are chafing at the bit to get in on it to see how it goes for them.

Yahoo! YPN Send Some Publishers a Gift

YPN have joined the gift giving and are sending some of their publishers a…. hmm….well there is some debate over what it is… but it’s a gift that some are calling a bag, others are calling a stadium/travel/picnic blanket…

It comes complete with a card. The thing that seems to be impressing some publishers the most is that the card was hand written and addressed!

See a picture of the gift at Merry Christmas From Yahoo
Read more about the Gift at Digital Point and WMW

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.

YPN adds 1000 beta testers

YPN has added another 1000 beta testers to their system today and takes another step towards going live. As far as I can see they are still only adding US publishers.

Luckily b5media has a US postal address and is registered there and qualifies to be included in the beta test and Duncan and Jeremy have begun the experiment of swapping a few of our blogs over onto it to see what the results are like.

Duncan is writing up his findings as he goes at Yahoo! Publishing Network reviewed.

I’m in the midst of a crazy week of speaking engagements so I’m yet to peak into the admin area of YPN through our account but am definately looking forward to taking it for a run on the b5blogs and might even give it a go here at ProBlogger.

YPN adds RSS Feed Ads

Loren has news over at Search Engine Journal about Yahoo Publisher Network adding RSS Ads to it’s beta test. We spotted the advanced warnings of this a few weeks back but now it seems to have become available to all beta testers in the program.

It’ll be interesting to see if it has any better results than Adsense RSS ads which for me have been quite a non-event.

Issues with Rotating YPN and AdSense

Tim has a very useful post for those of you who are rotating Adsense and YPN ads on your site (ie having each ad program show up on every second impression.

He was having some problems with getting PSA ads on YPN and found that part of the problem was the fact he was rotating ads. He writes:

‘So the next logical question was why am I getting PSAs on YPN? After having a few of the YPN engineers look at my site they figured out the reason it was getting PSAs was because I was rotating pageviews between YPN ads and AdSense ads. Basically the YPN bot that crawls pages to determine the content was getting confused because the page content was constantly changing and the YPN ads were there one second and gone the next. So each time a YPN ad was displayed it triggered a new “content review” and PSAs would be displayed.’

To find the solution to the problem head over to his post at Rotating YPN and AdSense is a Bad Idea.

Does Yahoo Violate it’s Own Content Guidelines?

Angela from the Work at Home Blog has an interesting experience to share with regards to applying to become a part of the Yahoo Publishers Network.

Angela has a number of sites – one of which is called Herpes Help – a site designed to educate and raise awareness around the topic of sexually transmitted diseases. This topic is one that Adsense serves ads to but which on applying to YPN she was told that her topic violated YPN’s content guidelines.

Angela followed up her rejection notice and asked for more information and was told that her site was unsuitable due to its ‘sensitive material’.

I’m a little perplexed by Angela’s experience.

As I look over the topics not allowed in YPN’s guidelines I can’t really see what is wrong with her topic. One might argue that the topic is ‘Adult in Nature’ – but as someone who has worked as a youth worker for 10 years I can assure you that STD’s are not just for adults. The only other category that perhaps she ‘violates’ is the one that prohibits ‘Content related to human suffering or death’.

I guess STD’s fall into that category – but I would have thought that due to the educational nature of Angela’s site that this wouldn’t be a problem.

I decided to do a little digging into the Yahoo mega web of sites to see what I could find and was very interested to find that they too have an educational site on – yes you guessed it – Herpes. It is part of their ‘Yahoo Health’ section.

Picture 1-1Interestingly enough if you scroll down the page a little you’ll find a collection of links that looks remarkably like ads to me – all on the topic of Herpes.

It seems to me that they do accept advertisements on the topic and that they are more than willing to run them on their own sites. I wonder what advertisers would think if they saw YPN rejecting site’s where their message could be shown in a very relevant context?

So the question that I’d like to see the Yahoo Publisher Network answer for us is ‘are they in violation of their own content guidelines?’ Or have they made a mistake with Angela’s application or at least the way in which they processed it and responded to her? The only explanation I can see to this that might be true is that YPN might argue that these advertisers come from a different pool/system to the YPN ones.

There could be merit in this argument – but to me it doesn’t look too good that YPN are in the business of rejecting sites that seem to honestly be trying to be a service to the wider community on an important issue.

What do you think?

How to Rotate AdSense & YPN on one page

Jensense has instructions for those of you lucky enough to be in the YPN beta test who are wanting to Rotate you AdSense & YPN ads on the one page using phpAdsNew.

YPN testing RSS Ads

Looks like Yahoo’s Publisher Network is widening their beta test to RSS ads if the RSS feed of our friend Jen is any indication.


Still patiently waiting for them to widen their test to non US testers….

Is anyone out there actually earning anything significant from RSS advertising? I have to say that my own experiments with the medium have had very INsignificant results.