In 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.