Earning Money From Contextual Ads

Dec 5, 2006 - 4:52 pm 5 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2006

Rebecca Lieb is modding up this panel.

Jennifer Slegg, JenSense.com, Jenstar, etc. is up first. - Use titles effectively, a basic SEO principle, applies here - Use meta tags, there is evidence that they influence your contextual ads (both keywords and description) - Enable image ads on AdSense ads, use a secondary unit as an image only ad and you will get a lot of CPM ads, which is nice. - Ensure the ad unit that has the highest CTR appears first in the HTML - Sometimes borders on your ads are best, it depends, so try it out, test it. - Give YPN a test - Sometimes labeling ads as ads on the site help, sometimes not - Enable AdSense for search, they add up - Mix it up to prevent banner blindness (use ad rotation to use different styles and colors, use custom channels to test this stuff) - Craft your inbound links carefully, the anchor text can influence the ads that show on your site (both external and internal links) - Remove the page clutter, use external JavaScript and CSS calls, make cleaner html using CSS - Monetize 404 and error pages - Optimize your ad title colors - Use your filter list with caution - One ad unit on a page may earn you more - Watch out for your syndicated content (PSA issues symbolize that, might trip sensitive content filters) - To increase your CTR on forums, take advantage of color schemes rotation, change position and sizes and enable image ads. - For blogs, use Yahoo's RSS ads - For Blogs, avoid usage of common blog terms as (comments, trackbacks, etc.) - For blogs, the front page of blog will often be mistargeted due to dynamic content (dont bother putting ads on those pages) - Image and Flash sites don't have content for the ads to work off of, add on page text to help and use alt-tags for images and enable image ads for CPM payouts - Business and Corporate sites, should they have contextual ads? It depends, approach it with caution, Jen said. Competitor ads will appear, these ads do not open in a new window, you will lose sales and clients. - If you account is suspended... You might get warned first, and if you do, you have about three days to fix the issue. They may stop serving ads on the site. If you do not comply, they will take action. Difference offenses have different punishments. If you keep tallying up warnings, it might get you banned. Avoid bad traffic sources, do not tell people to click on your ads, do not write content that is against the TOS. Avoid talking about your CTR, impressions, etc. Keep your contact info up to date. Never ever ever click on your own ads. - Yahoo Publisher Network Compliancy Manager shows you the issues you have with your site, shows you warnings, etc and tells you all the details. Google doesn't do this, so this is nice. - If you get a suspension notice, check your logs and look for something out of the ordinary. Make sure the violation is on your site, do not get banned for third party sites. Any competitor issues? Keep copies of your raw logs. - Formally appeal a suspension; make sure to come clean always. Always be polite.

Jeremy Schomaker is up first with his crew, ShoeMoney.com. Shoe starting March 2003 with AdSense, at about $4 a day. He said if you design a site with contextual ads in mind, your kinda doomed to fail right away. When do you stop using AdSense? When you get to a certain point, you will have people waiting in line to give you direct ads. When to stop takes care of itself. After you complete the functionality of the site, that is when he starts adding ads, and about 1,000 unique visitors per day is a good point. Positives contextual ads, it is super easy to implement, they take out all the hassles of finding advertisers, dealing with them, etc. Negatives are that there is a "one click and gone effect." Only way to get paid is for them to leave. The user experience is not controlled by you, you do not directly control the ads that come up on those sites.

The Gray Area of Contextual Ads: There is good (white), there is bad (black) and there is a huge middle ground, with a lot of people making a lot of money (gray). He is one of those people in the middle ground. He feels those people are innovating the area. The innovative might be also named the "about to be banned" ATTB. Images near contextual ads is a really gray area. He said they are always updating their terms of service, so communication is really clear. He brings up a poll on the DP forums; will you use stop using image ads? The poll showed that there was a mix view on this. Some people are risk takers and some are not.

Contextual Arbitrage: What is it? If you buy from Microsoft to sell to YPN, that profit is the arbitrage. Why is it so profitable? Because the stats are right there for you, you know what your profit is right away. He shows examples of these type of pages.

He brings up the Bear Share, and when you install the Bear Share program. It asks you if you want to set your home page to Google Bear Share. You really dont have a choice, you kinda need to install it. Google.bearshare.com was a Google AdSense for Search site. There was no way to stop them for getting this off your home page on your site. 86% of the traffic on bearshare.com is either Google.bearshare and search.bearshare.com. He emailed Google about doing this on his site. Google said you can't do it due to TOS. So he thought to himself that he ruined bearshare.com's day. But bearshare.com is now using a different engine, Ask.com's PPC engine, which really pulls from Google's network.

Are people getting banned? Yes, tons of people, just check forums.

Who gets banned? It depends on who you are and how much your making. Etc. His dad got banned.

Tools for Contextual Ads: - Analytics is awesome (new vs. recurring visitors is a big stat) - CrazyEgg.com has a cool to see where people click on your site

Make sure you know your CPC, the cost per click. YPN shows your CPC, AdSense you need to do the math your self. He said always go for the higher CPC, not matter of bottom in earnings.

Tips for Success: - Test - Don't sell out - Analytics - Heatmaps - Communication - Rotate ads, test them

These posts may have spelling and grammar issues. These are session notes, written quickly and posted immediately after the session has been completed. Please excuse any grammar or spelling issues with session posts.


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