Earning Money From Contextual Ads

Apr 11, 2007 • 4:27 pm | comments (0) by | Filed Under Search Engine Strategies 2007 New York

Dana Todd starts off by doing a few surveys to gage audience knowledge and then passes the podium on to Jennifer Slegg. Jen's top tips for AdSense publishers include using your page titles effectively and implementing/optimising meta tags. Think twice about disabling image ads as well, they can often earn you a lot more money. It's worth testing the new CPA solution on Google once it comes out of Beta. Video ads work quite well and a lot of the advertisers have viral adverts that people click on them. Test between using borders and not, different sites find different results so don't assume that one is better than the other. Don't forget about Yahoo Partner Network, a lot of people who have moved across from Google are making significantly more money (it's currently in Beta although the people at the Yahoo! stand have the power to get you in). Try to prevent banner blindness - use ad rotation software to mix up colour schemes and borders. AdSense is affected by the inbound links to your site and the keywords used in their link text - just like in organic search. Making AdSense titles the same colour as your normal site links can highly increase CTR. Think twice about using more than one ad unit. Although Google recommends using several placements, it can force users into clicking on the lower units, which means less money. Forums are tricky to monetise on forums, use a colour scheme rotator in order avoid people ignoring your ads. Using image ads on forums also works well as forums tend to be quite text heavy already. Targeting ads on sites using a lot of flash or images can be hard, make sure that you use meta tags and alt tags on images effectively. Use caution when using ads on a site selling products and services, it will make alarm bells sound in your visitors heads (why are they advertising their competitors and not converting me as a new customer?). If your AdSense account gets suspended, make corrections and make yourself compliant as soon as possible. Google usually send a warning first unless something such as click fraud is occurring. You should keep your account in good standing, don't pay for cheap traffic, don’t encourage clicks and don’t click on your own ads. Analyse your logs when you get a suspension notice including IPs and referral URLs. Be polite and professional in all correspondents with Google, as angry/threatening publishers probably won’t get unsuspended.

Jeremy Schoemaker describes how he got into contextual ads, creating a website to convert file formats and then found AdSense as a way to monetise it. You should make a usable and useful website before getting into AdSense - think about your users and not the money. You should usually wait until you get 1000 unique visitors a day before putting ads onto your pages. Getting into the AdSense programme is very quick and simple, just apply for an account and stick the JavaScript code on your website. Be careful about what adverts are shown on your site, you can exclude certain sites although it's very hard to keep on top of it. Remember that when people click on your ads they are leaving your site; they may also see the adverts as recommendations, which can be damaging to your own reputation. You can test the boundaries with what you do with AdSense, but always be completely open and communicate with Google. Preventing your site from getting banned is all about communication, make sure that you comply and keep AdSense support reps informed. YPN was launched in August 2005 and was unstable and unreliable at the start. The targeting is still really bad and is mainly focussed on the advertisers rather than publishers. A lot of false alarms also occur with compliance issues, which can be quite stressful. Google Analytics is excellent for tracking your progress; heat maps are also a very effective way of deciding where to place your ads (such as Crazy Egg). Jeremy's top tips include testing all the time, use analytics, take advantage of user heatmaps and keeping communication flowing between your contextual ad providers.

Note: Please excuse typos, this coverage is provided live and without much editing, due to the timeliness of the coverage...

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