This interactive session takes volunteers from the audience and examines their web sites live to provide general feedback about improving them to do better from Google AdSense and other contextual ad placements. Moderator:
* Elisabeth Osmeloski, Director of Online Media, Zonder.com
* Jennifer Slegg, Owner, JenSense.com * Jeremy Schoemaker, Founder and CEO, Shoemoney Media Group Inc. * Bryan Vu, AdSense Associate Manager, Google
First victim: socialissues.wiseto.com Project from Thompson Gale, a large publisher, that took a lot of its articles and put them online and are looking to make money. Contextual advertising was their first guess. Shoemoney: There's a cloud and it's in an iframe. It's hard to target. (Bryan investigates and says it's actually not.) Jensense: For whatever reason, there is no ad inventory for certain image placement. You want to make sure there's ad inventory to support this or you'll get some bushclintonkatrinafund.org placeholder. What can I do to fix that? You can replace it with an image or text. Jensense: Chances are pretty good that that unit is showing the highest ads instead of the side where most of your clicks are often coming from. You should put the sidebar ads on top of the HTML instead. Elisabeth: You'll have issues when you put ads in an iframe. Jensense: PSAs (public service ads) = as a publisher, you do not get paid for that ad becasue it was set to image only. Shoemoney: There's not a lot of text - even if you read the description of the site, it says it Wiseto is owned and operated by .... instead of telling you what the site is about. But if you drill down and click to one of these social issues (e.g. death penalty), you get more targeted text and that's better for ads. Bryan says to look at engadget.com - Top row has ad units. Jensense: Ad units perform extremely well in the footer. Shoemoney: Before they leave your site, you might as well get paid.
Second victim: publicdecision.com - this site doesn't have ads yet but wants to monetize. Introduction: as of now, there's no monetization. We want more people to register. This is a community site where people can post issues on a variety of topics (gamings, odds/ends, technology, etc). People can create polls and create strength of opinion. There are a lot of categories and we're not sure how ads will work for our site. As Jeremy mentioned in the last session, we're trying to get users so we don't want to get people there and push them away automatically. Shoemoney: What are you doing for customer retention? Answer: You can add people as friends, add comments, etc. We run contests quite often for registration. Jensense: If your main goal is to get people to register, make it more obvious that you want them to register. This is a tricky site for an AdSense point of view because your site has some sex toys and Google doesn't want that. You would have to filter this on your end. Bryan: the majority of the pages don't have that though. Shoemoney: You should put 468x60 ads below videos. You can also put link units below the top navigation. But I'd probably put it in your footer. Right now, you need to determine what a new user is worth. Jensense: People who stay on sites for a long time (the owner says that it's hard to bring new traffic, rather than to have them stay) will do well for advertising with CPM.
Third victim: costhelper.com This site allows you to share information about how much you pay for certain services and products related to home improvements. But if you look at the ads, they target poorly (e.g. babies pages shows pages for home contractors). Jensense: That's a CPM ad - that guy wants to be everywhere on your site. You'd have to filter that advertiser from the entire account. Bryan: where is the majority of your traffic coming from? Direct traffic and search engines. Jensense: What's your most popular page? Home improvement. (That's probably why the home contractor wants to be all over your site.) Jensense: put ads in your footer. Shoemoney: There's no easy way to retain customers on your site. When you begin, drop links in the footer. Maybe also try positioning on the left nav instead of the right nav. Jensense: Try banner advertising that's not so in-your-face like under the sections of your main article. But if you wanted it in-your-face, you can do it on the top of the page.
Fourth victim: surfboardshack.com The site is monetized from Google AdSense. I read a book on AdSense ads and increased revenue by 400%. My dilemma is that when you click on Used Boards - I have listings there, if you click on these, you'll see a bunch of listings, but ever since I added those block ads, I've increased the site by 400% but I hear complaints that there are too many ads. I want to create a better user experience but I'm making money and I don't want to stop. Jensense: This is an example of in-your-face ads. Jeremy: Bryan, cover your ears - You should probably try to get a click out of these people who come from Google. Jensense: Do advertisers pay to list their surfboards? No, it's free. Jensense: If you wanted to go to a paid model, you can get money that way. Maybe have no ads at the top but insert 3 banners ads within the listings. That might prevent alienation of customers. Bryan: If you expand your ads wider, you may not make people scroll too much. Elisabeth: Have you tried image ads yet? Answer: I used to have banner ads but I used to have these crazy click-here with mosquitos buzzing around, and since I switched to AdSense, my revenue went way up.
Sixth victim: consumerhelpweb.com (Sorry, I missed ifly.com, the fifth!) Jensense: CPM ads are good. Ad link units at the top should be moved and the banner should be put there. I suspect it's specifically targeted to your site (CPM ad). Change your title color from black to blue or red. The ad unit blends too well - you skim over it. People tend to skip over it - there's nothing that makes my eye look there. You might want to put "sponsored links" somewhere in red. Shoemoney: I would kill these sidelinks on the left and right navigation. I would do a lot of testing - colors should be changed - it blends too much with the site. Get rid of everything but the righthand skyscraper (flash ad). Rotate colors and work your way out. Jensense: How does the site search work? It's horrendous. Jensense: I typed in Simpsons, hit search, and it gave me a popup blocker error. You would want to use adsense search integrated into your site in an iframe without the popup problem. Check your account and you'll see where to implement adsense for search.
Seventh victim: davitaathome.com This is for people who have renal failure - at home therapy - dialysis at home. We want to drive the awareness of at-home therapies through adsense. It is currently not being monetized. Jensense: A lot of people looking for ads on medical conditions don't want to be bombarded with ads. Shoemoney: I think it's a good one to approach like engadget - there's a banner, an ad, and then the content is below there. Put a leaderboard on top. Jensense: Have advertiser profiles. Put banner ads in the footer to see what kind of targeting is happening.
Eighth victim: getkidsmoving.com It's an exercise card game. The ads are by the products. Jensense: Don't put adsense on product pages. You'll lose sales. Elisabeth: put it on content pages, activities pages, etc. Shoemoney: Put a leaderboard there. They looked at the blog: change your wordpress theme! (It's the default one)
Question: On a blog, where's the best place to put AdSense? Jensense: I generally avoid the main page because it's so dynamic. Bryan: Put ads between posts. Skyscrapers do reasonably well. Jensense: After the entry and before the comments is a good place to put a banner ad. Shoemoney: Do you want people to come back or to click on an ad? If you want more subscription-based adsense, put it on the sidebar so content isn't interrupted. Jensense: Also do RSS ads. YPN does this. They're generally reasonable. Adsense has it too but hasn't accepted new users. Bryan: That's why we have Feedburner to offer ads in that space.