I had the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns, while they had the opportunity to provide some personalized help. Before calling me, they evaluated my flagship website, Interment.net, and formulated some ideas on enhancing performance.
Below is a screenshot of just one of the pages on Interment.net...
I've highlighted the 160x600 ad unit on the side, and the 728x90 unit at the bottom.
- The main concern I had was too many irrelevant ads displaying on the side. I don't know if you can see, but two of the AdSense text ads are irrelevant, "Lower Cost Cremation" and "Want a Great Career?"
Actually, over the years, AdSense seems to be doing a better job of displaying relevant ads on my website than it used to. AdSense confirmed for me that AdSense learns what ads to display based on click history. But AdSense suggested that I need to add more of my desired keywords into the content.
My primary audience are genealogists. AdSense suggested using more keywords such as "genealogy" on my pages.
- I also learned that which ads AdSense chooses is not totally based on contextual relevancy. Advertisers can force their way into your creatives based on how much money they spend, or what your personal viewing habits are. I think Groupon, for example, is spending so much money on AdSense channels that their ads are going to display on your creatives no matter what you do to optimize your ads.
And in the case of your personal viewing habits, AdSense explained to me that Google watches what keywords you type into Google Search, and figures out what you're most interested in, and displays those ads on any AdSense creative you see.
There are also location-based ads that can force their way into a creative.
- AdSense also suggested I change the Title color of the text ads. Currently, the title color is similar to the anchor text color of my website. My anchor text color is a dull navy blue (#333399), while the AdSense Title color is a bright blue (#0000FF). I explained that I used the bright blue for the Title color because that's a little bit more of a contrast against my anchor text color, and theoretically more visible.
However, they insisted that if I change it to my anchor text color, it will perform better. I could, of course, go the other way around and change my anchor text color to fit the AdSense color.
- They also insisted that displaying both image and text ads will yield greater revenue. I explained that I had done this before, but that many of the image ads conflicted greatly with the subject of my website. It actually looked spammy with all the coupon ads and singles ads. I'll try it out again, but will watch the eCPM closely to see how much more of a benefit I'm getting.
- At the bottom of my pages are image ads from ValueClick. ValueClick is an advertising network focusing on CPM campaigns. I use this because a lot of my visitors do not click on ads, and hence I can still monetize them this way.
AdSense was sharp enough to notice that all of the ads on my pages are managed through their Doubleclick for Publishers (the old Google AdManager) system. DFP is integrated with AdSense, in that I can specify AdSense as a default campaign, so that it displays whenever I have any unsold inventory.
AdSense explained that it can go further than that, and make my campaigns compete against AdSense. So take these ValueClick ads for example. I can tell DFP what my ValueClick eCPM is, and DFP will display AdSense if AdSense can beat that eCPM.
I followed through on all of their suggestions. I'll be keeping a watch on how these things affect my overall CTR/CPC/CPM, and will follow up later.