Tag Archives: AdSense

How to Handle AdSense in Responsive Designs

Responsiveness is clearly the future of web design, but one little problem with is advertisements. Ad networks, Google AdSense includes, don’t take kindly to you simply hiding them at lower resolutions with display: none and calling it a day, since the ads still load and register as being displayed. You need to do something smarter.

Fortunately, you can get the viewport width just as easily in JavaScript as with CSS, and can display a different ad unit depending on the page width. This can only happen on page load, though, to comply with the AdSense terms of service. Otherwise you would be breaking the rules by scripting fake page loads, essentially.

You can see how to do it in the Labnol post How to Use Google AdSense Ads on your Responsive Website.

Google Adds +1 Button to AdSense Banners

Google announced on one of their blogs that their AdSense network will be getting +1 buttons on display ads. So not only can users “endorse” products or services by clicking on a +1 button, but it will cause the ads appear more often to their social connections, hopefully making for more relevant ad targeting.

Starting in October, the +1 button will begin to appear on display ads on your site. With a single click, people will now be able to endorse specific ads and make them more likely to appear to their social connections.  We believe that these recommendations could lead your readers to notice ads on your site more, leading to more clicks and higher returns for you over time.

Clicks on the +1 button will not count as ad clicks, and publishers will not receive revenue for them, but should help increase CTR. (People are more inclined to click ads that are recommended by people they know.)

+1: Now making Display ads more relevant [Inside Adsense Blog]

Google Rolling Out Asynchronous AdSense Ads

Remember when BuySellAds started using non-blocking JavaScript to load advertisements on publisher’s sites? It made a huge difference in the speed pages took to load, since the ads wouldn’t load until all of the important stuff was done.

Google is finally doing the same with AdSense, with new asynchronous ad-serving code that is currently being used to load ads quicker in Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer 8. (They plan to expand to support other browsers after they’ve ironed the kinks out of the new script.)

The old show_ads did lots of work: loading additional scripts, gathering information about the web page it was running on, and building the ad request to send back to Google. The new show_ads has a different job. It creates a friendly (same-origin) iframe on the web page, and starts the old script with a new name, show_ads_impl, running inside that iframe. The _impl does all the heavy lifting, and in the end the ads look exactly the same. But there’s a substantial speed advantage: many things happening inside an iframe don’t block the web browser’s other work.

Publishers don’t need to change anything; Google took care of everything on their end. Supposedly it should shave off about 12% of the time it takes for the page to load, since the ads won’t hold up the page while they load.

Google Axes AdSense “Video Units”

If you’ve used AdSense within the last few years, you may have heard of their Video Units. They’re finally being discontinued, and frankly I’m not surprised.

Video Units always seemed strange to me. Basically they would scan your pages for keywords like usual ad blocks, and display text ads as usual, but the ads would be displayed along with YouTube videos chosen based on the same keywords. So you end up with automatically chosen videos being displayed on your site, along with some ads.

I’ve always thought of video as content, not a supplement to advertising, and I like to be able to control what content goes on my site. Virtually random videos seem like an odd idea to me.

Plus, wouldn’t that mean that you (and Google or course) are making money off someone elses’ videos, while the creators don’t get any compensation? That hardly seems fair. (Warner Brothers, or some other hollywood company, certainly wouldn’t think so if their clips came up in the units now and again…)

AdSense Does Expandable Ads

Google is experimenting with a new ad format that is being run on select publishers’ sites in North America and Europe. The ever-annoying expanding ads. However, it seems that they may have gotten them right, unlike other networks.

We’re excited to introduce to you expandable ads, a new type of ad that can appear on your pages. Expandable ads are rich media ads that can expand beyond the original size of the ad unit, following a user-initiated action. This creates more real estate for the ad, allowing for more interaction from interested users. For instance, expandable ads may stream a movie trailer, show video game clips, or display various views of an item for sale.

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AdSense For Domains

It was only a matter or time.

Domainers have long put AdSense blocks on their parked domains, in an attempt to make some extra cash off the higher-traffic ones. This practice is technically against the AdSense terms of service, and isn’t really fair to the advertisers, but Google had not done anything about it. After all, they get a cut of the deal.

Now Google has made available, to all users of the AdSense network in North America (other continents to follow), AdSense for Domains, a “legitimate” way to monetize parked domains.

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When Should You Add Ads?

Right from the start.

If you have ads on your site from the beginning, your readers aren’t going to complain when you add them in. (Though my advice to the whiners would be to read the article in their RSS aggregator.)

Unfortunately, when you’re starting out, there aren’t a lot of options for ads. You have the ubiquitous AdSense, then you have affiliate programs, and a sprinkling of smaller ad networks.

My advice: Use AdSense in the beginning, and see how well it works with your site. Use some affiliate programs lightly as well (for products you recommend, not just because it’s an affiliate program). Eventually, when your site gets to a reasonable level, transition from AdSense to direct-selling ads (e.g. 125×125 ads).

Using WordPress Custom Fields to Control AdSense Sizes

Two of the most common AdSense placements on blogs are

  1. A rectangular ad (such as the 250×250 unit) in the post, floated to the left, with the text wrapping around it.
  2. A 468×60 “banner” unit between the post title and the content.

In some posts, though, the floated ads get in the way of other elements, such as images. Suppose you want to have an image floated to the right, at the top of your post. That could conflict with your ad, couldn’t it? If the image is wide enough, it would run right into the ad. Or what if you wanted to have a wide image above the content, like on Copyblogger? That left-floated ad would get in the way. What’s the solution? No, you don’t need to switch to a 468×60 ad, which often doesn’t perform as well as the floated ad. It’s time for a little WordPress magic.

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The Secret to Making Money With AdSense

Do you know how Google AdSense picks the ads that show on your site? It’s done through an automated auction process.

AdSense’s robot scans your page for keywords, then it queries it’s database for advertisers that match the keywords. Next, the auction begins. The advertisers one-up each other until one of them wins the auction. Obviously, you’ll have better results if there are more advertisers, as you’ll end up with a higher payout as the advertisers try to outbid each other. If there’s only one advertiser interested in the keywords Google finds, then they’ll put-out their minimum bid (like one cent) and win. Thus, you’ll make pretty much nothing.

Content is the secret. Write well, and write often. Also, the topics you write about will be a major factor in your earnings. Your site’s topic directly affects the keywords Google will find in your articles. So, AdSense isn’t for every site.

Also note that your site’s audience must be the sort of people who click ads. That’s partly why I haven’t had great success with AdSense.

A/B Testing: Optimize Your Ads

The problem with AdSense is people tend to ignore them. As a webmaster, you have to continually update your ad placement to prevent this “banner blindness.”

How can you tell what the best placement and ad format is? You use A/B Testing. When you A/B test, you randomly show your readers one ad or the other, and track which gets more clicks. It’s easy to do, and will improve your earnings.

First, generate to ad code snippets. Make sure both ad formats are assigned to unique (and descriptive) channels. That way you can tell how many clicks each ad block gets. For example, put your 200×200 square ad in a channel called “200×200 AB Test” and your 250×250 ad block in “250×250 AB Test.” Paste the generated codes into notepad for later use.

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