Chitika Placement Failure

I’ve spent some time discussing the virtues of using Chitika ads next to Google Adsense, but my latest experiment has left me looking for lost revenue.  In this experiment I placed Chitika Ads in my highest click-through location, where I used to keep Adsense ads, directly below my post title.  The result was surprising to say the least.

My impressions dropped by almost half and my clicks fell even further.  I can honestly offer up no reasonable explanation as to why Chitika would fail so miserably in prime realestate.  Keep in mind that I removed Adsense completely from the equation, which would lend Chitika to receiving even more clicks.  What happened?

The lack of impressions I can’t explain, considering statistics for my site remained virtually unchanged, in regards to search visitors.  But perhaps, looking at the CTR, the reason is because Chitika Premium Ads look like ads.  Cheesy I know, but Adsense does a phenomenal job at blending in with content and looking natural.  I think that my visitors liked the natural look rather than the picture next to an ad trick.

It will take more testing to know for sure, but lets just say for now I’ve moved Chitika back down to the bottom of the page.  Time will tell if Chitika will ever warrant the #1 paying spot on my automotive website.

Keeping Adsense Legal

I’m not sure if a new inspection crew started working for Google Adsense late last year, but it looks like my websites are getting more attention than they used to.  My guess is that my increase in traffic, coupled with high click throughs, raised some sort of a flag.  At the end of last year I was notified by Google to remove the large square text ad from the top of my blog posts on my automotive blog.  Adsense was disabled on my domain until I complied.

Thankfully the people that I had contact with at Adsense were understanding, gave some direction, and allowed me to fix the problem instead of banning me.  Apparently, the large square at the top of posts blended too well with my content.  In my opinion nothing was blended, it was applied almost exactly like it is on Blogspot blogs, only on top of posts, rather at the bottom, or mixed in with the next post.

Nevertheless, I have learned over the years not to argue with the hand that feeds.  So, after complying with their requests, within 48 hours Adsense was again running on my site.  Currently my clicks have dropped considerably and revenue in tow.  I’m hoping to come up with an different ad placement that garners as much attention as previously or perhaps use a diff type of ad in the old location.  This will take some testing and the patience of my regular readers of the automotive site. 😉

When Will Adsense Catch Up

This post is not meant to bash Adsense, nor am I writing it because I’ve found a better alternative.  The point of this post is to illustrate how the advertising marketplace is changing and it appears to be adopting methods to fight ad blindness, yet Adsense ads have remained largely unchanged since day one.  I think that there is more money to be earned by publishers and advertisers if Google would decide to place images next to their text ads.

It Works

Not too terribly long ago it was a method used by Adsense publishers to place their own small images next to their Adsense text ads.  This greatly increased the CTR (click through ratio) in almost every single case.  However, because publishers were adding their own images, Google was unable to moderate the implied related content.

A few bad apples ruined it for the rest of us when they started placing questionable images next to their Adsense Ads.  Probably having a bigger impact was that publishers were placing unrelated images next to the Ads in question.  Then an unsuspecting visitor would click through on an add expecting something else and then immediately bounce out.  Obviously Google doesn’t want to piss off Advertisers by sending them unrelated traffic.

How To Fix The Problem

Google could implement their own program to allow Advertisers to upload their own authorized images to be displayed next to their ads.  This way Google could moderate what images were being used before approving the ad and know that these were not being changed by the publishers to drive unrelated traffic.

Who’s Doing It Before Google Adsense

Already there are a number of publishers that allow images to be uploaded and used along text advertisements.  The two that stand out the most are Chitika and Facebook Ads.  Both of these programs have already proved to be wildly successful for both their Advertisers and Publishers.

Facebook Ad w/ Image
Facebook Ad w/ Image

I’ve used them both and can attest that as an Advertiser I don’t mind spending a bigger budget with lower cost per clicks.  And if I’m controlling the images then I know that the traffic can be just as interested in buying what I’m selling.  I forsee Google making some changes, soon, to adjust to this change in the online advertising marketplace.

We have to fight ad blindness somehow.

Adsense Style Sheet Ads

Ok, maybe not CSS style sheet ads, but damn close. It’s now possible to create an ad, place it on your site, and in the future change the ad directly from your Adsense control panel. So, for people like me with multiple ads across multiple sites, when changing the look and feel, it becomes simple. NO MORE EDITING INDIVIDUAL ADS!

Just wanted to bring this to the attention of those who haven’t made an ad lately. You can see the official Google FAQ on the Ad Management here.

We now offer the option to create new AdSense units which you can customize and update within your account to see changes directly on your site. When you create a new AdSense unit, details of the ad unit (like colors and channels) will be stored in your AdSense account. This gives you faster, simpler ad management, allowing you to make changes to an AdSense unit on-the-fly without needing to re-paste the ad code or make additional changes to the page itself.

Ahh, simplicity.