One of the mysteries of site targeting is just how much it earns you. One way is if you happen to see earnings without any associated clicks, simply impressions. But when Google serves up both site targeted ads as well as ads that are earning publishers revenue on a per click basis, it can be very difficult to determine how much money is being earned from each. However, this has now changed with last week’s control panel update, although it is hidden quite well and has gone unnoticed by many, so I thought I would point it out.
First, you need to go into your “Advanced Settings” section of the Reporting tab. Select “AdSense for Content” from the drop down, then select “show data by individual ad unit”. Once you select that from the drop down, a check box will appear that says “Show data by targeting type – contextual or site” which you will need to check. Then when you generate your reports – and it does support channels – you will see it splits into content and site for each date.
When I looked at one of my sites overall that has been targeted heavily for site targeted ads, I noticed my site wide eCPM with contextual was 4-5 times that of the site targeted eCPM. While I expected some differences, it was a much greater difference than I expected. However, AdSense support must have been receiving the same questions, as they then released a blog entry Why the Lower eCPM? I can definitely see how this impression – especially for those publishers that might not pay close attention to the Inside AdSense blog – might make publishers want to opt out of site targeting.
It is also interesting to note the the consistent CTR rate on site targeted ads is about half that of contextually targeted ad units. Perhaps a redesign of the site targeted ad unit is needed to keep it consistent with the other.
It is good to see Google offer more detailed data on their site targeting (they also added support for detailed referral stats), something I was honestly surprised to see them add.
What are you seeing as differences for both eCPM and CTR when comparing site targeted with contextual ads?
Also, forum discussion at DigitalPoint.