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January 08, 2005

Is the Adwords affiliate policy a pro-AdSense move by Google?

Now that the new changes to Adwords advertisers promoting affiliate programs have been announced, the changes may not directly affect ads served on the content network through AdSense. All AdSense ad inventory should remain the same, but depending on how AdSense technology approaches it, it could make a difference on what ads appear. And this move could actually be a pro-AdSense policy, particularly for those advertisers not wanting to go through the process of creating a landing page or site for each affiliate program or product.

What AdSense will not reveal, is how keywords are targeted, and has never said if more than one keyword combination is targeted on a page, in order to show the highest paying ads possible. If they do use multiple combinations, you could still see multiple affiliate ads on the same page... particularly since using multiple ad units often appears to trigger different keyword combinations for ads on the same page.

Advertisers could be inclined to turn their content network option on, in order to get traffic for the keywords, while not paying a premium for that single affiliate space open in the Google search engine results. Yes, many will be making up individual landing pages, but sometimes it is more effort than it is worth if someone just wants to test conversions for a program or see if there is interest in something. And some just can't be bothered to do the extra work a separate landing page would require.

And finally, an affiliate landing page is one more page away from the actual page that earns the affiliate commission... yet another reason why an affiliate might forgo the landing page in order to keep the direct-to-merchant route, but might not be able to get enough or any traffic through search.

So what should we expect to see from a publisher perspective? A liklihood of a sizable increase in ad inventory. And this is good news to publishers who have been concerned on what the changes might mean to AdSense income. But if AdSense only does target a single keyword combination on a single page, the opposite could occur, and publisher earnings will drop.

Because the demand for ads by publishers is only going to increase as new publishers are accepted into AdSense every day, one has to wonder if a time will come when the demand for content ads will greatly exceed the available ad inventory. Will potential publishers be scrutinized harder? Will they start hunting for terms-violating publishers and suspend them in order to free up inventory for quality publishers? Always a possible scenario, but there has not been any evidence that this is a problem even on a limited basis, and AdSense has been accepting publishers for over a year and a half. But hopefully the changes will encourage some advertisers to opt-in to content, at least on a trial basis.

Posted by Jenstar at January 8, 2005 01:22 PM

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Comments

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