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August 31, 2005

Womens-Finance.com - a case study comparing AdSense & YPN

It has been just under a month that I have been running YPN on Womens-Finance.com (I swapped out AdSense for YPN when they opened their beta on August 2, 2005) so I have some pretty good data now to compare the two programs in terms of CTR, eCPM, and overall earnings. And the similarity in overall earnings is so close, I couldn't quite believe it.

So, here is what I can share, while still working within the realms of the terms and policies of both programs. So I talk in a lot of generalities of what is higher or lower, but I cannot give specific metrics.

I ran AdSense on Womens-Finance for July, and YPN for the month of August. Impressions were a little bit higher for August, the majority of those impressions coming in the two days after I first placed YPN on the site, primarily wannnabe YPN publisher "lookyloos" who racked up impressions but not didn't click the ads. So not exactly scientific, but it does give a good idea when comparing the two.

Overall earnings:
They were extremely close - less than $20 apart when comparing monthly earnings. Advantage YPN.

CTR:
CTR rate of AdSense was double that of YPN. CTR creeped up as the month progressed with YPN, but still no where near the CTR of AdSense. I noticed a YPN CTR spike mid-month for this site, and I thought things were going to turn around, but it settled back down to previous levels. Advantage AdSense.

eCPM:
Both fluctuated in terms of eCPM. However, YPN fluctuated much greater than AdSense did, and to such a degree I am guessing it is an issue between loosely themed ads and tightly targeted ads. The days of the highest eCPM were also the days with the highest CTR for YPN. AdSense was about 20% higher overall when comparing the two months. Advantage AdSense.

EPC:
YPN had the highest EPC by far, when averaged out over the entire month. Not quite double, but not far off either. However, when considering this, you also need to take into account that AdSense CPM "site targeted" ads could skew this data. And there is less competition for the highest earning ads when you compare the number of YPN publishers versus the number of AdSense publishers, something which could easily change once the program opens to the general public, in fact, I would expect YPN's EPC to drop as a result. And if publishers move from AdSense to YPN, it could also result in AdSense eCPM getting higher for publishers. But for face value, YPN is high enough I will give them Advantage YPN.

Actual clicks:
AdSense had significantly more number of clicks, as it would with such a higher CTR. Advantage AdSense.

Relevancy:
Just based on my own personal observations, AdSense is tops here. Their ads are much more relevant to specific pages, while YPN is more general to the overall site. This is definitely a contributing factor to the drastic difference in overall CTR between the two programs. Advantage AdSense.

AdSense clearly comes out on top when comparing the metrics, so I will declare them the winner for this set ;) And yes, I have been watching the US Open ;)

But if the YPN engineers work to get their relevancy up to AdSense levels, the resulting increase in CTR could be a definite driving point for publishers to make the switch.

However, the majority of publishers care primarily about what will make them the most money, regardless of whether it is Google, YPN or Jenstar's Really Cool Contextual Ad Program. And the bottom line will be the reason for their switch.

$20 one way or the other isn't really that much to make a publisher jump the AdSense ship and hop aboard YPN instead. Even 10% might not be enough, unless it is someone in the $10k+ range. There will definitely be loyalty to Google and the AdSense program - after all, Google has been sending them nice checks each and every month like clockwork. And YPN is limited to 2,000 US-based beta testers, which means there really are not that many publishers in the grand scheme of things who could consider making the leap. But once it opens to more publishers at the end of the year, including international publishers, it will be an interesting thing to watch.

If YPN manages to improve their ad relevancy and get their CTRs up before they open it up to the general public, there could definitely be some major movement from publishers. It is something I am sure the AdSense & YPN teams will be watching closely.

Up next for testing - 50/50 ad rotation between AdSense and YPN on JenSense for the month of September. I have been asked why I added YPN to my blog as I always kept it ad-free (with the exception of accepting donations for the Run for the Cure I am doing in just over a month). And the primary motive was the fact I was under NDA by YPN, but I was allowed to add it to my sites, so it was how I was able to show it off while I couldn't talk about it ;) I admit being surprised at the earnings YPN brought... well, shocked, actually, because I never expected anyone to click contextual ads on a blog about contextual advertising. As I frequent AdSense-related sites, I often see the same AdSense ads over and over again. I don't believe I saw any overlap between the ads AdSense serves on similar sites and the ads that YPN shows here on JenSense. And the AdSense Preview Tool also shows no overlap either. So it is very likely that "new" ads contributed to visitors clicking. I am also guessing there will be more than a couple advertisers who will plan to site target JenSense as well, which will be interesting to watch. I just need to figure out how to use phpAdsNew to start testing the two together ;)

And in the theme of this entry, GO AGASSI! :)

Posted by Jenstar at August 31, 2005 09:09 PM

Comments

There is a reason besides just money or loyalty: If at the moment both bring in the same, and loyalty is only on my side, why should I stay?

Speaking generally: I learned over time to use Adsense and know now, how to use it. It has it benefits, but in the long run, I want to make more money. I don't have a problem in doing good webpages which match the idea of somebody looking for something, getting that information and then go click an ad to proceed from there.

But: If I on the one hand have 100 dollars with Adsense and 100 dollars with YPN with better reporting, guess which one will help me evolve into earning more money?

But, that aside, in my case (being outside US), Adsense still has soft benefits like allowing me in the programm, sending cash to my bank account directly (finally - that was a cut of 15-25% of the earnings), and some more benefits.

But I will test Yahoo once it is out and see, which fits better. And this can be decided on things like "can I make it look better in my blog"?
Nicole

Posted by: Nicole Simon at September 1, 2005 05:48 AM

I guess Yahoo has kept it's cut very low in order to mop in more publishers.

Posted by: Dhiram at September 1, 2005 11:44 PM

Jen,

Out of your comments I gather that YPN could be better performing on the cover page of a blog, with more mixed material, but all inside the site's theme, and AdSense would be better for individual pages.

Is that a fair statement in your experience?

Posted by: Julio Alonso at September 5, 2005 02:23 PM

A very good report.

Is it possible that YPN still don't have as much advertisers as Adsense, made their ads less relevant?

Posted by: EngLee at September 5, 2005 07:16 PM

Hai Jen,

Excellent blog. Keep it up. Why cant you write a book on Contexual Advertising? I will be the first one to buy.

Keep going. Good luck.

Posted by: Dr.Subrahmanyam Karuturi at September 6, 2005 06:23 AM

"I just need to figure out how to use phpAdsNew to start testing the two together"

Just install it & create two advertiser accounts, one for YPN & another for AdSense. Then create a campaign for each & a banner in each campaign. You'll need to choose the banner type as HTML & then paste the code of both YPN & AdSense in their own banners. Then you'll need to create a publisher account in phpAdsNew, generate the code & place that code on your blog. Just an overview of how you should proceed!! :)

Posted by: Amit Gupta at September 6, 2005 11:07 PM

Agassi won today and will hopefully win again tommorow. You said it.. go Agassi!

Posted by: Mike Moorehead at September 10, 2005 12:48 PM