February 24, 2006
Speaking at SES New York next week
Earning From Search & Contextual Ads This session looks at the way publishers can generate revenue by carrying search results and contextual ads offered by major networks. Learn about some programs out there and tips on getting more from the ads you carry.
Rebecca Lieb, Executive Editor, the ClickZ Network
Shuman Ghosemajumder, Business Product Manager, Google
Will Johnson, General Manager, Yahoo! Publisher Network
Dae Mellencamp, SVP Product Management, About, Inc., The New York Times Company
Jennifer Slegg, Owner, JenSense.com
This is the first time I have spoken on a panel with Shuman from Google, although I have seen him speak several times (usually on click fraud issues) so I am looking forward to that. Will is back from YPN, and Dae is the speaker from About.com this time around. I have a fresh new presentation, but you will have to wait until next week to know what it is ;)
The session is Thursday at 10:45 am.
If you are looking for the parties to see and be seen at, you will find the Official SES Party Thread your handy guide to where all the cool kids are ;)
Last but not least, I will be doing some interviews for Webmasterradio.fm, so if you are a publisher or work for one of the contextual ad programs and don't mind taking a few minutes out to talk AdSense, YPN or any other contextual ad program, be sure to send me an email including a little bit about you and your cell # so I can phone or text msg you while in New York. Or you can see me as I am out and about at the conference next week. And if you happen to see me doing an interview with someone else, stick around and I might be able to fit you in then.
See you in the Big Apple!
February 15, 2006
ContentAds the name of MSN contextual ad program with a 2006 launch date
You may have noticed I will be speaking at Mix06 next month (I list upcoming conferences I am speaking at on the right side of my blog), and I was taking some time to check out the speakers of the other sessions when I noticed one of the MSN AdCenter team members names. So I clicked and was taken to a sessions Introducing adCenter – Microsoft’s Next Generation Advertising Platform. And nothing too shocking there, after all, this conference is hosted by Microsoft.
But shocking came while reading the session description where they disclose not only the long awaited name of their new contextual ad program, but also a much narrower timeline for their contextual ad program to launch.
MSN ContentAds is their contextual advertising program name and a launch date will be sometime in 2006.
Introducing adCenter – Microsoft’s Next Generation Advertising Platform Speaker(s): David Jakubowski, Jed Nahum Session Type(s): Breakout adCenter is the next generation of online advertising that will allow you to conveniently plan, execute, and adjust your online advertising programs. Get the insider view of our current search advertising pilot in the U.S., our plans for ContentAds in 2006 and a preview of the innovations we're testing at the Microsoft adLabs.
While it is extremely likely ContentAds will only be in beta for a soft launch in 2006, similar to AdCenter starting off with a small beta, the fact that MSN is planning their program to launch relatively soon in the contextual advertising timeline is very good news to hear. With YPN taking over two years to launch after the introduction of Google AdSense, it wouldn't have been surprising to see MSN not offer their own contextual program until 2007 or 2008.
As far as names go, ContentAds is a good solid choice, albiet slightly on the boring side of things. Not quite as catchy as AdSense but definitely not the mouthful that Yahoo Publisher Network (aka YPN) is.
So, you heard the new name of their program here first ;) I will see what other information I can get from MSN on this. Otherwise, you can bet I will have a front row seat during that session next month at Mix06... provided I am not speaking at the same time! (Side note: my session is Beyond the Banner: Advertising on the Web and Where It’s Going)
Study ranks behavioral ads ahead of YPN but behind AdSense
Outsell released a new study "Annual Ad Spending Study: Where & Why Advertisers Are Moving Online" which includes advertiser data on not only Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network contextual advertising, but also behavioral ads - advertising which has been getting a great deal of buzz the last few months.
Advertisers rated the effectiveness of contextual and behavioral advertising, and the results - and reach - were surprising. Advertisers were using the following methods of contextual & behavoral advertising:
Behavorial Ads 44%
But when asked to rate if the ads were "Extremely/Somewhat Effective" the results were as follows:
Behavioral Ads 44.2%
Ads served through Google AdSense were considered significantly more effective than Yahoo Publisher Network served ads. And surprisingly, Behavioral ads were fairly close behind AdSense. It is unfortunate that more details are not given about which companies are serving the Behavioral ads, or what companies are most predominant in the "Other" category.
Other notes of interest is that advertisers considered advertising on the Google AdSense network more effective than advertising through search keywords (ie. advertisements that appear on search engine results pages) on MSN, where only 46.1% of advertisers found them extremely/somewhat effective. And when comparing search keywords from both Google and Yahoo!, advertisers found Google most effective at 70.9% compared to Yahoo! at 61.6%
The source is Outsell's Advertising Tracking Database:
The study is based on a survey Outsell fielded to 1,200 advertisers in November 2005, all responsible for ad spending or specifying ad budgets, controlling an estimated $2.4 billion in advertising. Confidence level is 95% +/- 3%.
The online channel is now used by 80% of advertisers, higher than previously reported. Outsell projects more than 90% adoption by 2008. Total online marketing spending will grow 19% in 2006, eight times the rate of TV ads and six times the rate for print ads. Spending on search engine advertising will grow 26% in 2006.
For publishers earning money through contextual advertising, this news is very promising.
You can request a full copy of the PDF report at Outsell.
February 14, 2006
AdSense beta testing third party tracking in image ads
Selected members have begun to receive an email from Google about the new third party tracking AdSense beta they will begin testing. This is a true beta (there were some publishers questioning if it really was from the AdSense team. For those of you not contacted about it, here is the initial contact email.
As part of our efforts to continually improve the advertising experience for our users, advertisers, and publishers, we wanted to inform you that over the next few months we will be testing new ways to serve ads to your site. Specifically, we will be running a limited number of site-targeted campaigns that will leverage 3rd party ad-serving/tracking technology.
As part of the test, you may see an increase in revenue as a result of advertisers selecting your site for site-targeted campaigns.
To track the performance of a campaign, 3rd parties ad-servers may place a cookie on users’ computers to capture standard web traffic information such as time, date, IP address and browser information. Rest assured that the 3rd party ad-servers will not rent, sell, or release user information. All data collected by these 3rd-parties is analyzed in aggregate to track advertising campaign performance and is not tied to specific users. Google will not have access to the information that is collected.
And, as always, these ads will still go through our approvals process to ensure their quality, so you don’t need to worry about annoying or user-intrusive ads on your site.
Please let me know if you have specific questions or concerns, or prefer to not participate.
The Google AdSense Team
This is quite an interesting beta test they are doing, and it will cross multiple third party trackers to do this, since the group of participating advertisers use different tracking packages to track ad effectiveness and ROI.
I asked Gokul Rajaram, Senior Product Manager of Google AdSense about this new beta.
We will be working with a number of different 3rd parties during the course of this experiment, since different advertisers use different third parties to measure effectiveness. Google will not have any access to the 3rd-party cookie information, and these 3rd parties do not collect or track any individually or personally identifiable information. Of course, publishers can opt out of this if they so choose. Finally, this is an experiment, and we will evaluate the results of this experiment in a couple of months to figure out how to proceed.
This beta will mean that advertisers can allow their tracking programs to drop a cookie, again that tracks non-personal information. There is no word yet on which thirds parties are included in this experiment.
I also asked Gokul what ad types would be included in this third party tracking during the beta test period.
The ads will be image ads, and will be in all the sizes that support image ads.
If you are in the beta, and want to ensure you are using third party tracking friendly ad units, they will be running in these standard ad unit sizes that currently display image ads:
- leaderboard (728x90)
- banner (468x60)
- skyscraper (120x600)
- medium rectangle (300x250)
- wide skyscraper (160x600)
This is an interesting experiment, especially since it is tracking selected publishers through site targeting. This experiment could result in some advertisers expanding their contextual advertising marketing campaign to include larger budgets and/or a higher number of targeted sites, which is good news for publishers. Because this is an experimental beta test, it means the ability if advertisers to track via AdSense may be turned off after the beta is over.
This will definitely be one to watch, especially as publishers who are involved in the beta test begin voicing any opinions or reactions to this.
Thread at DigitalPoint.
February 10, 2006
Yahoo Publisher Network ads suffer major downtime
The first news of YPN downtime came on Digital Point at 11:20 PM PST Thursday night. WebmasterWorld reported it an hour later. Members on both forums discussed seeing only blank spaces across all YPN sites (including the YPN ads here).
Outage lasted nearly six hours, with some users beginning to report seeing YPN on a limited number of sites at about 5pm PST. However, the ads were soon back to showing white space on all sites for another couple of hours, when ads began to slowly return to sites.
Total downtime was about 12 hours, which will make a significant dent in publisher's earnings for the day. And as can be expected, some publishers switched out YPN for AdSense.
While YPN does not offer an alternate ad option because their RON ads should appear when more targeted ads would be displayed, publishers having the option of an alternate ad would have meant publishers could monetize that web space during any YPN downtime, and would have reduced the number of publishers removing YPN for AdSense. But without this kind of option (and which AdSense does offer) it means that publishers will be forced to show a white block of space in place of their regular ad unit when YPN suffers downtime for any reason.
Publishers have not reported seeing any more blank ad units for the past couple of hours, hopefully the problem has been completely resolved on YPN's end. And no word from YPN on the nature of the outage, or if publishers can expect to see any kind of compensation for such an extensive ad serving outtage.
The Yahoo! Publisher Network beta experienced an unexpected serving outage for several hours early this morning. The issue has been fixed, and all systems are now operating normally.
On behalf of the entire YPN beta team, we're very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused. Thanks to all of you for your continued feedback.
February 09, 2006
How AdSense ads are ranked on your site
If you thought that ads were appearing on your site solely for how much the advertiser is paying, think again ;) If you are an AdWords advertiser, you are probably aware of the ad ranking system and how it can rank lower paying ads higher, thus appearing above higher paying ads. The same also applied in AdSense.
Inside AdSense tackled this tricky issue today on their blog.
So, you ask, how is Ad Rank determined? While bid price (the price advertisers are willing to pay for each click per thousand impressions) is obviously an important factor, we also calculate advertiser Quality Score to make sure the best performing ads will always appear on your site. Quality Score takes into account factors such as an ad's relevancy and click-through rate (CTR) (i.e. how likely users are to click on a given ad) because a higher CTR sometimes outweighs the benefits of a higher bid price. This ensures that your site always displays the ads representing the highest revenue potential for you.
It is also worth noting that they include information specifically on image ads, as some publishers have opted out of image ads under the mistaken impression that image ads earn less.
You might also wonder: "But image ads usually take up multiple ad slots -- does this limit the amount of money that I can make?" Good question, but no -- for an image ad to appear on your site, it has to produce an effective CPM greater than the sum of the individual text ads.
Read the full story (and see their funky ad ranking auction cartoon) here.