I finally added it to one of my higher trafficked pages (within the content) just to see how it will pan out.
The first week…
I had deplorable click-thru rates and less-than-stellar earnings.
I was tempted to take it down, but then I remembered a situation where the earnings got better with time so I decided to be patient.
Earnings were up a bit and the click-thru rate began to improve slightly (still lower than my overall average but better).
The click-thru rate surpassed my personal average and the Page RPM (earnings per 1,000 impressions) is also better than my site’s average.
Due to the AdSense terms and conditions, I am not allowed to reveal my CTR or Page RPM.
So What Happened?
Could this unit have attracted a placement advertiser?
Of course, it’s hard to really know for sure, but sometimes when this happens it’s because a placement advertiser has outbid the contextual ads that are displayed.
For those who don’t know, Placement Advertisers can bid on an individual unit on your site directly and they outbid all the contextual ads.
So imagine an AdWords advertiser telling Google…
Hey, I want to put my ad on this particular page.
In order to land that spot, they have to outbid all the other contextual advertisers — which of course earns Google and the Publisher more money.
As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve noticed this before with other new units. They’ll start out with terrible earnings, but as the unit matures, the Page RPM (earnings per thousand views) begins to pick up.
Many times this could be due to Placement ads taking over that spot.
Understanding The Different Ads
Contextual ads are the most popular kind of ad. These display because the content on your site is relevant to the ad. There is an auction taking place behind the scenes and the highest bidders (along with other quality signals) win the placement.
Placement ads are not as common, but can you earn you the most money since they advertiser has to outbid all the contextual ads.
Interest-based ads are shown based on your visitor’s web surfing activities. So if they just went to Overstock.com to do some shopping, they may see an Overstock ad on your site instead of an ad that is related to your content.
You can actually turn off Interest-based ads in your account, but I’m not entirely sure why this is even an option since my units are still showing Interest-based ads. I see them myself and I also notice earnings from “Interest Based Ads” in my account.
So that’s always been a bit of a mystery to me. If anyone has insight on this, I’d love to hear it.
How to Check Your Earnings Breakdown
To see how much you’re earning with the various kinds of ads, go to the Performance Reports tab and click “Targeting Types.”
This will display a pie chart and reveal what percentage of your earnings come from Contextual, Placement and Interest-based ads.
Most of you will find that you earn more from Contextual ads. If you are earning more with Placement, congrats because you are really maximizing your earnings and you’ve attracted the attention of advertisers who want to advertise on your site specifically.
By the way, to ensure your units are available to placement advertisers, always create a Custom Channel for your units and opt to target it.
Wait it Out
So the moral of the story is experiment and be patient with the results — especially if you are adding a unit to a high-trafficked page.
Remember, advertisers love pages that get a decent amount of traffic and have units in a prime location (especially if it’s a larger unit.)
So don’t be so quick to remove a new unit for low performance. It may pick up in the long run.
Need more tips? Check out this overview of Google AdSense.