Does Google Adsense need more total quality management?
As an adsense publisher, I am observing the effects of the financial crisis on my advertising revenue. It dropped by more than 50% in the last three weeks. While I was going to blog about only that, I have read Vered’s post on adsense ads.
Then I decided to take her opinion into consideration too. Let’s just start with what I am going to say. It’s not nice to see that adsense income decline but there are lessons from this. I think the most important lesson is that people click on adsense ads really for the reason of being interested in the offer. We understand that because when there is a financial crisis, the click through rate declines. Pay per click cost didn’t decline too much, at least in my personal experience. So, from this data in hand, we can clearly understand that encouraging clicks do not help on increasing adsense revenue.
Encouraging clicks is strictly prohibited by Google anyway but people always try to find a way to encourage people within the rules. This is not going to generate any further income. People still try it because they think adsense ads are there to trick visitors into clicking them. They don’t think adsense as a process. In fact, adsense is a process as I have written earlier about contextual advertising and it involves those steps:
- You have a meaningful article on your page.
- You can be found among search results and you are in a relatively decent position, let’s say your page comes up between #1 and #50.
- The search terms are related with your topic of your article.
- There are enough adwords clients that need to show their ads on such a page when it is found with such keywords.
Let’s come to where adsense needs more effort in total quality management.
Some advertisers are eager to pull visitors to their website and they design and prepare the copy of their ads to be very attractive. Those advertisers usually decrease the overall level of quality in adsense because they are after quantity, instead of quality. The type of advertising Vered talks about is this kind of advertising.
However, with this financial crisis and lessons from that in mind, push marketing doesn’t make sense. When a visitor has the incentive of buying a product that she is interested in, she is going to click that ad anyway.
Thus the most important part lies in advertising visibility, that is putting the ads on places where people are not affected by ad blindness.
I was going to write more on this but I must stop here because blogger.com is banned in Turkey and I want to follow those news. I’ll continue to discuss adsense total quality management later on.
At this point, we should talk about “smart pricing”. Smart pricing is a technique that Google Adsense program uses. They have written only once about smart pricing. There is not much detail on how this operates. Briefly, if your web site creates too much clicks without ending up with any conversion (which means a sale, a subscription or any other criteria which is set by the advertiser or google adsense, for instance having visited more than one page in the destination web site or spending a certain amount of time in that web site) your web site is then being smart priced for a period of time. This is when you see 20 clicks on an ad which only brings $0.20, for instance. Those numbers are not exact numbers and I am not an adsense professional, so don’t take them as the ultimate truth. I am just telling this to give you a rough idea. I even don’t know whether this smart pricing is still being used or not. This is personal experience and knowledge from my own readings over the web.
This notion of smart pricing should give us another clear idea what adsense is all about. It is designed with the intention of being profitable for every player in the game. Your visitors are part of that game too. According to this perspective, putting adsense ads on your web site is like an additional service that you offer to your visitors. So, it is also meaningless to use plugins to set advertising visibility such as “no ads for friends”, “ads only for visitors who come from search engines”, etc. Advertising may be evil on many levels but Google Adsense is less evil in comparison to other types of advertising. This is the essence of Adsense and other similar contextual advertising systems.
Now let’s come back to the view that advertising sucks. This is the point where I suggest a more thorough total quality management for adsense. Adwords clients must understand at least what I have understand so far. Only than they will design meaningful ads instead of sucking ads.
There is still more to say about that. For instance, about our economic system as a whole. Because you never see an ad that sucks when it is about an absolutely needed good or service. Ads suck mostly when they are about a good or service which is not really necessary. Of course this is also a subjective issue but anyway, sometimes you can decide that only by using your intuition.
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