Are you one of those Adsense users who gets 4-5 clicks a day and only makes 21 cents?
Courtney Tuttle writes about Adsense smart pricing. If you are displaying Adsense on a site that doesn’t have a higher click through rate (CTR) than 3%, you are at risk of having Smart Pricing applied to your Adsense commission. Smart Pricing is a system that Google use to ensure good value for their advertisers. It is estimated that your Adsense commission can be reduced by up to 90% if you are in the smart pricing category, so if a click paid out 40c to a normal user, it will pay out 4c to a user who has been smart priced.
I had been using Google Adsense on Pingable for a few months with very little success. I had read about how hard it was to get clicks on ads in blogs that are about blogging, but I had no idea how much I was actually sabotaging my Adsense account. And yes, it affects all sites in your Adsense account not just those that have a low CTR. Apparently it’s easy enough to get removed from the Smart Pricing category, you just need to either improve your CTR, by optimising your ad placement, or remove Adsense from those sites all together.
So what can we take from Courtney’s article:
- If you have a blog about blogging, social media, SEO, don’t use Adsense, the CTR will most likely be very poor. People who read these sorts of blogs, don’t click ads.
- If you are displaying Adsense on a site that has a lower CTR than 3%, remove Adsense from those sites.
- If a large portion of your traffic comes from social media sites like Digg and StumbleUpon, displaying Adsense is a bad idea, not only will these users not click your ads, so many of them won’t, and it will lower your CTR to the stage that if you do get a click it won’t pay well. You could also control who gets ads with different plugins to only show your ads to search engine visitors.
- Place Adsense on sites that typically get a lot of search engine traffic, this traffic is most likely to click ads.
Optimising Adsense Placement
If you decide to use Adsense on your site, it is worth considering optimising your ad format options. Many publishers like the big rectangle, mainly because it works! It gets very good CTR. The 250X250 square, has almost the exact same look as the big rectangle, but it shows three ads instead of four. This means that you give your visitors fewer options to choose from (but not too few) and they may decide to click more easily. You also eliminate the 4th ad which would be, on average, the lowest paying of the four.
If that doesn’t work out for you, you can try using two 234X60 ads stacked on top of each other. If you use background colours that blend together, it will give a similar appearance of a 250X250 box, however, it will only display two ads in the spot. You want to be mainly displaying the higher paying ads, so if your users do click them you get a decent payout, yet you still want to give readers enough options, if you have too few ads, there are no options, and they will be less likely to get clicked. If you have too many options you are more likely to be displaying ads that pay out less.
Once you are sure that your site has not been smart priced you can optimise performance by lowering the amount of ads (using the above technique) that are being displayed if you find that some of your clicks are still paying poorly.