Thursday, August 2, 2012

[G] Ad blocking part I: To block or not to block?

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Inside AdSense: Ad blocking part I: To block or not to block?

Think of your website as your kingdom. You’re in control of what will be shown. AdSense provides strong controls that enable you to allow and block ads on your website. Ad blocking shouldn’t be thought of as a means of account optimization, but as a way to make sure you’re satisfied with the ads that are shown. Over the next few days, we’ll be busting some of the most common myths associated with ad blocking that we’ve heard from publishers.

Myth: It doesn’t matter how many ads I block, they’ll just be removed from my site.

Ad blocking should be used sparingly. Displaying all ads creates the most competitive atmosphere in the ad auction, with the largest amount of ad inventory possible competing for an impression on your site.

That said, there are some good reasons for blocking ads:

  • You’re sensitive to the content of a particular ad (or category of ad) and would prefer it not to show on your site (e.g., politics, sexuality, or religion).

  • You want to block ads from a particular company because you already have a direct advertising deal from them.

  • You want to block ads from a competitor of your business.

Myth: If I block low paying ads I'll make more money.

Even if a particular ad is only contributing a small portion to your revenue, blocking it will likely cause a lower revenue-generating ad to show. We'll always display the highest-paying ad, so if an ad appeared on your site, it meant that it was the highest-performing ad of all available.

Myth: I blocked some ads for a few days and my earnings went up. This means blocking helped my earnings grow!

Earnings in your AdSense account can constantly fluctuate. Your revenue depends on a number of variables from traffic changes on your site to advertisers changing their bids. Be careful when assuming that correlation indicates causation!

As mentioned in this Help Center article, we target ads based on your content and audience. The ads that you see aren’t necessarily the same ones your users see (e.g., interest-based advertising and geotargeting). Also, ads that may seem off-topic to you as a publisher might actually be the most valuable to the user in that browsing session.

Myth: If I block enough ads, I can essentially pick the ads that will show on my site.

As Hal Varian, the Chief Economist at Google, stated in a previous post, the ads that win in the auction are the ones that are expected to deliver you the most revenue, while ensuring a good user experience. The same ads don’t always appear on your site for a variety of reasons, ranging from changes in advertiser spend to geotargeting of users.

Now that we’ve addressed some common myths, we invite you to join us for a Google+ Hangout On Air focused on ad blocking. It’ll take place on Tuesday, August 7th at 10am PDT, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about ad blocking and hear answers to your related questions. To submit a question about ad blocking, simply leave a comment on the post on our AdSense +page. We also encourage you to +1 questions posted by other publishers that you’re interested in hearing the answers to.

Stay tuned for part II of our ad blocking series on Friday!

Posted by: Wesley Houser, Inside AdSense Team


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