Does Adsense Increase Your Bounce Rate?

bouncing

Depending on your website and your goals, Adsense can be a bad idea for many different reasons. However, there was one thing that everyone seems to agree on and that is Adsense increases your website’s bounce rate.

bouncingPerhaps it’s different for different sites, but it turns out that for my website it made absolutely no difference. My average CTR (click-through rate) was about 1.5%. My ads were strategically placed inside the content body and there was no way to avoid them as you scroll down to read.

I removed my Adsense ads two days ago and so far my bounce rate didn’t decrease. In fact, it was unusually high yesterday. Apparently bounce rate is not as straightforward as it seems, and honestly, I am questioning the accuracy of Google Analytics.

About a month or two ago the impression count in my Google Webmaster Tools fell from 10,000+ per day to 3,500 a day and stayed this way until today. There was no change in rankings or in actual traffic numbers. I’ve seen some people report the same but there was no official explanation to this phenomenon.

While I don’t blame Google and am very thankful for all these amazing tools they provide for free, they seem to me not very reliable. This is disturbing because many of us take very important decisions based on this data.

Perhaps if your ads are above the fold and are basically the first thing your visitors see, you will have a higher CTR and a noticeably increased bounce rate, but if your ads are below the fold your CTR will probably stay unaffected.

Does Adsense increase your bounce rate?

My Experience with BlogAds

My recent experiments with selling direct advertisement on my website led me to discover BlogAds.com – ¬†a company I came to really like. It’s not a new company. I am not sure how old it is, but it was definitely born before I knew what HTML is ūüėČ I didn’t bother to check, but it just looks that way!

Perhaps this is exactly the reason why it is so effective. Or perhaps it’s my competitive niche… Or simply a combination of both. I am kicking myself ¬†I didn’t work with them before. I lost more than a half of my traffic this summer and no, my website is not a low quality website. Do I have to mention that? It just hurts!

Anyway, despite all I have left on that website is about 600-800 uniques per day, BlogAds customers seem to be interested in my website. I am seriously considering ditching Adsense and just have BlogAds on my sidebar.

BlogAds is a third party service that handles your customers, payments and sales. There are several types and sizes of ads you can choose from, place the code on your website and BlogAds will count the number of impressions. In addition to BlogAds team efforts, if an advertiser comes straight to your website, he will see a link under every advertising slot. He then will be able ¬†to purchase advertisement right from that link. He doesn’t even need to send you a line. BlogAds will take 30 percent and the rest is all yours. You have a PayPal option, a check option and a bank transfer option. The only problem is that if you can’t use PayPal your payment¬†threshold¬†is $750.

BlogAds offers you the ability to issue coupon codes up 100% off. This means that you can promote yourself a little by contacting potential advertisers and offering them free advertising for a short period of time. If they find it works for them, they could become your paying customers.

You might be interested in BlogAds if you are selling your own products or operate as an affiliate marketer. In fact, I noticed that most advertisers on my website were affiliates in those tough niches where they pay $4-$7 per click. So if you are operating in same type of niches, you might be able to find a decent website with good ad placement and reasonable price. Be careful though, you won’t be paying on per click ¬†or per impression basis. You will be paying for every day you have your ads running (minimum 3 days) , so be careful. I noticed that many of these advertisers just don’t get what works and what doesn’t so they end up wasting their money.

Here is a link once again BlogAds.com. It’s not even an affiliate link. I poked around their website but didn’t find an affiliate program. Perhaps for better, you can be confident it’s a genuine recommendation :D.

My Experience with Contextweb

Contextweb

UPDATE: Contextweb is in process of platform upgrades which should resolve slow ad loading issue. 

Some time ago I experimented with Contextweb on my main website. When I was still considering using Contextweb I was looking hard for reviews but couldn’t find many. In addition, some people in forums told me they had a bad reputation, but I still decided to try.

Contextweb is a CPM program, which means you are paid per 1,000 impressions. I absolutely love the concept of CPM, it is especially useful for someone who has a lot of traffic but struggles to monetize it. This usually happens in unprofitable niches with less or no competition that are still popular between the readers. ¬†This wasn’t exactly my case but I figured it could make a nice addition to my income.

There is a lot of great points about Contextweb. First of all it allows you to choose how much you are going to be paid. For example, if you decide that you want to be paid $3 per every 1,000 impressions (clicks or no clicks) you enter that amount¬†in your ad manager and unless there is someone willing to pay you that amount ads will not be served. You have a choice between using a public service ad (doesn’t pay) or your own ad, such as Adsense or Chitika, as a back up. So for example, if I ask for $3 per 1,000 impressions and I am willing to use an Adsense ad as a back up, I enter requested $3 AND check my Adsense RPM for that spot. Let’s say my Adsense ad makes $2.5 per 1,000 impressions in the same spot. I paste my Adsense code into Contextweb interface and they generate a code for me. Once I paste this code into my page the following will happen:

  • People from countries that are not covered by Contextweb will always see Adsense ad
  • In case someone is willing to pay me my $3 per 1,000 impressions that’s what I will be paid
  • In case noone is willing to pay me $3 per 1,000 impressions the advertisers will bid on that spot. The minimum bid is what Adsense pays me, i.e. $2.5 per 1,000 impressions. So I could be paid anywhere betweeb $2.5 and $3 per every 1,000 impressions
  • In case advertisers are not interested in paying even my required minimum of $2.5 Adsense ad will be displayed.

Technically this means I am not losing anything. However… Not that simple. The concept is good, but unfortunately there are some serious obstacles on the way…

First, I never could get more than 15% fill rate even when I removed my own backup ads and lowered the price until $1.5 . This means that even when you have a lot of impressions you will be still paid just a few dollars per day. No matter how large you are, things are relative anyway. So it will feel to you like a few pennies.

Second, during my time with Contextweb there were about 4 days of serious outage when Contextweb ads wouldn’t load making your website extremely slow. This type of thing could negatively affect your rankings in Google and ultimately cost you way more than what you can actually earn with Contextweb. During these 4 days Contextweb’s website wasn’t loading either by the way. ¬†So during these 4 days not only your website was slow and Contexweb own ads were not displaying, backup ads were not displaying too! This means an absolute loss! I have no idea how often this happens to them, but this was a deal breaker for me. I removed their ads, waited till they were ¬†ok again and then just added their ads in sidebar without any backup. However, I found that even when functioning properly Contextweb is a little slow. I didn’t earn all that much with them so I finally removed their ads altogether.

What else can I say about them?

  • They have a great user interface. It is obvious they carefully thought of how you are going to use it and made it a point to give you best tools and accurate reporting.
  • You can block ads and categories which is really nice. I would never sign up with a company that doesn’t offer that anyway.
  • I had to deal with support. It takes them some time to answer but they do get back to you eventually.
  • Contextweb is only for those who have a lot of traffic from US, UK and Canada.
  • They DO pay. Some people were telling me that they don’t but perhaps these rumors were triggered by their rather lengthy payment cycle. It takes two months to receive your first check (they issue the check ¬†45 days after you reach minimum payout + a week or so for mail, depending where you are).
  • ¬†You will see a lot of insurance and pharmacy companies there. Typically these are companies that have a high CPC in Adsense so they take¬†advantage of cheap and¬†convenient¬†Contextweb. Totally makes sense.

I am not using Contextweb anymore and I am not sure that I would recommend anyone to use it as a publisher. However taking in consideration how thoughtful they were when they were developing their whole system and ad managing interface they could become very successful in the future. Right now it doesn’t seem they have enough advertisers. I doubt I will be putting their ads back any time soon but I am considering to use their program as advertiser.

UPDATE: Contextweb is in process of platform upgrades which should resolve slow ad loading issue. 

 

 

An Interesting Observation about Adsense Targeting

I have posted this first about a week ago in private SBI forums but decided to post it here too. It is about an interesting ¬†observation I have made ¬†while editing my new template. It was an absolute accident and of course it’s not something anyone should concentrate on, but it’s just cool to know and I know many of us enjoy reading such things. Here is what happened:

I was struggling with my new responsive site template for two days now. I edited it like gazillion times pasting and repasting content and tags. Eventually I got it to work and now I could put brand new Adsense units. It was a page about wedding chairs but to my surprise the ads were about obesity treatments. I looked at my page source and yes, of course, I forgot to edit meta keywords line! Keywords line was saying: “obesity treatments, surgical obesity treatment, medical obesity treatment”. This got there by mistake when pasting and I forgot to fix it. After a few hours my ads are still about obesity and diet and Adsense couldn’t care less that URL, title and text are saying “WEDDING” (sure I won’t keep it that way).

It is fun to know that Adsense targets keyword tags. I never heard this before. I knew about URL being important and text of course, but I never never could imagine they pay attention to keywords in keyword meta tags! So here you are, never mind Google Search doesn’t pay attention to keywords meta tags. Google Adsense does. When you take a purposeful action by picking higher paying keywords don’t forget to make sure they are in your keyword meta tags.