One of my theories for a while has been that Google Adsense is bad for blogs and bad for bloggers. Chasing Adsense clicks leads bloggers into making changes that are not good for the audience, the blogger or the long term good of the blog. Metrics is providing what I think over a longer term might be conclusive evidence with my favourite blog.
Since I first started testing Metrics with my blogs I have seen a trend that other than one or two exceptions, the best performing posts for Adsense clicks were the worst performing for comments. It seems on my blog at least I have to choose between “ad clicks efficient” and “stickiness”. Does this sound familiar? Take a look at your metrics and let me know.
In my case the posts that achieved the most clicks were very product detail focused. I am talking about reviews, gossip about future products, technical details of products and product feature glossaries.
What about the maximum comments? They are posts that spark discussion, controversial, interesting news, posts where people have ideas or opinions. They don’t get any ad clicks but the comment threads have lasted long after the initial post has gone from the homepage. They tend to be light on product details and heavy on “what does this mean to us” – not great contextual advert keyword fodder.
So should I change my blog to attract more Adsense clicks? In theory I just need to post more about products?
Well even if I wanted to go down that road for a start Darren Rowse already well serves that part of the niche very well. He posts most days an excellent round up of the product news.
Secondly I didn’t start the blog to attract adsense income, although every little helps, it was mainly a way of growing my knowledge of the subject and keeping my hobby interesting to myself and my friends. Changing to suit Google performance does not fit well with that aim.
Most importantly though from an advertiser perspective a blog that has an audience that is interested, loyal, vocal and knowledgeable has to be a good thing. These people return day after day to see something other than product details. They are very into their photography hobby or profession, passionate about what might seem trivial to outsiders. Believe me these people spend a fortune and enjoy spending. They have disposable income and they know how to use it. It seems Google Adsense just does not reach them. That isn’t the fault of my content.
The answer isn’t to change my content, it is to change the advertising. Rather than serve Googles needs, I need advertising that serves mine.
Author: Chris Garrett
Chris Garrett is a content marketing and blogging coach and co-author of the Problogger Book with Darren Rowse.
I want to get paid to but would rather have advertising that is in sync with producing a good quality blog than one that rewards 0.5 second visits, heh
Call me ignorant, but if you can create a popular blog, naturally your click through rates would be much higher due to sheer volume and chance encounters. Am I over simplifying? At the end of the day, I just want to get paid
You bring out some very good points in your post. I have necessarily seen in my blog, if the content is good, it doesn’t matter if it is filled with ads or not. Honestly, we all blog for 2 main reasons : 1. monetary 2. popularity. Why not build a blog that could do both? The only way you could do it is by providing good content which negates the negative effect of ads. Some smart folks use rss feeds which filters all the ads out.
I have learned that a mix of the two types of posts works the best. The adsense posts and the linkage posts is what I call them.
The adsense are tightly SEO written, not thrilling, but can be $$$ productive. The linkage posts are the thought pieces that tend to drive traffic and links from other sites.
If you want to be successful you need both in my eyes.
Oups, I don’t know how Nick came into my comment :/ Maybe it happened because, I just read the latest Performancing post in FeedDemon and it was by Nick.. Sorry, anyway. I like your post no more or less, than Nick’s
Damn it.. sorry about that.
Nick? Other than you both calling me Nick I think you make fine points.
Yeah Artem maybe in the long term they will work out better but too early to say.
Nate, what I was saying was I need an advertising system that is in sync with me building a blog that people want to return to and stay on rather than a “teflon” site that attracts people looking for products and sends 99% people to adsense advertisers as quickly as possible.
I love reading your articles and there’s a good reason why – I agree with 95% of what you write.
*end sucking up*
In this instance, and correct me if I’m wrong, you’re saying that ads aren’t serving the purpose you intended when you wrote the articles. I agree. I don’t write so that I can get click-thrus. Call me idealistic. But, I write for my audience. I write for me too. I don’t write for Google.
Does that make the value of my blog higher or lower? Honestly, I think higher. Not in dollars, but in other things. The trick is – and I think this is what you’re coming to – is adding even more value by giving people the ability to purchase what you’re talking about. Or, giving the people what they want. That adds value to your blog for your visitors, and my guess is, would add to your pocketbook if it was done the right way too.
The trick is finding that way. I doubt Adsense is the right way to accomplish that goal.
Nick, could it be so that your click “ad click efficient” posts earn more money in a short run only?
The “sticky” posts might generate less clicks per day right now, but they definitely have a longer active life and in a long run might earn as much as “ad click efficient” ones or even more.
Is the Metrics powerful enough to prove or disprove this theory?
My traffic is pretty much consistent unless I get a big fat link to one of my posts. I guess it makes sense the more traffic a post gets the more clicks it will get but does the CTR increase on certain types of posts?
Looking at my stats I’d say they correlate more closely to the posts that get traffic on my blogs. ie there are definately some posts that get more clicks than others – but their %’s are pretty similar to the %’s of how many people are visiting those pages….
That’s a pretty round and closed article 🙂
But I draw a different conclusion. You don’t need ads which serves you, you need ads which serve fine to your readers interests. If the focus of the article/blog and the focus of the advertised subjects melt into one then readers will love your page for having the right ads just in place as additional info.
You post about a new Nikon? Get in contact with the Nikon PR department and offer them an ad block with all the links to their product sheets. Ask them which Ad- or PR-agency is doing the handling of these micro-PR things.
That’s what good contextual advertising is about. Google can’t fulfill these needs even if they’d like to. As I said some articles ago in ‘Tribal trends in professional Blogging’ the trend goes to team work and maybe you need somebody in your team to make up and hold these contacts to build up your own contextual ad strategy.