AdWords vs 125X125 Ad Block

Late last night, I sent out a random blogging poll to Twitter. The question I proposed was this: As a blogger, have you ever clicked on an AdSense ad or anyone’s 125X125 pixel ads? Thankfully, I received a number of responses on Twitter, most of which surprised me.

Here are the responses as they came in.

  • chris24 @jeffr0: Not AdSense. I’ve clicked on 125x125px ones a few times, but I 9/10 times click on The Deck ads (they’re *too* relevant).
  • arickmann @jeffr0 I have clicked both adwords and 125 ads.
  • hans_engel @jeffr0 Same as @chris24 – never on AdSense, but I usually always click on The Deck ads. Love ’em! 😛

When Joost gave me his answer, it rung a bell in my head. No wonder 125X125 pixel ads were clicked on more than the AdSense block, they were simply more relevant to that particular blogs readers than the AdSense blocks. This is weird, considering that AdSense uses the content on your site as a way to display relevant advertising.

When asked why 125X125 ads were clicked on more than the AdSense blocks, these are the responses I received.

  • jdevalk @jeffr0 because those are usually actually targeted at blog X’s readers, instead of AdSense, where the targeting is crap.
  • JanKarlsbjerg @jeffr0 Because the 125×125 are less descriptive/informative than the AdSense ads and you have to follow the link to see what it’s an ad for
  • JanKarlsbjerg @jeffr0 The 125×125 may be relevant to the blog’s regular readers, but the point of adsense ads is that they’re tailored to each page

Now, I invite you to participate in the discussion. Based on your own experience, how have the 125X125 ads performed for you when compared with AdSense or AdWords? Is it all about relevancy? Maybe the 125X125 ads just look better?

18 thoughts on “AdWords vs 125X125 Ad Block

  1. Adwords is a really great tool for promoting your website, forum or affiliate link. the ppc cost of adwords is even cheaper than Friendster or Facebook. before, i used to advertise on facebook but the ROI is so low. Adwords gives me a much better ROI compared to Facebook ads.

  2. I have been using Adwords for the last 2 years and i can only say that it increased my online sales by about 20%. The pay per click cost of Adwords is even cheaper than Adbrite. I love Adwords.

  3. Adwords is really great for promoting your website and also affiliate links. i have just passed the Google Adwords Professional exam today and i am very happy.

  4. I had two 125×125 ads, just linking to internal site pages. But when I checked the click stats, I was very impressed, they are performing very well.

    Now I’m looking for an ad service provider that would pay same rates as adsense, that has 125×125 ads. Any suggestions?


  5. @ Marcel@BPFS

    Hi Marcel, I wasn’t saying all advert clickers are noobs

    I click adverts all the time.

    What I meant was that people new to the internet, or people that are not as web savvy are far more likely to click adverts.

    For example my sites that have a lot of noobs – I tend to have a CTR of about 4-7% , whereas SEO sites, web design sites etc will usually average well below this – <2-3% in my experience

    I have no proof of this, but it is scientific fact. (Joke) : )

  6. I simplily love this square ads! i always click in them, i also have clicked in adwords many times.

    But theres a really big diference between them… about 125×125 ads, most of the sites i visit and use them are blogs, in such sites this kind of ads are much more relevant the “adsense style” ads, i mean directly relevant to the site content and audience. So you put this relevance with a the visual appealing style they have (they are almost impervious to ad blindness…).

    I also said i clicked adsense many times, first of all they are “gray”, no matter how good they’re placed in the page , putting banners aside , they’re faded into a massive amount of text, then many times even *when* they are relevant they’re ignored… most adsense ads i’ve clicked had something related to the activity i was doing (once i found a backup utility in the adsense ad when i was downloading another from a downloads site) or they’re about a topic related. But no matter what they had a catchy link phrase… the last one was about the very.

    Bottom line, 125×125 ads are all about relevance and Adsense (most of the time) is about quantity

  7. You’re welcome. I think it’s unanimous that it depends on the audience in terms of which ad type to use. But based on what I’ve seen, the 125X125 ad blocks are clicked on by bloggers more so than adsense. The reason why this surprised me is because bloggers know what Ads look like and yet, they still clicked on them.

  8. I rarely click on either types of ads, but if it has good copy or an interesting design, I’ll click. I think it depends on your audience. Some of them are more likely to click on AdSense while others will click on the 125 block. Definitely worth testing both. Thanks for bringing up this interesting discussion.

  9. If you start frequenting blogosphere 125×125 at first doesn’t look like a banner. They are more like part of sidebar. After some time and few clicks on them that get you to the same places other advertisement does – banner blindness kicks in and they are just another ad.

    AdSense is text, text is information. Banner is pretty picture. I am more likely to go for text because text is harder to lie with.

  10. @Colin
    Buyers and link clickers are not noobs. Ads which are relevant to to your industry add value to your website.

    People buy newspapers to see the local job and house for sale ads. The same can be said of sites which host contextually relevant ads.

  11. Bloggers and web wise surfers rarely (but occassionally if tempted enough) will rarely click on adsense. But noobs do! So it depends on your audience…

  12. I think there is something to that. Our niche is pretty small but highly competitive. So I think that people in that niche are surprised to see ads from those companies so prominently displayed on a blog in the network. (We require display above the fold) And our bloggers love us because we share 80% of the revenue… you don’t see adwords doing that either! It’s a win-win-win for everyone.

  13. So then it’s because the 125X125 ads are highly tailored to your specific audience? I’ve clicked on a few 125X125 ads before but have never clicked on a Google Adsense ad.

  14. I run a blog network that delivers 125 ads. All I have to say is… they have a great CTR! A 125 ad gets clicked on 4 times as often as on the rest of our ad system. Why? I think it’s all about niche relevance.

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