Mastering AdSense

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                                                                                     Adapted and edited by Rochelle Bailis

    Introduction                               Hi, my name is Jeff Conkey and I’m here to show you how to make
                                               money running ads on your website.
                                               I spent about 5 years working at Google AdSense. After that,
    moved to Docstoc and managed their ad program. Since then I’ve been an independent consultant who
    specializes in the online advertising space.
         I’ve put these videos together to help you navigate the vast resources out there for those interested in
    making money though online ads. There are plenty of opportunities, but also plenty of fraud; let me help you
    cut through the confusion and get started running ads the easy way.
         During my time with Google, I worked with hundreds of different companies that constantly shifted and
    optimized the advertisements they were running. Let me tell you, it’s a very complicated space, with a lot of
    intricacies that you will find the more you expand.
         But the goal of this course is to help people who know little to nothing about the online advertising
    industry, and help you make money by putting ads on your website. Once you’re all set up, I can help you
    understand possible methods for developing more sophisticated strategies, and maximizing your revenue.
    So let’s begin!

Chapter Guide

Chapter 1: Intro to Online Advertising
a. Introduction
b. Beginners guide to earning money with ads
c. Get to know the online landscape
d. What is a typical publisher?
e. Life cycle of a publisher

Chapter 2: Getting Started as an Online Publisher
a. When to place ads on your site
b. Why you should use AdSense
c. How AdSense works

Chapter 3: Optimizing Your AdSense
a. What does optimization mean?
b. Remembering what’s important
c. Things to keep in mind
d. Running tests
e. Analyzing performance

Chapter 4: Working with Ad Networks and
Maximizing Your Site’s Reach
a. When do I move beyond just AdSense?
b. What model is right for me?
c. What else is out there?
d. What is an ad server, and what does it do?
         Intro to online advertising
                                                                                             A beginner’s guide
                                                                                             to earning money with Ads

                                                                                                  So you want to earn money on your
                                                                                             website or blog. Once you dip your toes in
                                                                                             the world of internet ads you’ll understand
                                                                                             that it’s a sea of constantly shifting waters
                                                                                             and strategies. You might feel the need to
                                                                                             understand it all before you get started,
                                                                                             but I’d actually advise against that. The
                                                                                             best thing you can do is just get a basic
                                                                                             form of AdSense running, so you have a
                                                                                             jumping-off point to learn from.

                                       Getting to know
                                       the online advertising landscape
                                       There are 4 main players in the online advertising industry, let’s go over who they are and the role
                                       they play:
Chapter one

                                       • Publishers – A publisher is simply any site that runs ads. The publisher is on the sell side of the
                                         online ad market, because they sell space to advertisers.
                                       • Network or Exchange – A collection of advertisers or ad networks. Networks essentially pit
                                         advertisers against one another, and select the advertisers who are going to perform the best for
                                       • Agency – The middle man between advertisers and networks. Agencies manage advertiser’s
                                         campaigns by selling ads for them, determining the sites on which their ads will run, budgeting
                                         etc. Agencies generally represent larger advertisers.
                                       • Advertiser – The advertiser is on the buy side of the industry; they pay you for the space on
                                         your site to run ads.

 The Life Cycle of a publisher                                                                               What is a
                                                                                                             typical Publisher?
        1. Beginning
 Someone in the beginning of the life cycle is often the only person working on a                                 This may sound
 website, or possibly running a very small company with an employee or two. When                             cliché, but truth is there
 you’re just getting started, the best move is to sign up for free with a single ad                          is no typical publisher.
 network, most likely AdSense.                                                                               Publishers can range
        2. Middle                                                                                            from someone running a
 The middle stage applies to websites that have grown in terms of size and revenue.                          hobby website out of
 It’s at this point that you can begin to consider networks outside of AdSense, possibly                     their living room to
 using ad exchanges or an ad server that will allow you to manage multiple ad sources.                       somebody who's running
         3. Advanced                                                                                         a million dollar company.
  If your company is growing rapidly, and you don’t have the time to focus as closely on                     There are many different
 ads, you can consider outsourcing the optimization. If you have the funds to hire                           websites that support
 companies for this, this can help you save time and earn a little more.                                     ads, including forums,
       Direct sales is an option many publishers never choose, but which may be                              articles, video pages and
 lucrative for very active publishers who want to bypass networks entirely and negotiate                     more.
 directly with advertisers.
Chapter Two
Getting started as an online publisher
                                                                      Why you
                                                                      should use Adsense

                                                                      • It’s easy to use: simply paste the

                                                                      • It’s quick: you can get ads
                                                                        rolling the day you register

                                                                      • It works for most websites

                                                                      • It gives you a baseline of
                                                                        revenue, and a point of
                                                                        comparison for future analysis

                                                                       How AdSense
                                                                       actually works
When to place ads on your site
Many people want to know when the right time is to start using              How does this whole thing
AdSense. There are two possible approaches to placing ads on your       work? Basically, when you put
site:                                                                   an ad unit on your website, there
                                                                        are millions of potential
1. From the beginning                 2. When you get traffic            advertisers that are capable of
                                                                        showing up in that spot. These
The benefits of placing ads on         There is a plus side to           advertisers are competing
your webpage early are                holding off placing ads on        against each other in an auction,
numerous. Firstly, it gives you the   your side: you get to focus       and Google will place advertisers
chance to learn how to work with      on building great content and     that will pay you the most. The
ads early on, and incorporate         higher traffic before getting      fundamental form of AdSense
them into beta design decisions.      caught up on ad integration.      operates on a cost-per-click
It also means that your users and     When you do bring in ads,         basis, which means (of course)
readers will not be shocked or        they will provide more            that you’re paid per click.
turned off by the sudden              meaningful and steady             Google will place ads
appearance of ads later on.           revenue.                          contextually, by reading the
                                                                        content on your website and
I recommend that no matter what path you choose you have great          placing text ads that are related
content that pulls in a specific audience. It’s also a good idea to      to keywords.
design your webpage with ads in the back of your mind, so that you
don’t need to completely overhaul your website to add them later.
 Chapter Three
 Optimizing Your AdSense
What does
optimization mean?
Once you have ads up and running, it’s
time to consider optimization, which is
simply improving the revenue (or yield)
from your ads. There are countless
ways to optimize, so it’s important to
consider where in the advertising life
cycle you are, the content and size of
your site, and what networks you’re
using before deciding. I recommend
that you start by focusing on building
up your AdSense revenue using A/B
Testing, which simply means splitting
your traffic between two different test
sites. Read on to learn best practices
for this form of testing.

    80/20 rule

    The 80/20 rule states                 Remembering what’s
    that 80% of your                      important
    return will come from
    20% of your                           There are two main things that will affect your AdSense revenue:
    optimizations. Many
                                          Targeting: You already know that ads must be relevant to the reader
    of the optimizations I
                                          in order to be clicked. Although you don’t have a lot of control over how
    mention here will                     your ads are devised, AdSense’s contextual system is very smart and
    bring larger gains                    constantly improving. Some people who tamper with the targeting
    rather quickly,                       actually end up faring worse than when they left it untouched. The best
    whereas smaller                       thing you can do is be sure that the copy of your site is subject-
                                          specific, so that the ads are better targeted.
    changes might only
    lead to very limited                  Layout: The layout is often something you can control, and can be
    gains.                                broken down into three categories: the ad’s position on the page, its
                                          color and the size. You should be designing the layout to avoid ad
                                          blindness, so that the ad stands out rather than being ignored. Read
                                          more about how to do this on the next page.
Things to keep in mind when optimizing
Colors                          Position                                      Size
It’s a great idea to            Be sure that the ad is close to the content   You may assume that
experiment with different       that the user is focusing on, and             when it comes to ads,
colors and designs, and         preferably at the beginning of the article.   bigger is better. This is
see which ones generate         Many eye-tracking studies have shown          often true, but not
the highest traffic. A few       that people spend most of their time          universally so; I’ve
common patterns:                looking at the upper left-hand corner of a    worked with publishers
• blue links are more           website, and are much less likely to look     who decreased their ad
   often clicked than any       right or scroll down. Keep in mind that       size slightly and found
   other links                  these aren’t conclusive tactics;              some increases in
• borders around ads            leaderboard ads, for example, sit at the      traffic. So it’s a good
   often lead to ad             top center of the page but people often       idea to keep an open
   blindness, so try to avoid   skip right over them.                         mind regarding size.

Running Tests                                                    Analyzing Performance
I can’t emphasize the importance of testing enough.              Custom Channels
No optimization is guaranteed to be the best, or                 Custom Channels are a great way to
even work better than the last. I’ve found A/B                   determine where you’re making the
testing, which allows you to funnel traffic to two                most money possible. You can add
                                                                 custom channels to each ad unit, and
pages and test the results, is one of the best ways              you can manage separate channels for
to test. A few important notes on A/B testing:                   unique sections of your website. If, for
                                                                 example, you have a sports section on
   •    Test only two pages, this helps you target               your website, you can have a custom
        your traffic.                                             channel that will send sports ads to that
   •    Test between pages that have one                         section, and track their performance. If
                                                                 it’s getting more traffic than the lifestyle
        difference, not a lot of drastic changes. This           section, you can focus more energy on
        will allow you to pinpoint the most effective            the sports channel to increase revenue.
                                                                 You can also compare what positions of
        change.                                                  ads are performing better (for example,
   •    Run these two pages at the same time in                  banner vs. sidebar), and optimize the
        order to avoid distorted data. Do not use                higher performing ad location.
        page A one week, and page B the next.                    Google Analytics
   •    Try testing some of the factors mentioned
        above: color, position and size.                         Google Analytics provides another
                                                                 useful but somewhat involved way to
   •    Test where and when traffic is high for the               analyze how viewers are interacting
        most accurate results.                                   with your site. If you know how to use
                                                                 it, Analytics can provide you with a
   •    Test for at least a week to avoid factoring in           much more detailed look at user
        unexpected spikes or dips.                               behavior than AdSense, such as what
                                                                 point in the day has the highest traffic
 Important: Some alterations you make during testing may         and where exactly people go on your
 violate AdSense policies, be careful to read these policies     site. This is a more complex tool, and
                                                                 should only be considered after you’ve
 before implementing changes. Remember: just because you
                                                                 mastered AdSense.
 can test something doesn’t mean you should.
Chapter Four
Working with ad networks and
maximizing your websites reach
                                               When do I
                                               move beyond just AdSense?
                                               Let’s say you are successfully running AdSense
                                               and have already made the major optimizations
                                               I’ve mentioned. Now is the time that you can
                                               focus on the smaller, more marginal
                                               improvements (the 20% from the 80/20 rule). If
                                               you have a steady flow of traffic you can consider
                                               joining ad networks that have minimum traffic
                                               requirements. Remember that joining multiple
                                               networks will require a greater time commitment,
                                               and more programming, so be sure you have the
                                               time to spend on ads or can hire someone to do
                                               so. You may choose to join networks that
                                               specialize in specific models, which you can read
                                               more about below.

What model is right for me?
                                                                     Keep an eye
There are different models for how the advertisements will           out for:
interact with your site including:
                                                                     Ad quality: some
Contextual: for text heavy sites (articles, news, blogs)             ads will expand out
Display: for games, video, images                                    of the space you
Referrals: product reviews, specific niche content                    created for them, or
                                                                     sell questionable
Payout                                                               products or services
There are also different forms of payout, including:
                                                                     Content policy: be
CPC: cost-per-click (flat rate for each click)                        sure you agree with
CPM: cost-per-mille (payment per thousand impressions)               the policies that
CPA: cost-per-action (advertiser decides on an action you            networks have for
will be paid for)                                                    their advertisers

eCPM: Analyze these three payout methods, and compare
how much money you make through each
What else should you know?                                                                                An ad server is

                                                                     What’s an ad server
                                                                                   and what does it do?
                                                                                                          very important
Ad Networks vs. Ad Exchanges                                                                              tool for publishers
                                                                                                          interested in
The distinction between these two can be rather confusing.                                                managing multiple
While you're running AdSense, you're actually running an ad                                               networks and
exchange at the same exact time. DoubleClick and Google                                                   advertisers at the
AdSense have actually integrated, so whenever you place an                                                same time. With
ad unit on your site you're technically running the AdSense ad                                            an ad server you
network alongside the DoubleClick ad exchange. So to you,                                                 can get various
the publisher, there is actually very little difference between an                                        networks to
ad network and an ad exchange.                                                                            compete, and
Yield Optimizer                                                                                           additional control
                                                                                                          on what
                                                                                                          impressions you
A yield optimizer is a company that takes any number of
                                                                                                          see (this becomes
these networks and exchanges and pits them up against each
                                                                                                          valuable when
other. Then the yield optimizer will deliver you the highest
                                                                                                          there is a
priced one, and maintain relationships with various networks
                                                                                                          limitation on how
for you.
                                                                                                          many you are
Downside: Yield optimizers take an additional cut of revenue                                              allowed to
off the top of what the ad networks already charge. They also                                             observe at a given
often have very strict requirements, and reserve their services                                           time).
for very high-traffic clients.


             Google Resources:
             Wedbsite Optimizer:

             Google Forums
             A/B Testing:
             A/B Testing:
             AdSense Policies:

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Description: Learn how to optimize your online advertising and truly master AdSense, with this great guide by Jeff Conkey, a former Google employee.