YouTube finally unveiled the first real version of its a platform last week, and we’re still processing the results. Some stories:
Everyone’s claiming they invented YouTube’s ad style, the overlay ad. VideoEgg ran a banner on their site, saying, “We invented the video overlay ad about a year ago”. Of course, YouTube invented the embedded Flash player VideoEgg puts its videos inside of, Brightcove has been doing it for two years, and everybody takes good ideas from everybody else. After all, if it’s sucha good idea, why wouldn’t everybody use it?
Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley got herself in an embarrassing situation, as she tried to predict YouTube’s future revenue growth and misunderstood the meaning of CPM. By mistaking CPM as “cost per impression” instead of “cost per thousand”, she overstated her analysis by a factor of a thousand, predicting $4.8 billion in revenue for YouTube next year (which, if it happens, I’d eat my hat).
Of course, since the new estimates were a mere $4.5 million, and analysts don’t make their money with tiny numbers, Mary tweaked the estimates so that even though they dropped a factor of a thousand, they were more optimistic than before in terms of percentages. As Henry Blodget explains, that’s called “backing into the numbers”, making them fit your expectations, and it’s why I don’t like analysts.
Anyone can predict anything based on making up numbers. Sure, you can do a lot of math to calculate what your guesses mean in the long term, but if you are still guessing, you aren’t bringing anything of value to the table. Unless analysts hold themselves to a higher level of proof than this, they should just sit back down and stop wasting our time.
A significantly large bunch of stupid YouTubers completely misunderstood the new system, proving once again the immaturity of the YouTube community, and their complete inabillity to RTFA. These users started threatening to boycott or just plain leave YouTube if Google started putting ads on their videos. Problem is, Google is only putting ads on videos it has a partnership with, and the complaining idiots are (a) too stupid to understand that and (b) too unimportant to have been offered partnerships.
If you really hate the ads, TubeStop supposedly never shows the ads, and it has the added bonus of turning off auto-play on YouTube videos. Vunderbar.
The YouTube blog today announced the official release of InVideo ads, the ads we’ve seen on YouTube recently that feature a brief overlay on the bottom of the video that can be clicked to see further information about the advertisers. The ads are being offered to a much larger group of 1,000 video creators, including YouTube’s mainstream content providers, like Warner Music and the BBC, and many popular regular YouTube users.
(via Paul Kedrosky)
Apparently, advertisers will be paying a flat $20 per 1,000 viewers, even if the viewer does not click on the overlay. Also, unlike with AdSense, video creators can decline specific ads if they are annoying or irrelevant to their viewers.
Google is testing a program to put ads in Google Gadgets on websites. The Gadget would basically be a non-traditional ad unit, one with interactive parts as opposed to a pitch and a link. Advertisers would bid on getting in the Gadget ad much like they do for any Google ad, by click or by thousand impressions. Google unveiled these ads (which have been rumored and spotted for a little while) at an auto industry marketing summit, but they will be available in all categories when the program launches this summer.
The Gadget ads, as HTML containers that can have Flash, video, real-time information and even the ability to purchase from inside the Gadget, are obviously very attractive for advertisers. However, due to the nature of these ads, and the possibility of annoying punch-the-monkey games and irrelevant interactive content (which is more damaging to sites than an easilly ignored non-interactive ad), Google should consider releasing these ads like their referral ads program, with all ads being opt-in and chosen by websites.
I don’t want advertisers sticking pointless stuff on my site to distract and piss off you guys, but some sort of unit that adds information to the site, like current stock prices, while offering you the chance to sign up and trade those stocks, that is something very useful for everybody. I’d want to choose that, I don’t want it to be the exception.
(via Niall Kennedy > Steve Rubel)
Michael Arrington has an article about companies already in this space.
Google has agreed to acquire Adscape, a company that puts ads inside of video games, for $23 million. Google had missed out on Massive, a company Microsoft picked up for $200-400 million about a year ago, and is going to have to settle for the much smaller Adscape, which it will have to build into a bigger player. Judging by Google’s great success with dMarc, I’d assume nothing at this point.
Adscape is a video game advertising company whose AdverPlay product lets developers place dynamic ads right inside the game and Real Virtual Gateway product enables two-way text, audio and video communication via SMS Text or eMail.
Also, Google has added a column in its AdWords interface that shows an ads quality score, which determines how much advertisers must pay above the minimum bid if their ad isn’t particularly good. They are also making some changes in how the quality score is calculated.
Google has also taken Webmaster Central out of betaand added comments to its Webmaster Central blog. The blog is now the first official Google blog to have comments, as far as I know, probably due to a desire to have a more official place for public feedback than Matt Cutts blog.
Another change: Advertisers can now use site targeting for pay-per-click ads, not just CPM ads. I can imagine some AdSense publishers not liking this one, others thinking its sliced bread good.
Also, AdSense publishers got two 1099 tax forms from Google this year due to some sort of error. Google says they will not need to worry, as the forms may have been printed twice for publishers, but they were not sent twice to the IRS. Still, I’m worried, because my 1099 had my name misspelled! How do you misspell something when the computer that spits out my monthly checks from Google knows the right spelling? Did someone type up these forms by hand?
Finally, Ask.com is doing a funny thing: If you search for yahoo.com on Google, you might see an ad by Ask advertising their search engine. Yahoo is a pretty popular search term, because some idiots use Google for typing URLs instead of the always-there address bar, and Ask is hoping to catch their attention. Craziness.
Google has announced a second limited test run of its music video/AdSense program, distributing videos from Sony BMG and Warner Music that contain ads. The program, which is only offered to specific AdSense publishers, pays those publishers (with Google getting its cut) on a CPM basis for embedding the videos on their websites, as rich alternative to traditional display ads as well as a way of combining advertising and content.
This is the second time Google has done this program, the first with Viacom last year. The four-week test is already underway, and publishers can’t request to jump in. There’s no doubt lots of AdSense publishers would love to be able to use the ads, finding cool ways to turn the music videos into relevant content, so the rest of us can only hope the pilot program is a success.
In other ad news, the AdWords blog announced that the AdWords site exclusion list is now unlimited, letting AdWords publishers say no to running their ads on as many sites as they’d like. That has got to make AdSense publishers jealous, as they’d love such an option ads that don’t perform, as well as those that point to Made For AdSense sites.
I never thought of it before, but The New York Times reports on a survey by DoubleClick, which claims that twice as many people look at online ads and visit them later, as opposed to those who click on it. What it means:
- Of visitors who see ads on your website, 30 percent admit to sometimes clicking on an ad.
- Meanwhile, 61 percent look at the ad, process it, and visit the advertiser later, without clicking on the ad.
- With Pay-Per-Click advertising getting enormously popular, that means that publishers who display PPC ads never get paid, even though their ads are effective for that 61%.
- The 61% is a complete validation of the idea of brand advertising, that it is indeed twice as useful to get your name in the minds of visitors, as it is to get them to click.
- Google has ads that pay out for just being shown, but it has no type of ad that combines payments for clicks with payments for showing the ad.
If three times as many people visit an advertised site as those who are actually reported on clicking on it, then publishers are losing a ton of money. What can be done?
Well, one option is for Google to stop showing the advertiser’s URL in ads, or at least let publishers turn it off optionally. Advertisers should have to pay a more complicated structure, with ads that include a website URL costing more money than those who don’t. Google should also introduce a combo ad, one that combines CPM (pay for ad impressions) with CPC (pay for ad clicks), charging a complex formula that charges less for impressions and more for clicks.
A combo ad wouldn’t work everywhere, as there are a lot of cheats in the AdSense system, but high-level trusted publishers should have access to it. Advertisers should have the option of getting their ads in at a lower cost-per-click than rival bidders, if they agree to pay for impressions. As an example, an ad that bid $10 per click would be considered equal to an ad that bid $3 for 1,000 impressions as well as $9 per click.
Am I crazy? Would a third type of ad payment kill Google’s ad system and overcomplicate things, or would advertisers welcome an opportunity to get lower per-click ads in the system by paying up front? No one can argue that PPC is perfect, and the Times article makes that clear. I’d like a combo ad as an option that might make everyone happy.
(via Amit Agarwal, who suggests a different AdSense change that might make the ads more user-friendly)
An AdBrite advertiser has requested to run an interstitial ad on this site. An interstitial ad is a full page ad that you have to click “Skip” to get past to get to the website. I price my interstitials so high that no one would ever want to buy it, but this guy is setting a really low daily spending limit. It will be shown to 15% of the first thousand visitors to this blog (and InsideMicrosoft), and then only to those clicking on their second page, and that’s it.
So, worth it? Too annoying? I rely on the money for this blog, but this is a small enough amount that I can forego it. I’m going to leave it up to you guys, in this poll:
The ad is for arcadepimps.com, if that makes a difference.
The Google AdWords blog has announced that they are fulling rolling out “click-to-play” ads. We’ve seen these ads previously, appearing as Flash ads in the style of embedded Google Videos. Unlike traditional animated ads, Google has gone overboard making sure they don’t annoy anyone, because they don’t do anything unless you click a really obvious play button.
These ads can be extremely valuable, for two reasons: Because they require the interaction of the user, they are valuable to the advertiser, since it is quite clear that the user noticed and watched the ad, and was at least somewhat interested in its content, unlike every single other type of ad. Also, because the ads appear similar to Google Videos, any website which occasionally embeds Google Videos is going to earn serious money from these ads, since users will be drawn to the ads and their money-making play buttons.
If Google were to give a way to get only video ads, I’d be there in a second.
First, as with all AdWords ad formats, video ads will compete for placement on sites in the Google content network with other text, Flash and image ads — and, as with our other image ad placements, you can choose to bid on a CPC or CPM basis.
Second, these ads will be supported by both site- and keyword-targeted campaigns. You can choose to serve your video ad on a specific site or on pages in our content network that relate to your product or service. As always, you have the ability to geo-target your video ads internationally, nationally, or locally.
Finally, unlike some intrusive advertising, users will have complete control. When a page loads, only a static image will be visible; the video will not start playing until the user initiates it. He or she will be able to advance the video, pause it, adjust the volume or click through to the advertiser’s site, as you can see in the example below:
But, you may say, video is only for big branding oriented advertisers. We beg to differ. This feature makes video ads much more accessible to all advertisers. Now, an owner of a small bed & breakfast in Lake Tahoe can put a video tour of his beautiful chalet right next to an article that talks about skiing the epic slopes of Squaw Valley.
That isn’t a real ad, so feel free to click on it without worrying about click fraud. However, I might interest you in some ads below….
Ha ha. I’m funny.
Anyway, The New York Times talked to Gokul Rajaram, a Google director of product management, who said that the video ads will generally cost anywhere from the single digits of dollars to the low double digits. The bad news for Google: Since the publishers (guys like me) get a pretty decent cut of the ad revenue, that means Google won’t see a lot of that higher price.
Of course, that’s also the good news, both for publishers, and for the strength of the AdSense network, which has seen slow growth. If Google can fill enough ad inventory with Flash ads, it can revive interest and maybe even score some new publishers. If Google ads a video-only ad format, all those video sites out there that repost YouTube and Google Video content might be inclined to sign up.
I hope someone at Google is thinking about that.
Some bonus quotes:
The activation feature could discourage many advertisers from signing up for the new video service, said Jupiter Research analyst David Card. “This isn’t going to be a game changer for Google, but it gives them a much richer palette.”
In addition, it suddenly gives Google a real product for brand marketers, something the company has wanted but hasn’t really had until now. Yahoo! has had much more to offer brands. It will be interesting to see how many of them will try this out.
Advertisements can now offer video tours, normal TV commercials, CALL NOW call to actions (perhaps with an interesting Google Click-To-Call twist), ability to view the video before clicking over to a site, and strong branding via the multimedia spots.
UPDATE: Check out Darren’s take:
One would pressume that video ads would be worth more than normal image ads or text ads and that publishers would have the chance to opt in or out of having such ads show on their sites in a similar way to them being able to select text and/or image ads.
I would also presume that these ads would predominantly be rectangle box ads and that CTR on these ads would be quite good at least initially due to the novelty factor of them.
Google released an AdWords Traffic Estimator, that, without logging into an AdWords account, will give you a decent idea of what you can expect advertising on certain keywords. You put in keywords, select a language and territories, and can enter a max Cost-Per-Click or daily budget, and see your results.
(via Lisa Barone)
While AdWords users can make use of this as a quick reference, it can also be a great tool for guys like me. For instance, I learned that at a “recommended” CPC (that is, whichever CPC will get you a top position 85% of the time) of 57-86 cents, I can get between 18-22,000 clicks for a search for “google”. Meanwhile, the recommended $1.08-$1.61 for Microsoft means I would get 6-8,000 new readers, costing me seven to thirteen grand in ad money.
Problem is, since I don’t make 57-86 cents per visitor to this blog (which would be a CPM of several hundred dollars), how the hell can a blogger make more money by advertising on Google? Short answer: You can’t. As of yet, there is no way to advertise on Google and make money as an ad-supported business. You really need to be selling something, and something that makes quite a bit of money per visitor, to really justify this.
What can Google do? Again, a tough call. Letting bloggers advertise on other blogs for less money won’t work, since you pay per click. To even have a shot at breaking even, every single person who arrived at your site would have to click an ad. You spent a dollar to get them here, that means you have to make back that dollar before you can even turn a profit. Needless to say, it is impossible.
I’ve been experimenting with AdWords to drive traffic here, and I’ve invested a tiny sum on super-low paying ads. I pay the bare minimum CPM of just a quarter per thousand ad impressions. While very few people actually click the ads (in fact, such a small percentage that it is almost pathetic), my ads have been shown over 200,000 times for just fifty bucks. Is that enough exposure to make it all worth it? Maybe, but I can’t be sure and I can’t track it.
So, that is one option: Pay fifty bucks, and marvel as a 200,000 people (maybe) discover your blog exists. That’s a pretty cool way of getting exposure, except how are we going to know if it works?
I’m thinking it is time for Google to start up a AdWords For AdSense program, one that lets AdSense publishers advertise in AdWords on a backwards basis. Basically, Google lets you advertise on low-paying AdWords keywords and AdSense websites for free, but takes a larger cut of the AdSense revenue you make from the people who click through to your website.
In other words, right now, if you bought 500 $1 ads, and those people clicked on $200 worth of ads, you’d be out $300, plus Google would take their (assumed) 20% AdSense cut, leaving you with $160, a loss of $340. In AdWords For AdSense, Google would just give you $100 and charge nothing for the ads, taking a fifty percent cut of the “new business” they sent your way. Sure, you’d be getting a big discount on the AdWords ads, but you wouldn’t have bought them without the discount, and Google wouldn’t have sold them, anyway, since they are low-paying.
There are issues to consider: For instance, Google would have to consider the other ads on your blog (like AdBrite or BlogAds), since you might make money for those. There are solutions as well. Either Google could ban any other ad programs on those pages, or require you use Google Analytics, track the performance of the competing ad programs, and take a cut from there.
To give the new example: Google sends you 500 visitors. You make $50 from AdSense ads, but also sell $20 of Blogads and $15 for AdBrite, and sell two Amazon Associates books for $5. You made $90, so Google only gives you $5 for the AdSense ads, instead of the $50 you’ve earned, since it is taking a straight-up fifty percent cut of your ad revenue that results from this new program.
I think it’s a killer idea, and I’ll tell you this: If I were working at Google, this would be my 20% project. Could someone at Google try this out, helping bloggers and Google extend the long tail of advertising? I hope so.
Google finally approved one of my AdWords campaigns (they don’t like me using the name of my blog in an ad), and I’m very happy with the one that’s being run. See, I bought site-targeted ads on a bunch of my favorite sites (the ones I could find in the system), with the ad text:
An Excellent Blog
Nathan Weinberg knows what he’s
talking about. Read his stupid blog
Right now, its running on these sites, although the only site really getting ad impressions is Google Blogoscoped:
The reason I know about it is because Philipp from Blogoscoped emailed me. Even sent me this screenshot:
I really like doing this. Even more than I liked advertising on Miel’s blog (and cheaper, too!). I get thousands of impressions for dirt-cheap prices, put a few coins in the pockets of bloggers I like, and hopefully a few people notice it and either click through, or they’ll remember me later (even as the guy with the funny ad).
I think I’ll keep doing this, although I’ll mix up the ad text a bit. If you have any suggestions, or if you’d like me to add your site to the campaign, just comment below. If you don’t want my ads, I’ll remove them (no need to use valuable blacklist space).
I would suggest most bloggers give this a shot. The cost is minor, the exposure can be huge. Talk about using the long tail of advertising! I think that if we see more of these ads on blogs, and less ads for “valuable xml feeds”, AdSense will be more useful and entertaining for everyone. Philipp told me it was one of the rare times AdSense was relevant, fun, and worth clicking.
AdSense publishers have the option of filtering out ads from websites they don’t want to see. Usually, this can be used to block competitors from advertising on your site, but some people use it to remove ads they believe are irrelevant or low-earning. Nitrous at WebMasterWorld decided to see what would happen if he deleted his 200-site filter list. He had reached the upper limit of the list, and couldn’t add any more, so he decided to see what would happen if he didn’t use any filters at all.
Lets see! Will post later on to let you know what the figure is before I go to the pub! Normally it has always been between 75 and 95 (by 9.30) here in the UK.
Well its only about 15 percent down from normal so far, but the mfas have only just reapeared an hour ago.
By this time of night it should normally be about 60 dollars. At the moment its 46. Thats about a 30 percent drop from the “norm” so far. And the lowest I have seen it at 7.30 pm in over a year.
By now I normally have between 75 and 90. Probably nearer 90 since its a tuesday.
So far we are up to 51 which is a record low over the last year! Traffic is normal to good.
ECPM down by 25 percent.
Earnings are 74 dollars… Instead of a hundred or so expected.
Dont know why. But I may need to continue this for another day. Maybe not! Depends how I feel when sober.
Result was, lower income by approx 21 percent over the previous average from the months before. Not as bad as I expected but bad all the same! Click through unchanged, epc down a bit.
So, what have we learned? While the filter will take out some of your higher priced ads, you need to filter out any ads that appear often on your sites and are completely useless to your visitors. Filtering out Text Link Ads and Rojo would be a good start, as they buy too much ad space that blog visitors will see the ad every day, and get bored with it. Just don’t filter out good advertisers in the belief you’ll get something better.
This is a case where it would be really useful if Google gave stats on individual advertisers and showed how effective those ads were. I’d like to know specifically which advertisers are dragging my site down, and knock them off. Someone has to release a stats package that reads AdSense ads and tracks which ones get clicked on, as well as how many impressions they get. I’d pay for it.
(via SE Roundtable)
Google AdWords now lets advertisers target websites based on demographics. This means AdSense sites that appeal to specific (and important) demos should see more ad dollars and better targeting coming their way.
Targeting currently is in five categories:
- Age group (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+)
- Annual Household Income ($0-14,999, 15,000-24,999, 25,000-39,999, 40,000-59,999, 60,000-74,999, 75,000-99,999, $100,000+)
- Ethnicity (Any, White/Caucasian, Black/African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic)
- Whether there are children in a household
The data comes from comScore Media Metrix. These new options are clearly designed to compete with MSN AdCenter, which is based very much on demographic information MSN knows about its users. Don’t be surprised if eventually, Google starts selling ads on some of its properties based on demographic data of signed in Google Accounts. I had a bit of fun exploring the sites found under some demographics, but couldn’t find my own.
(via Chris Gilmer)
Google has acknowledged that when it changed the AdSense Referral period to only count people who made $100 in 90 days, it didn’t give enough time. As a result, the latest AdSense update gives a good 180 days, a much more reasonable period, for your referral to earn their $100. I still feel like it should be an open-ended program, but at least Google improved it somewhat.
From the Inside AdSense blog:
You may have noticed today that the time limit for AdSense referrals is now 180 days. Based on the feedback we heard, we agreed that 90 days may not provide enough time for your referred publishers to complete earning $100. Therefore, we decided to double the window. This change is retroactive, so it will also apply to AdSense signups that occurred more than 90 days but less than 180 days ago.
Darren Rowse details the other changes to AdSense. Basically, you can now see how much of your visitors see contextual cost-per-click ads vs. site targeted cost-per-impression ads. There’re other feature change/tweak, go read it at Darren’s blog.
I would be interested in hearing what percentage of people’s ads are CPC vs. CPM, especially since Google hasn’t said yet that you can’t share those numbers. In general, about 10% of my earnings and just over 10% of my impressions are site-targeted ads. About 20/22% of the first ads on my front page are site-targets, 35/60% of the second ads, and 25/75% of the rest of the front page ads (with the first number being impressions and the second being earnings). As for ads on post pages, about 7% are site-targeted, and they earn about the same seven percent. As for the top of the page ad links, .0005 percent are site-targeted, and they earned basically nothing. This is definitely some interesting data, that many publishers are going to want to review more in the future.
Yahoo’s Publisher Network now has RSS ads available to all in the beta test. The ads work on Wordpress and Movable Type blogs. Instructions for posting them into your templates is here. The ads look like this:
I’ve added the ads to my Atom feed to see what they look like and see if they earn anything at all worth using.
I’ve been using YPN for ads on my blogs lately, since they seemed to pay so much better than AdSense, but earnings have dropped enough to make me consider switching back. CPM peaked on 11/08, and Tuesday’s CPM was less than a third of that. Anyone else experiencing massive drops?
ThreadWatch hosts a discussion about opting out of Google AdSense’s site targeted ads, and links to one publisher who quit AdSense altogether to get away from the program. We learn one interesting thing at the end: Site-targeted ads only appear if you select image ads, not text ads.
You just need to contact the Google AdSense Team and request it. Opting out has been in place since site targeting initially launched.
I requested an opt out and got this
Unfortunately, at this time, we don’t offer the option to display only cost-per-click (CPC) ads. However as you are aware, you can opt out of showing image ads altogether. While reviewing your account information I noted you’ve opted to show text ads only. This will also ensure that your websites will not include CPM ads
Make of that what you will…
Innaresting. No wonder those CPM ads for Text-Link-Ads seem to be images of text, and not actual text.
By the by, seeing an ad for Text-Link-Ads 800 times a day forced me to finally click on the ad and sign up with them. Of course, their ad delivery code didn’t work for me, so I guess you won’t be seeing those ads here any time soon.
Question: Is it wrong to comment on an advertiser, especially negatively?
Answer: Of course not!
Google is testing out a new AdSense feature on Ask The Builder that notifies readers that they can target ad campaigns to that site with their AdWords account. The page I linked to currently has a Google ad that has the text “Advertise on this site” in the upper right-hand corner of a 300×250 ad box. The text may contribute to slightly lower click-through rates, as it hurts the ads chances of blending in, but the increase in CPM ad buys through the link should make up for it.
The landing page for the link is here. It has a picture of the site owner, some history of the site and awards it has won, links to popular pages on the site, and info on buying site-targeted ads. Seems like a good deal, now how can I set up my own?
(via Dave Taylor > SEO Book > Findory)