Dirty Little Google AdSense Secrets

AdSense Ad Optimization
Last updated: August 22, 2019 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on August 22nd, 2019

Google has done a great job securing and growing their market share of advertising reach. How did they do this? The Google AdSense name is no doubt the biggest in the advertising platform market. Ease of use is definitely one of Google AdSense’s strongest traits as well. But, Google also has some AdSense secrets…

To top it all off, Google AdSense performs very well. This is because their contextual advertising platform is very well designed and optimized and they have one of the most advertisers online. Just because they perform well doesn’t mean you can’t do better though.

As I said before, to maximize your advertising revenues you have to splice in multiple networks. But how do you compare revenue stats and optimize? There are three ad metrics Google AdSense makes available to their clients:

Page eCPM

Page eCPM is the default ad metric Google offers to publishers. Most publishers solely look at this metric and forget about the rest. This is a mistake when you are splicing in other ad networks. The page eCPM is measured as the average eCPM a publisher makes per page view. It’s an aggregate of all the Google AdSense ads on one page. So, if you are splicing other ad networks your page eCPM will drop even if the specific ads are performing at the same eCPM.

Ad Unit eCPM

The ad unit eCPM is the average eCPM of each type of ad averaged into one eCPM. This is a better measurement when comparing the performance of other ad networks.

Individual Ad eCPM

Contextual vs placement eCPM is a great measurement to measure the performance of your ad creative testing and measure the effect of market drivers. Placement ads are impressions from advertisers that specifically found your website through Google AdWords and chose to advertise on it. Generally, these impressions pay higher eCPM’s because the advertisers are more targeted, bid higher and have already been performing well in the past with your website. Contextual impressions are all other impressions that stem from the contextual portion of AdSense. Advertisers bid on a keyword and if that keyword is found a substantial number of times on your webpage, that contextual ad will show up.

When you test different ad creative combinations for AdSense you should only use the contextual eCPM to measure its performance. Placement impressions aren’t as affected by your ad creative changes. They are more effected by the performance of the advertiser that has directly chosen your site to advertise on. Since placement eCPM’s tend to be higher you want to maximize them. Changes in placement impressions tend to be affected by market forces. If the economy is good, advertising goes up and advertisers put more money in their Google budgets which means you get more placement impressions.

The creation of the Page eCPM is pretty clever on Google’s part. Most publishers compare their page eCPM to other networks ad unit eCPM. This is like comparing the value of one apple to a whole carton of apples. The page eCPM will always be higher than the ad unit eCPM. In essence, the page eCPM is inflated because of this misinterpretation and Google AdSense gets way too much preference for impressions.

The best way to compare your Google AdSense eCPM’s with other ad networks is to drill down to specific ad sizes. You can do this through Doubleclick for Publishers in the reporting section. All you need to do is check  “AdSense eCPM” as one of the metrics and search each ad size and placement. Then you can get the specific ad eCPM for each size and placement. You can now use those to compare to the other ad networks. The idea is to give weight towards the ad network that is delivering the better eCPM’s for each ad size and placement. Then, you’ll be well on your way to boosting your advertisement revenues!

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