On Not | Mo Chit

June 28, 2004

Google Public Service Ads Going Nowhere has had Google Ads for the past couple of months. We haven't made a lot of money on Google Ads because our readership is at best 60 or so people, and our ads are so well integrated with the site you may not notice them. Once in a while our traffic spikes like when Scoble linked to my anti-aliasing challenge. Given that, most people don't click on the Google Ads.

Recently, Google has been putting a ton of public service ads on our page instead of Jabber vendors or some of the photography related products which appear sometimes. I didn't really think much of it at first, but then today I realized why we're getting so many of public service ads.

It basically boils down to how the Google's AdWords program works. In AdWords, you have advertising campaigns with keywords. For each keyword, Google keeps track of the number of impressions and the click-through rate. They take the percentage of the click-through rate and the number of impressions to rate how well that keyword is performing. If the keyword performs very poorly, it will eventually become disabled.

What does this have to do with the Public Service Ads? Well, if Google can tell that putting the ad on my website has a really low probability of being clicked on by our readers, then that hurts the advertisers click-through / impressions ratio. Instead, Google just throws up a Public Service Ad which guards against a wasted impression. All this time I thought they're putting up public service ads just to be nice.

So even though the page may relate to the advertisement, this type of selective advertising helps out the advertising campaign's statistics. Unfortunately, it means that a lot of the ads placed by Google on Going Nowhere aren't going to produce revenue for us because Public Service Ads aren't relevant to our content.

The implication of this is that Google ad campaigns may not be as successful as Google would like you to believe. For example, if the relevant ad campaigns aren't close to losing keywords, why would Google be concerned with protecting the click / impression ratio? This is speculative, by the way, and it may be just a reflection of individual ad campaigns instead of the Google Ads as a whole.

Personally, I don't really care, because I know our posting style is pretty much stream of consciousness. It could be possible that if our readership increased that Google would undo our Public Service Ads detention. If not, I may as well get any-old advertisement program running on our site.

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