Over the last 15 years, AdSense has grown to support web publishers by connecting their audiences to advertisers, with the aim of keeping the web open and funding content creators. Earlier this month, we posted about the exciting future we have ahead of us and with this post, we'd like to tell you a little more about our upcoming quality efforts.
We’re already committed to initiatives such as the Better Ads Standards and we continue to strive to create a clean and fair ad network. Continuing our work on quality in AdSense makes it more attractive to advertisers which in turn leads to better outcomes for our partners. With this in mind, we're making some changes to the way you monetize new sites with AdSense.
What's changing? Before you can show ads on a new site, you now have to add the site to your AdSense account. Each new site will go through a verification process which checks that you own the domain or have the ability to modify its content. The process also reviews your site for compliance with the AdSense Program policies. After the checks are completed, your site will be marked as "Ready" and you can start showing ads. We're also renaming the My Sites tab to Sites and moving it further up the menu to make it easier to find. Any existing sites you’re monetizing should automatically appear in your sites list, accessed by clicking the new Sites tab. If you want to add more sites you’ll need to add them to this list.
How will this impact partners? For the vast majority of AdSense users, the only change will be the new Sites tab. However, for some of you, we may ask for help to find the correct ad code when you add a new site. If we require your help, we’ll reach out through email and notify you when you sign in to AdSense. So don’t forget to make sure we have the correct email address for you and that your email preferences are up to date.
During the holiday season advertisers have their busiest time of the year as users search for gifts and celebration ideas. Increased demand in advertising space leads to growing RPMs and surges in traffic. Make the most out of this busy season by preparing your site and ads for increased activity.
Take a look at our infographic with important tips on how to prepare for the holiday season.
You can also download it with clickable links for desktop and mobile.
Earlier this year, AdSense celebrated 15 years of partnering with digital content creators like you. A lot has changed since we started – new technology, new challenges, and new opportunities all driven by constantly changing user needs. A few things have endured though – the world has an insatiable appetite for great content and publishers like you remain the beating heart of the open web. Sharing in this mission with you, helping to create millions of sustainable content-first businesses on the web, keeps us going.
While we look back fondly on the last 15 years, your stories inspire us to keep looking forward. There’s lots more to do to support you and set AdSense and our ecosystem up for success for the next 15 years. With that in mind, we’d like to share a preview of how we plan to help you grow and play our part in making advertising work for everyone.
First up, smarter sizing, better ad placements and new formats powered by Google’s machine learning technology. We know you want to spend more time writing content and serving your users than managing ad tags and settings. We want that too. We’ve been investing heavily in understanding the best ways to increase user interest in ads, including when and what type of ads to show, while ensuring they complement your content and respect the experience of visitors to your site. Alongside these new capabilities, we’ll bring you the controls, reporting, and transparency you expect from AdSense to ensure we’re constantly meeting your needs along the way.
Secondly, we know that creating great content can take time, but making that content profitable shouldn’t. We’re hard at work on a number of new assistive features that give you more insight into your performance when you’re ready to take action, a clearer understanding of how you’re doing relative to your peers and the industry, and improved navigation to help you get it all done faster. We want to save you time so you can focus on the things that matter most to your business, like creating great content for your audiences.
Thirdly, AdSense and Google are committed to advertising that works for everyone and playing our part to ensure the ads ecosystem supports the diverse needs of publishers, advertisers and consumers. We’ll continue to meet and exceed important industry standards on ads quality, including the Better Ads Standards, to make sure that great publishers who make engaging content are rewarded, while advertisers can continue to spend with confidence.As we launch into the next 15 years and with it deliver these new features, we may need your help to keep your account up to date. If we do, you’ll hear from us by email over the coming months. Don’t forget to make sure we have the correct email address for you and that your preferences are up to date.
We’re just as excited about working with you now as we were when we launched 15 years ago. Thank you for being on the journey with us so far – here’s to another 15 years of partnership and shared success!
Posted by: Matthew Conroy - Senior Product Manager
Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. Lighthouse is designed to help publishers improve the quality of their web sites, by providing tools and features for their developers to run audits for performance, compatibility, progressive web apps, SEO, and more.
The SEO audit category within Lighthouse was designed to validate and reflect the SEO basics that every site should get right, and provides detailed guidance to fix those issues. Current audits include checks for valid rel=canonical tag, successful HTTP response code, page title and description and more.
Select the Options menu, click “SEO” and click OK, then generate report
Using Chrome Developer tools on Google Chrome:
Open Chrome Developer Tools
Go to Audits
Click Perform and audit
Click the “SEO” checkbox and click Run Audit.
The SEO audits category is not designed to replace any of your current strategies, or tools, nor does it make any SEO guarantees for Google websearch or other search engines. However, it covers some of the SEO best practices that are relevant for Webmasters and publishers who want to ensure their website is visible in Search. These checks are part of best practices that we provide for our publisher partners.
The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for shoppers and, therefore, for advertisers as well. The end of 2016 was a record-breaker for advertiser spend and this year projected to grow even more. It’s now is the time to get your website and ads ready so that you can make the most out of this busy season.
Check out our infographic with important stats and tips for you to get ready for this special time of the year:
The vast majority of online content creators fund their work with advertising. That means they want the ads that run on their sites to be compelling, useful and engaging--ones that people actually want to see and interact with. But the reality is, it’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web--like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page. These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads--taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.
We believe online ads should be better. That’s why we joined the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group dedicated to improving online ads. The group’s recently announced Better Ads Standards provide clear, public, data-driven guidance for how the industry can improve ads for consumers, and today I’d like to share how we plan to support it.
New tools for publishers
The new Ad Experience Report helps publishers understand how the Better Ads Standards apply to their own websites. It provides screenshots and videos of annoying ad experiences we’ve identified to make it easy to find and fix the issues. For a full list of ads to use instead, publishers can visit our new best practices guide.
“We’ve always put our users first and support the Coalition’s Better Ads efforts and standards. The report’s videos and screenshots are incredibly helpful and make the Coalition’s research actionable for our teams. We’re impressed with the level of detail and transparency Google is providing and commend this initiative.” - Troy Young, President, Hearst Digital Media
As part of our efforts to maintain a sustainable web for everyone, we want to help publishers with good ad experiences get paid for their work. With Funding Choices, now in beta, publishers can show a customized message to visitors using an ad blocker, inviting them to either enable ads on their site, or pay for a pass that removes all ads on that site through the new Google Contributor.
Funding Choices is available to publishers in North America, U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand and will be rolling out in other countries later this year. Publishers should visit our new best practices guide for tips on crafting the right message for their audience.
Chrome support for the Better Ads Standards
Chrome has always focused on giving you the best possible experience browsing the web. For example, it prevents pop-ups in new tabs based on the fact that they are annoying. In dialogue with the Coalition and other industry groups, we plan to have Chrome stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards starting in early 2018.
We believe these changes will ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising.
We look forward to working with the Coalition as they develop marketplace guidelines for supporting the Better Ads Standards, and are committed to working closely with the entire industry—including groups like the IAB, IAB Europe, the WFA, the ANA and the 4A’s, advertisers, agencies and publishers—to roll out these changes in a way that makes sense for users and the broader ads ecosystem.
Posted by Sridhar Ramaswamy Senior Vice President, Ads and Commerce
In part two of our series for new publishers to turn their #PassionIntoProfit, we’ll cover three steps you can take to set up you up for success. Following these insights won’t guarantee success, however it will give more opportunities for your ads to perform, while making sure they complement your site’s user experience.
To get started, we’ll discuss three topics:
Optimal ad placement
How to avoid policy violations
If you’re looking for an introductory overview of AdSense, check out the first part of this series where we cover the basics of AdSense.
Make the most of your ad placement
It’s important to keep the user in mind when deciding where to place ads. You want your ads to perform well, but adding too many can clutter your page for users.
Before you decide where to place ads, ask these 4 questions:
How do your users engage with your site?
Where is their attention going to be focused?
How can you place ads in focus areas without getting in the way of your content?
How can you keep all of your pages easy to navigate?
It’s a best practice to place ads next to the content your visitors are most likely to focus on, but take the time to make sure ads are clearly separate and identifiable from your content. Remember that ads that confuse or mislead visitors violate the AdSense program policies and are not allowed. Other ad placement actions that can lead to policy violations include:
Mirroring or rewriting content from other sources without adding value
Pages with more advertising than publisher content
Here are a few ad placement best practices that may improve the viewability of your ads.
For mobile sites, place a 320x100 ad above the fold, where it will be visible to everyone who lands on your page.
For desktop sites, use vertical ad units, which remain visible as users move around a page. The 300x600 layout is one of the fastest growing ad sizes, and is popular with advertisers who want to increase brand awareness.
Try to lay out your content in a way that holds your visitor’s attention and entices them to continue reading.
Optimize for mobile
Today, there are now more searches on mobile than on desktop. This increase in mobile traffic has increased user expectations of mobile site performance. Meeting the expectations of mobile users continues to be a challenge for publishers. 53% of mobile users will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load, with that number rising to 74% for pages that take longer than 5 seconds.
Publishers who don’t adapt to mobile user needs are less likely to retain new visitors. This reduces their ability to convert site visits into ad revenue.
To get your mobile site up to speed, keep these insights in mind:
Dedicate time to discover current issues on your mobile site: Tools like PageSpeed Insights, Mobile-Friendly Test, and Web Page Test will highlight the areas of your site that need attention.
Monitor your progress: Run regular A/B tests to audit performance and remove anything that lowers speed or harms user experience. Whenever you update your analytics data, evaluate your requests and remove outdated collection pixels.
Once you’ve got your fast mobile site running smoothly on small-screens, take these additional steps to maximize your profits and ensure that you’re compliant with the AdSense program policies.
Help prevent accidental clicks by moving ad units 150 pixels away from your content.
Use the 320x100 ad size instead of the 320x50 where possible. By using the 320x100 ad unit, you allow the 320x50 ad to compete as well, doubling the fill-rate competition.
Place a 320x100 ad unit just above the fold.
Be as consistent as possible across screens - make it easy for users to find what they’re looking for regardless of the device they’re using.
Keep AdSense safe for everyone
After signing up for an AdSense account, you’ll need to make sure your website is policy-compliant before getting approved.
While AdSense will work behind the scenes to maximize your performance, it’s your responsibility to make sure your content and placements adhere to AdSense policies.
Violation of AdSense policies can lead to your account being suspended or your website removed from the network. To keep your account in good standing, follow these best practices:
Don’t click your own ads, or ask others to click them. These clicks won’t count toward revenue and may lead to an account suspension. Even if you’re interested in an ad or looking for its destination URL, clicking on your own ads is considered an invalid click and is prohibited.
Maximize content, not ads per page. It’s important that original, regularly updated content remains the focal point of your website.
Don’t use deceptive layouts. If the line between your content and your ads becomes blurred to your readers, those ads will be flagged as a violation.
Take responsibility for your traffic. Use Google Analytics to quickly identify and resolve unusual traffic patterns. If you’re unsure of what counts as invalid traffic, then watch this short video.
For the seventh installment of the #SuccessStack, we’ll explore the topic of viewability for video ads and take a look at how mastering this could boost your earnings from video ads on your site.
Why is viewability for video important?
On YouTube, over 50% of viewership happens on a mobile device and the number of hours people spend watching videos on mobile is up 100% YoY. So, adding video content represents a huge opportunity for publishers and advertisers alike. But as with display advertising, advertisers are now looking to transact only on viewable video. This means that publishers looking to grow their earnings from this dominant media type will have to ensure they are delivering viewable ads.
How do we classify viewability for video ads?
A video ad is viewable when at least 50% of the ad’s pixels are visible on a screen for at least two consecutive seconds, as defined by the Media Rating Council (MRC), in conjunction with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).
What factors affect viewability for video ads?
Device: Video ads are more easily viewed on mobile (73%) or tablet (81%) devices than desktop (64%).1
Location: 76% of non viewable video ads were never on screen at all, for instance because they are on tabs situated behind the one the user is looking at.2 Additionally, videos positioned in the center of the page and towards the top are the most visible locations on the page.3
Player Size: Bigger players deliver better viewability. The most popular player size of 300x250 offers only 20% viewability whereas the 848x477 is the second most popular size but offers a huge improvement of 89% viewability.4
What can you do to improve viewability in your video content?
Choose a bigger player: Larger player sizes have been shown to have a positive correlation with viewability and other key metrics that advertisers care about, so advertisers are increasingly targeting them. In Q1 2016 on DBM, growth in spend on large players outpaced all other player sizes combined by 17%.5
Spread your content: The average viewability of video ads across the web is 66%, whereas YouTube offers 93%.6 Hosting your video content on YouTube as well as on your site could allow you to benefit from this uplift.
Be more mobile: Mobile friendly sites that encourage traffic from mobile devices and tablets can increase viewability for video ads. For example YouTube viewability rises to 95% on mobile devices.7
Give video content top billing: As we’ve seen above, placing content at the top of the page in the center and using a larger player size both increase viewability. So give your video content the highest possible profile on the page to increase viewability.
Alongside your work on video viewability, you’ll want to make sure you have the right tools in place for managing the video ads you serve. To make sure you’ve got the right tools in place, have a chat with one of our experts. They can offer a personalized consultation to help you make the right choice for your business. Book a slot.
In the next edition of the #SuccessStack series, we look at page speed, a metric that became even more important in 2016 and directly impacts the first interaction your site has with its users.
What is page speed?
Page speed measures how quickly the viewable elements of a web page load. In other words, it measures how long it takes before a user can view and interact with a page on the site. It’s a particularly critical metric for the mobile user experience --- recent research from DoubleClick indicates that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load.
Consider page speed a user-centric measurement since users typically focus on one page at a time and expect fast experiences on every page they interact with. If your page speed isn’t good, you may lose the opportunity to keep users engaged and on your site for longer.
How does page speed impact ad revenue?
The more quickly a user can access your content, the more likely they are to engage with the content on the page and explore more pages on your site. Our study shows that ads on faster mobile pages are likely to be more viewable. The study also projects that mobile sites that load within 5 seconds vs 19 seconds earn up to 2X greater revenue.
While revenue can be impacted by many factors, improving page speed will lead to a better user experience and possibly increased ad revenue.
The ultimate page speed infographic
Our recent page speed studies found many notable learnings that may help paint the picture of the importance of page speed and the impact it can have on your site’s earnings.
If you’re wondering which Google tools will be most useful to help grow your business, then you’ll benefit from a chat with one of our experts. They can offer a personalised consultation to help you make the right choice for your site. Book your consultation today.