Switching Blog Ad Providers

Regular readers might remember that I was graciously included in the launch of Feedster’s Media Network offering back in late April. At the time, I mentioned that I was experimenting with a variety of RSS ad providers, that I would run Feedster’s ads on my blog until their RSS solution was ready, and that I’d report back on my results/findings.

Well, after roughly two months of poorly targeted contextual ads, I have a whopping $1.87 “pending” in my Feedster/Adbrite account. (It’s pending because $1.87 isn’t nearly enough to trigger a payout.) During the period, there were 14,253 impressions and 24 clicks, for a CTR of 0.00168 (or roughly a sixth of one percent), an effective (i.e., my share) CPC of $0.078, and an effective CPM of $0.13. I received zero offers to run ads directly on my site for the automatically computed price of $11.88/day or $285.00/mth; two notes on that… 1) who would given the published CTR of the house ads, and 2) I did zero to promote this myself, relying on the “your ad here” link to do its thing.

So, experiment over, and I’m moving on. Next up is Google Adsense (for the blog). It will sit in the same location as the Feedster/AdBrite ads, and will be Google’s standard skyscraper form-factor. Details when I hit a comparable number of impressions (which may be a bit, as my Google traffic has fallen off significantly since the last dance).

On the RSS Ads front… still waitng for something compelling enough to turn you all into a bunch of guiena pigs… perhaps new options will be available after Gnomedex? 😉

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7 comments on “Switching Blog Ad Providers
  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Tony – just wanted to let you know that RSSads is now live. Check it out, maybe its just what you’re looking for!


  2. Emil Sotirov says:


    I’m reading regularly your blog (you’re on my.yahoo along with BBC News and Reuters). I just wanted to suggest a little adjustment to your AdSense ad block that may give you enough revenue to buy you a beer at the end of the month… on me… so to say… :)… as a token of my gratitude for your intelligent writing. Take out the blue border. Here is the code:

    google_color_border = “FFFFFF”;
    google_color_bg = “FFFFFF”;

    This is totally ok with the folks at AdSense… especially with your clearly marked area for advertisement.

    Emil Sotirov

  3. Tony Gentile says:

    Emil: Hey, thanks for taking the time to stop by and drop off the AdWords tip (I’m definitely a sucker for free beer!). I’m not going to take your tip, only because I want to run each solution as close to “default” as possible so that I can try to make a reasonably objective comparison (knowing that this is all highly unscientific).

    However… I’m very (very) interested in hearing about the data you have on why changing the border colors would make a measurable difference in CTR. Do you have a post I can point everyone to on this???

  4. Emil Sotirov says:

    Tony… you caught me. I don’t really have data – proving that minimizing the visual separation between ad and editorial spaces works for better clickthrough rates with the AdSense ads.

    Here is what the AdSense people have to say about this:
    “You may find that colors that stand out without overshadowing your content are better for your site than colors that blend in so well, the ads are practically invisible. However, you may find that colors that blend in completely perform better. However you choose your color palettes, make sure that it complements the color scheme of the page.” (https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/static.py?page=tips.html)

    As soon as I come up with some non-trivial thoughts (trivial I have plenty)… or surprising data… on the subject, I’ll be back here to comment.


  5. Emil Sotirov says:

    Still more from the AdSense people about colors (from their “AdSense Optimization Webinar”):

    “…Here you’ll see a snapshot of Topics.net with the ads by Google. You can see with the colors that they’ve chosen that it blends well with their site. It matches the background and it looks like it provides additional content and compliments the site rather than contrasts against the site.

    The reason the color palette is so important is because it adds to the content and not separate from the content and what happens is, something that we call ad blindness; so the more you blend in with the site, the less chance that ad blindness will occur.”

    Full transcript at: http://www.google.com/services/adsense_webinar.html

  6. Tony Gentile says:

    Emil, you’re a rockstar. Thank you, this is very valuable stuff. Will try to blog it (like everything else) “soon”.

  7. Emil Sotirov says:

    An update… and deep thoughts from Jason… read the whole story.

    “‘AdSense provides ads that are more like content than advertising,’ Calacanis comments. ‘They inform people.’ His team also witnessed a 10 to 20 percent jump in ad performance when they matched the ad colors to the site, recognizing the sophistication of the blog audience. ‘The ads are respectful of the user,’ he says.”

    How can we argue with Jason… 🙂