There is a feature in Google Adsense where you can get paid by impressions instead of per click. This isnt something that you have to set up, it just happens automatically - though not everyone realizes you are getting paid per impression instead of per click on some ads that show on your site... or how to view the stats on these types of ads.
It's called Site Targeting. (And it sucks, if you ask me)
I first caught on to this when I noticed that instead of four ads showing in the Large Rectangle ad format... there was just one big ad. And this ad was showing up on several of my websites - namely my forum, blog and internet marketing related site.
I asked a friend about this, and he suggested that I make a note of them and then put those URLs in my Competitive Ad Filter - which means their ads are blocked on all of my sites. This sounded like solid advice, and it was coming from a trusted source, so that's what I did.
But as I was noticing another ad on my sites today that appeared to be site targeting me... I decided to look into it a bit. Honestly, I was clueless as to how all this 'site targeting stuff' worked.
Here's how Google explains Site Targeting:
Site-targeted ads allow an advertiser to select the specific sites they feel are most appropriate to their campaign, and run their ads only on those sites. This allows access to web pages that may not be keyword relevant, but that attract a highly relevant audience for their message.
Site-targeted ads are also pay-per-impression ads - each time an ad is served, the advertiser pays their preselected amount, and Google shares this payment with the publisher on whose page the ad was served. So, unlike the pay-per-click ads to which you've become accustomed, you'll be paid for simply displaying these ads on your pages.
We provide separate reporting for site-targeted ads and contextually-targeted ads, so you'll know whether site-targeted ads are appearing on your pages.
The separate reporting bit got my attention. I hadnt noticed that in my own Adsense account. But apparently I didnt dig deep enough. Here's the scoop:
Can I view separate reports for site-targeted and contextually-targeted ads?
Yes - you can view combined reports, or choose to separate out statistics by type of ad targeting. To view separate data by targeting type, visit your Advanced Reports page. Then choose AdSense for content as the product, select to show data by 'Individual Ad Unit,' and check the box marked Show data by targeting type - contextual or site. Generate a report as usual, and a new column will appear providing details about the type of ad targeting displayed on your pages.
So I logged into my Adsense account, followed those steps... and there were the stats, just like they said. Would you like to know how much I got paid per impression on these site targeted ads that were showing up on my sites?
Hmm. I dont think I'm supposed to tell you that. How about this:
(that means it was very little)
Think about it. Anybody can choose to advertise on your site and set their price. They bump relevant ads that Google would have chosen for your pages, and get exposure to all of your hard earned traffic.
What do YOU think? Is it happening to you? Did you even realize it?
I was reading the Adsense Site Targeting thread over at WebmasterWorld earlier today, and they suggested that you could disable this feature by un-checking the "OnSite Advertiser Sign up" section under My Account.
The thing is, I did that last month. And I am STILL getting stats for site targeted ads... So what gives??
Looking at my stats, I want those ads OFF of my pages. Unfortunately they dont give us the URLs of the advertisers that are site-targeting. You have to keep an eye on your pages and make a 'best guess' at which ads are the offenders. And obviously we arent all seeing the same ads - due to location and other factors.
To be fair, I can see how site targeting might be a good thing - in some cases. I mean, it sounds good doesnt it, to get paid per impression for displaying Adsense?
But in MY stats it is very obvious that it is doing neither of us (ANY of us - the advertiser, the visitors OR me) any good at all. Go check your stats at Adsense. I'd love to hear what you think...