Section 9.1. Ad Performance

9.1. Ad Performance

When you log into AdSense from the AdSense home page at (after your account is up and running and you have ads on your site), the first thing you'll see is the Reports Overview window, with the current day's earnings displayed, as shown in Figure 9-1.

Clicking one of the AdSense for content or AdSense for search links shown at the bottom of Figure 9-1 opens the Advanced Report tab for content or search preloaded with the specified report.

Click the top channels link shown in Figure 9-1 to see the statistics for your top-performing channels (Figure 9-2).

When you click the Advanced Reports-Ad Performance link (Figure 9-1) or the view all AdSense for content channels link (Figure 9-2), the Advanced Reports window opens, as shown in Figure 9-3. This is used to monitor your performance in the AdSense Content program.

Figure 9-1. When you open AdSense, you'll see your page impressions, clicks, and earnings for the current day

Figure 9-2. The top channels display lets you see at a glance which of your channels are performing

To monitor your AdSense search results, click the Search Performance link on the Reports tab.

It's quite appropriate that the Ad Performance statistics should be the first thing you see in the AdSense application, because as an AdSense publisher, you need to keep a close watch on these statistics. This chapter goes into the details of slicing and dicing the information you can get from the Report screen, but let's start with the mile-high view first.

The most important statistic for you to pay attention to is the Page CTR (or Page click-through rate). This statistic measures what percentage of ads are clicked. Page CTR should be in the 0.5% to 2% range (meaning from 1 to 4 of every 200 ads are clicked). As you'll see when you learn about the AdWords program in Chapter 10, a 2% CTR is a home run; it's more normal to expect something slightly below 1%.

Figure 9-3. You can see at a glance how many times your pages have been displayed (page impressions) and how many people have clicked on the Google ads on your pages

Click-through rates are higher for ads displayed on Google search results pages than they are on web content pages, perhaps because it is easier to serve really relevant ads when people are searching for something specific rather than simply surfing web pages.

If your CTR is consistently below 0.5% for more than a day or two, meaning that fewer than 1 in 200 ads are clicked, then you need to take remedial actionfast! Your traffic is going to waste.

Most likely, the problem is that Google is not able to accurately serve relevant ads on your pages, because you haven't written the pages to make clear the most important content they contain (see Chapter 3 for information about how to fix this). Try tweaking your pages to emphasize their significant content areas. In addition, try changing the position on your page of the AdSense ad units, the kind of ad units, and the graphic schemes used in these ad units (see Chapter 8 for information about changing ad units and their palettes). Carefully monitor the Reports tab to see which of these measures improves your CTR.

You should also be monitoring your comparative performance. Over timeusing fairly broad time slices such as weeks or monthsis the absolute number of impressions going up (or down)? And what about CTR? If either the number of impressions or your CTR is declining, you should be concerned and consider revisiting your ad layouts and site content and positioning.

9.1.1. Running Reports

The Ad Performance interface is designed to generate reports. To generate a report, pick your date range, select page or unit impressions, choose aggregate versus channel data (and select your channels), and click Display Report.

The initial AdSense settings are to display an aggregate, page unit report for the current day. When you log into AdSense subsequently, it displays the settings for the most recent report you ran. The best idea probably is to generate daily reports to get a sense of how your AdSense account is doing in real time. You may also want to generate weekly and monthly reports to get a more long-term perspective. Choosing a date range

You can choose any data range you'd like, by date, from the inception of your AdSense account to the current point in time, all using the interface shown in Figure 9-4; or you can choose one of the preset time spans that Google always has available.

Figure 9-4. You can choose a preset time span or a date range

The preset time spans are:

  • Today

  • Yesterday

  • 2 days ago

  • Last 7 days

  • This month

  • Last month

  • This week (Monday-Sunday)

  • Last week (Monday-Sunday)

  • Last business week (Monday-Friday)

  • All time

The "all time" preset time period means from the beginning of your AdSense account through the current day; it does not include the age of the dinosaurs or the birth of the Roman Empire. Page or unit impressions

Google lets you put up to three AdSense ad units, plus one link unit, on a single page; accordingly, you can display impressions (the number of times something is displayed) by either page or unit, using the drop-down list shown in Figure 9-5.

Figure 9-5. Individual ad unit impressions are likely to be a higher number than page impressions, because you can have more than one ad unit per page

If you put a single ad unit on each of your pages, then displaying data by page or unit will show the same thing.

It's easy to be tempted to throw four AdSense units (three ad units and one link unit) up on each of your pages, but try to resist this temptation. Experienced webmasters generally find that CTR goes down as pages become too loaded with ads, even AdSense ads. Aggregate versus channel data

You can choose to display AdSense data for your entire account by selecting the Aggregate data radio button shown in Figure 9-6.

Figure 9-6. If you display data by channel, you can choose from URL channels or from Custom channels

Alternatively, you can select Channel data to show as many or as few channels as you'd like.

As explained in Chapter 8, URL channels display information from the specified web address. In contrast, Custom channels can be applied to whichever ad units you'd like to group togetherfor example, they can span multiple domains and not include all units in those domainsbut must be specified before the ad units are created and included in the ad unit code.

When you are showing data by Channel, you can use the Group data by radio buttons to display statistics organized by date, channel, or grouped using both.

9.1.2. Statistics

A famous aphorism says, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics," meaning you can support any statement, and sound authoritative, so long as you quote statistics. Fortunately, the statistics shown in an AdSense Ad Performance report are simple enough that they are hard to misinterpret, but you should be clear about the terminology used.

Each report will show you daily statistics (each of these is a column in the AdSense report, as shown in Figure 9-7):


An ad impression is recorded each time an AdSense ad unit is displayed. A page impression is recorded each time a web page containing an AdSense ad unit is displayed. A single display of a web page containing three ad units would produce one page impression and three ad impressions .


A visitor's click on an ad on a publisher's page. Public service ad clicks are not included in this statistic.

Google reserves the right to audit clicks and retroactively remove clicks that it deems invalid, for example, if Google finds you have been clicking ads on your own pages. These clicks will show up in the report that is displayed, even though you won't make any money from them.


CTR (click-through rate) the number of clicks an ad unit receives divided by the number of times the ad unit is displayed (ad unit impressions).


eCPMeffective CPM (cost per thousand impressions)is calculated by dividing the total earnings by the number of impressions in thousands. For example, if a publisher earned $100 from 20,000 impressions, the eCPM would equal $100/20, or $5.00. The point of this metric is to provide a way to compare AdSense's CPC revenue with the money you might make from other forms of advertising, namely CPM (see Chapter 5 for more information about CPM advertising).

Your earnings

This column shows your earnings, either in aggregate or for selected channels. These are not final numbers, and may be subject to adjustments. (See "Your Earnings" later in this chapter for information about final earnings numbers.)

The Point of eCPM

eCPM is related to CTRthe higher the CTR, the better the eCPM comparison. Google includes this metric as a way to compare apples to applesAdSense CPC with conventional CPM advertisingand stacks the deck slightly in its own favor while doing so. (I would, too, if I had a program that delivers as well as AdSense.)

The normal cost of CPM advertising is in the $3 to $4 ballpark. If you have a reasonable CTR (anything better than about 1.5%), your eCPM will demonstrate that you are doing significantly better than you would have with conventional CPM advertising.

Figure 9-7. You should monitor your earnings for trends and inconsistencies (such as the relatively poor result shown on Thursday of the week in this figure)

You can sort the report by one of these columns by clicking the column header (Figure 9-5). For example, if you have a month's worth of data displayed and want to see it with the day with most clicks displayed first, clicking on Clicks will accomplish this sort.

9.1.3. Downloading a CSV File

You can download the data in your AdSense report by clicking the Download CSV file link (shown in the upper right of Figure 9-7). The file is a plain text file formatted with comma-separated values, and it can be opened in a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel (shown in Figure 9-8) for further analysis.

Google Advertising Tools. Cashing in with AdSense, AdWords, and the Google APIs
Google Advertising Tools: Cashing in with Adsense, Adwords, and the Google APIs
ISBN: 0596101082
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 145
Authors: Harold Davis

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