Is too much blending bad for business?


after spending a lot of thoughts about smart pricing which is most likely
grained down to the Ad Unit Level on AdSense I came to the following conclusions:

  • The better Users convert for the Advertisers the more money you will make over time.
  • Users convert better if they click on an Ad Unit because they are interested in what is advertised.
  • Blending is important to make the Ads complement your content and not make them intrusive.
  • Too much blending however could make users see Ads as your content and make them feel “tricked” when they realize that they just clicked on an Ad. They will more likely not convert for the Advertiser.

Especially the last point is important.

I run several forums where my main audience is not very tech savvy and therefor don’t realize the difference between Ads and Content even though Google places “Google-Advertising” below its Ad Units.

I just realized that after my brother visited my forum and said “OH, you have 8 doctors currently online?” and I said “no, that is an AD”.

So I thought about better marking Ad Units more clearly as Advertisement and do that consistently over my website.

I tried to find the right balance between marking the Ads as Advertisement but don’t make it so obvious that users get repelled from it. So, I make sure that there is some white space between Content and Ad and put an additional mentioning “ANZEIGE” (German for “Advertisement”) outside.

This way the conversion rate should go up and Smart Pricing should work in my favor.

For more info about smart pricing read this: What’s up with that smart pricing?

So far I did not see any changes, neither in CTR nor in eCPM but I just
did that a few days ago.

What are your thoughts about this matter?


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12 Responses to Is too much blending bad for business?

  1. Toon says:
    I think it shows that you care for you users experience, making money from clicks is one thing but you show that you don't want to trick people into clicking them
  2. admin says:
    Isn't that the main problem of all people complaining about being "smart priced"?

    They trick users into clicking Ads and when they don't convert for the advertiser and the publisher therefor gets "smart priced" they complain.

    We'll see if this approach has a positive effect on my income.

    However I think it will be hard to statistically proof the effect because my AdSense stats are always in an uphill trend.
  3. JamesColin says:
    Yes, but it's the same issue as "fewer ads = more money?"

    Some say that fewer ads = less CTR but higher CPC

    But does a higher CPC with less clicks result in increased or decreased earnings?

    Same goes with ad blending and smart pricing, are you sure that by having a more favorable smart pricing but less clicks will result in an increased earning?

    I agree with you I'm not sure you can measure that.
  4. admin says:
    I wrote about the "less Ads more revenue" here:

    Less ads more revenue? Tale or truth?

    Also what I noticed is that my eCPM raised a lot since I wrote this, however I made so many changes and there is the Christmas season as another reason for increased eCPM that I can't really make more then an educated guess.
  5. Kolbi says:
    Do you have new statistics about the increase of eCPM with the hint "Advertisement"?
  6. admin says:
    No specific stats but my eCPM is constantly increasing so in combination with my other changes, it did not hurt in the grand scheme of things :)
  7. Kolbi says:
    Currently I'm testing it with the "Advertisement" hint and my eCPM decreased a little bit. About 8% less eCPM...
  8. BattleStrats says:
    Can you put ad links and regular adsense ads close to one another? I know you can't put images next to ad links so how does that work if your ads are showing images?
  9. Berlino says:
    Did you see any change of eCPM since you changed this - you only added "Anzeigen" in the corner or different colors also?
  10. admin says:
    My eCPM is always fluctuating so I can't give you more detailed statistics.

    However as a German webmaster you need to have this labelling anyway by law.

    For more read: Werberechtliches Trennungsverbot im Internet (PDF)
  11. Berlino says:
    So the effect ist not perceived clearly - its not impressive, isn't it? Google is labeling their Advertisments anyway - you did it more clearly is my impression.
  12. admin says:
    Yes and that was my intention.

    But there are so many factors playing into RPM messures that I can't tell you which change had which effect.

    However I want my site to be clean and I don't want to trick my users.

    If they click they click because they are interested in an Ad and not because they think it is my content.

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