• Tom Purcell

What is Google Adsense and how do I host Google Ads?

UPDATE:  Article from 2008!  Information is for posterity sake as Google’s Adwords has changed much over the past 10 years.  In a nutshell it has very much moved away from affordable small business marketing towards larger national brands advertising.  I am not as much of a supporter as I used to be of their Pay Per Click ads for many reasons.

For those of you who ever asked “How does Google’s Advertising work?” I’ve done a little homework on Google’s advertising system and thought I’d share the results.

Today, I signed up with *Google’s AdSense* program, and am here to explain Google’s modes of ad delivery and show you some examples. Just for the record, I’ve been at this long enough to have overcome that late 90’s internet idea of an Ad-Free universe. Ads are important building blocks in the structure that is our web based world economy. Don’t hate ads, just hate the random poorly delivered ones. Some of which may well be incoming. This blog is a bit of an experiment.

Quick background check; for about 6 years I’ve been on the other end of the *Google AdSense* program– *Google AdWords* — building sponsor ads and banners while marketing our resort. I’ve always wanted to try ad delivery out, so figure I’d explain as I show you the advertising options from Google.

Well it get’s more interesting…

So how do you make a _cool_ ad on a blog about graphic design that someone will want to watch? Well, with any luck Google/YouTube is about to deliver one in the form of a random YouTube Photoshop Tutorial peppered with little text ads …

*UPDATE: YOU CAN’T! Google dropped this service.* Oh well! I’ll leave the information below regarding Video ad units for posterity.

What that ad represents is how Google is leveraging their purchase of the YouTube service. They call these *Video Units*. It appears that anyone who currently has a video blog, or video posted on YouTube are now the unwitting suppliers for commercials. Or more specifically, the commercials are the text that overlay the footage.

As an Adsense member you can tailor your *Video Unit* by Keyword, Category (Autos, Entertainment, Science etc), and Channel. A Channel is essentially a YouTube member id/profile with publicly viewable videos. Being able to choose a channel for content, hopefully, delivers a video ad that’s useful or reflects your site’s audience interest. But in some cases you get fairly random stuff. In an unfortunate way however, these Video Units sort of say “Hey, why are you here reading this website when you could be watching crazy stuff at YouTube instead?”

I’ve always had a thing for internet tutorials, so I don’t feel like a schmoe for posting some in the hope a buck or two might fall into my lap. On the flip side, these ads remind me more of the slag you find decorating people’s MySpace pages. _Anyway…_

Google’s other ads are their text only ones, or *AdSense for Content*. Google reads your website and delivers ads based on your site’s text content. This is hit or miss. A huge MISS in some cases. For example in the case of a currently in-development web-based game called “Ant Colony”:http://www.antcolonygame.com/ Google delivers Orkin and Pest Control ads. It would be great to simply have _negative_ keywords, but alas.

Unlike the YouTube delivered ads, there is little control in steering Google’s Text Ads in the right direction. The closest they give is allowing you to restrict specific website domains from appearing. Considering how important ad targeting is, it is a letdown that someone interested in looking to play an online game is presented with with pest control ads, I am very disappointed in Google for not improving their ad targeting.

*UPDATE:* _The Ant Colony Game website now delivers better Google ads with the addition “filler” text that reiterates the text “online game” over and over again. The dark-side of this is now to deliver relevant Google’s adverts means the advertising controls the content. I find this in contradiction to Google’s DO NO EVIL policy. Email me if this isn’t clear._

I’m actually a little curious to see what Google deems worthy to advertise on my blog… So there. I just pasted in the code for a little *Adsense for Content* text box on the right side-bar of my layout just above my Work & Clients.

_And…_ Not bad, it appears to be some graphic design related stuff. We’ll see.

There is also an *Adsense for Mobile Content* which is similiar to AdSense for Content, but as you may have guessed they are just smaller text ads suitable for iPhones and Blackberrys and small websites that cater to lil format.

The final and least exciting AdSense option from the greatest Search Engine of All Time is… a search bar! Perhaps the most useful from a user’s perspective *AdSense for Search*.

_”Offer your users site search or web search while earning revenue from ads relevant to their search terms.”_

A user searches, gets Google results plus sponsored ads as usual, and I am expecting large shiny gold bars to arrive anytime now. Actually, every $100 they mail you a check. For a site like mine, that could take 3-4 months. It pays the hosting tho.

Setting up an Adsense account is straightforward and easy as pie. If you already have a Gmail account then Google can use that. In a nutshell you simply pick from some ad options, choose colors, and it spits out a little Javascript which you paste into your website code.

So, now that you have finished reading this and hopefully have some insight as to how Google makes their bazzillions, why don’t you search for something? Or… Start squating popular domain names and slather the homepage with loads of Google ads with your new found knowledge. Just ask Google, but do me one little favor, click on their #1 sponsor:

Or, if you want to sign up for *Google’s AdSense* program, just go “here”:http://adsense.google.com/. And no, I’m not earning any referral money from that link.

*UPDATE* Over the course of about 2 days, Google has earned me a total of $1.45. Of course writing an article about advertising kind of lends itself to a few curious clicks…

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