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May 31, 2006

AdSense and AdWords Undergo Changes

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There are a few important changes being made to both AdSense and AdWords. Some you may have heard about, but others perhaps not. Here’s all the info you need to respond and adapt accordingly.

AdSense API Beta: We’re sure you’ve heard the rumors that Google was dutifully working on a new API that would allow members of content-driven community sites (like YouTube and MySpace) to integrate AdSense ads into their pages. Rumors that seemed legitimized after RateItAll accidentally leaked a press release yesterday (dated May 18th no less) discussing these APIs and their implementation of them. These rumors have now been confirmed.

In true Google fashion, the AdSense blog decided to make the official announcement a mere day after the snafu. Yes, Google has created a new AdSense API that will allow community sites to pay people contributing content. Go ahead, look shocked.

The beta AdSense API allows developers to perform an array of AdSense functions, such as create and modify accounts, generate code snippets, add Google search results to their site and enable users to use referral buttons, without ever leaving their site.

But we knew all this was coming, even before RateItAll spilled the beans. How? Well, this was a pretty clear sign. You can’t have a blog for something that doesn’t exist. Thank Google’s Eric Case for that paper trail.

While this could prove to be enormous for user generated content sites that can now pay members for contributing, it’s not necessarily a slam dunk. As John Battelle notes, user generated content sites aren’t normally driven by the bottom line, they’re driven by pride and other social peer pressure aspects. Will the chance to make a buck change the nature of UGC? I guess we’ll see.


Ad Scheduling/ Dayparting for AdWords: Dayparting allows marketers to turn their PPC ads on and off depending on the day of the week and time of day. Advanced scheduling options mean ads are only running when they have the best chances to convert. Cool, right?

Very cool. Dayparting helps advertisers do several things. First, its budget control for ad campaigns. Allowing advertisers to turn off their campaigns when their target audience is not likely to be viewing them saves advertising spend and limits wasted clicks. It can also be used to lower bids during off-peak times so you can maintain your presence while making better use of those marketing dollars.

A more unconventional (and more branding-based) use for Dayparting would be to purposely turn on your bids when you know your competition is turning them off. This will allow you to increase your presence at low cost, and enable your company’s name to appear in queries others are opting out of.

Dayparting is scheduled to be released sometime in June, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until then to prepare. We recommend you take a look at your conversion metrics now. When is your conversion rate the highest? On what days? At what times? Knowing this information is the first step to targeted scheduling.


Mighty AdsBot: In December 2005, Google announced landing page quality would be used in determining a site’s Quality Score equation. Fast forward a few months and meet AdsBot, the dedicated spider responsible for task.

The AdsBot will visit your landing page, follow all links on the page, evaluate its quality and report that information back to Google. Google will then use the collected data to assign minimum CPC prices.

Users can elect to opt out of the AdsBot, but in doing so you will immediately be labeled a ‘non-participating advertiser’ by Google. Also, you can bet opting out will cause your Quality Score to take a noticeable hit. We recommend handling the AdsBot like you would a tantrum-throwing two-year-old: give it what it wants! In this case it’s a well-designed landing page that uses compelling copy to target keywords.

To make friends with the AdsBot, make sure your landing pages conform to Google’s Landing Page and Site Quality Guidelines.

Consider yourself caught up.

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