Monday, November 16, 2009

How To Maximize Your AdSense Performance with Channels

Thanks so much to Carrie at for this guest post.

Are you a Google Adsense user? It's Google's pay-per-click ad platform for publishers. It looks at the content on your site and shows text or image ads targeted to that content. When you create an ad in Google Adsense, you'll go through all the steps to define a size, text or image or both, choose a color scheme, etc. Then at the end, you have the option to add it to a "channel".

Now, when I first started blogging I had no clue what a channel was. OK, laugh at me -- I thought it was something that was supposed to match the subject matter of my site, like I'd have a "coupon" channel like there's a "game show" channel on TV. Yes, seriously.

But, when I learned what channels really were, I got excited that I could actually know which ads were performing! I'm pretty anti-clutter, so once I learned that the ads that were 3/4 of the way down the page weren't performing, they were gone.

So, how do you use Google Adsense channels to track the performance of your ad?

Create a channel with a name that will help you remember what ad location this is. You can do this when you're setting up an ad, no need to create a channel first. I suggest giving your channels names that indicate where on the site they are, such as "above the header" - that's an ad that's, well, above the header? This isn't rocket science!
If you're tracking a sidebar ad, call it something like "sidebar, first position" or "sidebar, second position". If you place an ad within a post, you might name it something like "within post". It really doesn't matter, just call it something so that you will remember which ad it is.

Then, once you have all your ads set up and running on your blog, log in to Adsense and you'll see your reports. Click on "top channels" and all the channels you have set up will appear. You'll be able to see the number of impressions each ad has gotten, how many clicks, the click-through rate, the money it's earned you, etc.

From there, you can watch your ads to see how they perform. Is the "above the header" ad not performing? Maybe you could try a different ad size, maybe a different ad from another program, or maybe you should even remove it and you can put up an ad somewhere else.

By the way, different ad programs call "channels" different things: some call them "creatives", some say "deployments", etc., but they basically all work this same way.

Have you used channels to track your ad performance? What slots work best for you? I'd love to hear!

Carrie Isaac blogs about bargain hunting in Colorado Springs at and about local interest on her husband's real estate website, The Circa Group.