Buying Site Targeted AdSense Ads

When you buy site targeted AdSense ads (or other CPM priced ads), there are easy ways publishers can inflate their pageviews and ad inventory. I listed a number of them here, but a few other common techniques are

  • showing ads to bots (or running traffic bots against their site)

  • refreshing pageviews
  • framing external pages
  • adding a forum to a website
  • creating traffic exchanges and siphoning off credits
  • creating ad units that offer no value, but cash in on naive advertisers

Here is an ad unit on a popular category leading hub site. Notice that it is literally below the page footer in the forum section of the site. It is a great site with lots of traffic, but it is hard to profit from that ad unit.

Google AdSense Site Targeted Ads.

If you blindly buy site targeted ads those are the impressions you buy first...the ones that are deemed to have the least value and/or the ones that are hardest to match to a commercial intent.

If you buy site targeted ads, in many cases you will be buying some amount of junk, so if you are buying as a direct marketer it is best to try to buy the most precise and most relevant ad possible. That could involve any of the following

  • contacting the webmaster directly for an ad on a specific section or page (prices can vary widely - I have seen ads of similar value in the same vertical priced from $6 to $1,000)

  • creating a relevant ad and ad group targeted specifically to a site
  • targeting a specific folder or specific page

Google's site targeted tool tends to aim for bulk buyers who do not care if they get a bit of remnant garbage inventory. They do not make it easy to add a specific page to a site targeted ad group unless you click the edit sites and CPMs link from a site targeted group, at which point in time you can list individual URLs or folders you want to target. Remember that if you list a home page or root folder page it will also place your ad on other pages from that site or folder.

Published: April 25, 2007 by Aaron Wall in contextual advertising


April 25, 2007 - 3:44pm

Hi Aaron,
do you think there is a market for a tool(s), which evaluates ad unit placement on web pages? Many of the points you mentioned above can be checked automatically.

April 25, 2007 - 4:13pm


Why would these site owners bother to inflate these numbers, Google still only pays the publisher on the clicks, yeah?

Katinka Hesselink
April 25, 2007 - 4:42pm

Adsense has two options: pay per click and pay per view (or thousand views). Aaron is here talking about the latter option - which is based in adwords on choosing specific sites to advertise on (instead of keywords).

The polite publisher can help savvy advertisers by labeling advertisement-blocks that will appear above the fold. Unfortunately, this is a site-by-site effort - which will pay off only on large sites, or large budgets.

mariusz gasiewski
April 25, 2007 - 4:45pm

As long as there is no beneft for publisher for targeted traffic, he will not pay any attention to deliver value to advertiser. Maybe CPA will be some solution for this?

April 25, 2007 - 6:07pm

I think your comment about showing ads to bots is a bit misleading when it comes to AdSense.
AdSense is all in Javascript, as are many other ad networks, and most bots don't run Javascript.

Not that someone couldn't do this using APIs in MSIE or Firefox, but your normal webcrawler doesn't run Javascript so it can't bump the CPM count or accidentally click the ads crawling them.

Not only that, a significant amount of bot activity originates from data centers and I'll assume Google is smart enough to ignore bogus hits from areas where there are no humans.

Seriously, if a loner like me can spot bots using automation, I'm sure a campus full of PhDs can do the same.

April 25, 2007 - 9:30pm

Great article. I basically expect to lose money for a couple days while I weed out all the sites with poor CTR. After doing that sometimes there is a decent amount of impressions on sites out there with good CTR's. Althought rate, for one site I run I do much better with site targeting then keyword targeting.

Fervor Singles
April 26, 2007 - 3:34am


Can you please post an article on how to make search engine landing pages? Do an example with SEO Book. Show us how to make a great landing page that will convert traffic to buyers or subscribers.


April 26, 2007 - 3:46pm

Very interesting article - I have an Adwords site-targeted campaign, and this helps to explain some ROI issues I've been having. This also makes me think about ad networks like Adbrite, which is one place where I've never gotten much value (and this gives me an inkling why).

ReverseLinks (which is not CPC or CPA, but instead a flat fee) actually shows you where on the site your ad will be placed by highlighting a block on a chart representing the page. It also tells you how which page(s) you'll be on.

May 2, 2007 - 2:48pm

Useful article. The ST campaign I started today had 20,000 impressions without a single click! I've removed all those sites with poor ad placement (something I should have done from the start).

It would be nice if Google gave average CTR for each site, Adbrite does this.

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