Using AdSense Custom Channels and Other External Tools

This post would be a continuation of my previous article; Making Sense of AdSense. I this article, I would explain how to use custom channels to track the performance of your ads.

I will also share some useful tools that you can use to analyse your adsense statistics as well as preview the type of ads that could appear on any particular web page.

What are Custom Channels Good For?

When I first started joining the AdSense programme, I only used the URL channels. I never “got” the concept of custom channels and see it as something only seasoned veterans should be tinkering with. Don’t make the same mistake I did, if only I knew the power of custom channels back then, I would have had better income from AdSense.

Getting back to the point, what are custom channels good for anyway? Well, at the very least, they provide a way for you to find out what kind of ads work on your web site, and also help you identify those that don’t. This is why I mentioned earlier, if I had known what works or fail when it comes to the ads on my site, I would be better equiped to rectify any problems or change my AdSense strategy.

As they say, better late than never… and to help others avoid the mistakes I made by ignoring the custom channel feature, let me share with you how I use it to track the performance of ads on HTNet.

Meet sidebarad, headerad, footerad and midpageads

If you look at the main HTNet page, you can see that I have an AdSense ad on the sidebar (just under the HTNet Recommends image) and another (or two, I’m still experimenting with the ads in the main section) somewhere in the main section of the page. I’ve named the sidebar ad as “sidebarad” (note my extreme creativity in naming my AdSense custom channels) and “midpageads”.

If you are reading an article in the extended view, you would see an AdSense ad just under the title (which I will call “headerad”) and another just after the content (called “footerad”). These four custom channels will be used as examples for the topics that follow.

By the way, they’re not really the names of my custom channels, just in case you’re wondering. I’m merely using these names for examplary purposes only.

Puting the Custom Channels to Work

After you’ve inserted the necessary AdSense codes on your web site, including the custom channel info, you would have collected a healthy amount of statistics after running it over a few days (or weeks, if your average daily traffic is not high). But this is mere data, without processing, it will stay as useless data… it’s time to convert it into useful information.

You could read line by line the reports generated by the AdSense web site, but if like most people, you prefer something visual, I’d recommend that you check out Google AdSense Charts and Graphs from the good folks at Digital Point Solutions.

At the moment, the charts that can be generated from your CSV file are:

  • Impressions
  • Impressions (Cumulative)
  • Clicks
  • Clicks (Cumulative)
  • Clickthrough Percentage
  • Earnings
  • Earnings (Cumulative)
  • Earnings Per Click

After analysing the data from your specific custome channels, you would be better equipped to make a more informed decision on what to do with them. Change the layout? Or the colours? Perhaps even both? Or just axe the channel altogether? At least, you’re not playing a guessing game like you would be if you just use the standard URL channels.

Useful Tool: AdSense Sandbox

Ever wondered what kind of ads would be displayed for a web page or even a list of keywords? The people at Digital Point Solutions also has another useful tool for this purpose; the AdSense Sandbox.

I find myself using the AdSense Sandbox every once in a while as I’m about to post something on my blog. It gives me some idea on what kind of ads I could expect to be displayed on my pages. It has proven to be a very beneficial tool, although sometimes the results might be a little weird, especially when you’ve entered keywords instead of a URL.

What’s Coming Up Next?

Next up, I plan to share custom channel tricks that can be used specifically by WordPress blogs. Expect this to be published within this week. At the moment, I’m quite busy with my new job, that I might even postpone this week’s WCS to some time midweek.

But rest assured that I will make sure both articles get published. As usual, I’m looking forward to your responses 🙂

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