Apparently Google has decided that an AdSense click will only be counted if the mouse pointer is positioned at the title or displayed URL of an ad according to Search Engine Land. Before I even state my opinion on this issue, I would like to say that I’m quite surprised that this information is only disseminated to a select group of publishers.
Anyway, straight after reading the article, I immediately hovered my mouse pointer over some of the AdSense ads being displayed on HTNet. Lo and behold, the mouse cursor icon is still shown as the standard pointer regardless of where it’s positioned within the ad unit.
Personally, I can appreciate this new “feature” (if you can call it that) of AdSense eventhough I’m not an AdWords customer. It reduces the possibility of accidental clicks on ad units. However, it could also cause confusion among publishers.
I think it would be much better if the mouse pointer is changed to the normal text selection cursor when it’s hovering over the ad description text. This UI behaviour would guide a potential to better understand this new implementation, especially after years of exposure to the old AdSense behaviour of less stricter mouse position prior to a click.
Update: I’m starting to see this “recommended” behaviour in some ad units, particularly the 486×15 banners.
What I can’t confirm though, is whether the web page linked in an ad unit will open anyway if the user clicks on the description text. I would not simply “test” this as this involves money that could’ve been spent on genuine prospects. If anyone else can confirm this, please comment below. It would be very useful to both AdSense publishers and advertisers.
If you’re an AdSense publisher, what’s your take on this change? Have you noticed any significant fluctuation on your click through rates? I’d be grateful if you can share your observations by commenting here.