Block Flash Ads on AdSense Option

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While perusing the greatly improved performance reports for AdSense ads displayed on my websites I began to wonder whether a new option for AdSense would be valuable.

I use AdSense to help me make money writing online with some of the various websites I publish. I don’t make millions but I do well enough to care about the amount of passive income generated by AdSense each month for my freelance writing business.

The ad types performance report on Google AdSense shows that of the five ad types — text, rich media, image, animated image, Flash — the Flash ads have both the lowest click-through rate and the lowest cost per click (CPC).  What makes that standout is that the majority of my ad impressions, or page views, are from text ads and that the other types of ads all have a higher CPC, and some also have a higher click-through-rate. One can draw the conclusion that those ads, while displayed less often, are a valuable addition to the advertisements displayed on my websites.

downtrendFor example, rich media ads have a higher Page CTR and a higher CPC, based on a monthly report, than the text ads do. That obviously makes them worthwhile ads to have.

Image ads, on the other hand, have a higher Page CTR but a lower CPC.  That means that even though an image ad pays less for each click, people are more likely to click on them. In other words, you make up the lower CPC with higher clicking volume, a valid business strategy. Google’s value metric is Page RPM which suggests a slightly lower value for image ads than for text ads, but theoretically, Google’s ad auction is displaying image ads when text ads of greater value are not available.

Flash Ads Worth Less

Which brings us to Flash ads. On my websites, Flash ads have a lower Page CTR and a lower CPC. That means that people are more likely to click on a text ad, and that text ad is more likely to pay more. There is no way to make that up on volume.

In fact, on my websites, the CPC for Flash ads is less than half what it is for text ads. According to Google’s Page RPM metric, Flash ads are worth one-third of what my text ads and image ads are. That leads me to think that Flash ads, for whatever reason, do not perform well on my websites.

Of course, that does not mean that Flash ads are worth less for every website, which is why Google should give publishers a way to choose whether to allow Flash ads.  Google already lets webmasters choose whether to only allow text ads, or whether to allow only image ads, or whether to allow both.  None of those choices is optimal for my online empire. I earn good money on image ads, just not Flash ads. Choosing to allow only text ads would lower my AdSense income.

What I need to maximize AdSense earnings on my websites is an option to block only Flash ads. In fact, since there are five ad types reported, I think it makes sense for Google to offer the ability to allow or not allow each of the five categories. In my case, I will block all Flash ads and the money I make with AdSense will increase. Others could use the optimal strategy for their websites.

I bet that Google does not allow this option because it knows that too many people would block Flash ads if they could. Not only do they pay less, in at least some situations, but they are despised by pretty much anyone who understands enough about web technologies to know the difference. That means that many webmasters would block flash ads without giving them a chance, even if it meant lower overall income. I think Google should allow people to make that choice. After all, it’s our money.

Of course, that is the problem. It isn’t just our money, it’s Google’s money too, and unlike me, they have plenty of other websites to show the better paying ads on.  What they really want to avoid is not having enough places to squeeze out whatever amount of lower earnings they can get by pushing those Flash ads out there too. Advertisers probably love Flash ads too. They pay less per click with those, so each click is cheaper than with a text or regular image ad.

Until that dynamic changes, us website publishers don’t have much choice but to wonder what might have been if we didn’t waste so many page views on underperforming Flash advertisements on our websites.

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