Serving Ads Unobtrusively

Album Cover: Kid A

"We got heads on sticks. You got ventriloquists."
Radiohead / Kid A

Posted on August 19, 2005 11:37 PM in Blogging
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Design tweaks aren't the only thing going on around here lately. After seeing how unobtrusively serving ads can be beneficial to both site visitors and a site's maintainer, I've decided to start serving ads (via Google AdSense) here on my blog.

Before you choke on your roast beef sandwich, let me first explain why and then tell you why it won't affect you.

I have plans for some web projects that are looming on the horizon, and if they are as successful as I believe they can be, the extra revenue will help curb some of the bandwidth costs I may run into. Plus it's kinda cool to make a little money doing what you love, especially when you can do it without affecting the people you care about most (blogospherically speaking, that is). That leads me to my next point.

Serving up ads can be done unobtrusively, and I believe the method I've come up with is pretty creative. As several visitors are probably aware, I have been keeping track of my most popular blog entries for roughly a year now (I will get into this in detail in a later blog post). By doing so, I've come up with a good list of entries that get a lot of traffic on a daily basis. By using a similar approach to the one I've employed in my archives, I can serve ads to the most popular blog entries so that "one-hit-wonder" visitors (the kinds of visitors that come in looking for information, find it, then never return again) potentially add to my ad revenue, and return visitors very rarely (if ever) have to see an ad.

The method I've come up with for determining if a blog entry is ad-worthy or not is to figure out if the entry is in the top 25% of my most popular entries. If it is, it is deemed ad-worthy and an ad will appear when the entry is viewed individually (never when it is displayed as part of a month, such as July 2005). If it isn't, then no ad is displayed. For an example of the difference, take a look at an ad-worthy entry and an entry that isn't (keeping in mind that these are good examples at the time of writing...due to the dynamic nature of my algorithm this may change over time).

By displaying ads on only the top 25% of my blog entries, loyal readers (who tend to read my blog entries within a few days of their posting) never see an ad, and most casual visitors never do either. The only people impacted by the ads are, as I mentioned earlier, the one-time offenders that come here looking for solutions to their Gmail problems or the origins of Andy Milonakis' fame.

In the end, I win out too because I don't affect my loyal readers in a negative way and yet at the same time my most frequently visited blog entries are serving up ads that may lead to revenue.

As is the case with most modifications I make to my CMS, I'll be reviewing this for a while to make sure things go smoothly. On top of that, your feedback is always welcome.


Ryan on August 26, 2005 at 1:09 AM:

Let us know how it goes!


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