Category Archives: Advertising

How To Make Me Unsubscribe From Your Email List

Australia Fair Shopping Centre email frequencyI’m subscribed to dozens and dozens of email subscription lists around the world, ranging in topics as far apart as high end sports cars to online marketing and everything in between.

It has been said countless times before that anyone building an email marketing list needs to treat their email subscribers with respect. A lot of businesses choose to implement double opt-in systems to guarantee that a person really wants to receive semi-regular email marketing correspondence and some even go as far as re-opting them in periodically as well. Double opt-in isn’t a silver bullet that authorises a sender to blast emails out, merely a confirmation that they’d like to receive a respectful amount of email from a company.

Historically speaking, I don’t tend to unsubscribe from email lists unless something goes wrong or I have a change of tact for a while. However, in more recent times I’ve become far less tolerant of mediocre or only ‘okay’ quality content or senders who don’t respect my inbox. Now a sender need only step over the line for a short period of time and I’ll start hovering the unsubscribe link.

In the case of Australia Fair Shopping Centre on the Gold Coast, I provided them my email address for a competition they were running. It wasn’t long after I entered the competition that I began receiving emails from the shopping centre about all manner of things, all well structured and on topic. Unfortunately, their frequency has increased to a point now where I just can’t be bothered to open them to find out what businesses have sales or promotions on anymore & would rather just unsubscribe to make the email stream go away. Of course for Australia Fair Shopping Centre and their businesses, this is the worst possible outcome for them.

I can only hope that someone in their marketing team might stumble onto this short post. If they do, my recommendation is to rethink the email schedule, maybe change the email format so you can send fewer emails per week but still get the same content in or allow your subscribers to choose what sort of content to receive to reduce the email footprint.

CommBank Keeping Warm By Burning Money

While viewing http://www.news.com.au yesterday, I noticed an advertisement on the home page for Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The ad was for instant approvals and same day funds (working now), however clicking the ad presented me with a “Page Not Found” error on the CommBank web site.

Everyone makes mistakes, it is unavoidable. However, when you’re paying the sort of money to advertise on a high visibility web site like news.com.au – you’d think that someone would have gone through and checked everything was in place before approving the creative to go live on the site.

I figure the air conditioning isn’t working in the CommBank offices and they are just burning money to keep warm.

Ask.com Deceptive Advertising Practices Is A Grab For Cash

While doing a little research this morning, I stumbed onto a paid advertisement within Google for Ask.com, informing me that I could booking BreakFree hotels & resorts from within the Australian localised Ask.com portal.

Being the curious kind of person, I followed their advertisement and was quite shocked by how deceptive they were with their ad and also the page it took me to.

Instead of Ask.com providing some sort of useful service inside their portal, they provided 10 Google advertising results front and center which were displayed as though they were organic results, followed by actual organic results (click the image for an expanded screenshot of their handy work).

I don’t necessarily have a problem with then doing paid advertising within Google for services that they offer (though in this case, they don’t have a service relating to my search results which was very deceptive). However, I do have a beef with the way they frame or lack there of, of the paid results from Google within Ask.com search results. If they had placed the same 10 results in the right hand side gutter or boxed them with a different background colour – then at least the user would have a chance of knowing the difference.

I wonder whether or not that sort of behaviour falls within the Google terms of service? It actually reminds me of when Microsoft were advertising on Google for MSN Messenger and taking the user into more search results within Live Search.

Google Advertising Observation

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been running some simple tests surrounding Google Adsense colour palette performance. The results of that test reinforce what others have previously said about Google Adsense, which in short says that blended or complementary colours out perform other colour choices.

While perusing through the historical Adsense click stream data – something popped out at me. It seems that the average cost per 1000 clicks or eCPM is strongly in favour of the highest click through rate Adsense theme used on the site.

For the sake of illustration, the table below contains the Google Adsense results from October 2007. I have normalised the results to conceal my enormous profits for easy comparison:

ImpressionsClicksCTReCPMEarnings

Open Air, 250×250 999 180 1.8 2.98 2.98
Graphite, 250×250 1000 100 1 1 1

The above table shows that the two different Adsense colour schemes were displayed approximately the same number of times over the month. As pointed out in the Adsense theme performance article, the fully blended Open Air theme has the highest click through rate. To clear up any ambiguity, the two themes are being displayed in the same location on each page throughout the site.

All things being created equal, I would have expected that the eCPM of the Open Air theme to be approximately 1.8 times that of Graphite, based on the click through rate. When I first noticed this happening, I thought it must have been a random event; however when it continued to happen every single month it became clear it was by design.

Thinking about what is happening though makes a lot of sense for Google, as it maximises their profits. When a request comes into Google Adwords, the system looks at what site and web page it is being delivered to so it can attempt to return relevant advertising. At this point, it seems reasonable that they are also checking what ad format and theme settings are in use for this particular request and are returning the ads with the highest maximum cost per click based on statistics.

Are Google using the lower click through rate advertising combinations to deliver lower cost advertising because they have an obligation from their advertisers to show their ads? I think they are doing just that and that they favour delivering higher cost per click ads to higher click through rate streams as it maximises their profits.

Does anyone have any other thoughts on the matter? I’m more than happy to be proved completely wrong if it’ll help increase my understanding of how Google Adwords and Adsense work.

Google Adsense Theme Performance

Over the last few months, I have been experimenting with Google Adsense and using the channels feature to measure the impact said changes.

There are volumes of information on tuning Google Adsense for higher performance on the internet, so I thought I might as well put some of their recommendations to the test for myself. As a small experiment, I have been been randomly selecting the colour of the Google Adsense ads on each impression for the last six months.

The Adsense control panel shows that over any given period of time, each colour or channel has been represented equally to the user. Throughout the rather lengthy experiment, I have gone through four different standard colour themes, which included:

  • Open Air
  • Graphite
  • Seaside
  • Shadow

The Google Adsense tuning guides suggest that blending the advertising into the site or using complementary colours yields the best outcome. For my personal site, which has always had a largely white based theme – I can confirm that a full blend has been the highest performer. The list of Adsense themes above is in ranked order based on the click through rates that they have generated. Surprising, at least to me, is that Open Air has not only beaten the competition each month, but at times by as much as 250%!

In the coming month, I’ll be looking to perform some testing on the size and placement of the Google Adsense ad blocks through the site. As soon as I have enough data to make a reasonably informed decision about the results, I’ll post them here for everyone else to see.