Custom Channel (1)

How to Use Google AdSense Custom Channels to Increase AdSense RPM

We usually recommend nifty new tools to optimize your AdSense earnings but there are handy tools right in the AdSense publisher console that can help you boost your earnings. One of these tools is Google AdSense Custom Channels. Curious? Well, it gets better. Spoiler: Advertisers LOVE it.

what publishers want google adsense custom channels optimization

So what are Custom Channels?

In a nutshell, Google AdSense Custom Channels is a reporting tool on steroids and a great way to organize your ad inventory. But the best part is that Custom Channels turn your ad inventory into targetable for advertisers. Which can, in turn, increase your AdSense CPCs and revenues, creating higher competition for the premium ad real estate you offer.

Custom Channels work differently with different publishers and content hubs. It’s hard to pinpoint best-practices that work for everyone. In this post I will try to cover the basics and give some insights from my personal experience.

Analytics and A/B Testing With AdSense Custom Channels

Knowledge is power. And you can use this power to increase your earnings from AdSense with Custom Channels. By grouping ads into channels you can benchmark performance of ad sizes, placements on the page, colors, pages they appear on, user device used, surrounding content, and other factors.

As We’ve mentioned before, the effectiveness of custom channels differ from one content site to the next but since you have 500 custom channels to play with we’re reasonably confident you’ll find a nice, snug fit for you. So go wild, and check back in a week or two and see what you learn.

custom channel reports google adsense

Actually, don’t go just yet.

Here’s a great example of how effective custom channels can be at increasing Google AdSense earnings. Custom channels allow you to create reports for specific ad units and analyze them דo take a text ad and analyze how it performs in comparison with image ads in that same placement.

This allows you to isolate other factors that affect performance and create a laser pinpointed A/B test.

If you see the image ads perform better – tweak your settings accordingly. Removing the poor performing ads or ad formats will increase your revenue with little effort. Pretty sweet, right?!

But we’re not done…

How do you know which section of your blog is bringing in more ad earnings?

Here’s another example. Let’s say you have a Lifestyle blog that covers both sports and fashion news. You can create Custom Channels for each of the sections and track the RPM for the pages in the section. If the Custom Channel reports (we’ll get to those in a bit) show better RPM for the sports section, there are two things you should do: Create more sports related content.

That’s the obvious one. At the same time, you should try and figure out why your hard work in the fashion section isn’t paying off. One of the ways to do that is to use Custom Channels. A/B test different ad types and placements in the fashion section to see what will increase revenues there. Group your tests as Custom Channels and analyze performance over time. Don’t forget to let each experiment run for a while before making decisions.

How to make your ad inventory targetable for advertisers using AdSense custom channels

In addition to giving you a powerful A/B testing and analytics tool for your AdSense inventory, Custom Channels make your online assets targetable to advertisers through Google Adwords. And this is great for everyone.

Let’s say I am an advertiser of sports equipment with a video ad to promote. I don’t want my ad to appear on your lifestyle pages. I would, however, like my ad to appear on all the pages in the sports and wellness sections of your wildly popular website. I don’t care so much about the homepage or other sections, but I do want above the fold video placement on very specific pages.

I don’t want to have to compete with hotels, lawyers and government agencies looking to target the broad audience your website attracts. It’ll cost me, and most of the views will come from irrelevant audiences.

As an advertiser, I want to be as certain as possible that my precious budget isn’t wasted on irrelevant views or clicks. With targetable ad inventory, I can choose where on a website I advertise.

Now you might be pouting at the screen, thinking: “So what’s in it for me as a publisher?” or “Hang on, doesn’t this DECREASE the competition for my ad inventory?!” No, it doesn’t. Making specific ad units targetable for Adwords advertisers has the following benefits for publishers too:

  1. By giving advertisers the choice of location, size and ad type, you’re actually increasing the competition for the better performing ads and ad locations.
  2. You’re attracting savvy advertisers willing to pay more for the optimal location of their ads.
  3. Targetable ad placements provide an opportunity to offer and describe your inventory to advertisers (almost) directly. So they can choose where and how they believe their ad would be most effective on your website.
  4. According to Google: “Because CPM ads compete against CPC ads in the AdWords auction, we’ll always choose the highest-performing ad for your page. If an advertiser wants to target your site specifically, they will need to bid high enough to beat out the CPC ads that are already in the auction in order to show up on your page.”
  5. Smart Pricing: If you’ve heard of smart pricing before then you know where we’re going with this (if you haven’t, read about it here). Better targeting will equal more conversions for advertisers and higher CPCs for you.

This is great for everyone involved: the users get relevant ads they want to click, the advertisers get the audience they want and you get more money. Awesome, right? So let’s get down to it.

Making it Happen – Setting Up Custom Channels

Once you decide how and what you want to measure and offer advertisers: it’s time to create some Custom Channels.

When you create a new ad unit, you can add it to a Custom Channel (or several). You can also add ad units to Custom Channels by editing the ad unit properties.

google adsense custom channels 2

Assuming you already have quite a few active ad units on your website, let’s add a few to a Custom Channel.

In the AdSense console go to Content => Custom Channel and click “New Custom Channel”.

Pick a descriptive name for your channel and add the ad units you want to group.

new google adsense custom channel

At this point you might be tempted to mark all your channels as targetable. Don’t. Before you offer your inventory to the advertisers who want to pay you, make sure you offer the best package for them and you. Test channels and ads before you make them targetable.

Remember that changing the name of the channel will make you lose all the current bidders for that placement. So be smart about adding and removing ad placements. But more on that later. First, let’s check how our channels are doing.

In your AdSense console go to Performance Reports” => Advanced Reports => Custom Channels.

Here you can see the performance of your various channels over time. You can play around with the report to see different metrics like performance of specific ads, pages and categories across platforms.

Love Your Advertisers – Optimizing Ad Placement Channels

Once you’ve done some testing and optimizing on your ad performance with Custom Channels, it’s time to let advertisers fight over them. Just edit the best performing channels after your benchmarking period, and tick and box that says: “Show this custom channel to advertisers as a targetable ad placement”.

This is where your copywriting skills can shine. Don’t be shy describing the channels you offer. Keywords, demographics, ad sizes… Anything goes. Just be sure not to promise something you can’t deliver, or Google will suspend your account.

edit google adsense custom channel

Don’t make all your Custom Channels into targetable ad placements right away. Choose the channels that perform best and offer those. If you have too many targetable ad placements, advertisers will get confused.

In my experience, it’s worth creating separate Custom Channels for mobile and desktop versions of your site. Some advertisers are platform-specific (like app install ads or direct call ads), and I personally like to treat mobile and desktop traffic differently in reports and optimization.

Another good strategy is targeting video advertisers with video ad units as these are getting more and more popular.

A/B Testing Your Advertisers with AdSense Custom Channels and AdNgin

You may not know this but many advertisers have large advertising budgets that are entirely devoid of tracking. They’re not bothered with conversions, click-through metrics, or, in fact, any metrics at all expend spending as much of the budget as possible. Sounds great for publishers, right? Not necessarily.

If an advertiser isn’t focused on performance metrics the results of their campaigns can suck for everyone. Here’s an example: let’s say I have a website about computers and gaming. A women’s clothing store whose campaign is managed by a novice advertiser throwing ads arbitrarily on my website. CTRs are so low they cry.

Even if I get paid in CPMs and not CPCs, this hurts my overall publisher score with Google. Besides, I could be making more with well targeted CPC campaigns from other advertisers relevant to the content I publish.

That’s where we come in. You can use AdNgin to create two separate but identical variations of your page layout. Then, hard code the custom channels to serve before serving the AdNgin tag in your page. This will, in effect, A/B test your advertisers to see which performs better in terms of revenue.

Channel Surfing – Keep Testing

Odds are you’ve heard me say this before: the secret to AdSense optimization is that it’s a process. Plastering AdSense code on your page is easy enough, but if you want to make substantial sums of money with Google AdSense, it requires some work.

This is especially true with Custom Channels. It’s an invaluable analytical tool and ad placement promotion platform you simply cannot ignore. Keep experimenting with it – you can have up to 500 channels!

If you find yourself hitting a wall with optimizing your channels leave a comment below and we will help you with your setup.

I’m Head of Marketing Operations at AdNgin. Before coming to AdNgin, I was a marketing professional focused on SAAS business models. When I’m not working, which is rare, I sail and hang out with my son, Jonathan, and wife, Meital.
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  • Robin Rue

    I am not using Adsense, so if I get started someday this will help me a lot.

  • tara pittman

    I really need to do ads on my website. I need to research this more.

  • Angela Milnes

    Thanks for the advice. I’m trying to learn how to use Google AdSense. I’ve been using it well but I don’t know very much so maybe I can try the tips. Angela from Daysinbed

  • What an interesting read! I didn’t get into GoogleAds yet, as my blog is too “young”, but will look into the custom channels to be prepared!

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  • I had made a conscious decision not to go for Google Adsense due to stories of minimum returns for the time it takes o get approved and that Google cancels people’s accounts with no notice or reason why other than generic ones…(what I am saying though is hear say so I really cannot say I have personal experience of it)

    Now, Your post on how to use google adsense custom channels to incerase rpm is real juicy and has me tempted. Yet, Unless I can find someone to create such an account and give me more meat and potatoes on how I can best monetize my blog via adsense. I would love to know more…

    So I a still on the fence…so what does one do..hhmm decisions decisions!

    • Hi Julie, thanks for sharing your conflict with us. I think you reflect what many bloggers go through. Most bloggers are not tech geeks…that’s just the plain hard facts. So there are three ways non techy bloggers make money from AdSense. First, drive a lot of traffic to your website to a level where you’re making money hand over fist…optimization be damned. Second, AdSense pays in USD. So if you can live in a country where cost of living is cheap and you can make a few hundred dollars a month from AdSense that’s great. Third, hire an expert or use an optimization platform. This is where AdNgin comes in. We have paid packages that provide both a testing platform for AdSense publishers and a monetization expert from our end to optimize for you. Packages start from $250 a month so you can decide if that’s worth your while.

      • Michelle Mink

        wow $250 a month is expensive but if your blog is pulling in a lot of revenue then that cost would be worth it

  • Ok, so I tried to do adsense, but how do I get like adwords to work on my site. I’ve never been able to figure that out.

    • Hi Heather, not sure I understand your comment. Once you place the AdSense tag on your website Google will place advertisers on your pages automatically. It can however take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days for those ad units to fill up for the first time.

  • Googe Adsense can earn you a lot of bucks if you know how to use it properly. It’s just really all confusing at first.

    • This is true, Mai. Many think that they can simply place a few ads on the page and watch the money roll in. This is of no fault of their own. I blame AdSense gurus that provide “quick fixes” and “magic bullet” solution that ultimately fail. AdSense is about hard work and then, yes, you will see very nice rewards.

  • K’Lee Banks

    I haven’t had much success with Adsense, but I must not have it set up right. These channels sound interesting. I’ll have to read through your post here a few times to understand it all.

    • Let us know if you have any questions. Thanks for commenting

  • I have not tried adsense yet as I don’t know if the site I am hosting on allows that but I will find out!

  • Lexie Lane

    I haven’t try this one. But it will helpful. Than ks for this.

  • Claudette

    Your posts are always full of great information! Will bookmark this for future reference.

    • Thanks Claudette. Much appreciated.

  • Maddie

    This is great information. It’s super helpful.

  • Michelle Mink

    for some reason google adsense has banned me from using them even though i followed the rules. if i’m ever able to get it back i’ll be sure to put these tips to good use

  • Daileo Paleo

    Really good information!! I just pinned this to refer back to it. Thank you!

  • The Perfect Storm

    Very informative! Sometimes all of the SEO and adsense stuff can really get confusing. Thanks!

  • Tua Mukherjee Chatterjee

    Good post. Quite informative and helpful.

  • Hey Eyal,
    The use of AdSense custom channels could be a game changer for advertisers. They pretty make good sense for customized ads portrayals.

    However, one still needs to watch out for the ad placement that works best for conversion.

    The what and how of AdSense custom channels as described in this post are revealing!

  • Mardene Carr

    Great share…saving it for future use as this is something I want to sit down and really read and understand.

  • Admittedly, I have tons to learn about Google AdSense and your post is a great start for me. A lot of us bloggers will surely find this helpful.

  • laci carlson

    Good tips I haven’t done ads yet but may.

  • Amber Ily Lampi

    I’m still in the process of learning about Good AdSense. Thank you for sharing this post. This is a great help as I try to grow my blog.

  • I have so much to learn about Google Adsense but I am not sure as to whether it is compatible with Wix the site I am hosting on. Food for thought I think.

  • SavvyMomNYC – Ker

    Interesting read. This is all new to me and I am always looking for ways to monetize.

  • mail4rosey

    I do use ad sense but I must not do it right. I bring in a hundred a year like clockwork and not a penny more.

  • I used to have adsense until google accused me of illegal clicks.

  • I have to admit that it’s really overwhelming to dig in deep like this. I need to do it and really digest this.

  • dianasaur

    Adsense is such a mystery to me, such great info here! Skimmed it and pinned it to go over more in depth.

  • This is good info. I loved how simple it was to use Adsense. Sadly I no longer have an account with them (long story).

  • Karlyn Flores

    What a great post. I never try Adsense but it looks like great. I want to try Adsense

  • Great article! I’ve only one chanel, but this days I’ll optimize this, thanks!

  • themommyfiles

    I used to have Google adsense, but don’t have it anymore. Thanks for sharing the information.

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  • Louise Smith

    This is such a great post. I’m going to give it a try 🙂

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  • geekhr

    Hi, very nice article. I didnt even pay attention to custom channels until now.
    Is there a way to check if advertisers are actually targeting through my custom channels?

  • My Adsense CPC and RPM is decreasing from last month. What should I do?

  • MartiX79

    Hi, just wonder, if the custom channel can be / is target for advertisers, what happen if you don’t have any custom channels? what advertisers see then, or how they can place adds on my website?
    And another queston – what for is the description in custom channel? I went to Google AdWords to check, and I can’t see there the descritptions for custom channels. Can any body explayin it to me please – Just trying to anderstand all these things. Thanks

  • John

    Geeks of both genders? We already know there are 63 genders. Get with the times.

  • Amazing stuff, i was looking for controlling and increasing the RPM but i got here. Can anyone put lights on adsense RPM?

  • Can this be used to determine the type or kind of ad you want to display on your site

    • onlinejambclass

      Yes.that’s why is called custom Channel….