I was reading an article about AdSence optimisation, the case at hand was about Guy Kawasaki’s personal blog, How to Change the World. The fact that his blog had traffic that ranges in the millions and yet generated relatively little revenue as a result. The entry goes on to talk about optimising layout for the best ad revenue result.
I disagree with their assessment of the typical “blog reader”. Well it is certainly not me that is for sure. Here is the description that I am referring to:
“A typical blog reader behaves in the following manner – he will first read the entire blog article [provided it interests him]. Then he will either head over to the comments section to leave his feedback or look for links [at the end of the story] to external sites where he can learn more about related products or services.”
That would have to be so far from the truth as far as I am concerned (referring to myself that is). The pattern that I take when reading a blog is this. I usually read any blog from my RSS reader. Generally I don’t open up links in my reader as it uses Internet Explorer as the shell. There are at least 284 reasons why I don’t use IE.
So I open the link up in Firefox and take a look. Lets assume it is a blog. I skim read it, never read anything in full anyway. Plus I speed read most things as I have to get through about 3000 articles a week. The content falls into one of two categories. One, a good blog worthy of further attention. Two, good for the primary reference but not going to be a source of primary information around my interests.
Any blog that falls into the first category, I will go straight for the RSS button, feed link or whatever to subscribe. I then go back to the Feed Reader. Especially, since that is what opens up now with feed support in Firefox 2. I then finish the subscribing process and continue either reading the blog or what I was doing before the diversion. I may never visit the blog website address ever again and often don’t.
So for me the whole ad placement optimisation is wasted. I can not remember when I last clicked on an ad anyway, either on a blog or in an RSS feed. In addition to this I just don’t like reading blogs from the homepage. I am used to reading RSS, I like it. RSS might be ugly but it is the useful information without the crap and yes that includes ads. Anyway they don’t call it Really Simple Syndication for nothing.
One other thing I would ad is the fact that the blog reading demographic is such that I am surprised that advertising to this group is even effective. They are usually a tech savvy crowd that are far less inclined to click on any advertising. The reputation that advertising has is enough of a deterrent for anyone in my opinion.
But then again these techniques must be effective for bloggers to be talking about and they are mentioned a lot. So who then is it aimed at? I just know that it is lost on me, I am the valued religious reader that gives your subscriptions a boost. Personally I really value these readers as they are the ones that are genuinely interested in what you are saying.
In summary, I am not your average blog reader, given the above description. I am also not saying that these techniques do not work, they must. I would also question the target audience, is it the average blog surfer or reader or is it the accidental tourist? Or does this whole thing mean that I am not average and the argument is pointless? What are you or who are you?