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RiG

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We signed up for a trial with google that runs for 90 days. This will see 50% of our ads presented as normal and 50% of them presented via google 'auto-ads'.

The vignette ads - the ones you have to close that show in between pages when navigating the site are all part of the auto-ad portion of the trial. I get them too and its the one part of the test I don't like so far. We do want the ads to help cover our costs, but I dont want them to be intrusive so I will take this feedback into consideration when deciding whether we continue auto-ads (unlikely I think)

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jagster was asked me about this a few days ago saying that it was putting him off using the site when using his iphone and ipad.  I have been getting the pop up ones on the iphone but not on the PC which I use in the evenings.

The other adds that are on the site are fine for me.

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I have disabled the vignette ads for now .... those are the kind that appear in between page loads. I am assuming this is the main bugbear? Other than that we have content ads (in forum/topic ads), anchor ads - which are the ones that turn up at the top or bottom of mobile pages and can be minimised - and matched content ads, which are the sidebar ads that show related content and ad links. 

According to our adsense reporting, auto-ads gives us a 150% increase in revenue over the current ones so i would rather tweak it to suit than ditch it ....  

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Its all about getting the balance right for me.

The site relies on ad revenue to exist as well as one or two members who subscribe to our 'site sponsor' membership (which removes all ads) to pay our yearly costs. Software licensing, VPS hosting, domain names and all those sorts of things suck up pretty much all of our ad revenue ... and we usually manage to just about tick over. That's fine for me as this is not a business and no way anyone involved here is going to get rich doing it or even make a living out of it! Hasn't happened in the last 27 years, not going to now ... However, I have always told my wife that the site will never be a drag on our finances and if it stops being virtually self-financing then I would wind it down. Luckily, we are not at that point but we need to ads to keep that point on the horizon and not in direct view! 

Having said all that, I do try to keep ads to a minimum because I know what I can tolerate personally and I also hate sites where I get popups in my face all the time or intrusive ads. Right now it seems that any of the free apps/games I download to try on my phone have ads every few minutes and I almost instantly delete them if they are that frequent.  Over 50% of our views now come from mobile or tablet and especially on a phone it can be hard to optimise these. Please keep letting me know about any obtrusive ads but please be aware we do need to have some of them to keep the site running. No Ads = No Site.

I am currently testing the latest version of the software and will be tweaking things before updating it here. No huge changes but trying to make sure mobile experience is good is one of my primary concerns.  

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Ok, I think I have tweaked things to be a good blend ......

For now users should see ads at the top of each screen - one on the left, one on the right. On some pages there may just be one. There should also be an ad on the sidebar and a 'matched content ad on the sidebar. and finally an ad on the footer of each page. This is what we have always had.  Within the topic lists and posts there should also be an ad and again this is what we have always had. 

I have turned off the 'vignette' ads which were the annoying ones between pages. I have also turned off most of the Auto-Ads that google placed automatically in favoured positions. These were causing multiple ads in forum listings and were also visible to our site sponsor group who don't see ads at all ....

The only Auto Ads I have left in place are the 'Anchor Ads' - which would be these ones below. They only appear on mobile (for now) and can be minimised by pressing the up arrow below the google logo. According to Google these will appear on wider desktops from 19th July but I would hope/expect they act the same. If it affects the site performance, covers up menus or has any adverse effect, we will remove.  

2021-07-05_13-41-04.png

 

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  • 3 months later...

should not be any popup ads ... more info required please. 

mobile/desktop ? browser ? 

 

There should be an ad at the top and the bottom and one on the side on most pages. On some pages there may also be an anchored ad on the bottom of screen (can be minimised) and on some pages, google inserts a transition between pages which also has a close button. 

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9 hours ago, Scotty said:

should not be any popup ads ... more info required please. 

mobile/desktop ? browser ? 

 

There should be an ad at the top and the bottom and one on the side on most pages. On some pages there may also be an anchored ad on the bottom of screen (can be minimised) and on some pages, google inserts a transition between pages which also has a close button. 

Desktop on Chrome (95.0.4638.69). When I arrive on https://caleythistleonline.com/ it's fine but when I try to navigate to https://caleythistleonline.com/forum/4-caley-thistle/ I am prevented from doing so by an ad banner that pops up across the screen that I need to close before I can progress to the main ICT (sub) forum. 

Edited by RiG
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Desktop, Firefox 93.0 on Windows 10 here.  And, I've just checked, also Edge 95.0.1020.38 and Chrome 95.0.4638.54.  Basically, what RiG said.

Not on my phone - Samsung Internet Browser on an old version of Android.  (Yes I know the risks!)

Wasn't bothering me, but if you weren't aware of it, Scotty, then best you know about it.

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You may be referring to the vignette ads ? These are placed by google and appear on about 1 in 10 transition pages at random .... They will either say close in the body of the ad or have an X in the corner to close ... The banner is also the same and should have a minimise button. 

I get them and click close but f they are becoming intrusive then i can look to optimise. However, this is our only revenue stream and its how we pay for our VPS hosting, software updates and various costs over the course of a year.  

 

Vignette

2021-10-30_9-29-59.jpg

 

Banner at top or bottom

image.png

 

 

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Yeah it’s on mobile and desktop. It’s what google call auto-ads and they control placement and timing.

There are 3 types. The banner (what they call anchor ads), the vignette, and in-page ads. I can only switch them on or off and I did turn the in-page ads off as they were too intrusive. I got an email a couple of days ago noting their optimization test had completed so the timing sounds about right. 

Let me know if these become too much. I barely notice them to be honest, but we can review if it affects usability. I want to keep the balance between revenue to keep the site ticking over and not pestering folk with too many ads. 

 

edit - just read the earlier posts in here and note that I turned off the vignettes previously so going to turn these off again. That should then only leave us with the regular page ads and the anchor ads that can be minimised. 

Edited by Scotty
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  • 2 months later...

Is there anyway individual users can set their ads to on or off?

I only ask as the banner that appears at the bottom of page every time you refresh or open a new page is getting quite annoying, while I appreciate that it is a revenue stream I don't personally want to have to minimise it every single time I go to a new page.

I'm aware that there's a fine line but it's spoiling my enjoyment of the site and has stopped me coming on as much, I know I'm only one person but I wonder if other users are bothered by it also.

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The site costs me personally about £1500 - £2000 per year right out of my pocket once you factor in VPS hosting, bandwidth costs, domain name fees, software upgrade, support and maintenance fess for the forum software (which just went up by 40% in September 2021) as well as other costs that occur here and there. Simply put, without ads the site will not exist as I cannot afford to take that out of our household budget to run a free website. I am never going to get rich from the ads, that's never been the plan, hence why I am always open to tweaking them a bit. I also do not have any interest in trying to charge everyone to access the site to pay for its upkeep. I have always said that the site has to be self-financing and luckily - other than the time of volunteers who help to keep it ticking over - the ads have allowed all the external costs to be covered so far ...

I do look at the makeup of the ads periodically and try to strike a balance. Recently I got rid of the transitional ads (Vignette Ads in google speak) that appeared in between pages every so often because people didn't like them ... we took a 10% hit in revenue due to that but I think it was the right decision as they were somewhat intrusive. These were originally placed automatically by Google as one of their 'tests' but i was able to opt out. The ad you refer to - at the bottom with the arrow on the left to minimise it was also part of that test. These are called anchor ads because they anchor themselves to the bottom of the screen but they are easily dismissible/minimisable. These ads should not appear on every page, just every so often and they were enabled primarily to give us some mobile revenue because more than 50% of our page views are now on tablet or phone.  

The current setup has a header and sidebar 'above the fold' (ie. in the top part of the screen before scrolling). On screens without a sidebar, the sidebar ad is not there. What ads appears on there (ie. the actual product, and whether or not you see the same ad in all spots) is dependent on where you are, what google might know about your browsing habits, and which company decides to show you an ad - all of this is controlled by google algorithms not by me. I have no control over that other than having opted out of certain categories of ads. There is then a footer ad on most pages (which I am thinking of doing away with as its not particularly lucrative in terms of revenue (because its below the fold)) and finally there is the periodic anchor ad you show in the screenshot. I can take a look and see if there is a way to minimise its appearance on desktop but still allow it to appear on mobile but that wont be immediate. ***

Finally there is an option to get rid of most ads - I wont guarantee that it clears them all as a few have slipped through from time to time - and that is to become a site sponsor.  For £25 per year, you get (almost) no ads as well as a few other perks. Site Sponsor - Membership - CaleyThistleOnline

 

*** Edit to add: Just to clarify the second to last paragraph. I am actually in the middle of looking at the newest version of the forum software in my development environment. This has a few changes in functionality as well as some additional features added (not advertising related). I am playing around with the layout and content of this release with a view to upgrading our current version and template. Placement and quantity of ads is part of that process. I cant control what ads appear, but I do try to look at the page as a whole to try an make sure its not designed by Homer Simpson! 

 

 

 

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I usually get ads for expensive watches, something that never been of any interest to me. For a while I was getting ads for women’s underwear but let’s not talk about that.

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