Contextual Advertising

Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

Google and MySpace put together a major partnership last year with a focus on Google Advertising. About two months after the partnership, Google AdSense contextual ads began appearing throughout the MySpace social network.

A study was published yesterday by Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield estimating that MySpace is now generating over $30 million per month in advertising revenue.

The main advertising channels throughout MySpace are branded sponsorship of MySpace (think X-men or Transformers), display advertising, and contextual advertising. MySpace also charges companies for the set up of professional profiles.

The display advertising in MySpace, usually a leaderboard banner served on the top of all pages, including user profiles, seems to be served mostly via Advertising.com and other ad networks. I have not seen any graphic display ads served by Google yet.

However, Google AdSense contextual ads are served throughout the MySpace admin, forums, MySpace Music, Blogs, Mail and other personalized pages.

I’ve compiled screenshots of Google AdSense in action on MySpace and have come across these trends:

  1. The ads are not marked as ‘Ads by Google’, but only as Sponsored Ads.
  2. The majority of Google AdSense ads use a clear background, blending with the page design.
  3. Google is serving ads in different sizes dependent upon placement.
  4. The Google Ads are targeted towards user interests and lifestyle (which users teach to MySpace & Google via their info and profiles). For example, I am single and have lived in Brazil and Japan. Most of the ads served to me are for Singles Sites where I can meet Brazilians and Japanese women. That’s some very tight ad targeting by Google.

Here is a rundown of MySpace pages serving Google AdSense contextual ads, Google Ads are highlighted in red:

MySpace Homepage

myspacehome Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Admin Home

myspacehome2 Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Friends

myspaceviewfriends Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Mail Inbox

myspacemail Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Blog Posts

myspaceblog Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Music

myspacemusic Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Groups Messages

myspacegrouptopics Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Events

myspaceevents Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Video

myspacevideo Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

MySpace Movies

myspacefilms Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

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38 thoughts on “Looking at Google AdSense Placement on MySpace

  1. I love how the ad I’m seeing just above your comments is Yahoo ! Search marketing… Ads by Gooooogle.

    Good post. One would have to assume that MySpace has the inside scoop on some Google ad converstion / ctr metrics that most of us just aren’t privy to.

    Now let me go Diggit….

  2. My guess Everett is the clicks are high volume, lower CTR%, medium pay per click.

    Since dating sites make up the mass of the Google Ads which I am seeing, and dating sites spend A LOT on advertising, but usually very ROI and conversion driven ads… I am guessing that the campaigns being shown are working for everyone.

    Other ads seem to be download or ringtones driven, and if you ever read ShoeMoney.com you should know that MySpace users LOVE Ringtones.

    Do you have a MySpace account? What Google AdSense ads are you seeing?

  3. I am getting good results on the home page…less so on the others. A pretty big swing. Like a $2 cpc to a $34 cpc

  4. Are they somehow targeting you by cookie or page referral? For example: If you visit a page tagged “Brazilian Singles” a script places that phrase in the page code as you browse the rest of site. Google may look for the script to serve relevant ads.

    Or… Maybe the ads are tied to something in your profile. For example: No matter where you go on the site, Google is looking back at your profile and friends list (Not the page you are actually on).

    I’ve noticed the same phenomenon on LinkedIn. Pages serve seemingly irrelevant ads if you were to only judge them by the page content but are somehow very targeted if you were to look at my profile or surfing behavior instead of the page.

  5. caught a spelling typo “which users tech MySpace & Google via their info and profiles”, you probably meant which users teach?

    I find it unfair of Google to allow Digg and Myspace customize their ad setup, while not letting smaller sites to customize it in this manner. Overall I’m not a fan of Google’s Adsense, it’s probably their weakest service mostly because users already have ad blindness for it and they such a low CTR and low payouts.

  6. Let’s have a part 2 to this research — I’m interested. After reading the text and seeing the screenshots, I was waiting for more info and analysis.

  7. The reason Digg, Myspace etc can change the layout of their ads is because they’re premium publishers. If you have a high traffic site such as Myspace, Google will approach you to become a premium publisher.

  8. I am not suprised, but it seems like Facebook is beginning to take over, at least somewhat. Myspace is getting a little out of whack.

  9. No matter how you look at it, it was a great deal for both parties. Last i checked, myspace charged you for ad space by the amount of clicks per month they can deliver and the numbers are incredible and it will deliver. As far as qualified traffic, i believe the best niche (which is really too big to call a niche) is the Music section on myspace which is most peoples favorite section and also they have a section all about Comic Books, as well as Films from indy producers, etc.

    If you have the budget, i think its worth the try. The ads seem to be more and more personalized each time.

  10. I agree, I like facebook much better than myspace.

    Though, I think myspace has a much wider user base because they were open to more people to begin with.

  11. to Kavalier: it has already ;)
    my eyes flip over text ads as much as over banners… i don’t think i’m the only one outhere.

  12. Seeing some sponsored contextual text ads does not necessarily mean that it is google adsense. They can also be yahoo or microsoft ads. The ones that you show on the pics do not have the google signature so how do you know that it is from google?

  13. Mac, because MySpace and Google have an excusive search na d contxtual advertising partnership.

  14. WOW! $30 million in ad revenue PER MONTH! That is a pile of cash!

    If I made $30 million OVER THE COURSE OF MY LIFE, I would be quite happy…lol

  15. Very nice. They blend it in pretty seamlessly with the site so it’s not annoying or distracting, yet clearly mark it as sponsored. Many sites could take a clue.

  16. One thing that’s missing is how do I (or anyone without a HUGE budget) get AdSense ads on MySpace w/o going through an ad agency? I am trying to target a very specific market and MySpace would be a perfect place for my business to advertise.

  17. To Loren, Dan & Others who have experience here.. We know how Adsense et al’s tech works to create relevance which isnt sometimes.

    My question is, if I gave you and say 10 of your MySpace friends/unknown visitors the ability to say what they think the top keywords/related products/brand attributes etc should be for your profile, blog etc pages and then evaluated those to get priorities. Would they do a better and more timely job with this relevance for advertisers than Adsense?

    I believe this model can improve or offer different options for (eg. potential product/brand relationships) relevance to places like MySpace just as Digg is improving news. Thx for your comments..

  18. Userplane run an ad network on MySpace as well through their chat client that was launched last summer. Just an FYI that there are other smaller ad nets on there contributing to overall revenue.