I got a real chuckle out of this post that Google had to make on their Inside AdSense blog called Political Ads on AdSense Sites. A chuckle because Google waited until November 7th to make that post which revealed nothing new. They could have made it years AGO but waited until their revenue dropped down to almost nothing before they made this post. Basically Google reiterated their policy and reminded blog owners that there are competitive filters in their AdSense for Publisher tool system. That's why you NEVER saw Obama ads on my site.
You can read more details on my experiences with Google AdSense in the posts called Go Run Google's Content Placement Report Now, How Reliable is Google's Content Network, and Yet Another Reason to Love Google. However, let me shed some light on the subject for you in my....
CONFESSIONS FROM A GOOGLE AD SENSE JUNKIE:
- Obama as well as Romney ran a ton of money through AdSense. The McCain campaign (which I ran the online advertising for as part of CDI) used it a lot as did the RNC (me too) but we focused more on search advertising.
- Running ads on Google AdSense is a great way to stretch your ad dollars and offers demographic as well as content targeting that allows the small advertiser to act like a large advertiser. Also, because it can be credit card based and self-servicing you can move the dollars around at lightning speed. Hence the reason why political advertisers used it.
- While Google offers up some major sites in their network like WSJ and CNN the vast majority of the impressions come from blogs and secondary sites.
- I very rarely recommend using text ads in AdSense programs and instead focus on flash and video ads. I NEVER run text ads when I'm buying on a CPM basis.
- Google does a great job filtering the content on their partner sites but does a HORRIBLE job understanding the tone. So that means while you have a site that bashes Republicans Google doesn't know that and might have run RNC, Romney, or John McCain ads.
- #5 also includes sites that had a URL like www.IHateRepublicans.com
- I used Google Alerts via a RSS feed to see when people complained about the ads. Depending on how pressed for time I was I commented to let people know how to filter the ads or I removed them from our Google program. By the end of the campaign we had thousands upon thousands of site exclusions.
- We also ran reports in Google to see where the ads actually ran and then we subtracted sites out. This was particularly important during the primary season when every few hours a new Ron Paul site showed up.
- While some people think it makes sense to competitively advertise when a reporter, site, etc makes negative comments, that wasn't a strategy we employed. In politics it was a major problem if our ads appeared on a site that was bashing us and besides, we didn't have enough money to advertise on negative sites. I'm sure Obama's team didn't care or had a strategy as witnessed by their ads on Townhall and Drudge.
- Finally, there was a time when we ran McCain ads that said "Surrender is Not an Option on Iraq" and they ended up on The Daily Kos. That wasn't something we planned to do. Kos turned on Google AdSense and we didn't have them excluded because they were new to Google; plus it wasn't like I was reading The Daily Kos to see them go live. As soon as we found out we turned the ads off.
We did what we could to avoid running ads on sites where they didn't belong. It wasn't a strategy of ours and while Google could do a better job filtering for political tone, you as a site owner should have used the available tools at your disposable to remove ads you didn't want running. That would have been far more productive instead of just complaining about them or making a post that says "click those ads."