AdSense Matched Content Increases Page Views

AdSense Matched Content gives a site another advantage with audience growth as online competition skyrockets.

AdSense Matched Content gives a site another advantage with audience growth as online competition skyrockets.

What site publisher isn’t looking for a way to increase page views, pages per visit and visitor engagement?

Google’s Matched Content promises to deliver all three of these benefits.

AdSense matched content example
This matched content example shows 8 recommendations in a single impression. Note the recommendation that doesn’t have an image. Also note the AdSense text ads below.

What is Matched Content?

This simple tool is a block of code from an AdSense Account that a publisher places on a site.

The placement is often at the bottom of articles and displays like a responsive ad.

The code shows a series of small thumbnails and headlines that entice a reader to click on one of them to view a related article and keep them on the site a little longer.

The code detects relevance in both the related article titles and in the body of the content.

Site publishers can earn money from the product from ad placements that may show up in the display area.

How Much Does It Improve Page Views?

Google itself says in postings about the product that it increases page views by 9 percent and time spent on site by 10 percent.

But the numbers aren’t that simple. The actual results depend on several factors.

Matched Content has three user metrics in Google AdSense reporting:

  1. Impressions
  2. Recommendations
  3. Clicks

An impression is the box that contains the recommendations. So a box like the one above with eight links will count as one impression and eight recommendations.

The location of the code on the page also affects the results. Long pages with code at the bottom are likely to have fewer clicks than shorter pages. People don’t always scroll to the bottom of long pages and won’t see the recommendations.

The matched content ad units work best on in-depth articles because they provide enough content to generate the most relevant recommendations.

A site with heavy traffic to index pages or shorter articles may experience fewer clicks.

A Better Way to Track Matched Content

Tracking the clicks as a percentage of total page views is one way for a publisher to judge whether or not to use AdSense Matched Content.

Tracking the click rate on the impressions is a better way because it removes any pages that don’t have the code from the calculations.

More importantly, it treats the impression box like any other ad.

In the above example, the clickthrough rate for the impression box averaged more than 5 percent. The click rate for the total recommendations was nearly 0.6 percent. The code displayed nearly 10 recommendations for every one impression.

It is reasonable to assume that the click rates for AdSense matched content vary depending on the number of recommendations within each box.

Either way, any promotional space that consistently delivers a 4 percent clickthrough rate is off to a good start.

If there is a downside, it is the addition of more images and javascripts that will slow page performance.

So a publisher must judge if the product increases average pages per visit over a reasonable period of time.

How Can a Site Get the Code?

Not every site can use Matched Content. Google says a site must have a minimum number of visitors and unique pages.

To find out if a site is eligible, take the following steps in an approved AdSense account:

  • Click on the gear icon in the AdSense account and select Settings.
  • In the sidebar, click My sites.
  • Under “My sites”, click Matched Content.
  • In the “Sites” section, check to see if the site is listed.

If it is listed, go to My Ads and create a new ad unit. Google recommends using a responsive or custom ad size for the best fit in the space on the page.

Save the unit and copy the code. Place the code on the template where it should appear.
Don’t be surprised if blanks appear in the beginning. Recommendations should begin to show in about 15 minutes.

Matched Content Analytics

The Overview / Ad Units performance report in Google AdSense will show the existence of the matched content ad unit. It also will show no impressions or clicks if the product isn’t displaying any ads.

Instead, click on the Matched Content tab in the navigation bar of the performance reports.

This page will display the results for the user metrics of impressions, recommendations and clicks. It also will show revenue results if any exist.

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