I’ve had requests for better support for AdSense channels in my SEO/AdSense WordPress themes, and since I’ve been working on a new Clickbank/AdSense version of the Talian SEO/AdSense WordPress theme I’m looking to improve as much about the theme as possible before it’s release (already added a few new features) and I’m on to custom ad channels which has always been a disappointing feature of my WordPress AdSense ready themes.
Currently running the new (unreleased) Clickbank/AdSense version of Talian on this site now with only Clickbank ads on and it’s running on World of Warcraft Guides with a mix of Clickbank and AdSense ads.
Google AdSense Custom Ad Channels
I generally don’t use the custom ad channels, as touched on in comments on the site I use the URL ad channels and track AdSense performance per domain. When I tested AdSense placement I had to manually add ad channels to a theme (not ideal) to test the best locations.
If I can get much better AdSense ad channel support I was thinking along the lines of tracking up to 6 channels per site (all 6 ad unit locations).
I’ve confirmed there is a way to use the newer Google AdSense code to pull ad channel IDs (related to the newer Google Ad Slots setting), although I’ve not tested it in detail (only confirmed it works for basic tracking not the new ad placement targeting feature which I’d really like to use with my themes).
My current plan is to give customers the ability to optionally include up to 6 custom AdSense ad channel IDs into the Talian theme via the adsense.php file.
Each channel would track one ad unit location, so one for the floating content ad in the main content of every page, one for the sidebar content ad unit on every page etc… So domain wide (or even multiple domain wide if the channels aren’t ad placement targeting channels) location tracking.
This would allow theme customers to track how well each ad unit location does, could be used to determine if the sidebar ad works better on the left or right menu, above or below another menu item etc… Which ad size works best in a particular location for your site…
I hope it will also allow us to use the new ad placement feature where we list within a channel where an ad is placed, what sort of content is on the page/site etc… to try to attract targeted advertisers.
What is placement targeting?
One of the ways ads are targeted to AdSense publisher websites is through placement targeting. Placement targeting allows AdWords advertisers to choose specific ad placements where they would like their ads to appear. An ad placement can be an entire website or a specific sub-set of ad units within that site, such as only ad units on sports pages or all ad units at the top of the page.
Advertisers find ad placements in several ways, including by listing websites where they would like to advertise or by searching for placements that match the themes and topics that they would like to target.
If your site is part of the AdSense network, it should automatically be visible to advertisers as an available ad placement when they search for themes or topics related to the content of your site. You can also define your own ad placements using specific sub-sets of ad units on your site.
Since an AdSense theme designed for anyone to use just by changing the Google AdSense Publisher ID has to use the old Google AdSense legacy code (with the new code you have to copy and paste the entire new AdSense code, not just the publisher ID and that wouldn’t work with a theme multiple people use!), so I don’t know if this is even possible (won’t know until I try it).
What I won’t be able to achieve is page by page channel tracking, there’s no practical way to include an AdSense custom channel for a specific page and to be honest with a limited number of ad channels available (I only have 68 left and I only use URL channels!) I don’t see that as a highly useful feature.
What do theme users think, feedback welcome?