I actually didn’t know what the value of Custom Channels were for at least my whole first year of blogging. Then by just casual reading about blogging, I discovered that it could be a way to increase my Page RPM.
So what are Custom Channels anyway?
Custom Channels are the way that you tell Adsense what your site is about. Adsense has only a few ways of determining what your site is about, and what kind of ads to serve on your site.
First, Adsense relies on browser activity. This has nothing to do with your site. Adsense knows the browser habits of your visitors, and serves them up ads that target their interests. Have you ever searched for a hotel, and then went to an unrelated site and found hotel ads everywhere? That is user targeted ads.
Second, Adsense (since it is also Google), knows what is on your pages. Google crawls your pages and picks up keywords. This is a way that they can serve ads related to your niche.
Third, Adsense gives you a way, in Custom Channels, to tell them what you are about. Custom Channels does not control Adsense. Adsense still relies on keywords. The upgrade with Custom Channels is that actual advertisers can bid to be on your site (or niche sites like yours) because they have put in bids to have their ads shown on sites like yours.
So, for Custom Channels, you are fishing to match up with advertisers. They fill out all their keyword and targeting criteria on Adwords. They can be as general or as specific as they want to be. So you are hoping that their specific criteria will match up with your Custom Channels.
Just to be clear, Custom Channels will only help you, not hurt you. By being specific, you will not miss out on ads. You will only get more ad opportunities by putting your fishing pole in the new targeting pond.
Setting up Custom Channels
Open up Adsense and go to My Ads. In the left hand column, click on Custom Channels. Then click on the button that says “+New Custom Channel”. Here is the box that pops up:
- Give your Custom Channel a name. I like to mirror the name of the ad size, but I have also gotten more specific since I have more than one website that I monetize, so I set up Custom Channels to target for each website.
- Second, pick the first ad size you use on your site. You will want to set up a new Channel for each ad so that you can specifically target it.
- Check the Targeting checkbox so that the bottom options will show.
- In the “Ads Appear On” box, you will want to be specific on what pages your ads show on. You might have them showing on all pages, like a Header or Footer. In that case, just type “Every Page”. But I have some specific ad placements in my sidebar that only show on certain pages, so I might type “Homepage” if I only show it on the Homepage, or “Blog Pages” if I limit that ad to only show on Blog pages.
- It is pretty important to input the Ad location, because this is one of the top targeting principles advertisers will use. They may want to be “Above the Fold”, so they will target your “Top” locations.
- Description – This is where you can get specific about your site. Use short sentences. Don’t forget to mention what your niche is and who your target audience is. Also mention if you are an expert in any one area that people come to your blog for.
Okay, Save that and you have a Custom Channel.
You are not done yet!
Now you have to go back to your Ad Units and add the Custom Channels.
You probably have ad units set up for all your ad sizes and have been using them for awhile on your site without Custom Channels. Good news is that you can add Custom Channels to each ad unit without having to repaste all your code. Your ad tags do not change so nothing has to change on your website.
Adding Custom Channels to your Existing Ads
Go to “My Ads” to see the list of Ads you have set up and running on your site. Click each one and choose a Custom Channel for each and Save. It opens up the original interface that opens when you set up a new tag. But this time, instead of passing over the “BLANK” Custom Channels box…now you have Custom Channels set up to choose from!
After you update each ad, you are done. It is one of those things that you change, and have to wait awhile for result, and if you are still in the small income stage, you may not notice whether it made a difference or not. Even if you don’t notice, it is just one of those “good things to do”. But don’t do it before you do something NECESSARY!!!