I just signed up for Google AdSense after hearing about how much money some people are making on their websites, and now I read that I should be using “channels” to allow detailed traffic analysis. What are channels and how do I add them to my AdSense code?
Wherever you’ve been getting your information, it’s spot on! If you’re using Google AdSense with more than one ad layout or on more than one area on your site or even more than one site, you must be using channels to really understand how your site traffic flows and what’s really generating the revenue for you.
On this site, I have four different channels of AdSense data, each named after the specific ad layout I’m using: askdavetaylor-bottom (the adblock after the full Q&A), askdavetaylor-top-rect (the adblock between the Q and A), askdavetaylor-linkunits (the small title-only adblock in the right navigation bar) and askdavetaylor-leaderboard (the large, wide ad block after the opening graphic but before the main content of the home page and elsewhere on the site).
To work with channels, you need to log in to your AdSense account and click on the “AdSense for Content” tab. Then click on the subtab “Channels” and you’ll see two major sections, URL Channels and Custom Channels. I use Custom Channels so that’s what we’ll explore here.
Scroll down on this page just a bit and you’ll see the Manage Custom Channels area:
You can see that I already have quite a few channels, but the important thing to notice here is that you can add new channels as easily as typing in the name and clicking the “Create new channel” button. Create a couple for yourself, and you can use spaces, punctuation, whatever you want to make them truly mnemonic.
Now you’ll need to change your ad layout to have the system include your new channel in your actual AdSense code block. Unfortunately, Google uses numeric shortcuts for the channel IDs so you can’t just type it in by hand. On the other hand, you can simply select your new channel on the ad layout page and note the new line in the AdSense block. Here’s what I see when I choose the “askdavetaylor-leaderboard” channel:
google_ad_client = “pub-7950118917489847″;
google_ad_width = 728;
google_ad_height = 90;
google_ad_format = “728x90_as”;
google_ad_type = “text”;
Notice the new field there? google_ad_channel = “7151328846″ Armed with that line of information, you can then quickly go into your weblog templates, SSI included files, or individual Web pages to tweak your existing AdSense blocks to include the channel where appropriate. Or, of course, you can simply copy and paste the entire block, replacing your old ad with the new ad code.
That’s all you need to do!
Now, to reap the benefit, when you look at your traffic reports, make sure you click on the “top channels” link. You’ll go from this view:
to this far more informative view:
See how that can really help you understand how your adverts are working?
Another really smart use of channels is when you’re testing two different styles of ad layout or color scheme. Name two channels “a” and “b” and then you can do some real science-wiz-style A/B testing and refine your results!
Hope that helps you get more out of Google AdSense!
If you haven’t yet signed up for the AdSense program, by the way, please check out:
• Get Started Making Money with Google AdSense