My AdWords Site-Targeted Ads at John Chow Dot Com – Here’s the Result

Posted on 31st July, 2007

About a week ago I started an AdWords campaign targeted at John Chow Dot Com. I hope this article answers some of the questions people may have as to whether it’s worth spending money on AdWords to attract traffic to your blog.

The campaign centered around a review that I wrote about my experience having Sabahan.com reviewed at John Chow Dot Com.


Some Background of the Experiment

For those who are not familiar with AdWords site targeting feature, it lets AdWords advertisers choose individual sites in the Google content network where they’d like to show their ads.

As long as your site or blog display any AdSense ads, it’s already part of the Google content network sites and can be targeted by any AdWords advertiser.

Advertisers who participate in a site targeted campaign are charged on a cost-per-thousands (CPM) basis and not cost-per-click (CPC). Therefore they’ll pay a fix amount per thousands impression regardless of how many clicks their ads get.

Actually I had been experimenting with site targeted campaigns where I targeted several local sites such as LiewCF.com, PetalingStreet.Org, Kahsoon.com and several others. However, none of those gave me better results than my campaign at John Chow Dot Com.

I’ve also experimented with site targeted ads to promote affiliate programs but that story is for another day.


My AdWords Ads & The Results

I’ve created several ads and rotate two ads simultaneously to find what’s actually working in real time. This is called split testing where I run new ad against the old one evenly at 50/50 each.

After certain number of clicks, I keep the one with a higher CTR and remove the lower performing one. Then I put up a new ad in another attempt to beat the better performing ad and the process continues.

I ran the campaign from 26 to 28 of July and spent $51.11 over the course of 3 days.

When I created each ad, I tried to come up with something that John Chow readers could relate to that grab their attention. Since I’ve just written a review on John’s ReviewMe, I thought many people would like to know that so the ad centered around that article. I didn’t spend too much time brainstorming as you can see from the ads.


First ad


% Served: 18.4%
Clicks: 41
Impression: 1,864
CTR: 2.19%
Cost: $9.34
Cost per click: $0.228


Second ad


% Served: 32.2%
Clicks: 80
Impression: 3,253
CTR: 2.45%
Cost: $16.28
Cost per click: $0.204


Third ad


% Served: 29.4%
Clicks: 74
Impression: 2,967
CTR: 2.49%
Cost: $15.19
Cost per click: 0.205


Fourth ad


% Served: 20.0%
Clicks: 52
Impression: 2,023
CTR: 2.57%
Cost: $10.31
Cost per click: 0.198


It’s normal to have a new ad with really high CTR. Soon after its novelty factor wears off, the CTR will start to drop gradually as the same visitors are exposed to the ad repeatedly. The first ad had received close to 6% CTR initially before it settled at around 2.19%.

The above examples clearly demonstrate how split testing could help improve your CTR steadily when done correctly. Notice how I increased the ads CTR from 2.19% to 2.57%. With higher CTR, more people are clicking my ads while I continue to pay less and less per click.

At an average $0.21 per click, clearly spending on AdWords at John Chow Dot Com offers a much better value for money compare to paying for a ReviewMe review if all you are looking for is to attract traffic.

In contrast, the ReviewMe cost me $400 and attracted 535 visits, which works out to be about $0.75 per click. However, since half of the readership comes from RSS feed the number of actual visits was higher if I take into account those via RSS.

So If I received a total of 1070 visits from John Chow both from his blog and RSS feed, that works out to be about $0.37 per click, still costlier than my AdWords campaign.


How Does It Affect My RSS Subscriber Count?

This has increased the number of RSS subscribers to my blog as you can see from the graph below. I am sure there are many visitors from the campaign who continue to visit my blog directly even though they haven’t subscribed to my feed, at least not yet.


Before my AdWords campaign


After my AdWords campaign


The result proves that paying for an AdWords campaign is one of the best ways to attract targeted traffic to you blog. Like ordering a ReviewMe, getting traffic to you blog via AdWords is just the first step, how you retain that traffic and convert the one time visitors into subscribers should be taken into account when running any AdWords site-targeted campaigns.

Ordering a ReviewMe at John Chow Dot Come has its own advantages, one of them is that your blog will be placed in the spotlight without much effort from your part. In contrast, with AdWords, you’ll compete with other advertisers for a spot which could drive your ad cost sky high.

If you are new to AdWords, there’s a steep learning curve ahead of you unless you have someone to guide you around. It can be a frustrating experience if you can’t seem to pull down your CPM and can’t get good CTRs for your ads. (Well actually it’s not that hard once you know what to do. Just copy what works and improve from there)

In my coming post, I’ll write a guide how to easily create a site targeted AdWords campaigns the correct way, save money and get good CTRs for your ads.


An engineer by training, Victor has been working full-time online as an Internet marketer, a programmer and an app developer since 2001. He has been blogging at Sabahan.com since 2006 sharing his experience and teaching people how to make money online. Click here to join his private Facebook Group for bloggers.

  • Nice bit of analysis that shows just how effective Adwords is at doing exactly what it should :)

  • […] has also done another experiment with AdWords on JohnChow dot com. He writes: At an average $0.21 per click, clearly spending on AdWords at John […]

  • ben says:

    i think its more worth it to spend on adwords rather than odering the review me right.

    and again the review only appear in the main page of jchow around 4 hours i think?

  • […] ads CTRs, and ultimately attract more traffic at a lower cost. This was demonstrated clearly in my John Chow Dot Com AdWords experiment where I showed a gradual improvement in my ads […]

  • thanks for sharing this info, there is not many bloggers out there is sharing this kind of info. keep up the good work and thanks again!

  • Wahlau.NET says:

    great explanation….i can see that you have your ads written creatively too

  • papajoneh says:

    Great exposure. Great info on adwords. Can’t wait for the next one. Thanks Gaman.

  • daren says:

    Excellent.. .excellent. I was always waiting for one of you guys to share with us what happens in the background, how much u paid and all!

    I’ve seen you, HongKiat, 5XMom advertising on Google Adsense and was wondering why?

    Apart from the experiment, and the increase in your RSS Readers.

    Do you also get incremental revenue from your Adsense due to the additional arrivals?
    – which brings a quesiton that i always ask. DO i need to spend money to advertise so that my blog attracts more hits, and in return have a higher return of investment (higher revenue generated)

    *psst u mentioned u spent $51 for 3 days. Is this in USD or RM?

    • Gaman says:

      I do notice some increase in my AdSense income gradually. While it can be expensive to attract traffic using AdWords, you can get more attention if your ad catches the owner attention and mentioned in his post for free.

      You can see this happens to me here.

      It all depends on what you want to achieve really.

      As for me, besides, attracting the extra traffic, I love to share my experience and provide useful content for my readers.

      The amount is in USD.

  • pablopabla says:

    Okay guru! You’ve got my attention. Teach me! Teach me! I want more! LOL! :)

  • Thanks for this post! I was really waiting to see what the results of that John Chow ad were for you, and I’m glad that you disclosed all the numbers, including what it cost you to place the ad(s). I’ve yet to setup an adwords account, but based on your post – I’ll think I’ll do that today! Looking forward to your future posts on how to use adWords!

  • CFernandes says:

    very good study.

    But I think the CPC on this site targeted campaign is still very high. I think it would be cheaper to just use the regular adwords campaigns.

  • weirdoux says:

    thanks a lot for this report gaman! this is what i’m waiting for.

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