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Mar 1, 2012

AdSense Transparent Ad

In what could be breaking news (I couldn’t find any other mentions on the web), a transparent AdSense ad has been spotted in the wild (click to expand):
The ad unit doesn’t stream video, but instead links to a YouTube video. Rather interesting!
Update: These YouTube ads have apparently been around a while – I assume their low CPM keeps their general visibility low. Pretty sure transparent backgrounds are somewhat new, however.

AdSense: Revenue Prediction

Until very recently, the AdSense UI featured “today’s estimated earnings”; which incorrectly suggested that this is the amount you could expect to receive that day. That wasn’t the case; it really just showed how much had been earned so far (‘estimated’ to give Google some moving space). The interface now labels this as “Today so far”, which is far more accurate.

It did give the idea of creating our own revenue prediction model, which would be useful for allowing you to understand whether today’s earnings was on track with expected performance.
We’ve now figured out how to collect revenue data from AdSense and analysed how the intraday earnings trends over a 24-hour period, so had just one missing piece to solve. The time and percent values from the prior analysis were placed into an array and a function created to return an estimate of the full day’s earnings based on this historical data.

The output now reads as:

Next: getting this data on your mobile.

AdSense: Script

It’s totally free and I encourage you to use it in whatever way you wish. As ever, I outsourced the overwhelming majority of the work, so can’t take all the credit really. If it ads some joy to your life, you’re welcome to buy me a coffee!

Want to build your own AdSense revenue predictor or mobile app? You can download the script here –  on the house.

The code is fairly well documented. You’ll need to populate with your AdSense and SQL credentials. If you want to plug-in your own intraday trend (no two accounts will be the same, after all), collect the data into SQL, make some averages and then plug the data into the file.

Since this involves sensitive data, make sure you’re running this on a server you control/trust and take precautions to keep your information safe (protecting the directory, for example). You can execute gas.php via the command line, or better yet, as a CRON job.

AdSense: DIY Mobile Web App

A further improvement would be to create push-notifications/alerts if the the predicted revenue falls below an accepted range. I’m lacking reliable data/net access this week, so a daily SMS report would also make for a useful extension. Something to look into another day.

The official app was well needed; there’s a whole bunch of unofficial 3rd party apps which can show you similar data, but all of which pose a significant security risk (given the need to share your log-in credentials). It’s pretty, simple to use, and provides all the reports you’d actually want on-the-go. It does lack the all new revenue predictor and suffers from the annoyance of a timed user-session (thus requiring you to periodically login), meaning that it can still be helpful to create your own DIY mobile app – the topic of this post.

Using our previous work with a self-made script, it’s surprisingly easy to make your own “app”. The script now spits the output as HTML and both Android and iOS allow you to create homepage URL shortcuts. The result is one-click access to your statistics without the need to log in, or unnecessarily trust a 3rd party developer. Plus, since it’s your app, you can develop it your hearts content, perhaps to report other pertinent information for your website/business on the same page. Okay, okay, it’s not really an “app” in the true sense, but it feels and looks pretty close to one.

I started drafting this post just a few days before Google released their official AdSense Android app, which has made most of what I was going to say pretty redundant.