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Ad Positioning: Tactics to Increase Your AdSense Earnings Overnight

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of May 2008 Adsense 0 Comments

increase-adsense-earnings.jpgIn this series I’m examining tactics that can be used to increase AdSense earnings immediately. Read the introduction to this series here.

Today I want to talk about positioning your AdSense ads – something that has a very significant impact upon the amount of money that they are able to earn.

I learned this lesson after I’d been using AdSense for some time – I often wish I’d discovered it earlier – because not thinking it through earlier cost me a significant amount of money!

My Story of Learning about AdSense Positioning

I remember clearly the time that my AdSense earnings almost doubled over night through me simply moving them from one part of my blog to another.

Up until the point where I made this discovery my AdSense ads had been largely in a banner position on my blog. I don’t remember my exact reasoning for putting it there but it was probably because that’s where I saw all the big sites doing. My blog’s post pages looked like the diagram to the right.

Ad-Positioning 1.jpg

Performance with this positioning was OK – but then again, I didn’t know any different so while I was earning enough on my blog at this point to make a day or two a week of earnings I was blissfully unaware of the potential that my blog had to take me a step closer to going full time as a blogger.

I’m not sure of why I decided to experiment with my ad positioning but after a while of positioning my AdSense ads this way I decided to have a ‘play’ with other positions. I began to think about where on my page my readers would give their full attention and decided at the top left hand side of the content area would probably be the most logical position for people to look at a web page (as that’s where they start reading). This was at a time before AdSense brought out their ‘heatmap’ which confirmed that this was a wise move.

So late one afternoon I decided to move my ad unit from the banner position to this spot at the top left hand side of my post area.

My ads now looked like the diagram to the left.

Ad-Positioning 2.jpg

I was actually a little nervous about making this move. What if my earnings went down and I started going backwards?

I decided to give the new position a couple of days testing. I could afford to lose earnings for two days but if they didn’t at least match the previous positioning I’d switch it back.

That night just before I went to bed I decided to log into AdSense to see what the results were like after a few hours.

Imagine my surprise when I saw my CTR 40%!

40% more readers were clicking my ads and this was obviously already impacting my overall earnings!

I didn’t sleep too well that night as I realized the power of what I’d discovered. I could potentially see a 40% increase in my earnings with a simple move of my ads.

The next morning I awoke earlier and logged into AdSense and found that the CTR was now up by just under 50%.

That day I’d increased my earnings enough to dedicate at least another day a week to blogging by simply changing the position of an ad unit!

Tips on Ad Positioning

general_sm_en.jpgAd positioning is vitally important to the performance of ad units like AdSense.

In general – the positions that are ‘hot’ can be seen on the heatmap to the right (this is the official AdSense heatmap which they put together from their own research and observations of where ads work best. You can see how anywhere at the top of content can work best (the brightest orange area) but that in general above the fold and to the left seems to be the ‘hotter areas’.

This does vary from blog to blog and there are some specific spots that work best on blogs (I’ll show them below). The key is to try different things and to find what works best on your blog.

Further Reading on Ad Positioning:

Next week I’ll continue this series of tips for increasing your AdSense earnings overnight with the continuation of my own story of learning to use AdSense and some more tactics that took my earnings to even higher levels!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. From my own experience it seems logical to me. While browsing you’re always focused on the spot where the information is. An adsense unit somwhere on the edge of the screen alsmost never grabs my attention.

    I have to say though that I’m never clicking on an ad anyway. I’m not that easily distracted. But I might try moving around ads on my blog to see what happens.

  2. Great article Darren. The main blog I run currently is just a casual, personal blog, but now that I look at it my ad positioning is all off. I can already tell it is going to take a lot of work to optimize my pages with ads, but I know it will pay off in the end.

    I can’t wait for you to release the rest of this series.


  3. i have applied this .. just a weak ago … and it is showing results .. but the main thing remains is the traffic you generate, it will always mater the most !

  4. By playing around with ad positioning, I’ve been able to triple my adsense revenue within less then a month.

    I suggest to anyone to try out different layouts as Darren suggests. You never know what opportunities you are missing.

    David “CrazyKinux” Perry

  5. Darren, I’m curious if the content inserted ad had such a positive impact, why you don’t currently use it – vs the fairly standard sidebar advertising which you use.

  6. Great story. It really inspires me switch things up. I am in a two column now, but will be switching to a three column soon.

  7. Question…is it better to wrap the content around the ad or to simple have the ad directly above the content area? I have the Title, then Ad, and then content below…has anyone done a test with the text wrapped? Thanks!

  8. I think some experimentation is always good. While AdSense’s suggestions are a good place to start, like Crazykinux suggests, trying out different positions will help you find what works for your blog. I do think that floating left in the content like Darren points out is one of the stronger positions.

  9. @Rob – Might want to reconsider the 3-column look. I’ve just switched back to 2 after doing a poll with my readers. In an overwhelming majority they preferred 2 columns to 3.

    Just a friendly warning! =)

  10. Looks like a lot of blogs are positioning as you’ve mentioned in your change, Darren. This might be the new “standard” but do you think enough people seeing it like that might actually draw the rate down?

  11. Great post! I definitely need to start playing with some different positioning options on my site. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now, I’m just not sure how to go about doing it (messing with the template formatting and stuff).

    Any suggestions?

  12. Good tip, ads near content bust CTR but again you can bust more with ride position of ads inside content, thanks for info about your test results!

  13. The thing I’m worried about is this: Seeing ads while I’m browsing really irritates me. Sure moving the ads to a more prominent position will help with click-through, but to what extent does it alienate the reader and make a site look less professional?

  14. Good heads up on this. While Google does educate Adsense users on optimum ad locations, I guess many bloggers or web masters oversee this when placing their ads.

    However, I’ve seen a fair number of sites placing ads at the same location you did. It surely worked well to catch my eye.

    Also, placing ads in between posts seem to be quite effective too. One popular spot that most bloggers use, simply due to general blog layout design, is on one of the right columns. That doesn’t seem to be a optimal location, if we refer to Google’s heat map.

    I wonder if bloggers should worry about creating a balance between optimal ad locations, overall blog layout, and post readibility. Would placing ads at some locations make the blog look too cluttered?

  15. Thanks for sharing all your experience Darren .. I have been using the 336 x 280 px adsense for a while now they tend to provide the best results

  16. Well, I think that I will have to rearrange my ad positioning, since I’ve seen very less growth in my revenue generation. I will definitely rearrange my ads so that they can perform well. And I will re-position my ads.

  17. Being able to both optimally position your ads and also weave them in seamlessly to specific blog postings is truly an art; I’ve found on my various blogs that what works for one site might have less benefits on others.

    You also have to factor in your audience; visitors to meta-blogs/MMO might be obvious to text ads while visitors to, say, a knitting forum might be more alert to them.



  18. Great post Daren. Make the Adsense link appear within sigh visitor sigh position as suggested.

  19. I have tried to do this in the past, but cannot figure out how to wrap the text around the ad block. I have tried it with two different word press plugins.

    Adsense by Phil Hord

    Adsense Manager by Martin Fitzpatrick

    Can anyone give me another idea or way to do this and make the text wrap and look clean?

  20. Greg, you can use OIO publisher, but that does cost money. It does the wrapping very well. You can check it out on any single page on my blog.

    Another choice could be Adsense Deluxe, which I think John Chow uses.

  21. My advices are.

    1. Play with adsense navigation

    2. Play with adsense colors

    3. Size does mater. Graphics Too

    4. Refresh you Adsense code every month!

    5. Get rid of hurricane adsense

  22. Of course, you haven’t run AdSense on ProBlogger in quite some time! (Unless you’re hiding them to regular visitors.)

    I’ve actually put it back on my front page as of this morning because BlogAds sales have dried up. Otherwise, I’d gone to only a 300×250 unit high above the fold on my archive pages.

  23. I took Adsense off my site this week b/c they were performing terribly, but now this is making me second guess myself. I’ve been wondering the same thing as Joe; I see so many sites positioning them this way, I wonder if that will lead to ad blindness even more.

    I never see Adsense ads on other sites, so it makes me think my readers don’t, either. The mainstream are becoming more and more web savvy.

  24. A tool I left out of my Adsense equation for far too long was the use of channels. Now each of my ad areas is assigned a separate channel so I can monitor each space and really see which of my designated ad spots gets the most reaction. It’s been eye opening to say the least.

    Thanks for a fantastic article Darren. I look forward to the rest of the series.

  25. I wasn’t a fan of adsense, and here I am reading about it, after my web designer spent time with me this morning explaining why I should use adsense. I wonder if adsense would be of any value in my realm of blogging, as I’m a rubber stamper. I’ll keep reading what you have to say on adsense and just might get started on it.

  26. A very helpful post Darren…Look forward to the next map…Adsense brings in most of my revenue and am looking to increase this further…

  27. I’ve never received a single click on any of my ads. Not one. It’s disappointing, but I don’t know what to do. I’ve moved my ads to different places around my page, but all to no avail. My impressions are decent for the amount of traffic I get (not much), but nary a click. Not one… ever.

  28. Actually, I had quite the opposite response to putting them in the upper left hand corner of the article. After two years I was earning $10-$17 per month through Adsense. I was using 250px squares at the bottom of the article and some 180px squares or small rectangles throughout the article. In February, I tried the larger 250px square in the upper left, just as so many bloggers have advised. But my earnings went down to less than $2 per month (yes, per month). Another change is that I made the color of the links and description to what you’d see in a normal Google search (the blue and green).

  29. Thanks, Darren!

    I’ve just begun my own site after owning the domain for years. Even though my traffic is non-existent right now, I’m playing with adsense to see what could happen if it ever picks up. This series should be very helpful.

  30. Very interesting. Firstly – do you have any examples of posts that you did this on? Secondly, I have always been apprehensive to do this placement, because its kinda ‘in your face’ ads to readers. I know when I see a blog that has adsense right in my face in the position you tried, that I immediately am not as likely to read it, and will think the site is more ‘money-grabbing’ than trying to be useful. Don’t get me wrong, I think ads are fine, but should be left to certain expected areas. I mean, how would you like it if someone posted billboard posters in your lounge windows all of a sudden?


    Rich Page – A web Fanatic

  31. As I am just learning to navigate Adsense in general, I find this series extremely helpful. I am going to try some of your tactics and see if they work for me as well.

  32. @Greg: Try Shylock AdSense: super simple, there’s no need to touch the code.

  33. Great post…I need to experiment with my ad positioning on my blog so I can make some more revenue and then maybe I could afford to work part time doing my financial blog

  34. Yes ads closest to content proves to be the ones to work best. Quite naturally people focus where the quality information lies. Placing you ads near your hot spots will certainly bring up your earnings and CTR. A great way to do this is by checking your site analytics and see what pages are most visited and what content is most focused on, doing this lets you tailor place your ads to where YOUR blog has the most activity.

  35. Firstly Darren, I wanted to say a big “thanks” for the great service you provide through Problogger.net. Ironically as a Web Designer I’m only very new to the concept of professional blogging but your site has inspired me to try it for myself.

    On to your post: Your discussion around the advertising position heat map is hardly surprising when you think about. In building my own blog layout I have been positioning advertising in all the yellow areas.

    You would think that with usability experience your article would be of little surprise to me. For some reason we seem to fall into the same old traps! Popular usability theory teaches us that users scan a page in an ‘F’ shaped pattern foraging for relevant information. We do this while disregarding advertising in the belief that it will get us further from our goal.

    It’s hardly surprising then that readers focus on content rich areas. It therefore makes perfect sense to place advertising within these areas. I would assume also that text based advertising strategically positioned within a page content would also have a higher conversion rate than say image based advertising.

    Once again I realise how little I truly know. It’s great to be always learning!

  36. I have always left the ads in the sidebar to the right and never experimented with position change. Guess its time I started doing it and check out the reponse from the readers. Good post and cannot wait for the remaining parts of the series.

  37. You can put the Adsense ad wherever you want. Most people, sorry to say, don’t bother looking at the ads.

    It is just a fact.

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  38. i’m using “all-in-one-adsense” and it generates ads for you. it’s a bit limited and only places ads in your posts. anyone know of any others for wordpress?

  39. this article doesn’t address why every single blog about seo/traffic has a slew of 6 square ads on the right side, supposedly in one of the ‘coolest’ zones.

  40. I have looking for information regarding adsense ad placing, Most of the adsense ads in my blogs are placed in left and right navigation bars. These tips has given me insights on new way of adsense ad placings to generate more revenue


  41. Great suggestion… In blogger how do you put adsense in the top left hand area of the post?

    Any articles out there that explains how to do this?


  42. I read somewhere that the cursor tends to range up and down the right-hand side of the screen more than the left, so people prefer menus on the right and will be more likely to click something on the right. This made perefect sense to me but it does not gel with Google’s heatmap showing the left side hotter than the right. Interesting. I’ll try some Adsense on the left and check the results.

  43. I have noticed this lately as well and wanted to implement this for our blog. Does anyone know how to do this in blogger?

  44. Positioning of adsense ad is very important and crucial step in order to switch as a full time blogger.

    What I experienced is that the ad formats and ad position matters most for more revenue.
    300×250 medium rectangle
    250×250 Square
    336×280 large rectangle

    These are well performing ad units. Use text and image ad formats for all these units.

    Keep on experimenting till you get best results.
    experiment for some days like at least for a week to conclude the result..

    These are some of the tactics that could bring you double Adsense income.

    If you want more tips to position these ad units you can read this below post and can comment your experience:

    20+ practical and ethical tips to earn more revenue from Google Adsense


  45. I am going to look at my ads today!

    I will see what needs to be changed and see what happens to my earnings.

    I am not sure how to place ads in the sidebar with wordpress but I will look into it.

    The positions of my ads is currently set to roaming within the first three posts of the blog but I will set it to top or middle to see what changes I manage to get.


  46. I’ve moved my ads around so many times and it still does not do me any good. The trickle of traffic I get -regardless of how well or how often I post is not clicking on ads. At this point I’m not even posting that much because the impressions mean nothing without the clicks. Adsense member since 2005 and I have never even got a single check.

    My opinion – want to make money with adsense? Post on your blog about making money with adsense. It’s the only thing fellow bloggers seem to read.

  47. The Adsense group at groups.google.com has been very helpful to me. The best advice from the Adsense moderators is to use a variety of ads in your site. You have to be careful though, because too many ads will cause your CPM to go down. A lot. I know from experience as I recently overhauled the advertising on my blogs by REDUCING the number of ads, and I have seen my CPM rise dramatically.

    For those new to Adsense, I would recommend creating custom channels based on placement, colors, etc. and then test which channel is the most effective. It’s great way to maximize your Adsense revenue.

  48. I tried your advice as soon as I finished reading your article. Positioning my google ads in the hotter areas has made a marked difference in my revenues already! Thank you for the great advice and congrats on the book.
    Homemaker Barbi (Danelle Ice-Simmons)
    PS – Interesting to find out you’re from Anchorage; I live in Fairbanks :)

  49. My blog is still young (1 month) however, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been getting more hits as of late (mainly due to keeping fresh content and making at least one new post a day). The one thing that was not improving though was my adsense earnings.

    After reading this post, I moved a few ads around and changed a few designs and ended up placing a 4 link adsense unit to the upper left hand corner of my page.

    LITERALLY OVERNIGHT, I noticed a 300% increase in ad clicks! Seriously, I was amazed. Now, keep in mind we are not talking about a lot of clicks here (roughly 4 clicks daily to 12 so far today), but, I can not believe the jump in performance!

    Thanks Darren!!

    To those who want to check out my blog, click my name to view the site and let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions.

  50. I have tried put the adsense in the bottom of my posts because I thought logically people will only want to click on ads after they have read the content. I was completely wrong. Now I tried your method of putting the ads on the left side for a few days and it seems the click through is increased a bit. So let’s wait to see how this turns out. But I don’t know if any one experiences this or not, but my adsense ads appear differently on Firefox and Explore. There is a lot of white space below the ads. I tried to fix it but couldn’t. I will just have to check around this blog to see if Darren has mentioned anything about it.

    Sherry Love


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