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Adsense Ads – Which Position Works Best?

Posted By Darren Rowse 27th of April 2005 Adsense 0 Comments

Google have added a heatmap to their Optimization Tips page to give publishers a few clues as to what positions on your site might be best for Adsense Ads (darker colors are best performing positions).

Nice how they designed this in ProBlogger Colours by the way

You’ll notice from the heat map that ads close to content obviously do the best with left hand side ads performing better than those on the right of the page. Google also give the following advice on this page:

‘Certain locations tend to be more successful than others. This “heat map” illustrates these ideal placements on a sample page layout. The colors fade from dark orange (strongest performance) to light yellow (weakest performance). All other things being equal, ad placements above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold. Ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.

While this heat map is useful as a positioning guideline, we strongly recommend putting your users first when deciding on ad placement. Think about their behavior on different pages, and what will be most useful and visible to them. You’ll find that the most optimal ad position isn’t always what you expect on certain pages.

For example, on pages where users are typically focused on reading an article, ads placed directly below the end of the editorial content tend to perform very well. It’s almost as if users finish reading and ask themselves, “What can I do next?” Precisely targeted ads can answer that question for them.’

As I always advise those I do Adsense consulting with – its worth keeping in mind that every page is different. Whilst the above positions are a good general guide there is always an exception and its worth moving your ads around a little, changing design and size and tracking the results to see what works best for your blog.

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, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • How much effort would you spend moving ads around within a blog environment? In general, blogs adopt much the same layout throughout, which is good for consistency in any case. Individual article and archive pages may be laid out slightly differently.

    My problem would be working in different layouts based on different page styles (for example, image-rich articles may need a different placement strategy to text, I don’t know). My feeling is that it’s a best difficult to change placement for individual pages when most blog/content-management systems use one template set throughout the site. I know it’s possible to stipulate alternate templates or create static pages, at least in WordPress, but is it too much hassle?

    I don’t have problem with dynamically generating ads based on content (talking wider than AdSense here) – but altering their placement is more tricky. How would you balance the need for consistency of all page elements, with users developing ‘blind spots’ on your site where they know ads always appear?

  • I do agree with Andy there.

    A simple explaination maybe to some why Google locates most of the left as hotspots is cause your eyes scan left. However, if you make the design very subtle on the left for the ads, you can bet your eyes might miss it. :)


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  • I have tried to move them around but have not seen much difference.

  • Darren

    I’ve seen significant changes from position to position on most of my blogs. As I’ve written before, in content ads are the best in most cases – significantly better than any others.

  • I have found that the moment I added AdSense AdWord ads into the inline of each permanent link article, such as:

    [google adwords ad]
    [google adwords ad]

    The click throughs skyrocketed.

    I am in the process of doing the same thing on another site and I will let you know what happens.

  • I know that when I moved my AdSense ads from on the left “beneath the fold” to on the right “above the fold” my revenue went from next to zero to consistently paying a couple of cents a day, every day (not big money but at this rate after a year my blogging expenses will all be covered so I consider this a “good thing”). Positioning makes a HUGE difference. I just might try moving the ads to the left and see what happens. I’m looking to try it for the month of May as an experiment.

  • Vic

    I’ll add my two cents to the “moving adsense ad location works”. My CTR increased dramatically when I moved the ads in with the content as opposed to the sidebar. Of course I also modified the font/background colors to match my site.

    As far as moving ads around, I find that with a blog the page format for individual posts is the same, so I just found the best spot and added the code to my template.


  • LcF

    ad placement position is very important indeed. To find good position, I always check with myself to find out which area I focus most while reading others’ and my own blog.

  • Ben

    Is this a case of reading too far into it just to create some attention? Having played around with AdSense for a while myself, it depends on the blog and the audience you’re dealing with.
    Are your audience web savy marketers? if so they’re going to know it’s AdSense and steer clear unless it’s a well writen ad suited to their needs, as it will be a full throttle sell on the next page.
    If they’re not web savy and are looking find a cure for warts, they’ll more than likely click at anything that looks good and has the possibility to solve their problem.

    There lies the opportunity for a whole new ‘Optimisation’ article relating to your audience.

  • As a follow-up to my experiment of moving my Adsense ads from the upper right corner of my site to the recommended upper-left I can tell you that it appears to have made a difference. I made the change early on May 2nd and as of today (May 5th) I am almost half-way to my usual revenues for the month. Being optimistic, I should see an increase in revenues from this move of approx. 25%. Of course now that I say that I probably have jinxed myself but the change appears to be making a difference. I’ll follow-up later in the month. Thanks for the tip.

  • As of today (May 17) I have earned the most off of Adsense in one month since I started with them last November with yesterday being the most revenue I have ever earned during one day. We’re not talking mega-bucks by any means but I will move from earning less than $30.00/month to earning more if this trend continues. Top left above the fold seems to be the sweet spot for me. I would consider further experimentation only in the context of a re-design of my site which is something I really want to do “any day now.”

  • As of the morning of May 31 my earnings since changing the position of my Adsense ads have tripled from the month before. Any further experimentation will probably only happen in the fall but as far as I’m concerned the experiment was a resounding success (at least for the month of May). Other than move my Adsense ads I have not done anything differently as far as what I have blogged about or how. Two months like this will cover my hosting expenses at Typepad which is all I was really hoping for at this point. Perhaps it is time to set my sights a bit higher!

  • Bob

    I have had really good luck with changing ad formant and location. I have notice significant CTR increases using these tips.

  • Really interesting stuff, can’t wait until i get enough visitors to bother with adsense – but hey, only started yesterday!