Revenue = high readership + high paying ads + relevant ads + well placed and designed ads
The forth element of our Adsense Equation is that of having well designed and optimally placed Adsense Ads. I’ve found that ad positioning is incredibly important. I remember shifting the ads on one of my blogs a while back and being over the moon to discover the next morning that the move had doubled the click through rates that I’d had over night! Its worth doing some tweaking.
Adsense Ad placement and design is an issue that is often hotly debated in Adsense discussion forums. It seems that each Adsense user has their own strategy – some like ads that blend in, others like ads that stand out from the rest of the page. Some like ads in banner positions, others in skyscrapers, others like to put them right in the middle of content. In my experience, different strategies work on different blogs at different times. The key tip I’ll give you is to experiment. Try new positions and design and track your results. One of the best ways you can do this is by using Adsense Tracker which is an amazing tracking package for adsense which gives you much more control over what and how you track your adsense performance. It does cost to purchase the tracker but in my experience you’ll make your money back pretty quickly by using it to adapt your Adsense strategies.
Let me also share a few other tips that you might like to experiment with.
Blend – Most successful Adsense users seem to be taking the approach of blending their ads into the overall theme of their page. This often means making the ad’s background (and often border) the same (or similar) colour to the background of the page and making the title and URL the same as links of the rest of the page. In this way the ad does not stand out as being ‘ad-like’. Having said this I know of a few bloggers who take the opposite approach and make their ads as bright and ugly as possible in the hope of attracting the attention of their readers. I don’t subscribe to this because I think it cheapens the overall feel and look of a page.
In Content – More and more bloggers (and webmasters) are putting their ads inside the main body of their posts. In this way the ads are prominent and more likely to be seen by readers as they read your content. If your text wraps around the ads this can be quite effective. On the flipside of this argument is that you may run the risk of frustrating your readers with dominant ads. People reading content online are a fickle bunch and get easily turned off by blatant advertising.
Above the Fold – it is generally accepted that your Adsense ads should be placed towards the top of your page and be visable without your reader having to scroll down. Studies show that blog visitors stay on average for only 60 or so seconds, many without scrolling down. If you ads are hidden towards the bottom of your page you decrease the likelihood of them ever being seen let alone clicked.
Left is Best – Google has put together a ‘heat map’ which is probably the best thing that you can look at when thinking about the positioning of your ads. You’ll see from it that they have found that ads on the left hand side of the page do much better than those on the right hand side.
Too Dominent? – The position and design of your Adsense ads needs to be balanced with the overall purposes and design of your blog. What is the priority of your blog – is it to make money or is it something else. I have a number of blogs – and place ads differently on each depending upon their purposes. For example this blog is not a commercial blog – I’m more interested in building relationships, sharing and hearing others ideas and updating those interested in what I’m doing with my life. As a result my Adsense Ads are in a less prominent banner position and are designed to fit with the overall theme of the blog. However on mythere is obviously a more commercial intent (as well as it being something of a passion and hobby). As a result I experiment with more prominent Adsense ads (usually skyscraper and within content).
I cannot stress enough how useful it is to experiment. What works on one blog doesn’t always work on another. I’ve also noticed that if you have a blog with regular and loyal readers that it is good to keep things changing as your readers tend to get used to the way your blog is and become blind to things like Adsense Ads. I notice that when I move my ads around that it often creates higher click throughs for a few days – until the blindness kicks in again. Joel Comm’s What Google Never Told You About Making Money with Adsense is an excellent E-book written with lots of good tips on positioning your adsense ads if you’re wanting to get another person’s opinion on this topic.
update: For even more reading on positioning your Adsense ads see a mini series of three posts that I wrote on the topic here.