Facebook Pixel
Join our Facebook Community

How to Design Your AdSense Ads

Posted By Darren Rowse 15th of November 2006 Adsense 0 Comments

christmasThere is always debate about how to design your AdSense ads. Over the last few years there has been a real shift in thinking of what type of ads work best:

Grab Attention – When I first started using AdSense there was a school of thought going around that the best performing ads were those that stand out ALOT from the rest of your blog. The result was that there were a lot of jarring, headache inducing ads out there (I remember experimenting with bright red backgrounds and yellow titles – I’m getting dizzy just thinking about them).

Blend – In more recent times ‘blended’ ads have become all the range. This is predominantly what people are doing these days and the ads involve borders and backgrounds that are the same color as the background of your site and links and text that match the site as much as possible. In this way ads don’t attract a lot of attention but merge (in a sense) with content.

Integrate – In the last 6 months I’ve noticed another shift in the design of AdSense ads being used by some publishers. It’s a fairly subtle shift from the ‘blend’ approach and one where the ad units are integrated further into the site using visual elements around them that both ‘blend’ and ‘grab attention’. This has largely happened in two ways:


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. Good post Darren, I have to agree with you that placing a picture(s) near ads really helps (see the sidebar on my blog for an example). As long as a visible border is there, you’re fine.

    The designer ads still scare me somewhat. I feel Google is contradicting themselves when they say in their TOS that you can’t bring “attention” to your ads or “mislead” your visitors (as above, you need a border between the pics and ads). Yet these designer ads bring far more attention and are fine?

  2. I believe the blend/stand out argument comes down to how tech or internet savoy your audience tends to be. Since more and more non-tech savoy people are harder to come by, the blend seems to be taking hold.

    However with that said, I think the Google ads are now going the way of older banner ads and people are growing their blind eyes. I think we are primed for the next evolution of internet advertising.

  3. I like this article, I currently using the blend technique with moderate success, but I would like to start testing the backgrounds. I would check out the AdSense Backgrounds thing for $67 but I would need to see all of the backgrounds first to make sure there are a few that would fit with my site.

  4. […] There are quite a few ways to increase your revenues using Google Adsense ads, and we’re going to focus on one in particular. First, I wanted to mention two articles by Darren at Problogger, How to Position AdSense Ads and How to Design Your AdSense Ads. Both articles look at place and layout of your site in relation to your ads. They cover past and present trends, and should be helpful to anyone who is just learning about positioning. […]

  5. I like the idea, and the price is semi-reasonable, but the HTML won’t pass W3C validation.

    Not too hard to modify though:

    For example, modify the table tag to use css :

    table style=”margin-left:132px;width:255px;height:248px” border=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″

    and the td tag:

    td style=”background-image: url(‘/memo1.jpg’)” width=”246″ height=”248″ >

  6. The idea is great. I have been using this techniques for months and applied them to several sites. The result is My CTR is increasing.

    To “pcunix”, why the HTML won’t pass W3C validation? :)
    Perhaps, instead of declaring inline, you can put the style inside external CSS file. It makes the HTML code tidier and easier to maintain.


  7. Great post. I’ve got new ideas about using AdSense in my blogs. Thanks.

  8. The use of designer adsense ads is interesting. The ads themselves are attractive, but I wonder if they are more likely to be clicked than the usual text ad. Since they are more like an image than a text ad, I would think the CTR would be lower.

  9. […] How to <b>Design</b> Your AdSense Ads […]

  10. […] He is away right now, but even on holidays his blog is being updated with at least 2 post each day. He just started a series called “How to fine tune your blog for Christmas” and I found this article particularly interesting. As always, it had something to do to increase my adsense clicks. He recommended something called ‘Adsense Backgrounds’ but unfortunately, this thing is for sale. However, I did check them out and as you can see below, the adsense ads really looked great with those background images. […]

  11. Henry:

    There is no css in their code. I added it to make it pass W3C.

  12. For anyone using WordPress, there’s a plugin called Adsense Injection that will automatically insert Adsense blocks into your content. The URL is http://wordpress-plugins.biggnuts.com/adsense-injection/
    It allows you to configure how you want your ads designed in its control panel, so you don’t have to go to the Google site to do that if you’re using this. I don’t know if there’s anything similar available for other platforms.

  13. What drives me crazy with changes like this:

    Typically I run $30-$35 a day with Adsense. I implemented this Tuesday late afternoon, and Wednesday’s earnings dropped to $26.00

    Coincidence? Probably – you get bad days now and then, sometimes even runs of bad days. So I can’t shut this off for at least two weeks.. and even then I wouldn’t be absolutely sure it was “bad” even if earnings jumped back up immediately. I’d have to turn it on again and watch it drop once more..

    I’m not a patient person :-)

  14. Give it a couple of days pcunix.

    It’s frustrating but every technique I’ve ever tried works on some blogs but not others.

    Test – tweak – test – tweak – test – tweak…

  15. Well, that’s my point: a couple of days really isn’t enough because any change can be entirely coincidental..

  16. But as it turns out, this does seem to hurt my earnings. I’m going to do some further testing to be sure, but I took it out this morning and the per hour rate is back to normal..

    I had done this to a 336 x 280 ad that runs just above the fold within text.
    I think it affects white space and is therefor affecting the earning power of the 160 x 600 ad to its left.. I need to set up a test to see for sure which it is affecting, but I think that’s it: in other words, this decoration may be giving better earnings to the 336×280 it is applied to, but is stealing attention from the 160×600 ad.

    Fortunately the new multichannel tags give us the power to design tests like that.. I have a write up on my site “Using Google Channels to test layouts” that explains how..

    I’m leaving it applied to a 234 x 60 low on the pages; that doesn’t seem to hurt anything else but is improving that ad’s earnings (roughly from 50-60 cents per day previously to $1.30 – $1.50 a day on that ad).

  17. […] In a blog authored by Darren Rowse at problogger.net, he discussed details or references how to make ad designs work, at least, to your own advantage.  Given that all effective ads are successful in grabbing attention, ridiculous blend of colors may as well result to disaster.  To make your ads stand out from others, it’s not a certified requirement to use neon, but to work with the best color palette, in full consideration of style as well as sensitive taste. Friends Economy Facts Local Dating London Dating Home Improvement Online Education Archives […]

  18. I use both blended and integrated approach. I also use image ads in my sidebar and content – only those images that work visually well with my web design. Because of this “requirement” I don’t use poorly designed banners even their commissions are good. Comments are welcome. My URL is: http://www.art-life-spirit.com

  19. Google approved the free Adsense backgrounds I provide on my site over at http://adclustr.com. Hope everyone enjoys the service!

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…