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How to Make CPC Ads Convert

Posted By Darren Rowse 26th of January 2008 Advertising 0 Comments

Wendy at eMoms at Home posted an interview with me today which focuses upon getting advertising to convert into revenue on a blog – particularly CPC ads (cost per click) like AdSense or Chitika.

I give a variety of tips in the 3 question interview but here’s the crux of it for me with 3 main factors to consider:

1. Positioning – in general ads close to your content work best. Ads above the fold usually work best. Other key spots are anywhere that your reader naturally ’stops’ reading (ie at the end of an article).

2. Relevancy – you can have the prettiest and most well positioned ads in the world but if they are not relevant to your reader (and the content you’re writing about) then you’re unlikely to have them click it. This is why ‘contextual’ advertising works so well – it see’s you’ve just written about iPods and puts an ad up for iPods. If you’re using an ad network that isn’t contextual you’ll need to find ways to manually choose relevant ads.

3. Traffic – it’s obvious, but once your ads are well optimized you can have the most impact upon how much it earns by getting more traffic to it. However not all traffic is equal in terms of conversion. I’ve found that traffic from search engines can be quite good at getting clicks on ads like ‘AdSense’ ads while traffic from another blog with a good recommendation from the blogger can do better with affiliate programs. Traffic from regular readers is harder to convert with CPC ads so again affiliate programs can be better.

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.
  • I feel that it’s difficult to know which traffic converts into clicks … It depends a lot on the niche that you’re in as well …

    Last week for instance, I had a huge traffic surge from stumbleupon .. which resulted in 0 adsense clicks … that other day I got traffic from blogging zoom and actually converted …

    Lex G

  • BW

    All 3 are great points. I had my best month with adsense in December and it looks like January will be one of my worst!!!

    The reason – adsense has decided to show PSA’s on my site.

    Now if only I could get a reply from adsense support (apart from the standard auto reply)

    Just hope it gets fixed soon, don’t like seeing 0 clicks in my account :o(

  • Darren, I couldn’t of said it any better myself!


  • I just changed my entire ad layout last night. I used tips 1 and 2. #3 is going to take some time.

    Using Darren’s advice, it’s possible that tips 1+2+3 = a 6 figure salary!

  • Some sites (topics) just get a better click through rate. I have 2 sites with same adsense setup but vastly different click through (and pay rates) One of the sites would make me give up trying to be a problogger but other is very good. – Keep trying

  • Joe

    It’s really tough to determine who will click and who will not. What makes it even more difficult is that only about 1% of readers will actually click on ads. I’ve got a poll on my blog that shows that statistic, sadly…

    That being said, I’m just trying to drive as much traffic as I can to my blogs and not worry too much about the ads for now. Content first…

  • Darren, what no link to the actual interview in the post? Show some link love to wendy :)


  • I’ve experienced with both “at the end of article” Adsense blocks and inline-text blocks. I find they seem to have about the same amount of success, with the inlines doing slightly better because they appear above the fold on long articles.

  • Those are good tips about being able to make ads convert. There are multiple ways to do this with some degree of success.

    Thanks for the advice!

  • I think I’ve got okay ad placement; now I just need to work on getting organic/natural traffic (mainly from search engines results, or so I’m hoping)

  • I was aware that surfers searching for an entry in Google are more likely to click on one’s ads, while regulars don’t. However I had not thought that affiilate programs were interesting to them. I’ll keep that in mind, thanks :)

  • Nice and short but very good points. Though there seems to be this new movement or feeling among bloggers that AdSense is starting to loose its sparkle.

  • Hey Darren,

    Just wanted to let you know that I`m getting this error message above your poll question in the sidebar.

    WordPress database error: [You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near ‘LIMIT 1’ at line 1]
    SELECT ip FROM wp_democracyIP WHERE qid = 30 AND ip = LIMIT 1

  • Comment to Lex G: Yeah I saw many bloggers saying stumbleupon converts very badly to adsense. Is it also true for other social networks ?


  • bestofmoney: It’s also very true from Digg users (and I suspect many other social networks). Actually, Digg staff says that their users don’t click ads, but their huge amount of traffic is enough to give them 6 figure earnings / month.

  • Yup affiliate programs are better with bloggers because bloggers such as myself like recommendations from real people real blogs.

  • Sometimes the most simplest tactics work, and these are the top three boiled down points to follow. Thanks again with reminds us all!

  • Must.. Have.. More… Traffic

    The Necro Files
    Even though I get more than a thousand hits, I need MORE TRAFFIC!

  • I’ve been playing with adsense for two months and have only a handful of clicks. I want to run more than one adsense ad on my site, but Blogger has space for only one, and adsense code doelsn’t seem to work on the html page. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Adsense ads probably works better with people that don’t surf the Internet too often; most other people are sick and tired to see them, just like people getting up to use the loo or make some coffee when the ads come on TV!

  • welll….. what i think is that niche is the most important factor because even if these tips are followed properly and the niche is not a good one or a low paying one then there will be more clicks but the earnings compared to the clicks will be low

    anyways nice tips…. darren gj

  • I would imagine that some blog topics would have better click through rates. eg Positive product reviews matched with ads linking to stores, and interesting travel destinations linking to accommodation. i.e Click through rates are higher when you have a positive post with an equivalent ad product.

  • Hi, i provided some real example on my blog on commenting those Ad placement for some forum site. Maybe it will inspirate you

  • Great advices. I did great with adsense on the month of November but sucked on the month of December. I got kicked, because of my friends who always screw me up. Well I might go for another CPC site though.

  • Nature of traffic is really a key element. I had a strong and short increase on traffic when I posted about the Boeing 777 that crash landed in Heatrow days ago.

    I posted shortly after the event and got many visits from search engines. These new readers were focused on this even only, so many did not came back, and they were not really prone to clicking ads, which was clearly visible in the corresponding CTR drop.

    However no regrets, my goal with this post was to inform, not to make money… Blogging for money yes, but not only for money ! Otherwise I would be running a really “different” kind of blog / website.

  • The connection between Adsense and search seems to make sense. I’m inclined to agree that bloggers don’t bring so many clicks as search.

  • The issue with Adsense is if you have too many impressions and no clicks, you can end up getting smart priced.

    If you are seeing PSA’s, etc. then chances are you are smart-priced. This will affect all of your sites that are using Adsense, not just the one site with a 0 or low CTR.

    This is what sucks about Adsense.