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Simple Changes Doubled My Adsense Revenue

Posted By Darren Rowse 20th of June 2009 Adsense 0 Comments

In this post Todd Fratzel from Home Construction Improvement and Today’s Green Construction shares how he doubled the AdSense revenue on his blog with a few simple changes.

Several simple changes in my Adsense approach and layout have almost doubled my blog’s revenue. The results were so drastic and eye opening that I convinced a friend (www.oneprojectcloser.com) to make the same changes to his blog with even better results. The changes involve two simple ideas that can be easily incorporated into any Adsense monetized website or blog.

I’ve been blogging for over two years now and growing traffic, authority and readership slow and steady. Along with the steady increase in traffic the site has continued to increase it’s Adsense revenue at a similar pace with no sudden increases regardless of all the changes and adjustments I’ve made. That was true until I took the time to study many different published Adsense approaches. As I read all of these different approaches three distinct ideas came to the forefront.

Three Important Adsense Approaches

  • Less is More – This concept is really simple yet I hadn’t really given it much thought before. First off the top ad is the highest paying ad and you want that in the best possible position.

Secondly, if you’re using all three of the allotted Adsense units on a given page then there are quite a few ads all competing for attention or a click through. However, if you only use one Adsense unit then you’re limiting the number of ads served and improving the likelihood that one of those ads will get clicked. Therefore, the theory is that an advertiser will be willing to pay a higher rate for less competition.

  • Size Matters – If you read enough Adsense guides you’ll find that the 336 x 280 Large Rectangle is the most effective Adsense unit. It typically offers four ads and they are likely to be very related to the topic based on the position between the post title and body.
  • Position, Position, Position – Placing your Adsense unit above the fold is imperative for success. This makes sense to me for one reason. Every day my site (and I assume most sites) gets a majority of it’s traffic from search engines. This traffic is generated from people searching for something. So when they land on my page and they decide that it’s not the content they were looking for then I want them to see the Adsense unit right where they land so that becomes an “outclick” option.

How I Doubled My Adsense Revenue

In order to understand the approach I used to double my Adsense revenue I’ll use two graphics that show the same post before the changes and after the changes. First – the before shot:

increase-adsense-earnings-before.jpg

And here’s the after shot:

increase-adsense-earnings-after.jpg

My Old Adsense Layout Included:

  1. 468 x 60 Text Only Unit located in the header area of my page.
  2. 468 x 60 Text Only Unit located between the post title and the body of the post.
  3. 468 x 60 Text Only Unit located at the end of the post before the comment section.

Revised Adsense Layout Includes:

  1. Remove the old 468 x 60 Text Only Unit completely and replaced with an affiliate banner. The idea here is to remove some of the units in order to address concept #1 of Less is More.
  2. Replace the old 468 x 60 Text Only Unit with the 336 x 280 large rectangle unit. This unit is above the fold between the post title and body which makes it a very prominent position. This change addresses both of concept #2 and #3 for Size Matters and Position.
  3. Remove the old 468 x 60 Text Only Unit completely. I actually replaced this with the new Chitika Jumbo unit which is also performing quite well. Again the removal helps address the Less is More concept.

Immediate Results

increase-adsense-earnings.jpg

If you look at the graph of my Adsense revenue over the last two months you’ll see that the increased revenue was immediate. The changes were made as indicated by the Red Circle #1. As you can see my revenue went from under $150 per week to almost $300 per week. Immediate should be taken with a grain of salt, the increase happened over several days and it’s likely to take some time for Adsense to incorporate the reduced number of ads being served on your site.

Summary Of Improved Adsense Layout

While I’d be naive to think that this will double any and all Adsense revenue for any site I think the principal is worth evaluating on all sites. The concept is really simple; make one large, well positioned ad do all the work. This will make your page look cleaner and it’s likely to improve your revenue immediately. It’s also important that you follow some of the basic suggestions of blended ads that match the color and fonts of your site. So far I’ve done this on two of my sites and a friend’s site with the same result, improved Adsense revenue.

Note from Darren: I think that the key with optimizing a blog for AdSense (or other ad networks) is to experiment. The best thing that Todd did here was to try something new and to track the results. What he’s done has worked for him but it might not work for everyone – the key is to keep trying different combinations of numbers of ads, ad sizes, ad positions, ad design (color, fonts etc) and to try different ad types until you find 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.
Comments
  1. I agree with Darren – the key is to experiment and find out what works for you.

    Here is my experience:

    – The 300 * 250 ad unit works better for me than 336 * 280

    – I have all 3 AdSense units on any given page

    – The first is above the fold, just above the article title. This is the best performing unit for me.

    – The second is weaved into the content – My experience shows this is the second best performing unit. This is a place where people are into the content, so a relevant ad is found useful, and is clicked often.

    – The third unit is just after an article ends. This is a place where people pause after reading an article, and are thinking about their next course of action. So, again, a relevant ad can prompt them to click.

  2. Thanks for the tips. Even i am trying hard to increase my Adsense earnings and have been trying many positions but it hasnt helped yet. I get about 80 visitors per day .So i guess unless it doesnt increase, my earnings wont increase irrespective of the ads.

    Btw I saw the video made by Darren in which he said that its good to place an ad right at the bottom of the blog. Just did that today. Lets hope that it works :)

  3. I only use Adsense on my featured post, but since my traffic is not as high as you, obviously my click through is low, just to be honest, but your information about putting less, really amazed me…

  4. Darren, I agree with you.
    Experiment has helped me a lot. My revenue jumped by 100% after I optimized ads and started using Chitika.

  5. Thank you for posting this. I’ve noticed a drastic change in my Adsense clicks once I changed the layout a few months ago. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for the better. Now I’m back in experiment mode. I hadn’t thought about using the 336×280 size but I will have to try that one next.

  6. Well, I tought this article was gonna show something that we didnt already know. Todd, unfortunately you were using the absolute WORST Adsense unit before. So, going from 468×60 to 336×280 was going to double your income, of course.

  7. By the way, if you are using wordpress, try out the “All in One Adsense and YPN” plugin.

    You can provide your adsense account number / code to it, and it provides many location options within the article where you can choose to place your ad.

    And the best part is – you can choose to place the ad at a “random” location. This means that the ad unit would be placed at different locations for different page loads.

    This is extremely useful: Your regular readers become ad-blind in a short time, and stop noticind the ads as they appear on the same place. With this “random” feature, you can remove the effect of ad-blindness!

  8. Thanks for the advice. I have been reluctant to add adsense to my blog for quite sometime as I see to many bloggers in my niche completely overdo it.

    I do like your less is more approach and adding banners. I think that what I’ll give a shot. (finally adding the oldest monetization strategy in the book! :)

  9. Hmm. I always thought that putting the ad between the title and the content looked a little spammy … but maybe I’ll give it a shot. My CTRs are absurdly low, so it definitely couldn’t hurt.

  10. My strategy has always been to experiment with different ad placements per blog post I run. I did this for about 10 posts each, with 3 different styles (30 posts total).

    What I saw consistently was that my bottom ad block (336*269) right after the post and before comments was drawing in the most CPC and CTR.

    I assume this is because after a user reads the whole article, they are looking for something to do next. I don’t want them clicking on an ad at the top because it doesn’t give them a chance to read the article or see my affiliate recommendations.

    However, I am always up for experimenting, I may switch all my posts for a few weeks to this style just to see the impact. Learn some lessons along the way. Any chance to reduce the clutter of ads and increase revenue is appealing to me :)

  11. For me link units works best on “make money online” niche in terms of higher paying clicks.

    Large rectangle ads placed at above the fold area will generate the most clicks.

    Experiment and you will know what works for your blog.

  12. Great tips. I will have to analyze my adsense usage and see if I can make improvements.

  13. Test test test. I think that should be the tagline for blogging! LOL

    Good article Todd. Thanks for sharing your results.

  14. I agree with you, Adsense is learning by doing

  15. So far my best results have been with ProSense theme but after reading this I have to reconsider the location of AdSense ads at least for some of my web sites.

  16. Great information. I don’t have a lot of readers, so I don’t really make money off my ads, but maybe if I experiment a bit more, I’ll see better results. Also Blog SEO Expert, thanks for that plugin. I have been wondering where can I find a good plugin.

  17. Less can be more. It has helped me as well. I have noticed that if I try to fit too many adds in, the readers seem to filter them out. Probably overloading them with too much.

    It looks like the add placements mentioned in this article re-enforce the Google Adsense hot spots. Everywhere he placed an add on these pages, is in an “optimal zone” for adds.

    https://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=17954

  18. Do you do the same for Home page (index.php) and Article page (single.php – in WP)?

    Presuming you show excerpts on the Home page.

    PS. Most of my blog have exactly as ‘Before’ in your sample above! :)

    Here is a sample:
    http://www.jobsblog.ie

    … pathetic…. :)

  19. Mkes a lot of sense… I have also learned to keep it simple. I used to have a Christmas Tree of ads years ago, now I’m lean and mean :-)

  20. Proves something I have often said: optimizing Adsense definitely works very individually on different sites. Indeed audiences are very special and it’s a good idea to split-test to get the best results.

    Have a nice weekend. :-)

  21. Placing the ads above the fold is important that is what I have experienced. This is the top paying spot.

  22. Good advice. The bottom line, though, like you all mentioned is that you need to vary it up a little bit to figure out what is the most effective on your websites. Long live adsense!

    Nicholas Z. Cardot
    http://www.sitesketch101.com

  23. Thank you for these tips. I’m just now getting into Adsense but I haven’t done any research into placement. I will definitely try these tips out so that I can start monetizing my blog.

  24. Salman says: 06/20/2009 at 1:23 am

    Hi darren
    sorry i just can read your but I dont have a adsense account to do this practical

    Regards
    Salman
    http://www.tips4blogging.co.cc

  25. Urgh!! I hate adds – I even hate them on my own blog (but the other half of My Little Norway wants to keep them on because they at least pay for our internet. (He wins…lol.)

    I think ads need to work with the aesthetics of your blog design. People are visually savvy these days. Look how fast we have moved from video to DVD to HD quality. People value good quality appearance.

    We’ve just spent two weeks brainstorming a new design for our blog to match our direction – ads included. We have made a way to work ads into our design integrity – but we’ll have to see how it goes with making money. (It launches soon – can’t wait!)

  26. I really think the ads under the title looks bad. I have seen ads in the content were it wraps around, but never like that.

    I have my ads in out of the way places and I do just fine. I do agree with less is more. I only have one Google ad block on my site and the click rate is great.

    Enjoy Bacon
    http://www.mrbaconpants.com

  27. Great tips for a beginner like me! Thanks!

  28. Interesting, I use a similar version of the same theme and find that the way that Todd has placed his ads looks terrible. That’s just my personal opinion though and who am I to argue seeing as he is earning MUCH more than I am. :-/

    I’m going to experiment a bit though and see if I can’t get a good above the fold placement working.

  29. I think that the second ad can bring you problems with google.
    I wouldn’t take the risk unless I get a confirmation from one of their rep stating that it is ok to put an ad in that place.

    Jordi

  30. So we have got one more person who is giving support to 336 x 280 format and below the post title. From the past this format was the hot cake and this one is still performing unless and until adsense will bring more useful format for publishers.

  31. For my self, I don’t show Adsense on the main page. It’s only on the post page. Also, only search engine visitors see them. I also removed Adsense from most of my other sites. I was being smart priced on my whole account.

    Doing that decreased the impression but double my earnings.

  32. One thing I wasn’t quite clear on, you said “Therefore, the theory is that an advertiser will be willing to pay a higher rate for less competition”.

    But you’re using adsense right? Google doesn’t pay more per click if you only have one adsense block on the page, right? I think otherwise it would make sense but not in this case.

  33. Yes, it’s true. Less pay more. I cutted all adsense ads from my blog keeping just the large one above the fold and it’s the best solution i ever experimented.

  34. Wow, I have read, probably hundreds of posts on how to “double your adsenes earnings” but none have been as comprehensive as this has been.

    I find it hard to believe how many great posts you can shoot out in a short time, but at the same time I sit here, in my office yet again, astounded.

  35. I agree with kosmo, an ad (especially that big!) between title and content looks spammy to me.

    Usability > Revenue.

  36. We all should know this stuff by now but I guess we need to be reminded from time to time. It is time for all of us to review our advertising layouts!

  37. Hi, I’m the other site that Todd mentioned in this post (www.oneprojectcloser.com).

    Unlike Todd’s first ad layout, I started with two large banners going down the left of the site next to the content. I blended all colors and matched blue link text in the ads vs. post.

    I traded that method for Todd’s method (one large block below the title, no other adsense on the page). Performance has been +85% since I made the change.

    As everyone else said, the key is testing. I’m real glad we made the switch, and would encourage everyone else to take the chance and try something new.

  38. Darren points out something that I forgot to mention and it’s probably the most important part of this post. When I finally took the time to evaluate my site and do some testing I was fortunate to find a layout that worked very well for my site. My point is that you have to try new things and test if you want to make it work.

    For those that say it isn’t very aesthetically pleasing I say this. My loyal readers have not made one single complaint and this increased revenue has been quite substantial for me. I tried other approaches in the past that were less apparent but they just didn’t convert well.

    I really do hope this one case study gives some incentive to others to keep testing and evaluating new approaches. Good luck everyone!

  39. Great post! Experimenting really is the key as each blog will be different.

    Jason

  40. Okay, I’m going to try that out! I had one Adsense panel in the right sidebar and one at the bottom of posts. Now I’m putting a 336 x 280 box between the post title and the content on individual post pages.

  41. My site is still new, but I have already noticed that Ad Blindness seems to be killing conversion. Is it possible that the reason this performed better at the start is that the new Ad layout countered some of the Ad Blindness we are all fighting?

    It appears this change has been effective for a month. You should keep us updated so we see if this was only an Ad Blindness effect.

    @darren – Have you done any research or seen any research about why so many users have Ad Blindness? When I look at my content the ads displayed in many cases are highly relevant and if I was on the page would click. Yet I have noticed that almost nobody clicks.

  42. Rightly said, Darren. Some things work for some and some dont. It’s important to experiment and check what Works for you. But thanks to Todd, we got a pre framed idea.

    Adding to what’s been said above, I recommend using an adsense rectangle one above the fold and one at the end of the post. The one above the fold for those who are ready to leave because of irrelevant content and one below the post for those who have read your post and wish to have more addition to it.

    Now since two ads are over, you can use the third as an image ad. Link units also perform great. I implemented the above techniques for my tech blog and they are doing well.

  43. Beware:
    The placement of #2 is in violation of the Google AdSense TOS:
    “Ads shouldn’t be placed under a title or section heading in a way that implies that the ads are not ads.”

    http://adsense.blogspot.com/2008/03/another-look-at-optimizations.html

  44. I think its better to monetize with high paying affiliate programs related to your niche, but if you’re going to use adsense above the fold positioning is key(above the fold is always key). I’ve also had better experience with image ads than text ads, but it depends on the niche and target demographic I think.

  45. Thanks for this article!

    I have made some changes to my blog today after reading this post. My former adsense arrangement was quite similar to what was described here, and I’ve now switched to a large rectangle above the fold and moved things around a bit. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

  46. Good article. But you have used the three ad units according to screenshot -1. What about it?

    Have you placed it show the hot spots?

    If so, it’s okay!

  47. I have tried a lot of different adsense placements with all 3 ads on a page and only 2 ads.I have kept the links blue (0000FF) because people know that links are blue.I decided to implement the tips in this article, lets see how it goes.

    Here are some good adsense tips if you are interested:
    http://ask.joelcomm.com/adsense_secrets_live.shtml

  48. Peter Pan says: 06/20/2009 at 6:54 pm

    While I’m all for improving revenues, having such a huge ad block after the headline may be annoying for users… It’s possible that a part of the increased revenue on this kind of approach is because the ad confuses less techy users, who then end up clicking it, expecting something else

  49. I have implemented a similar thing on a couple of blogs, but I also use the “Why Do AdSense Work?” WordPress plugin which lets me stop putting ads on new posts. Therefore, regular readers don’t get bothered by ads at all, and it’s mainly search engine visitors who see them (though sometimes Stumbleupon users as well, for archived posts that are still doing very well).

    Seems to be working too.

  50. I really haven’t managed to get the results with adsense that I believe I should be getting. Although I did improve my results by about 50% recently by changing the text colour to original Google blue as opposed to a more blended colour that I had previously. I think I have to keep experimenting for a while and keep tracking the progress.

    I have got one question if someone could help me?
    How long should I trial new ad positions and formats before I trial other formats and positions?

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