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Tabbed Browsing Increase CTR on Ads at Top of Page

Posted By Darren Rowse 28th of September 2006 Adsense 0 Comments

The Scroll Bar Theory

When I first started using AdSense one of the tips that some AdSense experts suggested was to run skyscrapers down the right hand side of your site because this is where readers eye would be drawn to when they went to use the scroll bar.

Of course this strategy became less and less effective (probably due to rise in scroll wheels on the mouse which means less and less people use the scroll bar).

The Tabbed Browsing Theory

Today I was came across a suggestion by Chris Kenworthy who had a tip that reminded me of the above strategy. He’s been experimenting with running horizontal AdSense adlink units across the very top of his site. He’s tracked how much readers using different browsers click on the adlinks and has found that those using FireFox and IE7 (both with tabbed browsing – I presume it’d be similar with Safari) click the adlink units three times as much as others.

The reason for the increased clicks is similar to the scroll bar theory. People with tabbed browsing look at the top of their browsers to see the tabs and in doing so see the adlinks.

The adlink unit is ideal for this as it’s such a narrow ad but it would also be interesting to see if the CTR on larger banner ads also is higher with people using tabbed browsing.

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 wonder what percent is accidental clicking trying to close or switch to another tab.

  • Almost all Adsense tweaks start out okay, and then sink into oblivion. One big ad above the fold is still my favorite.

  • I’ve definitely caught myself accidentally clicking on ads that run across the top of the screen while I’m trying to use my tabs. Weblogs Inc has some of this if I recall correctly. I’ve tried to incorporate it onto my sites but haven’t found a look I like.

  • AhmedF

    Yeah umm – aren’t those jus accidental clicks? If I clicked on it (by mistake) I would have pressed back in 0.1 seconds.

  • I like the concept. Most of my users use IE 5 or IE 6 though, so it wouldn’t make a huge difference. Something to keep an eye on for demographics, though.

  • Jon

    for horizontal adlinks an accidental click won’t matter since they only pay after you click the second time…but if you put a regular AdSense ad up there, for sure you get accidental clicks. It happens to me on Statcounter once and I while…I feel bad for the ad buyer, but what to do?

  • I believe the incidental clicks not to be the biggest part of the clicks. People click because they see the adlinks… with the odd one in between doing it by mistake.

  • If you send Google low-quality clicks, they smart price you out of existence.

  • I really don’t think that the focus here is on placing the Ads in a place where they will be accidentally be clicked (as some people seem to be concerned about), but on putting them in a visual hot spot – in this case at the very top of the page – which is a hot spot because this is where tabs reside. A person looking up at their tabs, the theory goes, is more likely to notice the ads up there.

    Its definitely an interesting thought. Probably worth a try.

  • As Jon says – adlink units don’t actually cost anyone anything if they are an accidental click. The first click doesn’t pay anything – it’s the second one that does.

  • I’m right handed and mouse with my left hand…which is sorta like peeing in the snow…it can be done but ya don’t always hit whacha aiming at…so I can see where the links at the top of tabbed browsers may get more clicks

  • Darren – I don’t think tabbed browsers have little to do with it. Many sites these days user horizontal navigation so it’s enticing for users to click on these links thinking they will remain on your website. As we see this isn’t trues and I bet you they click a second time more out of frustration and/or lack of knowledge. Overall – good post as it brings up some good questions. Sometimes, we forget that most of the world doesn’t live in blogs and we need to think about how a typical web user navigates around.

  • Great Idea :)