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Which AdSense Rectangle Ad Performs Best?

Posted By Darren Rowse 7th of March 2008 Adsense 0 Comments

Here’s a quick AdSense tip that could make you some good money.

AdSense offers two rectangle ad unit sizes – 300×250 pixels and 336×280 pixels.

inline_rectangle.gif 336x280.gif

These are both great ad units to use on your blog because they are not only available as text based ads but also image and video ones. Setting your ad units to show all formats of ads increases the potential number of advertisers that will ‘bid’ for your ad unit which drives up the potential CPM of the unit.

So which is best – 300×250 or 336×280?

One might think that the larger the ad the better it’s earnings will be – I mean having more of your screen real-estate dedicated to an ad increases the chances of it being clicked doesn’t it?As a result many bloggers go for the 336×280 ad.

However it can be well worth your while to test both ad unit sizes because there’s a good reason why the smaller ad unit can perform better for you – it’s more popular with advertisers.

336×280 might be bigger and increase the chances of being noticed – but 300×250 pixel ad units are more popular with advertisers wanting to run image/banner ads. It’s a standard size that many of them (particularly larger advertisers) produce (along with 728×90 sized ads) for online advertising. I spoke to one advertising agency representative recently who says that they’ve never made a 336×280 ad for any of their mainstream advertisers.

Split Test Your Ad Units

Of course it’s worth keeping in mind my regular advice of ‘ever blog is different’. I do have one blog where the larger rectangle ad unit out performs the smaller one. This blog doesn’t attract many image ads for some reason (I think it’s because it has a more local market with less advertisers) and the larger format works better for it with text ads. The moral to the story is to test both ad units and go with the best performing one.

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. I think both the ads are almost the same with not a major difference in performance(clicks, etc).

  2. do have both on my site, but people have recommended 300×250..so i guess i will have to change it abit. Also Darren can you sometime do a post on “not putting all of your eggs in one basket” on advertising platforms…i was thinking of using an ad server like OpenAds (now OpenX) to flip ads from different networks…is this effective?

  3. Lol Darren, I assume “best perfuming” in the last line is a typo and should be “best performing” :-)

    One thing I’d observe is that unless you’re running image and video ads the content is pretty much the same. Using the example you show above, both blocks contain exactly the same text ads but there’s a lot more white space around the text of the larger one – it looks as though the font itself is the same.

    This might blend better or worse with your blog theme. My theme is quite cramped so if I used AdSense on it and used the larger blog I think that would really stick out like a sore thumb but would fare better on other blogs with more whitespace.

  4. I like the smaller ad block better, but its not a huge difference. I think that the smaller rectangle one does come up with more image ads, which could help CTR…..

  5. I prefer the smaller. In my opinion, It is visible enough. But maybe I will do some split tests in future. Anyway I bet on smaller.

  6. Friend the bigger is better.i tested a lot of times.The 336*280 is better.

  7. I would rather go for the link ads in posts, 4 links in a small column, rather than making the blog look like a MFA.

    But if you are making a mind of having a big rectangle box, then 300 x 250 would be my choice!

    My 2 cents though.. who knows i too might shift to use the rectangle later if link ads don’t work well.

  8. I infinitely prefer the smaller one, because it allows me to wrap text around it and integrate it properly with the content. The bigger ad unit doesn’t hold more content, so the only advantage to it would be to raise the odds that somebody would accidentally click the ad, not much of a strategy. I guess it all depends on how you blend them, though.

  9. I can say that Darren didn’t write this, so who did? They didn’t get credit.

  10. Based on 1year experience with AdSemse and reading various forums and user opinions the 336×280 large rectangle is always outperforming the 350×250 one (for text links).
    The 350×250 are always designed for images based ads and not text ads, thus the 336×280 has more room for an explanation of the ad and always performs better then the other one.

  11. Just as improtant as

  12. Blending and color choice are as important as size. I usually get rid of the border and blend the color so the ad looks like part of the content.


  13. I’m sticking with my 728 x 15 link units.

  14. I like the small ones and make the color the same as your page.I also have found that a banner ad at the botton of the page works well.

  15. The best adsense block is the rare 0 by 0 one. Looks much better.

    Seriously… adsense looks so 90s. Maybe it’s just me, but it looks really cheesy. I’m surprised anyone still clicks on the things.

  16. The best perfuming one? They all smell the same to me.

  17. I have more success with smaller ads

  18. Seems to me that the smaller hold exactly the same amount of ad as the larger but in a smaller space. That “denser” ad looks more visually appealing to me. Don’t really see the upside of the large one.

  19. bob cobb says: 03/07/2008 at 3:05 am

    300×250 is the best. It will perform just as good, if not better than the bigger one, and it takes up less space.

  20. I also prefer smaller ads with good blending colors.


  21. I can’t imagine Darren wrote this. If I think myself as an advertiser who want to promote, then I will make sure that I reach maximum people. So, if I create a 300X250 add unit, I will also create a 336X280 add unit, knowing the fact that it will increase my exposure to wide audience. So its just the same, that both unit perform equally well. Isnt it ??

  22. Hmmm, I always like the rectangle ads on my sites, though I have not used it on my blog. But yeah, I did noticed, aside from minimizing lowering CTR value, the 300 x 250 looks better on sites. However, if you really have some big space, the larger also looks great – and I have seen several advertisers now making image ads on that format.

  23. The best perfuming one? Ah, 300×250 makes my blog smell goooood ;)

    @Jeremy Steele: You’d be surprised. When I watch non-web/tech people search for something in Google, they often go for the sidebar ads rather than the search results.

  24. 336×250 used to be the best… till Google changed their criteria on the clickable area of the adsense ads, so now they are one of the worst. It used to be that the white space was clickable, changing that changed the results.

  25. Even though these two are the most gauranteed revenue generator ad units, it is not applicable to all kind of blogs. Some blogs may be successful, and some may not.

    However there are couple of things which matter along with these ad units :

    1. Your blog layout. If your blog layout doesn’t fit properly with this unit then its not worth to use them.

    2. Placement on the blog. This is not specific to these ad units, but in general placement of ad unit is most important. It should not iritates your blog visitors

    3. Number of ad units per page. How many 300×250 or 336×280 unit you want to place on a page ?

    That’s it as of now ;)

  26. MTO,

    yeah, I keep hearing about people dropping adsense from their sites altogether now because of diminished earnings. Too many people chasing the same dollar causes earnings to decrease for all publishers, and then Google changing their criteria on the clickable area only makes matters worse.

    Also, it’s interesting to note that so many small publishers are getting banned from the program at the moment. I think Google might just have a strategy here. If they don’t take care of their publishers (the BUSINESS publishers, not the tiny hobbyist ones) it won’t help their revenue….

  27. I think both rectangles are way to big to be used on a blog/website. They would distract from the content and almost cheapen the brand you are trying to build. I’m not Adsense expert, but I know that if the content isn’t in the forefront then I would be less likely to comeback to a blog/website.

  28. Great tips, Darren. Thank you for sharing, because that’s very valuable for those of us trying to monetize our sites! One less possibility I have to think about, AND it gives us bloggers more space for good CONTENT!

    Do the new Adsense rules (as far as clickable areas) apply to these ad units as well? Have you seen your revenue from them decrease lately?

  29. I do prefer link than others. Both of this ads are efective way to attract visitors to click. It seem both of them a famous to blogger.

  30. I prefer the smaller one, and since it is more popular with advertisers, I think I’ll stick with that one. Thanks for the info.

  31. Good point, thanks for sharing tip!

  32. I have had both on my blog and the smaller one pays out more per click than the larger one. Also, the smaller rectangle fits well with my blog.

  33. I found that if you make your website more narrow (put in wide margins) your adsense CTR will go up no matter what the size because the visitor’s eyes will have less space to wander to.

  34. If only we were all so lucky to have enough click throughs to split test our ads. It would be nice if someone published real evidence of their experiences…or is there a blog out there that has done this?

  35. For me it’s the 300×250, due to my blog design. It racks in some decent amount.

  36. Any… it depends on your set-up anyway. 760 over my header works fine for me.

  37. I’m finding that a mix of sizes, text and images is working great! I tried experimenting with this over the last week with my Adsense for yesterday double my normal intake :)

    Thanks for the tip Dazza.

    I’m sure you’ve covered this somewhere but success also depends where the ads are placed…

  38. Well, for me link units are most performing ad units. I always test adsense units with different formats and positions.

    The best place to put your small rectangle 300×250 in in your post just below your post title and align at left or right of post content.

    Some days back I have compiled post on all possible ways to make more from Adsense ..

    Here it is:
    20+ practical and ethical tips to earn more revenue from Google Adsense

  39. I’d always go for bigger ads and not worry about the image ads (which I’ve always found less targeted and pay out less) but I guess the key is still to experiment to see what works best for you.

  40. I don’t think it makes much of a difference.

  41. I struggle sometimes with these types of articles. I think that if you concentrate more on the content you publish rather than the placement or types of ads, you’re better off in the long run.

    Not these things aren’t important. But the early focus of a blog should be giving your readers enjoyable content.

  42. Thanks for the tips, Darren. I use 336×280 now.
    I was wondering though, if anyone here uses blogger/blogspot, how to put the 728×90 leaderboard into my theme. If I try putting the leaderboard at the top of the page, only half of it shows up. :-( I use a 336×280 instead and a wide skyscraper google text ad on the left side of the page and also an ad after my top post.

  43. I use the 300×250. One thing people should also consider is advertiser preference. Most advertisers use the 300×250 so therefore you will have more options and definitely do what problogger says and test them both out. But for me, the 300×250 works better.

  44. I just did a quick test – I assumed the larger add would pay better but alas the 300 x 250 cpm is double that of the 336 x 280 ad. Thanks for the post – good discussion!

  45. Wow, I see this blog post and all the comments solved nothing.

    I have never heard a complaint from the 336×280 so I assume they pay the best and have the highest CTR?

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