If you’re like most webmasters, you’re all about growing your website. Correct? And that is certainly a good reasoning towards on-line success, and it’s most certainly a wise focus!
However, did you know that:
- Changing your ad placement can make a significant impact in your earnings?
- You can multiply your website’s earnings, without the need to raise traffic levels?
- The most efficient ad placements sometimes look counter-intuitive?
- Strategically placed ad units won’t disrupt your normal flow of visitors?
By focusing exclusively on raising your traffic and exposure, there’s a good chance you don’t spend enough time optimizing your current earning potential. It’s quite likely you’re leaving a good chunk of money on the table. How? By failing to optimize the revenue that would be readily available from the visitors you already have access to!
Are You Making the Most of Your Available Traffic?
A good example of a lucrative optimization is experimenting with different AdSense placements. Most likely, you just integrated those ad units in your design according to your personal taste, or maybe you’ve read about the best practices and just followed suit.
This is a very common mistake that translates to a huge waste of potential earnings!
To get the most out of AdSense, you need to try different placements and strategies, to determine what works best for your website. Ideally, you should start with the tried-and-true best practices, before moving around ad units and trying different formats, until you find what works best for you.
Every website has a golden ad placement that will make its AdSense earnings explode. This article will show you three simple design tweaks that will help you find your own sweet spot without the need to spend much time or waste much effort.
Double Rectangle Close to Title and Above the Fold
(potential to increase earnings by +110%)
Try placing two 300×250 rectangles “above the fold” and close to the post title, right before the actual article content. In most cases, locking the left rectangle to display image ads and the right rectangle to text ads will work best. Here’s an example:
In some cases, having both rectangles locked to image ads can produce better results; personally, I found this specific combination gave the best results. There’s something about the double rectangle graphic ad unit + text ad unit that just makes this duo blend in and work together quite nicely. Some considerations:
- If your website features a sidebar on the left side, it might work better to swap the rectangles, and keep the text unit closer to the sidebar.
- Locking both rectangles to text ads is generally a bad idea, since you’ll probably end up displaying repeated ads, which will significantly hinder the performance of this ad zone.
- There are exceptions to every rule. The only way to know if something really works for you is to try it! Put your own twist to this format, until you can decide what works best for your own website.
- To achieve the highest revenue performance, you need to place your ad units right below the title and above the content; but you need to look at your pages objectively and determine whether those titles may be misleading visitors to click the ads. If so, that would be a violation of the AdSense TOS.
- If the titles you use tend to be more rhetorical than assertive in nature, it will probably be OK to put the ad units immediately below the title. If you’re not sure and you want to be safe, it’s best to put the double rectangle ad units above the post title.
- You should try different combinations to see what works best, but in most cases… left rectangle graphic ads + right rectangle text ads is the golden formula.
Why Does This Placement Work So Well
- Rectangle ad units are generally the most effective ad formats
- The top of your pages (“above the fold”) is premium screen estate
- The page title is a spot where people focus their attention while skimming
- Placing two rectangles close together will compound their effectiveness
- Text and ad units word brilliantly together to reduce banner blindness
At first sight, this double rectangle combo below the title may seem a bit obtrusive, but after much testing it became clear how this placement doesn’t seem to hinder user navigation or even affect bounce rate.
That is especially true if you’re already using a single large rectangle below the title: switch it for two medium rectangles, and you’ll notice how the overall design of the page actually holds together quite nicely!
Not to mention it will effectively double the number of clicks collected in this ad zone, along with your earnings. And it’s actually so obvious that you cannot help but wonder why you hadn’t tried this placement before.
For those of you who don’t feel inclined to place ad units in the hotspot below the main title of your pages, assuming it may scare visitors away… think of it at a new angle:
People who click those ads are likely not inclined to scroll down your website, for whatever reason! Maybe they’re not feeling engaged, maybe they don’t fancy your color scheme, maybe they just feel like clicking away on a whim.
Whatever their reasons may be… by placing ad units above the fold, you’re likely monetizing traffic that would otherwise be wasted; visitors that would just go away without even scrolling down your website.
Ads placed above the fold simply get more clicks than ads anywhere else on the page: a fact that’s been confirmed even by the AdSense team: “All other things being equal, ads located above the fold tend to perform better than those below the fold”.
Should You Lock Into Pictures or Text Ad Units?
(potential to increase earnings by +65%)
Decisions, decisions… life is full of choices, and often there are consequences to them. In this case, something as trivial as locking your ad units to text or image ads (or otherwise letting AdSense alternate through them) can be quite determinant to the performance of your Google ads.
Pros and Cons of Text/Image/Mixed Ads
- Several text ads can fit in a single ad box, presenting readers with more options
- Sometimes fewer options may draw more attention and yield more clicks
- Image ads can be more catchy and draw higher bids in certain niches
- Even when the image ads don’t get many clicks, you will get CPM earnings
- Not all advertisers use images, meaning the competition/bids could be lower
- If you allow for mixed ads, AdSense will usually pick the most lucrative option
- Alternating between text/image ads means your website design will be less consistent
Ultimately, the right call depends on two main aspects… your niche and audience. There are no straight answers to this question, and there is only one way to know what works best: Experiment!
Try locking all your ad units to images only for an entire week, then to text ads only for an entire week. Finally, set them back to the default (text/image ads) for another week. You should realize that one of these options works significantly best for your website. Keep it. Relish in the increased earnings.
In Search of the Missing Link Unit
(potential to increase earnings by +25%)
Most publishers settle for using their allotted ad units and neglect the other AdSense formats which are as readily available: the link units and the custom search box. Not too surprising, since in most cases they perform quite poorly. However, depending on your website and its audience… adding these ad formats can bring a nice boost to your AdSense revenue.
Which Websites Will Benefit From Using Link Units?
The link unit goes together with website menus like butter on toast. If your website design relies on a menu that visitors actually tend to click on, you should integrate a link unit next to it, for extra clicks and revenue.
Link units usually work best when they’re integrated right next to a menu… or close enough to it as to look like a secondary menu (like here at Onextrapixel). As stated by AdSense support in the official website, “ads placed near rich content and navigational aids usually do well because users are focused on those areas of a page.”
If you don’t have a category selection menu or people don’t tend to use it… there’s no point in implementing link units, since it will likely be a waste of screen real estate.
(Extra tip: if any element of your website design – such as the header menu – is not getting used by the visitors… it’s quite possibly a waste of space, and you will probably benefit from removing it.
Design should follow function, and function should follow usage. Great website design is ever-changing, and adapts to the visitor’s browsing patterns, to keep improving the user experience).
Which Websites Will Benefit From Adding the Search Box?
If you have a reference website wherein average page views per visitors are high and people actually come back to and use the search box to look for content… that’s where you really should implement your custom Google search box.
It’s possibly one of the least obtrusive ways to implement AdSense, and it does work: if your visitors are using that custom search box, some of them will likely click on some of the ads showing at the top of each search.
Besides, having a search box with the label “powered by Google” just adds a hint of authority to your website, as far as the casual Internet user can tell. It’s a win-win!
The ad placement tweaks discussed in this article bear a real potential to multiply your current AdSense earnings. These strategies work for many webmasters, and there’s a good chance they will easily work for you. However, if you want to maximize your website’s earning potential, you should be ready to try different placements until you find the sweet spot.
In some cases, you will notice that better results will come from an in-your-face approach such as the double rectangle ad unit below the post title. In other cases, and depending on the goals for a certain page, it could mean cutting down to fewer ads and a strategically placed search box, as demonstrated in this snapshot below.
Be creative, and don’t settle for the best practices demonstrated here. Theoretical advice is a great starting point, but to achieve the best results you must be willing to try and test. You need to put your lab coat on and determine what works best for your website.
Before You Can Explode Your Earnings, You Need to Know Your Audience
If there’s a magic formula that will allow you to explode your current AdSense earnings without the need to increase your traffic levels, it’s looking at your website from the perspective of your visitors.
Take off your web developer’s goggles for a minute; stop thinking in terms of how pretty your website looks, for a while. Try to get into the mind of your visitors – the people who are actually using your website – and understand their click streams.
- Try being the visitor for a change, rather than being the webmaster.
- Understand your traffic sources and participate in them experimentally.
- Enter your website via the search engines, and observe without attachment.
- Contemplate what people would expect to find, based on their search queries.
- Determine the usefulness of design elements through the eyes of a total stranger.
- You can’t trick people into clicking your ads, nor should you even try to.
- Ads showing up at the right place, moment and context *will* get the click.