Beginner's Guide to Ad Placements
You are probably already aware about Google's Adsense heat map for the placement of your Adsense units. (otherwise, refer to the diagram to the right). Well, Google has decided to move away from this model and refocused on a model that is user experience-centric.
The old heat map was a bit too generalized for the myriad site designs out there. The above encourages publishers to place their ads in a way that does not circumvent their website or blog content. The possibilities are too numerous to dive into here but the idea is to get the ad in front of the user without taking too much away from the actual content. More ads in more obtrusive places does not always amount to more revenue.
The recent pagerank penalty for ads above the fold not withstanding; your readers are the life blood of your web property. Drive them away and you won’t even have to worry about that little potential bump in CTR you’ve been trying to squeeze out of the site.
Adsense Ad Types
While there is a variety of Adsense ad types, Google has explicitly highlighted the following 4 main ad units as being the most successful. Quoting from Google:
As a rule of thumb, wider ad sizes tend to outperform their taller counterparts, due to their reader-friendly format. Readers absorb information in "thought units," several words at a time. Wider sizes let them comfortably read more text at a glance without having to skip a line and return to the left margin every few words, as they'd have to with a narrower ad.
Why do these ad units perform better than others? Google’s bidding system requires advertisers to create various multimedia ads for placement on their publisher network. Many companies do not purchase slots for all of the different formats so they ultimately don’t even create those sizes. Therefore, if you’re using a more obscure ad type the pool of bidding advertisers is smaller which results in lower revenue for you, the publisher.
Stick to these four ad units and you’ll get a lot more competition for your ad space.
Image vs Text Ads - I’ve heard webmasters swear that their sites make more money when they limit their ads to “image only” or “text only” but in the end, Google’s bidding system places the highest bidding ad onto your page, whether it be image or text. Cutting out half of the bidding pool can only lead to lower returns.
That having been said, all of that means nothing if your own testing can prove a lower number of clicks on your specific site. Perhaps your site design performs better with only text on the page. If this is the case you may need to ask yourself if the way you are placing your advertisements isn’t in violation of the Google Adsense Terms of Service as users may be accidentally clicking on the ads.
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