Displaying advertisements is a highly popular source of revenue for publishing blogs or other information websites. These types of advertisements typically show a link and a URL, or some text description. Thorough and patient testing of various options will help maximize the profit a site generates.
Here are some ideas on how to rework your advertising to identify the optimum ad performance for reaching your audience, and how to test your advertising effectively. This article will also tackle some placement techniques that can drastically raise your revenue from contextual advertising. A number of contextual advertisers include AdBrite, Google, and Yahoo Publisher Network.
Expand the Line-up
Try out combinations of diverse types of advertising to get the most out of your advertising. As different audiences view your site, different advertising strategies should be implemented to reach these audiences. This can be illustrated by the following example: Contextual PPC advertisements may work well with search users (one-time visitors needing specific answers), but may not work when integrated into a regular feed or newsletter (as frequent visitors will learn to disregard your ads).
Ride the Color Spectrum
Different colors convey different messages. The use of color also varies in effect according to the context of your ads or the theme of your website. Many text link advertisements perform well when the colors used for these are complimentary to, or ‘blending with,’ the content. Some sites, however, have ads that work well when these contrast with the content color, and thus, ‘pop’ from the page. Try both methods and modify as you see fit. Without experimentation, you won’t identify what works best with your specific audience.
Play with Placement
Tweak your page layout to allot varying degrees of exposure for your individual ads. The web page’s uppermost 768 pixels, also called the fold, works best for prioritized advertisements – most visitors to your site can see this section of the entire page without having to scroll.
Make sure that your ad is in a correct location. Ads placed in prime ‘spots’ will generate more interest and subsequent revenue. An excellent area for ad placement would be in a web page’s top fold. Do not place ads on the topmost area of the fold, though, as most visitors do not look there. In addition, ads located on the sides are often disregarded, and this is something that you want to avoid.
Shifting the position of an ad block up by a number of pixels into the ‘fold’ may affect your revenue positively, as more visitors can see it. Moving your ads nearer any content or navigation components may do the same for your revenue.
Linking text helps the advertisement ‘pop’ more, aside from giving visitors a greater chance to actually peruse the ads. It is also harder for the visitor to overlook an ad since the ads are integrated into the text.
Does it Apply?
The advertisements should be relevant – this is an integral part of contextual advertising. AdBrite merely places generic network ads, while Yahoo and Google target their ads better. Google Adsense has the most relevant ads of the three.
Increase ad relevance by ensuring that the keywords that you want to associate the ads with are incorporated throughout the page/s. In this case, it is best to distribute your keywords all through the page, as opposed to concentrating them in a single area.
Stick to a Theme
This tip somehow ties in to displaying relevant ads. If your website focuses on a specific category, your ads and images must follow suit. Theoretically, a website focused on a particular topic has ads better focused for a target audience. A website with a large spectrum of subjects will have more difficulty in generating advertisements that interest its users.
Lay out your web page so that small, yet pertinent, images are right next to your advertisements. This practice has been shown to augment ad revenue as the images direct attention to the ads, and visitors instinctively assume that the picture is ad-related content.
Google Adsense permits this method, as long as the pictures do not violate their terms and conditions. Yahoo Publisher Network, however, does not allow this. Check the fine print in the guidelines of specific publishers to gather more information on whether this practice is permitted or prohibited.
Less or More?
Incorporating too many ad blocks into a website may seem like a good way to maximize revenue, as more advertisements mean more clicks (and more profit). Avoid making your website too focused on ads, though. Visitors come to your website to access useful content, and not click on ads. Needless to say, an ad-heavy website will most likely irritate, and then alienate your audience.
The Possibilities are (almost) Endless
Observe your ad system’s performance. Constantly monitor your statistics. Which ads perform well and which ads do not? Go to another company if the results you get are unsatisfactory. With the plethora of options available to you, an ad program that delivers great results shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Last edited by Karl; 20 March, 2009 at 07:39 AM. Reason: streamlining
Nice post Karl.
If you work with adsense, and you have multiple ad blocks in you website (on one page). The ad block which gets most clicks, should appear first in your website's html file. Because Google serves highest paying ads first.
Most clicks + highest paying ads = More money.
Thanks Karl, some useful info. there. One thing I've been thinking about recently is, if you have an HTML website, it can be quite a long job to keep changing the ad. placement, there aren't any automated tools to do this for you.
With a Wordpress blog format, there are plugins that allow you to place the ads. in various positions, with just a couple of clicks.
Good point, keynes. Thanks