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Ad Placement Tips for Higher Revenue

Ad Placement Tips for Higher Revenue

Advertising revenue helps sustain websites large and small. While there are a number of ways to maximize your ad revenue, there is one aspect that is often overlooked: ad placement. Simply put, ads placed in certain areas get more clicks, which means more revenue. Ad placement is an excellent place to experiment since it lends itself well to trial and error without substantially altering the functionality of your site. Try out some of these principles and see if they help you earn more money from your website.
Above the Fold
If you’ve ever spoken to a web designer—whether amateur or professional—you’ve likely heard the term “above the fold.” This term refers to the simple concept that items that appear on the page without scrolling get more attention. The same is true for advertisements. Ads that appear above the fold tend to get more clicks. This is perhaps because a reader sees them before they dive into an article and begin scrolling. Or, if the reader is skimming, they may just scroll right past an ad that’s below the fold (it’s harder to hit a moving target). At any rate, as a general rule of thumb, ads placed above the fold will almost always perform better. Publishers may want to consider this when pricing advertisements on their pages.
Rich Content and Navigation
The next principle is that users tend to click ads that are near their area of focus. Because of this, ads that are placed next to rich content—such as videos and animations, where the reader’s eye will linger for the duration of the clip—and navigational menus tend to get more clicks.
At the End of an Article
Going against the “above the fold” principle, the end of the article is also a high performing ad placement area. According to Google, which also recommends placing ads at the end of editorial content, this is probably because users tend to ask “Okay, what next?” when they finish reading an article. By providing well-targeted ads, you can encourage that next action to be a visit to your sponsors.
Don’t Forget Usability
All of the above tips should be taken in consideration. While it’s key to place ads where they will get noticed, it’s equally as vital to ensure that the focus of your website does not get usurped by advertisements. Remember that an intuitive, uncluttered and unobtrusive viewing experience is the overriding goal for any website.
So, with that in mind, let’s revisit the above tips:
  • Do not stuff your front page with ads. Keep them tasteful and sparing, otherwise you wind up looking like a spam site. Credibility and relevance is key.
  • Do not confuse readers into thinking that advertising link units are navigational menus. This may violate the terms of your advertising network and is just plain misleading. Make sure your ads are clearly marked as such.
  • Unless you are a content-driven website, placing ads at the end of an article may be detrimental to your business. After all, an ad at the end of the page is essentially a call-to-action.
  • If you’d rather they stay on your page and sign up for your services, then don’t place an ad there, as it gives your competitors an opportunity to lure your traffic away.
In order to help you visualize these principles, take a look at the graphic below. The darker orange areas are zones where ads typically perform better. The dotted line is “the fold,” though depending on browser resolution and site design, this may vary.
Ad Placement Map
Keep these tips in mind when placing your ads, but always be open to testing and tweaking. Know your readers and track your analytical data closely—you may be surprised at what performs well and what doesn’t. Experiment, analyze and adjust as you see fit.
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