One of the most common complains from online publishers is a low CTR (Click Through Rate).
This means that they don’t get many clicks on their ads.
Fortunately, this problem can be fixed by a simple understanding how visitor behaves in our site.
First, let me explain about CTR. Click Through Rate is a percentage on how many clicks are done on a specific link given.
In this case, the specific link is our ads placed on our site. As for an example, if 100 people visit my site, and 5 of them clicked on the ads, it means my CTR is 5%. It is simple, right?
So the higher number of CTR means the odds of people clicking our ads is also higher.
But how do we increase CTR?
#1. Make the ads visible to the visitor
#2. Use the proper number ads, too many will makes your site looks cluttered, too little and your earning will not be maximized
#3. Rotate the ads, change the location, to make sure the visitor don’t ignore the ads
#4. Do an experiment regarding the success rate of the ad positions, by using custom channel
Well, to do it, we must understand WHY visitor click an ad. People clicked on an ad not only because they are interested, but because they SEE the ad. It is obvious, right?
But a lot of people don’t realize this. They place the ads on a spot where most people don’t bother to see, such as on the lower part of the website layout, the footer for an example.
They don’t care about ad placement, what they only know is that the more ad you place, the bigger the chance that people would click on their ads.
#1. If you want to increase the CTR, you need to make sure that people will see your ads!
Where is the best place to make sure that your ads not only VISIBLE but also INTERESTING to be clicked?
According to Lalit Kumar from TechWelkin, there are 5 top spots where you can effectively place your ads:
- Right below post title
- After two paragraphs in the content
- At the end of the post content
- Top of the sidebar
Moreover, Spencer Haws from NichePursuits.com also suggests these spots to place your ads:
- Ads “above the fold” will have a better click-through rate than ads below the fold.
- Place ads near where visitors eyeballs naturally go to in order to get the best CTR (top left, near titles, near site navigation, etc).
Here is an example of AdSense HeatMap spread among bloggers and webmasters regarding the best ad placement.
It is said that this heatmap is officially released by Google although I can’t confirm it yet.
The darker the color, the bigger the chance to be clicked. And from the picture above we can see is the best ad placement is just below the navigation bar (the menu) and above the primary content (blog posts in most cases).
And the white sections are the place we need to avoid. Like I said, the footer is not a good place for ads.
Most people read from left to right, it is obvious because most languages are written from left to right, up and down.
So unconsciously, people would look at the top left of a page first.
Here is another example of ad placement from Rajesh Namase from TechLila to guide you:
So, basically, you need to prioritize the top section of your site (above the fold). Above the fold as in web design means the area where your site would appear on the screen as it loaded without scrolling down.
Take a look at the pictures below from Google to understand it better.
From the three pictures above, we can see that the dashed line is the limit of the screen of the device used to open the webpage.
On the first picture, not only the ad is placed above the fold, the ad is also placed below the navigation bar and alongside the content.
This is a good example of ad placement.
The second picture places the ad above the fold and located in between the main content. This is good but the ad is not blended in.
The third picture shows us that the ad also placed above the fold, but the content is not visible because it is located below the fold.
This is a bad example of ad placement because the visitor can’t find the content easily. Easily said, this kind of placement is against the rule.
However, a blogger named Chris Lee from RankXL suggests that we placed 2 ads at this place:
- Right below the first paragraph
- Right after the content
Similar to Chris, a blogger named Rok Sprogar whose guest post is being published at Enstine Muki’s blog says that the best place is right after the article intro or before the first subheading.
Just take a look at the picture below.
And not only Chris and Rok who says the ads should be within the content, Pritam Nagrale from ShoutMeLoud also says that we must place 2 ads inside our post and another outside the post (sidebar).
#2. This man made a controversy…
While most experts and blogs say that we should maximize the use of ads by inserting the ads as much as allowed, this man says otherwise.
Courtney Gordner from Hubstaff says, “Instead of displaying all 3 ads, you might want to consider only displaying one.
At the same time, concentrating on having a sleek, streamlined, easy-to-use, effective website design will be what increases your CTR.”
After placing the ads on the best spots, what else?
Well, congratulations for understanding the basic concept of advertising, which is to make sure people see the advertisement.
However, human adapt. Adaptation is important for every living creature to survive. And we, humans, unconsciously adapt to everything we encounter in this life.
Including the way we see ads.
If you place your ads using the format, let’s say, from the picture 1 above, the new visitor would see the ads.
But when they became regular visitor (which is good) they started to ignore the ads, because they already know where the content is.
They skip other areas of your site because they know what they are looking for. If this is the case, then only new visitors would likely to click on your ads.
As I said, human adapt, and in this case, they adapt quickly. We need to change something constantly so they will continue experiencing new things.
We want to make sure people don’t ignore the ads.
We want to make sure people would experience new layout every time they visit out our site. We want to make sure they are aware that there are ads on our site.
#3. How? Change the ads location periodically, or dynamically.
According to Ankit Oberoi from AdPushup blog, you need to keep switching the ad positions. This technique works pretty well with your regular visitors.
Since your loyal readers visit your blog regularly, they start ignoring the ads if they are placed on the same spot all the time.
This is known as the “banner blindness”. Periodic change in the placement of ads is the only way to cope with this problem.
By changing the location, you are creating many different environments of your site. When faced with a different environment, human will be aware of everything.
This is our basic nature so we can survive. We look in every direction, observing everything, so we can adapt to the new situation.
If you are using WordPress, changing the location of ads is relatively easy. There are a lot of plugins that can help you rotating the ads in various ways.
The official Google AdSense plugin helps me to make different template for ad placement for each kind of pages, such as the single post page, home page, category page, etc.
It also helps me to place ads without any need to copy paste codes from AdSense website. Just click where you want to place the ad and then, that’s it.
The plugin also warns you if the number of ads exceed the limit, which is three ads per page. This is a must have plugin for AdSense publisher.
Or you can use AdRotate to help you manage your custom ad, when to activate it, where to activate it, or to turn it off after a requirement has been completed.
#4. Find out the best ad location using custom channel
I used custom channels in my Google AdSense account because it helps to keep track of what location performs the best.
There are 3 areas where I placed my ads, which is:
- Below post title
- After content
- Top of the right sidebar
And then I created three custom channels respectively and set different ad codes to each custom channels.
After some time and a few thousands page views, I know which position makes me the most money.
That way you can optimize that spot so you can earn more money, or even opt-out the worst performing ad location in order to make your site more neat and clean-looking without affecting your revenue significantly.