Towards the end of May I was fortunate enough to attend the “Adsense In Your City” event in downtown Auckland and one that happened to be the first of it’s kind in New Zealand. At the get together, a handful of the Google Australia team took use through a number of ways through which we could increase Adsense earnings.
As a start, a Google Adsense Optimisation Specialist pointed out that the main revenue drivers which are cost-per-impression (CPM), click-through rate CTR and page views and that they were going to be the focus of the session. Listed out below are the main tips that the specialist went through:
The most effective way of boosting CPM is by using wide ad formats and opting in for text and image ads. Opting in for both formats means there will be more advertisers competing for the ad spot which increases the price of the auction and consequently a higher CPM for the publisher.
The recommended ad sizes are the 728×90 leaderboard, 300×250 medium rectangle and the 160×600 wide skyscraper. These formats are preferred as they incorporate more rich media such as video.
It is recommended to place ads near content and above the fold which results in the delivery of relevant ads right next to content where site users are most likely to see them.
“Panda” was brought at this point of the presentation and the concern about placing ads above the fold. The answer to the issue was that as long as there is a good balance between ads and content, sites will not be penalised by Google.
The use of DIV tags is another suggested of increasing revenue. If you know which ad unit has the highest CTR, placing that particular ad unit inside a DIV tag ensures that Google serves the highest paying ad in that unit regardless of its location on a site. On a site not using DIV tags, where you have for example, a header ad and another ad further down the site within the content, where the ad in the content has the highest CTR, Google serves the higher paying ad to the first ad slot on the site. In this case it will be the header ad even though the content ad has the higher CTR which means you lose out on extra revenue. More details can be found here.
Other tips mentioned for publishers to take into consideration included,
- text wrapping content
- breaking up large sections of text with ads
- placing ads near navigational elements (usually at the top or sidebar)
- blending ad colours to match the site
Bonus Tip: One pointer given was about keeping ads fresh! This entails actions such as making slight changes to elements of the ad style such as the colour of the title, text or url links. This is something that can be done once in a while such as monthly or even six monthly to prevent banner blindness.
The three methods mentioned for increasing impressions include ad coverage, Google Custom search and traffic. Traffic is something that I wont go into because everyone has various methods that they utilise to drive traffic and it is pretty much a whole topic on its own.
Ad coverage: Adsense allows for 3 ad units and 3 link unit to be displayed per page. Depending on the layout of a site, it may be possible to ad and extra ad or link unit without annoying visitors by having too many ads.
Google Custom Search: This adds a web search functionality to your site where search results (which can be from the entire web or only selected site) are returned on a results page (still within your site) that displays relevant ads that you can earn from.
Adsense give the option of blocking ads from certain categories from being displayed on a site but, filtering is something that should be done with caution. High filtering leads to a decrease in the number of advertiser bids and subsequently less revenue. You as a publisher may not like for example dating site showing up but site visitors may be the opposite. The best thing to do in this instance (if you have filters set) is to remove some and run a test for a couple of weeks or so to see what impact it has on revenue.
After the event, I implemented some changes to one of my sites and since then I have been monitoring Adsense ad performance. What I can say without going into detail is that the changes I made had a positive impact on revenue which since then has been slowly trending upwards. The experimenting, testing and analysis won’t stop there, I will continue with it until I find an optimal optimisation mix. If you haven’t worked on optimisation, you should consider doing so; it may be worth your while.
Some interesting (tweetable) facts presented at the event:
- An Adsense Publisher saw a 51% revenue increase by enabling text & image ads (click to tweet)
- By adding a 3rd link unit to their site an Adsense Publisher’s earnings increased by 200% (click to tweet)
- Link units make up 25% of Adsense revenue for one publisher (click to tweet)