How to Place Your Display Ads for Maximum Revenue

Do you run a news or trade publication website? If so, monetization of your site is probably a major concern. Developing multiple revenue streams is the wisest strategy. You might solicit sponsored stories, incorporate a job board targeted to your niche, and sell advertisements.

Don't allow your monetization plan to hinge on a single revenue stream.
Don’t allow your monetization plan to hinge on a single revenue stream.

On-site advertising can add to the user experience of your website,or it can detract. It’s important to have a plan for on-site ads, because simply plastering your site with ads can be detrimental. Here are some tips about making the most of on-site advertising so that display ads become a useful part of your overall website monetization strategy.

If You’re Not Sure Where to Start

With onsite ads, you may not know where to start as far as size and placement of ads. If you don’t have a starting point, here are the most popular ad sizes for Google AdSense ads:

  • 300 x 250

  • 336 x 280

  • 160 x 600

Though 468 x 60 and 728 x 90 are popular sizes, they don’t have track records as strong as the sizes listed above. Plus, they look just like banners and “banner blindness” is very real.

In general, the best places to put your ads are where your readers’ eyes track. The top left corner, atop contents but below the headline, and below posts, but above comments and social sharing buttons are generally good places to start out. You can’t just place ads and forget about them. You have to track results and adjust accordingly.

Learn How Real People Navigate Your Site

Invite a dozen or so users who are unfamiliar with your site to explore your site’s blog, categories, navigation bars, etc. If you don’t know enough people to do this, you could consider “borrowing” some students from a local community college class for this task (and pay them in pizza or Starbucks gift cards). You’ll want your site to display normally, with static graphics where your ads would go (to avoid the risk of running afoul of ad clicking rules). Run mouse mapping software in the background to automatically track mouse movements. When everyone is done, you will have a “heat map” showing the most frequent mouse tracks on your site. Ads should be placed close to the areas of your site that receive the most mouse traffic.

Site navigation patterns can clue you in on the best places to put your ads.
Site navigation patterns can clue you in on the best places to put your ads.

Track Results Using Analytics

There is simply no substitute for tracking the result your ads get. Ad publishers allow you to create different ad channels, and you should take full advantage of this. Give your ad channels descriptive names so that when you look at your analytics you can easily tell which slots are bringing in the most revenue. Note which articles and posts bring in the most revenue and see if these ads have certain things in common. Once you know which articles and posts perform, you can adjust content to include more of that type of content.

Test Your Options

Testing your options in terms of ad size, number, and placement requires patience, but it’s definitely worthwhile. Here are three basic testing approaches:

  1. Diversify the types of ads you use, including CPM, text, image, and video ads. Track stats to see if one type outperforms others.

  2. Change ad placement. Placement “above the fold” (in the top 768 pixels of the page) is particularly important, because that’s what visitors see without having to scroll. Try moving ads closer to navigation elements or closer to content, and track the effects of different placements.

  3. Consider the color scheme. On some sites, the most successful ads are in the same color schemes as the general site theme, while on others contrasting colors work better. Color schemes may end up having little to no effect, but the only way to find out is to test.

Remove Ads from Pages That Don’t Deliver

Don't be afraid to pull ad placements that don't deliver results.
Don’t be afraid to pull ad placements that don’t deliver results.

Display ad programs allow you to track various ad channels to see which ones perform well. If certain ad placements aren’t drawing any clicks, you should remove them. This keeps you from having to constantly track a channel that isn’t performing, keeps your site from being too ad-heavy, and lets you concentrate your efforts on more lucrative revenue channels. You may have to do some testing to determine the optimum number of ads on your site.

Placing ads for maximum revenue generation requires tracking, testing, and patience. Once you learn the optimal number of ads, and where they should be placed, you can make the most of your display ad revenue stream. Developing each revenue stream should be a priority, because simply adding supposed revenue generators to your site won’t guarantee results. If you run a trade publication website and are interested in recruitment advertising as a revenue stream for your site, RealMatch invites you to explore the solutions we offer.

Photo Credits: suphakit73 /, adamr /, Ambro /

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