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Adsense Workshop – Gizmodo

A couple of days ago I looked at How the Most Highly Visited Blogs Earn Money and then yesterday I reflected upon why only 8 of the 30 I analysed use Adsense as an income stream.

Over the next few days I’m going to take a quick look at some of the 8 highly visited blogs that do use Adsense and reflect upon what I think they do well and how I’d improve their approach.

You see as I analyzed the use of Adsense in these popular blogs I have to say I felt quite uninspired by the strategies employed – perhaps they could do with a little consulting to boost their earnings.

I hope the owners of these sites don’t take offense by this series of posts – that isn’t my intention – rather I’m hoping we all learn a thing or two about Adsense Optimization – and perhaps I say something that might help improve their earnings. Lets start with Gizmodo.

Gizmodo-Adsense Of the 8 blogs, this is the one that I suspect has the highest potential for earnings from Adsense. I say this for a copule of reasons:

  • it has the very high traffic levels
  • its technological/consumer electronics topic should attract more valuable ads than the others whose topic is largely politics (see my last post for more reflections on this).

As you’ll see from the adjoining screen capture (click to enlarge) – Gizmodo has a 468 x 60 adsense ad directly underneath the content of posts on each of its individual archive pages (highlighted in red in the screen capture).

What I like – The positioning of this ad at the end of a post is good. Readers come to the end of reading a post and they are at the stage of asking ‘what do I do now?’

Positioning an advertisement here gives readers an potential action to take (especially if the ads are relevant) – ‘Click’ (and a few cents go into your Adsense account.

Whilst not the best position possible in my experience – its one of the better ones.

What they could improve – There are numerous things I’d suggest they do with these ads that I would guarantee would improve Gizmodo’s Adsense earnings. Let me mention a few of them (I won’t go into them all) :

Gizmodo-Adsense-2

  • Remove the Borders – One of the simplest strategies that they could take here would be to remove the grey border around this ad block. This can be achieved by making the border white (the same as the page and ad’s background color). It is generally accepted by Adsense experts that this increases Click Through Rate in most cases as it blends the ads with the rest of the site. It also creates ‘white space’ around the ad which is proven by studies to draw attention to it.
  • Fix Alignment Issues – It could be just that I’m viewing their page on a Mac, but the ad seems to disappear under the skyscraper ad to its right (I see this on three different browsers). Whilst this might not drastically improve the ad’s performance it would look more professional and less cluttered – again making a little ‘white space’.
  • Blend Colors – Most publishers these days tend to go for a blend approach rather than a ‘stand out’ approach. There is always debate over whether contrasting colors draw attention or not – but my approach is always to attempt to match the ad’s title color with other links on the blog. Currently their title is Brown which doesn’t really match anything else I see on the blog except their ‘visited URL’s’ color (although that is a lighter brown).
  • More Ads – My experience with technology blogs is that there is rarely a shortage of ads in Google’s supply. For this reason I’d recommend they add a second and even a third ad block to their pages. Of course they may simply not have enough room for a second or third ad block (if other ads earn them more they will of course take priority) but if we’re talking purely about increasing Adsense earnings this would be an obvious strategy.
  • Ad Size – Whilst the 468 x 60 ad in this position is a reasonable choice – another approach would be to choose one of the rectangle/square ads which tend to be pretty profitable. These ads do best when they are inset into the content with content aligned around it.

These are the first five things that come to mind as I look over Gizmodo with relation to Adsense. Keep in mind that I’m not privy to the ins and outs of the site’s design or the reasons for their choices. There are other consideration that I’ve not spoken about here, including the ethics of placing ads inside content (or even blending it with content) which could explain their current approach.

What would you suggest Gizmodo do to improve their Adsense earnings. Share your thoughts in comments.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jay Jones says:

    Near the bottom of the archive pages on Gizmodo are unstyled text links that match the site, so I don’t think there should be any aprehension on their part to style their adsense in a similar fashion.

    I agree with each of your points about their ads, although I can understand why they haven’t integrated their ads into their actual content copy…

    Typically, their posts are very short, and include an image… trying to integrate an ad into that small copy would seriously cramp the content.

    As always, good stuff Darren.

  2. Alvin Narsey says:

    Darren, let me bit the bullet, and ask, if u have some time, suggest how i could improve the earnings on my BLOG?
    http://www.parttimeincome.org/Blog
    cheers
    Alvin

  3. OweBoat says:

    With the suggestions of removing the borders and also making the color scheme look like the rest of the page, I would think that you are increasing the number of clicks because people are less likely to realize that they are clicking on an ad. Is this your intention? I’m not saying that this is bad, but some publishers may prefer to have a clear separation between content and advertising, particularly pay per click adsd.

  4. eric says:

    wow, thanks for the useful advise, I will change my google ads, too!