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The Impact of AdSense Ad Positioning

Seth Godin has written a post on SquidBlog about their experiment at Squidoo with moving AdSense ads from the right hand column to a more central position. As you’d expect, and as we’ve talked about here at ProBlogger many times, the click throughs went up significantly (it tripled).

But that’s not the only benefit that Seth noticed:

‘But the surprising result of the AdSense move is this: content-based clicks went UP, not down. I think I understand why, and it goes to my third point, which is a hunch, not based on data:

Having competitive products in your AdSense ads actually helps you, not hurts you.

When people get to a website, a whole bunch of things have to happen before they take out their wallets and buy something. A lot of those things have to do with trust and meaning and understanding and confidence. The vernacular of your site, the story it tells, the way it makes me feel (insecure? safe? confident? panicked? stupid? engaged?) is probably the single most important element in turning a stranger into a friend before they have a chance of becoming a customer.

So, Google AdSense ads across the top increase confidence. They’re recognizable and safe for the surfer. They make it clear that there are alternatives. They demonstrate confidence on the part of the site builder….’

I think it’s an interesting lesson and I’d be interested to see if the changes they’ve noticed are sustained (sometimes once ad blindness kicks in things change again with AdSense).

I also think that this would vary from blog to blog and publisher to publisher. I find that ads have a significantly different impact upon a site both in terms of click-through, traffic, blog interaction (comments) on different sites. The key is to test and track results to see what impact they have.

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. littlemummy says:

    Hi I’m pretty new to the whole blogging thing (4 months so far… but many many hours!!) I have recently started a mums directory predominantly for UK readers and have been using some different ways of monetizing and I was wondering….

    adsense v affiliate programs (where you get a percentage of sales revenue)… what works best and on what types of sites?

    I’m using both at the moment but it could take months before I can really see which is the best so has anyone got any advice or views on this?

  2. Milo says:

    Darren — What is the industry standard click through rate? Sorry for being naive. :)

  3. Darren Rowse says:

    littlemummy – it varies so much from blog to blog. I have some blogs that earn alot more from AdSense, others that do really well with chitika and others that do much better with affiliate programs. You might find the posts on making money in my blogging for beginnners series helpful.

    Milo – check out this post on the topic of CTR

  4. Interesting, you would think a major undertaking like Squidoo would have had this ad placement in mind from day one.

    I’m not sure I buy the whole “People will come back because you’re secure in the fact that you have competition” theory, but I too would like to see how this pans out.

  5. pcunix says:

    I left my right hand column but added a rectangle ad in the text. (you can see a good example at http://aplawrence.com/Lighter/louella_slaton.html )

    Interestingly, ad income improved, but it’s the right hand column ads that went up – as though the in-text ad causes them to notice the column ads.

    The column ad is usually my top performer, but the others seem to be important.

  6. Jason Brown says:

    Great points,

    I feel people all to often throw up Adsense ads in one place and forget about it, never testing how much more they could make with some testing and tracking.

    There really needs to be a guide on testing and tracking your ad campaigns.

  7. I’ve spent the last few weeks experimenting with ad placement. I actually blogged about it today. I made a few simple changes that produced a quick 600% increase in CTR. Always tweak the ads.

  8. Joel Comm says:

    Welcome to the party, Seth!

  9. Dirk Vansina says:

    It saddens me that all these people only think about money and making the most profit they can…

    I have +/- 85 000 uniques a day and I refuse to place more ads then necessairy.(only to pay the hosting bills) And this is why I have a lot of visitors: it’s about the visitors, not the money.

    real problogger,
    Dirk Vansina

    P.S. The industry standard depends of the type of your site. For personal blogs it should be 4-6 cents/click. Adsense doesn’t follow the standard. Adsense is destroying the industry and rates will drop in the near future.

  10. eSearing says:

    But as a Squidoo writer I was a little annoyed they did not give me the option to suppress the ads above my content. And I’m not opposed to advertising.

    The other thing they did poorly was stack a 250×250 2 ad box where they could have used a 468×60 box and been less intrusive.

    My Squidoo – ChickSingerSongWriters

  11. Milo says:

    Thanks for the link Darren.

  12. Brian says:

    Hi Darren, I discovered Problogger last week and now I’m addicted. I read it first thing every morning. Thanks for all the great info.

Trackbacks

  1. Jason Haley says:

    Interesting Finds: June 29, 2006 AM edition…

  2. [...] Found at copyblogger via problogger, it reminds me of millions of posts about the howto and don’t do’s for bloggers, i get rid of those thingies, because everybody knows anything about nothing, btw: if you frequently check posts e.g. on problogger, you’re reading the post, BANG, there is an adsense adshit appearing in the middle of the post!!! Ok, guys, i understand that you want make money with your writing, but PLEASE not in the middle of your posts… Darren Rows from problogger wrote an article about it, where he mentioned Seth godin from Seth’s Blog. [...]

  3. [...] AdSense Ad Positioning: Squidoo Case StudySeth Godin – the man behind Squidoo – recently posted on the results of their repositioning of the AdSense ads on Squidoo pages. As expected, the change from sidebar positioning to in-content positioning increased clickthrough significantly. The interesting thing is that normal content links also increased along with it. Seth Godin suggests that the AdSense ads increase reader “confidence” and thus, clicks on content links. News via ProBlogger. [...]

  4. [...] Found a great article on Problogger where Darren read some informative information on Seth Godins’ blog about positioning Google Adsense ads on different sections of your web site. Normally, I would link directly to Seth’s blog, but Darren has some great ‘related post’ links on other topics of Adsense positioning below the post.. this is a great way to get more in depth information about testing ads on your site. [...]