In this post Brian Armstrong from StartBreakingFree.com shares some tips on using Split Testing to increase his AdSense earnings.
Long time readers of ProBlogger know that Darren is a big fan of split testing ads to improve your earnings. I took this advice to heart, and wanted to show you some real world results that I got on my own blog.
Feel free to take these results and apply them to your own site. Or better yet, do some of our own testing and improve on them even more!
I split tested 3 separate regions of my site and looked mostly at eCPM to compare them. If you aren’t sure what eCPM is click here. I think it’s better to use eCPM than click through rate (CTR) because it incorporates not just how often it’s clicked, but also how much you make per click.
Right Aligned vs. Left Aligned Ad In Post Body
This ad region makes the most money for me, and was smack dab at the top of each individual post page (but not on the homepage).
- The right aligned ad got a 0.78% CTR and $1.41 eCPM
- The left aligned ad got a 1.30% CTR and $5.31 eCPM
Clear winner: left aligned (276% improvement)
It’s hard to say why this is exactly. Maybe the left aligned ad looks more like it’s actual content instead of an ad. Whatever the reason, the difference was substantial.
Top Right: image vs. text
This ad resides at the very top right of every page. I had been running it with image ads for a while and decided to test it against text ads (with some appropriate color choices).
- The image ads got a 0.35% CTR and $1.74 eCPM
- The text ads got a 0.33% CTR and $2.15 eCPM
Interesting to note here that although the CTR went down slightly, the eCPM went up. This seems to indicate that the text ads were paying more per click. So even though it was clicked slightly less often it still made more money overall.
Winner: text ads (narrowly)
Under Posts: image vs. text
This ad was placed at the bottom of each post page and also on the homepage under the excerpts. I again decided to test some text ads against the incumbent image ads.
- The image ads got a 0.58% CTR and $1.86 eCPM
- The text ads got a 0.43% CTR and $2.27 eCPM
Again here the CTR went down and the eCPM went up. Also worth noting is that the color scheme I used on the text ad block is consistent with my site. “Blockquote” tags on my site use a similar color scheme.
Winner: text ads
Conclusions & Next Steps
For those who are curious, here is the actual data from an excel spreadsheet. You can pull this out of Adsense under the “reports” tab if you use different channels to compare different ads.
Overall these results were impressive. The site-wide eCPM from these three ads went up overall from $5.01 to $9.73 which is a 94% improvement.
I could just convert all ads to the better performing version and call it a day, but what I’ll do instead is continue testing….forever.
There are plenty of other things to test, such as…
- Trying text ads in the post body (since they performed better elsewhere)
- Left aligning ads under the posts
- Trying different color schemes
- Trying other types of ads (Amazon, Performancing Ads, Text-Link-Ads, etc)
Most people focus on growing their blog’s readership to boost earnings. This is a critical component, but don’t forget about the other major tool in your arsenal: split testing.
What ad formats and placements have worked best for you? Leave us a comment below.
To get more tips like these, check out my blog at StartBreakingFree.com. It’s is a blog for people who’d like to quit their 9-to-5 jobs, start their own business, and achieve financial freedom. I’ll even give you 3 of the top 10 books on building wealth for FREE when you subscribe, instantly delivered to your inbox! Check it out.