Finding the right place for performance driven ads like with most AdSense banners does take you a lot of time. On the one hand, banner blindness is increasing and click rates drop, on the other hand you don’t want to drive away your visitors with too many and annoying ads. In this article I am going save you some time showing you a good placement within the content and how you can set it up without additional need for optimization.
How do ads perform within the content?
I recently helped the German site bewerbungswissen.net to implement and optimize their income with AdSense and the owner Markus was so kind to allow me to use his site as an example on how ads within the text look and feel like. Markus has started his blog to support his shop, but after he gained serious traffic, he decided to monetize his content with ads and gain a more than promising additional income.
Which ad size performs best?
For Markus’ site we spent a couple of weeks testing different sizes and positions of ads within the content. We finally ended up by placing two ads within the main content. A full banner below the headline and a Large Rectangle after the 5th paragraph. The rectangle within the text is by far the best performing ad and so I am going to concentrate on some tests we made with this centered ad placement.
The first test was a split test between a Full Banner, Medium Rectangle, and Large Rectangle. The rectangle formats performed best, so we did another test between Medium and Large Rectangle to find, that the small difference might be just circumstantial. The full banner, however, hardly performed at 50% of the rectangle formats.
With the next test we checked the position of the banner. We started with a floating ad, because it takes fewer space and was less obstrusive (see 1. screenshot) and tested it against a centered ad block without floating text (see the article image).
30% difference between floating and ad block
The outcome of this test was expected. The ad block performed better than the ad floating within the content. People can not just ignore it and therefore it is more likely they see and click it. However, we did run the test to show Markus that the difference is significant. In fact, the rather simple change to the block format increased the ad performance by about 30%.
How to display ads within the content?
Displaying ads within the content was and is always more complicated than to display an ad on a fixed position, because each piece of content is different. Some publishers place the ads manually, but run into problems, when the layout or the content of an ad changes, others use automatic solutions and risk that there might be one or another situation where the automatically placed ad does somehow not really fit in.
However, since we didn’t want to cause Markus more work we opted for the automatic solution. On each landing page and post there is an ad placement with multiple possible ads injected after the 5. paragraph.
Optimized with Advanced Ads
Luckily, during the time we worked on bewerbungswissen.net, I also extended my Advanced Ads plugin for WordPress with the feature of auto injections. Since we also used Advanced Ads for ad management, we didn’t have to use another solution for the injection.
Injecting ads into the content of posts is now very easy. You only need to create a new placement with the “post content” type and select either a single ad or a whole ad group and the paragraph after which to be displayed. Choosing an ad group also enables you to implement the ad rotation we used to split test different sizes and creating the float vs. block test.
Once the post injection is set up, every old and new post will contain an ad after the 5. paragraph. If you want to exclude the ad from being displayed on specific pages like the contact form, you can simply use the display conditions on the ad edit screen.
How about you?
In a lot of our ad reviews I recommend using click based ads within the content. The best performing position and the size of the ad is still very individual, but you shouldn’t ignore this opportunity completely.
Or did I waste your time and you already monetize your site with ads within your posts? How many are you displaying and how is the performance compared with other positions? I would love to read your feedback within the comments.