HowTo – Understanding Ad Banner Placement For Best Profit

Filed under: SEO & Advertising

Ad companies provide a variety of different sizes and formats to allow webdesiners freedom while laying out pages but what are the best placement strategies for gaining the most profit from your ads.

First we should look at the basic layout of 90% of websites.

For the most part every website will have

Header / Masthead
Sidebar – left, right or both
Content Area (instory ads)

Each of these locations are good for locating your advertising assets but there are some basic principles that will get you better returns.

Ad Blindness – this is a term associated with visitors gaining the ability to totally ignore advertisements on websites.

Studies have been made where people can totally or almost totally block out advertising content while viewing pages  so it is important to combat this the best you can.

This is similar to what you might have learned in Science Class where an Amoeba is hit with a bright light then shocked with an electric probe. The amoeba then divides in two but retains the ability to predict a shock when the light is turned on.

This is what happens when people see too many ads … not just on your site but after months and years of internet use. They ignore them and don’t click and what is more interesting is that flashing jumpy animated ads might actually perform worse then a basic text ad due to ad blindness.

Above the Fold
Most ads that get viewed are above the fold or placed in the viewable area of the browsers first load. This term came from newspaper advertising where advertisers would pay more to be on the top half a newspaper that was folded in half and placed in news boxes along street locations for sale.

This is because people would stop to read the headlines of the paper and not purchase one and also because people on trains, buses or in the bathroom library would often fold the paper and not read the bottom half of the page.

Banner Location and Formats
When you are designing your site you should take into account the size of available advertising banners and adjust your site to meet those dimensions. After all you are building content to turn a profit so taking the dimensions of your ads into account in the design stage will save you headaches later.

Banners come in industry standard sizes

468×60 Standard Banner
160×600 Skyscraper
300×250 Square
After this first group there are a variety of other shapes that may be offered by those ad networks that want to give you more options.

Banners Text vs Image
The content of the ad can also make a difference on where it is best placed.
Text only ads make sense when positioned next to menus or within text based content.

Image only banners are best placed next to or within other media content.

Testing For Results
Most ad networks will allow you to setup a number of different banners and allow you to track each one by name and domain.

When you make new ads you should label them not only based on site and type but location on the page

IE : MySite-300×250-RightSidebarAd

Then when you enter your account you can see right away which ad is performing best.

Final Note

Don’t be afraid to change your ad placement strategy if you find your performance is not what you want.

Inline or in story ads often work best if  they are text ads because the reader is less likely to jump over the ad due to ad blindness.

Always place your best paying ads on the top 40% of the page. Visitors may not even read the whole page if they have gathered enough information from the first few paragraphs so put your ads where the visitor is reading.

Make use of any bare space on your footers or sidebars. Never leave a spot open if you can stick another ad in and still keep your site looking good.