We’ve covered a number of insights into online ad format optimization on the YieldBuild Blog, and we intend to share as much data and practical information on what works, and what doesn’t, when it comes to testing and formatting AdSense, Chitika, and other contextual ads on your site.
Paul Edmondson, YieldBuild’s CEO, has just finished a presentation at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, in which he explored what we call the Four Pillars of Successful Text Ad Optimization. These are the four core areas that you must focus on, in setting up your testing protocol, in order to maximize the revenue your online ads deliver for you.
Pillar One: Ad Size
Size matters for a couple of core reasons: ad units can vary widely in their performance on a page, and larger doesn’t necessarily outperform smaller. Also, ad networks vary in their ability to sell different ad sizes, so certain sizes might be much more popular and earn more money due to greater advertiser competition.
Pillar Two: Ad Format Attributes
Ad performance can often be lifted 3-12% just by tuning corners, borders, background colors and font colors. You have to test and retest your site to find out—an optimal combination for one zone on a page may not be optimal elsewhere.
Pillar Three: Ad Placement
When considering ad locations, three key strategies to think about are:1) From the beginning, design your templates to accommodate the most popular ad sizes.2) It is important to have every ad count. Additional ads sometimes reduce overall page revenue, so test before committing to additional ads on the page.3) Don’t underestimate below-the-fold ads. Ad units placed at the bottom of a page’s content is often one of the most underutilized high-performing ad units.
Pillar Four: Maximizing the Network
There are hundreds of ad networks to choose from, and understanding the best fit for your site is critical. For instance, certain networks have better advertiser coverage in certain verticals, even if they generally underperform when compared to the larger networks. Sites with little contextual information are often better served with traditional display ad networks. Understand how each ad network pays. While Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft can pay like clockwork, many of the smaller ad networks are less consistent as they are cash flow-sensitive. Make sure you’re comfortable with payment terms before starting with a new network.
In upcoming blog posts (we post every week here, so be sure to add us to your news reader in order to avoid missing any important insights), we will explore each of these pillars in-depth, sharing aggregate data from our large client base (we’ve served over 2 billion ads over the past 6 month private beta period).