A while back I went over my experience with placing Adsense on various types of sites and where I’ve found the best place to maximise Adsense revenue whilst still keeping the site user friendly.
I thought it was time to revisit this and add in some recent experience with different types of site. So I will go over some of the most popular positions and insert some real life screenshots.
I’ve also included an image at the bottom of the post showing the most popular positions all in one page, along with some commentary.
I should put the caveat that it always comes down to a lot of testing, individual sites can have huge variations and where users come from is a high factor. So for example if all your traffic is from somewhere like StumbleUpon you are probably going to see a low CTR wherever you put your ads.
Remember to make sure you follow Google’s own placement rules, read them here.
Also I am only talking about position here not ad type or color schemes, that is another post!
Maybe the best way to do this is just start at the top of a page and work our way down.
You could put a leaderboard or even some links units in here, especially if your logo is off to left.
However, I’ve found it not to be the best spot for Adsense. I mean I suppose you might want to run adsense in a default here if you had a CPM network campaign running. But usually I would have CPM ads here since they are usually about brand not clicks and they have to be above the fold.
You could also place Link Units like the ones in the image above below the navigation. I think it can be a bit misleading so I’d avoid it but I suppose if you make it clear they are not part of the navigation then you could try it.
If you do put any Adsense up this high then you might want to have the code later in your HTML than other higher CTR Adsense units as they show the most valuable first.
Top Left in Content
This is an aggressive spot and it will probably get you one of the highest CTRs. However, it can be off-putting to users and so increase their bounce and Google Search can also view it as a negative since they want to see your content before a bunch of ads.
Top Right in Content
A less aggressive approach but still quite in your face. I use this sometimes on games sites where I have the game description above the the game, so at the least the user is getting some content first. I don’t use it on articles anymore as often I have a CPM ad in the right column near this height so it can be a bit much.
However, I don’t think it would have a huge negative on users or SEO.
In terms of ad sizes I’ve had some luck with 336×280, custom Leaderboard sizes and responsive.
After the Main Content
This is a time where users are thinking about what to do next. Maybe read another one of your articles, recommend it to some friends or click an ad.
So for a below the fold spot it can be pretty good, often I have found it to be second only to the Top Left position.
The negatives here could be that the user might well have read another articles on your site. Something to consider both in terms of getting them to come back but also if you are running CPM ads. With social media links I’ve found they don’t really interfere with CTR that much so I’m quite happy for them to live with Adsense down here and then some recommended articles afterwards.
Top of Right Sidebar
This a very visible spot but I’ve not had massive success with Adsnese here. At least not in comparison to CPM ads. Remember that most CPM networks require their Leaderboards, Towers and sometimes MPU (300×250) units to be above the the fold or within say 800 pixels of the top of the page. Sometimes they exclude the MPU if it is embedded within the main content.
If you are on a decent network (list of some here) like Exponential (formerly Tribal Fusion) then your Adsense unit here really needs to be getting a eCPM of about $2-4+ and possibly more to compete, I just don’t seem to to get the click here so not a spot I would recommend unless you have no CPM ads running or maybe you are in a high CPC topic.
Size wise I would go for a 300×250, 336×280 or a 300×600. Though the later will push down any other promoted content and indeed could make running a CPM Skyscraper impossible due to rules.
If you are wondering why the Leaderboard in the example above is not in the masthead. Well it is due to Exponential sometimes running a high CPM push down ad. I mention it because it highlights that there are always trade offs in choosing where to put the various types of advertising.
Off to the Far Left or Right of the Main Page
You can code up some extra DIVS to show Adsense to the left or right of the main content and sidebar of the page. The trick here is to make sure it is hidden if the screen is too small. I have found this can work quite well, remember though you cannot make the ads stick there…that is against the TOS.
I try to make it lineup with the actual focus, in this case a game. It could do with going up a bit probably but the games have different lengths of description…so an example of something I could maybe test a little to see if some improvement to be had.
Middle of Right Sidebar
You can see this one in the layout image at the bottom of the post. For this one but you can imagine it where you had some latest posts at the top of the sidebar and the ad below.
On the sites I manage I have not seen this work well except on some games sites, where the visitor is playing the game for some time and the ad is right across from where their eyes are fixed.
Bottom of Right Sidebar
Again see the layout image below for an example of this one. I would look to use as a first or second choice. Perhaps if your pages were all a standard length it might work. Remember you cannot make an Adsense unit float or place it in one of those sticky widget areas in WordPress, it is against their TOS.
Other Adsense Positions
There are obviously an endless number of positions you could try and I’ve not touched on other factors but I hope this is a usual summary or introduction on where you might be best to place your Adsense units.
There is a summary image below showing the main spots I have seen or used over the year.
If you have any questions, suggestions or sample positions that work well for you then please do comment below.