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17 Jan

Increasing Ad CTR: Randomize the Placement of an AdSense Ad to Circumvent Ad Blindness

Keith Lock Oct 30, 2014
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There are many great suggestions available on web master sites in terms of Google AdSense optimization, this site included. Today I want to discuss one AdSense optimization tip that helps to alleviate some level of “ad blindness.”

This involves ad placement and tracking the placements using AdSense channels. Not complex, but there is sometimes power in simplicity.

AdSense screenshot

What is Ad Blindness?

Ad blindness occurs when a visitor to a web site instinctly knows that something is an advertisement, and there eyes just don’t go to that spot anymore, or they glaze right over it. They know what to expect, and have no desire to be “sold” and just avoid looking at ads, often without realizing it (i.e. unconsciously).

There are many factors that contribute to ad blindness, but the one I want to talk about today is ad placement. This is especially true for a web site that gets a lot of repeat visitors. They know the general area on a web page where an ad is placed and their brain keeps their eye balls away from that area. Or they block it out. They are blind to it.

One remedy is to rotate the placement of the advertisements on occasion. This is suggested in the Google AdSense Optimization tips on the official site. This is largely a manual job (although automation can be done) and a job that many web masters likely avoid.

But if you are relying primarily on AdSense revenue to earn a living with your web site, and your web site has a lot of repeat visitors, rotating the placement of your advertisements on occasion could be very valuable.

Rotate Your Ads Throughout a Post, or in Different Locations in the Sidebar

A lot of times you will have AdSense ads in the body of a post. There are plugins available that will make the placement for you. Some will allow you to create ad blocks where you must place code within a template file manually. Others will place the ad blocks for you automatically.

There are several different places to place AdSense ads within a post. Wide ads are the most effective according to the stats on Google, and this makes sense. People would rather scan something from left to right (in general) wihtout having to go down and then left to right, then down again, then left to right, and so on, as would be the case with the vertical or narrow ads.

This means that horizontal and squarish ads perform the best in most cases. Within a post, you can place the AdSense code above the post, in the middle of a post, or below a post. You can even “float” an ad to the right or left of the post content. I do this at the very top of many of my posts.

To “float” a post you can use a “div” tag with some CSS margin settings. Here are examples for left and right floating:

Floating ads to the left:

<div style="float: left; margin: 0 10px 5px 0;">YOUR ADSENSE CODE HERE  </div>

Floating ads to the right:

<div style="float: right; margin: 0 0 5px 10px;">YOUR ADSENSE CODE HERE  </div>


In the sidebar, if your AdSense code is in a widget, you can also drag the widgets to new spots on occasion. This is very simple to do and will take literally seconds.

However, I would recommend tracking the placements. I know that the goal is to rotate ads to circumvent ad blindness, but it still wouldn’t hurt to track the placements of your ads to see how they perform in different spots.

You might find that one spot performs very very well… a placement that you have never thought of using before. And you can show your ad in that spot more often, or continuously until the earnings drop (as a result of ad blindness which is fixable). When the revenue drops (taking into account the amount of traffic), you can gauge better when to rotate the ad.

Tracking Placements for AdSense Ads

In the video below I demonstrate how to setup tracking for different placements of Google AdSense ads. This simply involves creating AdSense code for a specific channel. Nothing fancy here using Google Analytics and JavaScript though, I will save that for a future article.

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2 Responses

  1. Great article, Keith. I can confirm ad blindness is a problem, and rotating ads – or even split testing – is an amazing strategy that will produce better results. Your tips are great, but if they are too advanced for some of your readers, check out the plugin I developed called AmpedSense


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