Two of the most important axioms of Internet marketing are to know your advertising medium and know your audience. If your AdSense ad design and placement is driven by emotion and personal preference rather than facts, then you will ultimately fail as an Internet marketer. It is imperative to use ad designs that are effective while taking into account what you know about your audience.
Let’s first talk specifically about ad design. When using Google’s text ads you do not want to use borders. Many people believe the borders make their Adsense ads stand out, and they would be correct. Therein lays the problem. You do not want your ads to stick out like a sore thumb. You’re sending a signal that this is an ad and most people have an aversion to being solicited. Therefore their reaction, in a sense, is to dodge or ignore the ad. However, if your Adsense ads look like they’re a regular part of your web page visitors to your website are more apt to scan the ads and hopefully click on them.
What about ad color? This may insult your artistic proclivities, but stay with the regular Google ad colors which consists of the blue link and black text. The reason for using this color scheme is because people are conditioned to recognize the blue text as hyperlinks and that they should click on them. Because of the blue link, your visitor’s subconscious mind is telling them that some action needs to take place. If you use some other color like bright green or pink, you are disrupting your visitor’s normal surfing habits.
Also, stay with the white background. There’s a reason why we typically write on white paper – it’s easier to read. A colored background makes the ad stand out, which is not what you want. Remember, you want the ad to blend in with the rest of your web page. Furthermore, colored backgrounds make the ad more difficult to read. Now there has been some discussion in the marketplace as to the effectiveness of using red as your link color. If you wish to give it a try that is your prerogative, but you are encouraged to stay with blue.
Regarding ad design and color, you want your AdSense ads to blend well with your site. You want them to compliment your site and appear as if they’re providing additional content. You do not want them to appear as though they are contrasting with your website. When your AdSense ads contrast with your site it creates a condition known as ad blindness. That’s right, the more your ad stands out the less likely visitors will see it.
Now that we have addressed ad color let’s talk about ad size. The best performing ad sizes according to Google are the following:
336×280 large rectangle (four ads)
300×250 medium rectangle (four ads)
160×600 wide skyscraper (five ads)
When designing your website keep these facts in mind. However, you do not want to arbitrarily squeeze certain AdSense ads into your site just because they have been designated as the best performing. The other ad sizes have value as well. The purpose of revealing these facts is to let you now that the wider formats tend to perform better. The reason is because they are more readable.
Currently Google allows you to place three text ads on each page of your site. It is suggested that you strategically max out your allotment of ads on each page. But this raises the question of “Where?”
The content of your page determines the best location to place your AdSense ads. When placing your ads there are certain things to consider.
Where is my visitor’s attention likely to be focused?
How can I place ads into an area without getting the user’s way?
How can I keep the web page clean and uncluttered?
Google provides an ad placement schematic to which they refer as their “heat map.” This is a diagram of the most productive ad placements. Here are their most productive ad locations:
> Top of the web page.
> Bottom of the web page.
> Upper left-hand corner.
> In the middle-left of your page content.
This serves only as a guideline. Put your users first when deciding on ad location. Consider their viewing habits and what will be most interesting and useful to them.
If you follow these simple guidelines regarding your AdSense ads you will discover that you will have a better response to your ads and therefore a higher click through rate. Do not allow emotions and personal preferences to determine ad design, color and placement. Your goal is to make money from your AdSense ads. If you can’t help yourself and wish to get personally creative and emotionally involved, give up Internet marketing and become an artist.