Adsense That Works
People unconsciously ignore ads, not because they aren’t interested in the products or services that are being offered, but a natural instinct to focus on the material they’re reading and block out “distractions”. Remember: they’re on the web to look for information. That can be a particular song they want to download, an article on their favorite celebrity, or a chicken recipe they can cook for dinner. They’re concentrating on that issue, and their minds are quickly filtering out whatever seems to intrude on that search. That includes the background noise of the room they happen to be surfing in, and the visual noise on the web page. Ads are said to be “visual noise”, and ironically, the larger (and more obvious) the ad, the more likely it’ll be ignored.
That seems to go against all instincts of advertising—bigger should be better, right? That may work on a highway, when a looming billboard will catch your either whether you plan to look or not, but on the Internet, there are just too many ads. As a gut-reaction, the eye skips over anything that looks like the “traditional” advertising banners, regardless of the text contained in them. That’s why if you look at the studies, 468 x 60 ads, and the 728 x 90 ads, actually get the lowest click through rate. But the challenge of Adsense is to make people read the ad, and click on it. How do you accomplish that if the brain automatically dismisses your message as “junk”? Simple: by not looking like an ad, and then inserting yourself at the point where people would be most interested in what you say.
Then, website viewers not only notice you, but see you as a valid solution (or at least, a possible solution) to a pressing problem. The Color of Money Traditional graphic design principles will tell you to use bright, contrasting colors to get somebody’s attention (it’s also called the “bright neon sign” phenomenon). But for Adsense, you get better results when you take the subtle approach and blend into the page that you’re on. Instead of looking like an ad, you are seen as a valid editorial content: as informative, helpful, and credible as the article they happen to be reading. That’s why your ad background and its border colors should be the same color as the web page on which it’s located. If your website’s white, then your ad assumes that color; if it’s blue, then you know what shade to pick. This isn’t sneaky, it’s reader psychology. Advertisers in magazines have been doing it for years—not copying the color, but the font of the magazine pages. Readers are then more likely to continue reading the ad text rather than skipping it over it because it’s “not part of the page”. By the time they realize that it’s an ad, they’re intrigued by the benefit being offered (and if they aren’t, at least they know about you—much more than what you would have accomplished if the ad had been dismissed).
By applying this principle to your Ad Sense, you get better results. Another trick: use the standard blue color for your links, but make the advertiser’s URL (the domain name below the ad text) in a very unobtrusive color and size. Combine this trick with making the rest of your website content a non-traditional color that is not as noticeable as blue (for example, a dark green), and you have a more subtle way of drawing attention to your Adsense links. Readers will gravitate towards the link, thinking that it is a neutral and objective way of finding more information, and click. And you know what that means for Adsense revenues. Location, Location, Location As they say in business, location is the secret to success: be where your market needs you (and in this case, reads you). For example, avoid placing ads on the left or right periphery of the page: people don’t bother looking there, since the webtext flow is from top to bottom. Unless a photo or other graphical element pulls their eyes to the side, there is no reason for them to look beyond those margins. Plus, Internet users are conditioned to look for content in the center— so you also have to be in the center to be deemed “valid content”. This rule is particularly true for people who have a very specific question or concern and found the page by typing key words into a search engine.
They are not interested in anything outside that query. To get their attention, place a large rectangular ad above your content (for example, the top center column) but below the title. Then, choose a message that is related to the key words that were probably used. For example, if it’s a website about “widgets”, and your article is a review on the latest “blue widgets” then Ad Sense on “Find Cheap Widgets Now!” would have a high percentage of clicks. Why does placing Ad Sense underneath the title work so effectively? Because there is an immediate association with content. Your website title summarizes the topic or concern, the text expounds on it, and your Ad Sense is sandwiched within those two very important elements. You would not get this kind of click through if you placed it above the title, where it’s perceived as literally “outside” the topic and hence, irrelevant or secondary. Since Google allows you to put three ad blocks, where do you put the other two? At the end of the content, preferably above the Author’s Box. This reaches the educated, and perhaps slightly more cynical reader, who had preferred to read up on the topic and is now ready to make an intelligent, informed decision about what products or services to buy. You can place a third ad block at the side if you have a short article or are concerned about cluttering the site.
Otherwise, put it within the content, catching visitors who may be quickly bored with the article and may not reach the end of it, and is willing to “click away” from the site (and hopefully to the advertisers).
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