If you’ve managed to create an established blog, you’re probably already monetizing it in some way or another. Very few blog owners and webmasters alike will let traffic go to waste and will want to squeeze every-last bit of revenue they can out of it. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. It’s not all about stuffing in as many ad blocks as you can whilst pestering your readers to sign up to your latest offer etc. It’s all about placement and effectively taking the less is more approach. It’s about knowing where your reader is going to focus (and where they are not) and what sort of ads/offers to push to them as to yield the best return.
Banner blindness is a term coined to describe the fact that more and more people are becoming used to seeing typical banner positions such as top left/right of your header and automatically directing their focus away to where they expect your core/primary content to appear. This is extremely common and the click through rates of banners placed in such locations are becoming lower and lower month by month. You should avoid placements in such areas unless it’s purely for aesthetical purposes.
Headers and Sidebars
As touched on above, you can pretty much disregard a typical header placement these days unless you have a design which has a large header area and your primary content isn’t directly in the viewport. The same goes for your sidebar, it’s often avoided unless a visitor specifically wants to use it to navigate to a different post, category or archive page.
Whilst most people have opted to switch to a response design so their website renders properly on mobiles and tablets they often tend to stick to the typical desktop ad placement positioning and simply let their design stack accordingly. This can often mean what was once a well placed ad at the start of your content on a desktop viewport becomes a poor placement at the end of your content on mobile. Or vice versa. You need to make sure that ads, particularly on mobile are appearing in your content as the headers and footers are ignored significantly more on mobile viewports.
These days, an in content ad is always going to trump adverts placed around your site. This is primarily due to banner blindness as touched on above but it’s also to do with the way we consume information these days. We’re all busy, we naturally gravitate to the primary content and avoid the pretty design housing it. That is what your visitor is viewing so that is where your adverts need to appear.
Less is More
The “less is more” approach definitely rings true when it comes to ad placement. You can overdo it quite easily and no matter how attractive you deem your content to be if it’s littered with advert after advert it’s going to become offputting. You should consider just placing an ad block above your primary content and slap bang in the middle of it. This will ensure at least some eyes view it. You should also consider more/multiple ad blocks within the content on mobile.
Links Trump Ads
More and more people are opting to ditch the traditional banner advert entirely and instead and placing links to their offers within their content itself. When coupled with a bright link colour scheme to make them stand out these types of links can often result in more click throughs than a standard banner as every user who reads your content will see it as opposed to a tiny percentage of people who will see (and take note) of your banner.
What was once frowned upon as a somewhat intrusive media placement type is certainly now growing in popularity. Interstitial ads which appear in between you loading a site or clicking a link before the primary content appears are becoming all the rage. Sometimes it’s a large video advert or sometimes just a landing page with a link through to the content, regardless, they’re guaranteed to get eyes on them and conversion wise it’s sometimes worth losing a few visitors in order to get a better return overall.
Another ad format that is gaining a lot of popularity is content framing. This is where you’d typically have your main column of content and instead of blank/whitespace either side, you’d have an advert as a background or an additional left and right column. These ad formats are fantastic as whichever page or even element of a page you’re viewing, the banners are in view but they’re in no way detracting from your primary content or distracting your reader in any way. It’s a win/win.
Taking note of the above as whole will undoubtedly yield a better overall return as far as ad revenues are concerned, but ultimately, it’s also going to come down to your level of traffic, the quality of your traffic and the relevancy of that traffic to the products or services you’re looking to advertise. If your readership demographic is diverse and the subjects catered for are not focussed or targeted, then you’re going to need to adjust your ads to suit.