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Google AdSense Forum

Banner vs. Skyscraper
Is skyscraper doing better?

 5:52 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have added banners to a number of my sites with decent results but as many are finding the income is dropping a little as the novelty wears off.

I'm playing with the idea of redesigning a few sites to incorporate skyscrapers.

What's your latest experience with? Are they paying better?

Percentages of increase or decrease would be great.




 6:00 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

skyscrapers :)



 6:33 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Skyscrapers hog more real estate - but they appear to be more effective. I love 'em.


 7:06 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

The relative performance of banners and skyscrapers is likely to be determined by factors besides the number of AdSense ads that are displayed:

1) The visibility and positioning of the banner or skyscraper. On my site, banners are displayed right above the editorial content in a band of white space, which makes them more visible than, say, a banner that's up in the top right corner next to a logo or some other type of advertising.

2) How effectively the ads are targeted to the page's content. Four irrelevant ads aren't going to perform any better than two irrelevant ads, IMHO--and a skyscraper with only two relevant ads out of four may not perform as well as a banner that shows only two relevant ads. On pages or sites where relevant AdWords are in short supply, a banner may be a better bet than a skyscraper.

Having said that, I'd be interested in trying a "4 up" ad format, but not at the expense of deleting my column of highly relevant (and productive) affiliate links. I'm hoping AdSense will offer a "4-up" leaderboard (768x90) format like the AdWords leaderboards that Tribal Fusion and FastClick are serving on their ad networks. The sooner, the better!


 9:51 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

hear, hear, I'd love a leaderboard!

My internal debate is that I want my AdSense box as high up on the page as possible (better visibility) in my three-column'd site, but can't see removing relevant navigation and announcement info from the top sections of my left and right columns.

So I'm reduced to either having skyscraper ads about halfway down the first page or on to the second on the sides, or a horizontal ad across the top. Sure wish I could have both! :)


 10:19 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>but can't see removing relevant navigation and announcement info from the top sections of my left and right columns. <<

Whilst I agree tht it is very time consuming to re-lay a site to take advantage of skyscraper format, AdSense is (presently) working so well that it may be worth the effort.

I am taking one site, re-designing, putting on sky-scrapers, and comparing with another similar site without (Google does let you have more than one account!)


 10:39 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Comparing two sites has crossed my mind. Maybe I should apply for a second account as well as this would make up for the lack of good stats that adsense provides.

Sure there are no problems with this?


 11:03 pm on Jul 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Whilst I agree tht it is very time consuming to re-lay a site to take advantage of skyscraper format, AdSense is (presently) working so well that it may be worth the effort.

Cornwall, I certainly COULD do this, but IMHO, it would violate one of the cardinal rules of the Web (and of Google): make things intuitive and useful for your visitors.

I honestly believe that a nav menu should always trump ads. And in my case, I use the top space on the other panel to invite people to sign up for my e-mail newsletter or to participate in my site's discussion groups... both goals which, IMHO, are more 'important' in the usability and value of my site.

Of course, it's all an equation isn't it, just like the broader issues of ad/content ratio and prominence. We could all put our ads front and center surrounded by bright red stripes and catchy tables and what not, and undoubtedly our AdSense revenues would increase.

But would we really be serving our visitors?


 1:27 am on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

My problem is that I don't want to spoil the clean and minimalist look of my book review site - one column, image-free. So I'm using the horizontal banners right at the bottom of my pages there.

On some of my other, travel-oriented, pages, I'm using skyscrapers. My limited testing shows that they are generating a higher CTR (2x to 3x), but that may be because they're closer to the top of the page - and possibly because travel is more "clicky" than academic/literary material.


 1:42 am on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)


The AdSense FAQs says that they usually let a publisher have only one account. But will allow a publisher to have two accounts "if they manage sites that require separate payments."



 1:57 am on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>travel is more "clicky" than academic/literary material. <<

It also has far higher pay per click! More competitive, more money in the industry, private entrerprise vs predominantly gov funded..

PPC is predominated it seems by consumer goods, online sales sites, and web-related services. I see b-b abd brick-morter categories becoming more competitive as time goes on, therefore meaning higher costs per click, as PPC becomes more mainstream and accepted as a credible form of online advertising for high-quality business services.

In the meantime we are relying on our travel section for the high CPC's i think.


 10:53 am on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

got to be skyscrapers for me ... but left or right? .. left seems to be the best placement IMHO .. what about you guys?


 11:01 am on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

left would seem to be the logical best place for clicks. -for people from countries who read from left to right or drive on the left! Just like stall holders at conventions always try to be the first on the left from the entry.

However if the placement is consipicous it is suggesting that the advertisers are much more important than your own content. So in the end you may get mainly one time users but not many loyal return visitors. Depends on the business model of the site. Left for opportunist one time visitor- site where hits are delivered from SE's or cheap PPC, in the right for a site with a brand of its own that stands on it's own.


 4:30 pm on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

got to be skyscrapers for me ... but left or right? .. left seems to be the best placement IMHO .. what about you guys?

Placing navigation links on the left and advertising or affiliate links on the right is almost a Web standard. Why risk confusing users? Unless you have a very small site or your navigation is handled by a horizontal band of drop-down menus, I'd suggest placing the AdSense skyscraper on the right.

BTW, to get back to the banner vs. skyscraper topic, I took the plunge and switched from banners to skyscrapers last night. Today, my clickthrough rate is running 40% ahead of my long-term average and about 30% ahead of the highest day's clickthrough rate since I became an AdSense participant on June 19. It's a bit early to draw a firm conclusion about the effectiveness of skyscrapers vs. banners on my site, but even a 10% or 20% improvement would mean a significant boost to my monthly revenues.


 4:41 pm on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

I havent tried the horizontal format, but it just seemed sensible that the skyscraper format, as long as part of it is "above the fold" would produce better CTR - 1. more options - usually 4 instead of two.. and 2. to me this format is more readable and looks more integrated.


 5:15 pm on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

banner increased my clickthru rate by .8% I have no clue why..


 6:11 pm on Jul 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>banner increased my clickthru rate by .8% I have no clue why.<<

You can only really draw that conclusion if you have run the test on a reasonable number of impressions served, and run it over a number of days.

Click through rates can vary by day of the week, time of the day, whether GoogleGuy's ulcer is playing up.....


 10:02 am on Jul 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

may i offer a suggestion, that skyscraper ads stay on the page for longer if the user is scrolling down. Banner adds get moved on very quickly... could be one reason for skyscrapers doing better....


 9:52 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

One thing I noticed today is that some banner ads are displaying on my sites as one long banner (rather than 2 "normal" ads)

As presumably the placer of the ads pays twice the price, one would like to hope that the content supplier gets credited for 2 clicks ...

...but who knows :(


 10:18 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

No, it simply means google had only one ad for that section of your site. Instead of showing white space it simply stretches that one ad.



 10:22 am on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would guess that adsense can only find one appropriate ad out of the inventory available at the time. I would also guess the adwords advertiser pays the same if they get clicked, as would happen when there is only a few ads displayed on a google serps page, so you get paid the same too :(


 3:18 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

To test some of these ideas I placed skyscrapers on a few index pages and a number of heavily used pages within a few sites. What is interesting is that while my ad impressions increased by the 20% I thought it would (20% more page views due to the new pages) my actual income has stayed the same.

The past two days has seen a consistant but small increase in clickthrough rate (due to the skyscrapers?) but many of the ads are very low paying.

The end result, revenue about the same on 10,000 impressions per day.


 3:56 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think one thing to keep in mind when comparing banner to skyscraper ads is that skyscraper ads may have more ads to show but, when you get to the bottom two ads the click cost is probably much cheaper than the top two ads.

You may get more clicks with the skyscraper but at much lower cost per ad.

I run the banner ads because it blends better with my site and I assume that I am showing only the two highest paying ads available. Less clicks, more money per click.

I am very happy with the program. I hope it remains forever or until a better one comes along.

Just my opinion......That and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee in most states.


 4:31 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> when you get to the bottom two ads the click cost is probably much cheaper than the top two ads.

Interesting point that. When you think about it stands to reason that they will be graded in that way. If the premis is true, it therefore depends on what the spread of bids is on those keywords, and at that particular point in time.

The spread can be anything from practically zero to a number of dollars; and could vary between now and an hours time between the extremes. Interesting concept!


 5:01 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Remember that Google's AdWords rankings aren't assigned purely on the business of bid. An AdWord with a lower bid can rank higher than an AdWord with a higher bid if it has a higher clickthrough rate. So it's impossible to be certan that ads #3 and #4 on a four-ad skyscraper are worth less per click than the top two ads. In some cases, they could be worth more--at least in theory.


 6:01 pm on Jul 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good point Europeforvisitors.

I agree the top position is not always the highest paying but their ad is written well which brings more clicks and raises their ranking.

Either higher paying ads or well written lower paying ads that get more clicks are welcome. A win, win situation I think.

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