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Google AdSense Forum

CTR of Famous Blogs

 12:47 am on May 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

The common suggestions to improve your CTR are:

- use 300x250 or 336x280 ad unit, put it above the fold, centered
- use 160x600 on left side, or right side, leaderboard isn't as effective.
- according to heatmap, top left works goood

Is it a coincidence that among the top 5 famous, high-traffic blogs, they all have things in common that are AGAINST common CTR tips?

- Have 300x250 ad unit, but it's not in the center, or left, it's on the right side of the page
- Have 160x600 ad unit on right side of page
- Have a leaderboard ad at the top right of the page

I get it, these blogs have millions of visits so it's easy to make money in that sense.

But their CTR can't be that great, they have ads basically on the coldest parts of the 'google heatmap'

I understand, the adsense tips don't work for everyone, and every site is different, so it might be wrong to point this out. But it's not a coincidence that all these big blogs have nearly the exact same ad placement format, is it?

What's your take on this?



 3:27 pm on May 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

...among the top 5 famous, high-traffic blogs..

Are these the top 5 famous WITHIN a niche or the top 5 famous of ALL blogs? If the latter, who decided?


Personally, I tend to not see the ads on the "more famous" blogs I visit often and do see the ads on the "lesser famous" blogs I visit less frequently.



 12:03 am on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm talking about mashable, techcrunch, etc...


 12:37 am on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Those optimal Adsense spots are often contrary to good usability. Some sites value visitors experience over making more money.

Maybe that's why they are famous and high traffic.


 1:00 am on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

thanks for your reply koan.

It's interesting to me because the primary way those kinds of blogs make money is through their advertising.

It's one thing for a company to advertise on your blog for a month, see not many conversions and decide not to continue with you anymore, but it's another thing to have completely low CTR by putting the company's ad in the word possible spots (for clickthroughs that is).


 9:33 am on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

I was just searching for the CTR % of the famous blogs like techcrucnh :) Is it against the terms sharing CTR %?


 10:07 am on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

the primary way those kinds of blogs make money is through their advertising.

...but those are "famous blogs" because their owners don't made it just to make money but to say something. There is still a thin line between marketers/affiliates and content generators.


 6:32 pm on May 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes Lexur you are right.

But what you are saying is why they got famous, I'm saying how they make decent money if their ads are in the worst possible spots. But yes I get it's meant for content/usability


 11:34 am on May 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm saying how they make decent money if their ads are in the worst possible spots.

Because they don't rely on CPC ads where the placement is critical for good CTR and good income

They use mostly CPM ads, either by selling the ads themselves or using an ad network. In one ad network, for example, Mashable's 300x250 ads are sold at $33 CPM.

That's how they make money -- the high CPMs plus the high traffic = high income.


 8:40 pm on May 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

You're making a number of assumptions in knocking their advertising choices:

1) Their CTR can't be that great
2) Ad in the worst possible spots
3) They make decent money

(I don't see any published stats concerning the above)

Having a website entirely supported by on-page advertising is a tight-rope walk. Too few ad locations may result in too low income. Too many ad locations may result in poor user experience (resulting in less traffic and less $$$). Too many ad locations may also drive down the value of the ad location (supply and demand). Ads in traditional locations may result in banner blindness.

You also have to look at the type of visitor a website may draw. High disposable income, low disposable income, corporate, end-user, likely to buy, not interested in buying...

You also have to look at the advertiser objectives. Is it a branding campaign where they are looking to get their name associated with other well known brands. It may be low CTR but very high conversion rates, which would drive up the value of the ad location. (high ctr and low quality would drive down the value of the ad location).

Having run a number of sites that are 100% ad support I've found that none of them behaved the same.

Making assumptions is dangerous in the business world. The nice thing about the web is the ease in which you can A/B test to see what works best.


 2:32 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Having a website entirely supported by on-page advertising is a tight-rope walk

Apparently Mr. Murdoch would fully agree with you.

PS: I detest Blogs, I have no interest in someone's [mostly uninformed opinion].

Unfortunately, the latest offerings of online newspapers MUST include some regular contributors current opinion of the "state of affairs of the world".

Mostly inaccurate.

I'm not in a position to comment on blogs for pop stars, pseudo actors and people dabbling in psycho-babble.


 4:04 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

PS: I detest Blogs,

A man after my own heart.


 9:01 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ah, after 100 years, something upon which we totally agree.

A milestone.


 9:57 am on May 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't recall disagreeing with you IanCP, but if we have, it's because you were wrong. ;)


 6:43 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

@IanCP: the blogs I read are much better than the vast majority of newspapers. There are plenty of blogs that are not worth reading - but there are also plenty of newspapers not worth reading (I grew up in Wimbledon which had no fewer than three free local weekly newspapers - it was a good month if they managed one article worth reading between them).

Getting back onm topic, I thought blogs were known to monetise badly?

On the other hand, I read economics blogs by professional economists, finance blogs by professional investors, IT blogs by programmers, political blogs by a range of thoughtful and intelligent people, etc.


 7:30 pm on May 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

one of the best known political blogs in the UK (guido) seems to be crammed full of ads these days. he's got all the sizes that you mentioned, text ads, image and video ads too -- the whole lot. most of them are untargeted, so i don't imagine his click rate is too good. maybe that's why he's got so many ads on it.


 8:24 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

I guess the reason famous blogs are able to monetize is because they do it off traffic, not clicks/ctr.

They got high traffic and charge people per impressions. But the questions arises, such companies that advertise want conversions, and with such badly-chosen ad spots, how could they possibly be pleased with the results?


 10:16 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

@paul, brand building. TV ads do not create direct conversions at all, and they are very expensive.


 10:49 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yes indeed grame_p, you are correct. I guess it's a sacrifice on someone's part.

Either you continue making money through say, adsense, and your blog's usability is low.

Or you build your brand and have great usability/navigation, but you cut your ad earnings by who knows how much. At least until you get sustainable traffic enough to invite companies to advertise privately on your blog.


 10:09 am on May 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

At $33 CPM -- a rate they may never even get with Adsense -- these blogs are not cutting their ad earnings.

They are enjoying the best of both worlds: waiting list of advertisers willing to pay them $33 per CPM and ad placement that is not in your face because they're not CPC ads that needs to be visible to be clicked

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