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Absolutely Dismal CTR

How can I raise it?

     
4:25 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've got a website that I started last month. It's my first "major" website, I guess you could say. It's around 200 pages, almost entirely static content. I usually add 2 or 3 pages to it every week. The site is an informative site, primarilly about a particular upcoming product and secondarilly (is that a word? heh) about the industry that product exists in. My audience is probably more tech-savvy than the average internet user.

Traffic is doing much better than I expected. I've somehow dodged the G sandbox and I even pulled a miracle and got a free Y! directory listing (whether thats worth anything or not these days, I dunno). The site recieves about 300 new uniques/day and each user views about 20 pages of content on average. Nothing awesome compared to most of you, I know, but great for me and one would think I could at least pay for my hosting with that kind of traffic.

Now the problems... with those numbers, I get 5,000-10,000 impressions a day. I've never gotten more than a few clicks in a day and I usually have a whopping daily CTR of 0.1%. Sometimes, the clicks are so low, the CTR reads as 0.0%.

Where am I going wrong?

The primary focus of the site is a product that is not yet for sale, so the ads, while still semi-relevant, are not totally spot on yet. When the product becomes available for retail, I'm sure the ads will become more relevant.

I use across-the-top navigation on the site with 1 ad/page right now... something like this:

------------
Navigation
--------------
Ad Search
-----------
Content
-----------

The ad block is perhaps TOO perfectly matched to my page style... The links, text, and background are the exact same as the rest of my site. Should I change this to make it stand out more?

Should I add another ad block to the footer? I'd like to stay out of the left and right margins if possible, as I think it makes the site look a lot better if they're empty, but would sticking an ad or two out there help?

I'm nervous that more ads will turn people's noses up, keeping them from returning... which to me, is the most important thing. The site is a hobby first and foremost. If it payed for itself, well, that would just be a nice bonus.

4:48 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There isn't too much wrong with the ads positioning so 0.1% CTR seems incredibly low.
Is it a forum? A games site? These often command very low CTR. Or maybe if your product is not for sale yet there are no ads or no reason to click the ads?
5:15 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In my opinion, your number one problem with CTR has to do with your audience. Those who are extremely tech-savvy, usually know what type of content they're looking for, and know what/where to click.

Many of them also probably recognize Adsense ads and could probably locate those advertisers' sites on their own if they needed to.

Since they are browsing your site, it probably means that they arrived at your site to strictly view your content, and not click your ads.

Just my opinion.

5:36 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Actually I think you are having a contextual targeting problem, your site could be too vertical in a dry advertising land.

What caught my attention is your:

"secondarilly about the industry that product exists"

Maybe if you concentrate your writings on similar competing widgets and spread it across all pages you could dig out more advertisers from the google pouch.

Also experiment more with ad locations and sizes, and with / without blending.

Psst. secondarily, one L
Good Luck

8:45 pm on Feb 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thank you all for the tips, I'm already expirimenting with different colors and layout.

3 responses within minutes, all of them with genuine great advice. This is why WebmasterWorld is the best. I even learned some new vocabulary to boot. WebmasterWorld even helps me cut down on spelling misteaks.

2:44 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You might want to try:

------------
Navigation
--------------
Ad Content
------
Continued Content
--------------------

And find some good place for search. ( I don't have much experience with that.)

OR

------------
Navigation
--------------
Content Ad

Continued Content
--------------------

4:08 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Maybe start using some channels so you can figure out what sections of your site are getting the clicks and what sections aren't?

Jennifer

4:22 am on Feb 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

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------------
Navigation
--------------
Ad Content
------
Continued Content
--------------------

This is also what I have used and it has proven to work very well.

Possibly writing more content about the general aspects of the business behind the product.

For example, product or service x is created to satisfy what need?