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Some useful tidbits from the webinar that I picked up:
Confirmation from AdSense of the top three ad unit sizes are-
1. 336x280 large rectangle
2. 300x250 medium rectangle
3. 160x600 wide skyscraper
AdSense plans to release new languages each quarter.
The transcript is online here:
The three publishers profiled are listed in the transcript with their websites, and they each talk in detail about their own personal experiences and things they have tested for optimizing their AdSense.
It is quite lengthy and definitely geared towards new publishers, with many of the publisher questions clearly covered in the terms/policies. And surprisingly, they even ran out of questions to answer at the end! But if you like to read everything published about AdSense, the tidbits hidden amongst the 21 printed page transcript makes it worthwhile ;)
So one of the things that he did was experimenting with ad positions. Here you see his site, <snip>, and on the left-hand side, he has the ads in the middle of the page originally. But just by making a little change like the screen shot on the right, his click-through rate jumped by almost 60%. Just by that little change of position.
Simply put the ads top left in the content rectangle, at the point where most people start reading. A bit ugly, if you ask me, but I can believe it's very effective. Interesting to see that Google actually endorses such practices.
This will change the way people read, and open up a new market for books with a useless tidbit of 7x6 cm top left on every page :-)
[edited by: Woz at 12:11 am (utc) on July 11, 2005]
[edit reason] No Specifics please, see Tos#13 [/edit]
Simply put the ads top left in the content rectangle, at the point where most people start reading.
Location, location, location! AMEN! I am a test junkie. I'm always fiddling with very minor changes, both with the type of ad block and the positions. I can safely say that, across several topics on several sites, the upper left in the main content is the absolute key.
Now, some of it will depend on how your site is laid out, but the typical page will have content more or less in the middle of the screen under a logo or banner. People naturally (and without thinking about it) move their eyes to that position. That's all there is to it.
I'll add that when I starting testing Ad Links (thanks to BILL for that tip!), another clear pattern emerged, and it too follows the standard page layout model. Put a block of 4 or 5 Ad Links in the vertical style (120X90 or a bit larger works best for me) in the upper left margin. I suspect this works so well because people have become used to looking for nav menus in that position, and Ad Links look like menus (which they are, just not for your site).
Proof is in the pudding, as always, and I've tried all kinds of combinations. Upper left margin for Ad Links and upper left rectangle block of Ad Units where the content begins. Both above the fold. Works like a charm. I get 35% CTR across all my sites with this strategy.
Use a banner ad program that can handle multi-media/HTML ads on your server to try out various color combinations and various ad sizes/types in different locations and let it run a day or two rotating a couple of combinations. When you use the banner rotations serving up Google ads in conjunction with channels to see which ads are actually performing best you can easily fine tune your site by testing multiple things at once and get the stats on what's performing best after a short trial period.
One simple change to my site on the lines of one of the demo'ed ones and my EPC has nearly doubled. Just goes across to show that there's always room for learning and improvement.
See my experience here:
What would happen to the presenters if scaper sites stole portions of their content then posted it on 100 subdomains with multiple keywords?