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1.5% is definitely low for ANY kind of website. There are MANY ways you can improve it. You just need to work at it a little.
Work on it.
I don't have a lot of traffic, only 150 - 200 unique visitors per day, but they are coming to my site to either buy or sell things so you would think I'd have a higher click through.
Statements like this make me roll my eyes.
I recently ran a niche website for a fixed period of time which achieved insanely huge popularity, and the AdSense ads on the site were beautifully, perfectly targetted and placed according to the prevailing SEO wisdom.
While certain crowds of surfers pushed the CTR up as high as 2.5% (depending on what kind of a website they were following the link from), the overall average for three months was 1.2%.
I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that there is NO ONE HERE who could have taken my content and that audience and made more money.
Frankly, if I *had* been getting a higher CTR I'd be concerned that my visitors weren't sufficiently interested in the content.
The highest CTR I've had in the 2 months I've been using AdSense is 2.1.
My site is tricky in that I rely on user posts for content, but the ads are targeted pretty well.
My ads belnd in with my look & feel so they actually look like navigation links, which I would think would return a high CTR.
That said, 8% and up is a possiblity and actively happening on alot of sites. I know of one site doing 20% right now - I know some others that claim higher, but knowing the quality of the sites - those will be the ones crying about being booted...
For example, on my travel-planning site, photo galleries have low clickthrough rates while destination articles, cruise and hotel reviews, and other travel-planning pieces have much higher CTR. If I were obsessed with clickthrough rates, I could delete those photo galleries and other low-CTR pages, but that would be foolish because it would reduce my income, make my site less useful to readers, and discourage repeat visits.
Bottom line: Don't get worked up about clickthrough rates (or EPC, for that matter); instead, focus on eCPM and total earnings.
I have run a forum which has maintained a click through rate of over 5% for 8 months with an ECPM averaging $15. The industry [like I said] is not very high paying.
Here's what I think has helped it achieve the high CTR ECPM.
* Used two ad blocks for some time to sort out the better performing ads to the first block.
* Used one ad block [a leader board] for a long time above the first post. This kicked up the ECPM to higher level since impressions were reduced.
I think this has kind of sorted the way the ads are chosen. And oh! I weed out all adwords who's landing pages have adsense. These guys are mostly looking for those 1 cent clicks and bid very low on the content network.
I also think I got a bit lucky here since the addition of the CPM ads which I think based the CPM price on my existing ECPM.
I personally feel it's best to have just one ad block and an adlink if it works for your niche. And also, this forum is highly respected in its feild and people love it. I will start an optimisation for an article based site now.
Let me know what you think of this.