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I have been reading about best practices and Adsense Hit map on how to increase CTR. However, most of them are old, tried and not working today.
There has been days years ago when people reported CTRs like 8 and even 12 percent. This can happen provided the ads are very relevant.
Now, we started to see more relevant ads, however CTR is below two percent.
300-250 is used above the fold in a very visible area. Background color is the same as the article body background. No borders.
Under articles we use either link units or 300-250 size.
Yet, the CTR is not rising.
What has worked for you? What are the latest best practices that work in this market?
We are not using images. We have felt that they are not working for us.
We did extensive testing with the CPA program when it was alive and found conversions to be the highest on our websites when the ads did not match the sites color schema and were clearly ads in off colors. CTR dropped like a rock but conversions picked up substantially.
This gets back to the continued push on Googles part to decrease CTR(accidental clicks) to increase conversions for advertisers. My suggestion is to place your ads in typical areas that are not to obtrusive and to go non matching.
We painfully made this decision a few months ago and after the initial loss in pay we are now making more money then ever due to substantially increasing EPC.
Less Clicks = Higher Conversions = Increased Advertiser Demand for your Inventory.
Now if your traffic is junk to begin with then you really are in a pickle because the increase you gain in CTR will just be smartpriced out.
CTR dropped like a rock but conversions picked up substantially.
My suggestion is to place your ads in typical areas that are not to obtrusive and to go non matching.
Respect for having the courage to do this and succeed. I have tried to do this also but ALWAYS chicken out when I see a few days of low earnings. After how much time do you believe it start taking effect? How far down the "non-matching road" did you go? Thanks.
I can tell you though that epc has been rising ever since, we blew past our earnings pre change and it just keeps going. We are now at 2003 EPC numbers.
Everyones site is different so it may not work for you but I think universally that this is why google has done so many things over the last year to decrease ctr.
We are completely non matched, using the stock blue that adsense ads default with.
On the other hand, if conversions are what Google and advertisers want, how come Google keeps advising us to do matching ads which merge into the site well? Surely they are aware that more conversions come from non-matching ads?
2% is average
I have seen posters claim a lot more but as an average I would guess you're not far wrong.
When AdSense first started I was 6-7% and it has slowly decreased to under 2% these days however my new blogs seem to be doing very well and back to the 6-10% range.
I've had 600% before, but that was near the start of the day, rare to see (for me) but leveled out later on. Overall, the total tally ends up around 2%
I've had the odd day where it has been 3% for PPC and 20% for search.
If someone was often getting 6-10% range, then the chances are that Google will look at it to see why.
I get 5-6 % easily. In fact it used to be 8 % average for a long time, but dropped in 2009.
For me, 5% is really low, and have been trying to get it up at least by one or two for a long time.
I never got this thing about the 336x280 ad. Its ugly, its smack in the middle of the content, breaks the flow, obviously stands out as an ad block - and still people click them? Why I wonder.
After working with the cpa program when it was available we learned quite a bit on how to make contextual ads convert (on our sites)without loosing visitors to wasted clicks.
Prior to that we had only been well versed on making image ad conversions for other affiliates we run.
Im not really sure why google advocates blending. I just looked at what was working for the cpa program when it was around and put myself in the shoes of the adwords advertiser.
I thought if we decreased non converting clicks to advertisers but increased conversions our available click inventory would decrease but become more worthwhile for adwords advertisers to target since the roi was substantially better.
I told myself that this would probably take weeks to months for any increase in roi to trickle out to adwords advertisers. It did eventually start increasing, slowly but surely and EPC has been growing ever since.
Our EPC has now passed when we joined adsense (the glory days) in 2003 during a major global recession no less.
Im not advocating that every does this, not by any means. All im simply trying to point out is that if people take a little time and research the adwords side and try to look at your site/clicks through the advertisers eye/pocket then maybe you can make changes that will have similar results instead of just focusing on getting more clicks.
Make those clicks count.
For years many of us blamed some decreasing CTR on a very reduced click area. I think you could add to that the action of the visitor after clicking a Google Ad. When they clicked by mistake.
I'm not speaking about action after getting to a landing page.
But when people instantly hit the back button. How can any honest person claim a click credit in those circumstances?
Yes the needy and greedy no doubt will find some justifiable reason.
About the original topic of the thread - here is an interesting example.
I have three separate designs for a topic on my site. All of which I track separately using URL channels.
The ugliest design generates maximum number of clicks. CTR is the highest there.
The better design generates a slightly lower percentage of clicks. Say 70 % of the ugly design CTR.
The best, professional designs - they get the least number of clicks.
This is even though the ad positioning is the same on all three designs - they just get more and more sophisticated and good-looking, and the clicks drop as they get better.
Something to go for the old idea that ugly sites generate more clicks?
Surfers getting wiser?
Adsense click-able area reduction to only title and link?
All of the above?
If yes that's fair. But if Google is discounting the clicks when the visitor clicks to advertiser's page and clicks back because of dissapointment of the landing page, it's kind of not publisher's fault.
Publishers do everything possible to better the quality of end user experience. We try to understand here everything. But take a look at some landing pages. These people get the click, they get the visitor, yet because their landing page is very bad, we are hit by smartpricing algorithm.
How fair is that?
Google has to make advertisiers realize that they share responsibility in quality experience.
If advertisers are not charged for all clicks, they won't spend extra time and effort trying to understand why they should change things.
Currently they have an OK or bad landing page and are not willing as much change it as publishers, because if the visitor does something then they are charged, if the visitor does not like the landing page and goes back, they are not charged, yet publisher rating probably falls.
Google discounting clicks --- >I wont call it unfair. Say someone has a bad landing page and he clicks back. See, you have got your guy back, whats the complaint now? ;-)
Fact is, Google is a business, and they don't need to be fair. The revenue we make is not a reward for getting visitors to click. It is a share of what Google makes.
That's hardly the beginning of it. People have seen sudden eCPM drops, sudden CTR drops, irrelevant ads, PSAs, unfair bans (in some cases)... I am someone who is living off Adsense for 5 years now, and I every time I increase my traffic after months of effort, eCPM and CTR drops predictably. Has happened probably a dozen times now. Increase traffic (not repeat traffic, new traffic) and revenue stays the same. As a result, I now have my highest ever traffic and same revenue as what I had four years back :)
Either you pwn Adsense, or it pwns you! There are many who have done it successfully in this forum, though.
I found what I was afraid of - totally irrelevant ads all over the place. For years my ads have been spot on target and now 30% of them are totally wrong topic or cr*p white papers. I suspect many of these are from the new ad sources google has engaged.
I expect CTR to be up by the end of the day with a slight drop in EPC due to less competition.
I long ago blocked all direct placement ads since they tend to take over the whole site.
There's logic there. Initial reaction from people is "hey there aren't any ads - this might be a useful page". You've attracted their attention.
Once they've eased off their back button they might find they like your page. After a while a fair percentage might end up at the bottom.
They'll not be expecting ads down there - you have them off their guard. Ad blindness is much reduced, and you might even have got them thinking about buying something so they too can do all the wonderful things your page is about.
That's where my ads are, and surprisingly I'm making as much as this time last year when my ads were in the hot positions which I felt detracted from the site.
It wasn't a test for me but an editorial decision in the bad months of the recession (if they are paying this much they can go at the bottom).
This way I get them above the fold during reading and if they make it to the bottom there is place for them to go to.
I consistently see 9-11% CTR monthly on close to 100,000 impressions..
All ads are blended also white page matching background and no border, I use #006699 (like a slate blue) for title and black for the description and URL. This has always worked well for me as the bulk of my site uses 006699 (slate blue) and white as page bg.
I build every page from scratch and have consistently raised 00-000! each month for 2009 by doing around 10-20 pages per month.
I don't think I would EVER make my ads not match or stick out too much.. I would be afraid..lol..Then again it would be crazy to maybe double income just by making them not match at all.
As far as high paying clicks since about 3 months ago I have noticed by channel that most of my clicks the lowest single clicks are around 25-30 cents and I am averaging close to 70 cents to 1.00 for most clicks. Just today I got 2 clicks for 11.00 so it's pretty strong right now. I think I am no longer smart priced OR the advertisers in my niche are just paying more to keep their names up there...
Initally, you have nice blended in ads in all the high CTR areas. Let your stats prove that your CTR is at a decent level. At this stage, earnings per click may be low.
After that, you make it painfully obvious to the users that the ads are ads. You put a border around them, write "Advertisements" on top etc. etc. CTR should drop now.
Now you know that advertisments are being seen by your users. They are actively choosing to click or not click on them.
Might this help increase the CPC?
Any suggestions on where to read up on the adwords side about all the relevant details to the users?