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Do different ad unit sizes produce different results?

     
12:15 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm putting this question out there to see if anyone else has similar experiences.

Have you notied that changing an ad unit size to make it smaller or larger results in different ads, different CTR, different EPC, etc.?

(By the way, this question is related to these messages from AdSense suggesting the addition of more ad units to sites.)


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2:18 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Of course it makes a difference in performance/earnings, sometimes a BIG difference.

Why?

1: Because not all advertisers create ads for all display ad sizes.

2: Not all ad blocks hold the same number of text ads.

(Replace a 336x280 with a 125x125 and see what happens)
2:38 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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(Replace a 336x280 with a 125x125 and see what happens)


I recently did just that. The number of clicks stayed basically the same, which would seem to indicate that the number of ads doesn't impact the number of clicks. My earnings went down as the value of each click went down by about 60%.


Not all ad blocks hold the same number of text ads.


If by that you mean more ads would produce more clicks (and hopefully more earnings), then that seems to support Google's continued urging of publishers to add more units to their sites. That seems at odds with the first item above and seems to be at odds with what's been reported by some publishers who have tried.


Because not all advertisers create ads for all display ad sizes.


So by using some ad unit sizes vs. others, you can increase the number of ads available for your site? Has anyone read anything solid on that as far as specific recommendations from Google? I'd be interested in reading more about this from advertisers. Netmeg, anyone else?


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5:23 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Depends on if you're talking about text ads or display ads. For text ads, the advertiser just creates an ad, and that's it. He might target a placement, but that's the limit of the control.

For display ads, the advertiser doesn't always submit ads for all available sizes (which is stupid, but there it is)

I guess I'm not sure what you're going for. Different ad blocks (even text) will product different results, because they don't all display text the same way, and I believe it also probably matters how the ad appears in relation to the content next to it. I tested large and medium squares, and they did much poorer than the 468x60 for me, because they kind of overwhelmed my content. A 125x125 might get lost in the shuffle one place, but be perfect somewhere else.

As far as it affecting what ads are seen - well an ad block that shows 4 text ads is different than one that shows two.

(still struggling with your question)
5:29 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I seem to remember that in the past the 336x280 could fill with 300x250's and 160x600 with 120x600, but I cannot see anything in the current interface to support that memory.
That is the reason I chose to use the larger sizes, not that I thought that bigger ads were better, but that it would increase the competition for my adspace and drive up eCPM rates. If that is not the case and there is more ad inventory on the smaller ad sizes I should consider changing my site. Smaller ads probably means better consumer experience. More inventory hopefully means better eCPM rates. That would be a win-win situation.
6:01 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I opted for a mix. 728 x 90 leaderboard up top, and two large rectangles at bottom of page. No content on navigational type low content pages. On heavy content pages I like to embed the ads within the content in two similar spots, the first one near the first paragraph and the second one near the bottom of the page. Both layouts catch two kinds of site visitors, one that is quickly scanning and the other that is engaged and reaches the bottom of the page.

The top unit shows tends to show more text ad content, although every once in awhile it catches some rich media content. The bottom level large rectangls bounce between text and rich media ad content, favoring rich media content. The embedded ad units tend to show more text links. So yes, there appears to be a difference in ads shown between the units.

In both cases I am trying to avoid overwhelming the content with the advertising, while appealing to both kinds of site visitor. I used to get significantly higher earnings with the large rectangles up top but I dialed those back two years ago sacrificing earnings for traffic growth. That was pre-panda so that worked out well for me- good thing I ignored Google AdSense advice to go big...
6:34 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Go to your allowed ads section and take a look at the display ads submitted by the various advertisers.

If it's anything like mine you'll see that some advertisers submit ads in every possible size, others only in one size. Others fall somewher in between.

I use 728x90, 336x280, 300x250, 120x600, 160x600, and 250x250. Not all on the same page of course :)

In the biggest section of my site I have two sets of pages, one uses the 336x280 and the other set uses the 300x250. That was a test suggested by AdSense staff in a phone call. I haven't seen any difference in performance/earnings. It did get me to pay more attention to what size ads show up in the allo/block list though, and that got me to see the difference in what size ads advertisers build.

Why every advertiser doesn't build ads in every size is something I don't understand. I wouldn't think it would cost that much for to build the extra sizes, but maybe it does, I dunno.
7:02 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Depends on if you're talking about text ads or display ads. For text ads, the advertiser just creates an ad, and that's it.


I was asking about text ads only. If an advertiser has a text ad, is there any reason that ad can't appear in any ad unit size?

-------------------

You can't read too much into the ads you see on your site, but when I change ad unit sizes I see different ads than when I change back to the previous size.


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7:05 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If that is not the case and there is more ad inventory on the smaller ad sizes I should consider changing my site.


As always, the best thing to do is test. With smaller ads I got basically the same number of clicks but earnings per click was a lot less.


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7:07 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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That is the reason I chose to use the larger sizes, not that I thought that bigger ads were better, but that it would increase the competition for my adspace and drive up eCPM rates.


For practical reasons, there is a limit to the increase in eCPM rates that can be achieved with more competition for ad space.


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7:19 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I was asking about text ads only.

I must have missed that in your OP.
9:26 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Very hard to know in these Panda days how much ad space is too much space. It is possible to tastefully blend Adsense ads above the fold, but now it seems that has been discouraged or was even penalized at the actual time of the first Panda update (who knows?). Are smaller ad units now the way to go so that the content to ad space ratio is greater (even when the content is quite clear). I know this is a general question. Just asking for experiences.
10:48 pm on Feb 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I changed my ads back to the larger sizes earlier today and I've already seen a difference. As of now, I have already earned more than yesterday and with 1/3 as many clicks.

We'll see if it holds.


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11:19 am on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have seen these effects too on my sites when testing and changing ad sizes. At first you seem to earn more but in a couple of days some hamster notices it, turns a dial and its back to 'normal'.
Nowadays I have settled for a certain layout with ads and just leave it like that. I still do minor testing, but no big changes.
3:35 pm on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The large and medium squares have always out-preformed other ad sizes for me.
8:45 pm on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Given the reputed penalty in terms of search engine results for sites which have what is considered an excess ad content ratio "above the fold," how do you figure out how to handle what is considered a negative signal for the search engine with the positive results from a given (often recommended) ad size?

Obviously, none of us likes sites which are overloaded with ads -- especially at the top -- but I believe that it is possible to tastefully and gracefully place ads above the fold while making the content clear to the audience. This has proven a real paradox for us.
9:03 pm on Feb 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This has proven a real paradox for us.


That is an important consideration for publishers. It leads to the question: What solutions or compromises can be made to balance Panda with earnings?
4:08 pm on Feb 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The only counter I have to that is to return the absolute best response for the query such that Google would look stupid if it didn't pull up one of my sites.