I've definitely seen a big improvement from doing this on some forums. It's definitely where the users eye-line is and CTR seems to reflect that.
Careful not to cross the line in to confusing people in to clicking though - it's pretty easy with that sort of placement. I have had some forum users really object when it is introduced though. Some just don't like the ad appearing within "their post".
yea, that's what I envisioned, issues with users feeling 'invaded', but my CTR is absolutely horrendous. I feel the placement and ad types couldn't be any better, but haven't tried ad within the first post yet. Thanks for the input
Does it annoy your regulars/visitors? Always answer that question before proceeding further.
One very busy forum I watch from time to time places AdSense between the original post asking the question and the first reply. It is also very clearly marked as AdSense, so it can't be confused with a potential answer. Of course it might also provide the best answer.
Appears it's not a yay or nay question but a case by case solution? What WebmasterWorld members have suggested so far:
User experience of established members
Impression it makes on guests
Impact on forum growth (conversion rate of guests to members)
Ratio of earnings increase to downsides (is the extra earnings worth it?)
Speaking as a forum guest, I do not like ads in the discussion area. I'm there to consume informational content. However I would not be averse to clicking an ad if it offered a discount on something I was considering purchasing.
[edited by: martinibuster at 7:00 pm (utc) on Nov 16, 2013]
I run a 300x250 ad inserted between the first & second post that is shown to guests only. I tried putting an ad within the first post a while ago but hated how it looked so removed it. If I recall correctly it didn't perform any better than the ad between 1 & 2.
Although it may annoy some, it's a worthwhile experiment. Personally I wouldn't show the ad to logged in members though. AdSense optimization is all about experimenting. Find out if the ad performs well, and see how members react.