Where Should I Place Advertisements on My Website?

Proper placement of your advertisements on your website can boost your click through rate (CTR), in turn, increase your advertising revenue.

Proper placement of your advertisements on your website can boost your click through rate (CTR), in turn, increase your advertising revenue. With so many locations to pick from, where is the most profitable placement for your website? You may also be wondering how many ads you should have per page and how many times a visitor should be shown a certain advertisement for optimal performance. Some of the answers to these questions can depend on your site content and page layout. Here are some factors to consider.

In general
All experts agree on one thing: above the fold is better than below the fold. This is because scrolling is not required for the visitor to see the advertisement. You need to consider that visitor’s browser type and screen resolution may change what is above and below the fold. WhereIsTheFold.com is a tool you can use to find the fold location for your website. In contrast, if your website contains an article, placing a relevant ad right after the end of the article is a great location. Once the visitor has finished reading the article, they will wonder what to do next and this creates a perfect opportunity for the advertisement to be seen and clicked.

Now that we know above the fold is better than below the fold, is the right or left side of the site a better location for your advertisement revenue? Google has made a heat map showing the best locations to place their Google Ads. Taking a quick glance at the map would make you think that the left side is better than the right side. Yet, studies show that ads placed close to navigational aids are more successful. So, if your navigation aids are on the right side then consider placing your ads on the right side and vice versa. If you are creating a new website and are wondering where to place the navigation bar, either side is fine. Expert opinions vary but many studies shows that it does not make a difference.

Lastly, place the ads in locations where you believe your viewers’ attention will be focused. This depends heavily on your site and its content. At the same time, overall aesthetics is also important. If a visitor turns away from your page due to poor aesthetics then there is no chance to view or click on any advertisement.

Things to watch out for
You do not want to clutter your page with advertisements, hoping that at least one ad will catch the viewer’s attention. Clutter can create visual blindness drawing the visitor’s attention away from the advertisements. Along the same line, even though it is more effective to place advertisements above the fold, placing too many ads will end up making your primary content harder to find. The visitor is there to view the primary content, not the advertisements, so make sure they can find it easily. Otherwise, your bounce rate will rise and decrease your advertisement revenue. Even more importantly, Google has recently announced that websites with too many ads above the fold may be penalized and downgraded. Also noteworthy, too many advertisements will certainly cause the page to load slower, giving the visitor yet another reason to navigate away from your website.

Optimal advertisement repetition
Although most studies and experts do not provide an exact frequency for which an advertisement should be shown to a visitor for optimal revenue, they do agree on two things. First, repetition is important. Showing an ad five times or more will increase the CTR and banner interaction. Second, "banner burnout" is a reality so frequency capping is an important measure to maximize advertising revenue. You can also rotate banners or refresh the page to keep the visitor engaged.

Experiment, experiment, experiment
The only real way to truly maximize your advertisement revenue is by trying different things. With the above advice in mind, you can experiment by moving ads to different locations, different pages, and with different frequency caps. A good ad server should have great tools to help you do just that. Furthermore, the ad server can provide you the needed statistics to make the comparisons pre and post changes. Always keep in mind that there are seasonal changes so, for example, if your revenue increases from the month of November to the month of December, this could simply be the effect of online Christmas shoppers and not the changes you made to your website. Now go out there and make some money!

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