The dynamics of online advertising is changing. Large ad sizes, high end video ads, ads on matched content, mobile interstitials, native ads and Adblock plus coming up with their own ad network. 2016 has been challenging for the online ad ecosystem. However, AdSense still remains one of the most preferred ad network for publishers, and in this article we go through an optimization checklist to ensure you’re not losing on ad revenue and also in-tune with the latest offerings from AdSense. Here is our honest, actionable tips to increase your adsense earnings.
1. Are you using the 336×280 ad unit
We recommend publishers to use the 336×280 ad unit since it accommodates the bidding for 300×250 ad size and this typically increase the CPC of the ad served on your site. So, if you’re using 300×250 ad unit, change it to 336×280 to see an instant increase in your overall AdSense revenue. We have seen the increase in revenue for more than 80% of the cases, showing strong indication that the CPC of the 336×280 ad unit is more than 300×250. Under certain cases, the CTR for the 300×250 ad unit is higher when your web-layout is sleek and the ads are mostly targeted to technology products. Otherwise, for majority cases, 336×280 out performs 300×250 by over 20% in ad revenue.
2. Leveraging the 300×600 ad unit
The 300×600 ad unit is preferred by a lot of advertisers and you can see very higher CPC, in fact, this ad size has the highest CPC. However, you might have noticed the overall revenue from this ad unit is not much. This is particularly true if you have substantial mobile visitors, since the sidebar (where this ad unit is typically placed) is moved much below (after primary content) in mobile devices, the CTR for this ad unit is almost negligible on mobile, although both CTR and CPC is high for desktop traffic. A good rule is to use the Advanced ads WordPress plugin and enable 300×600 only for desktop traffic (The plugin has a feature to show ads based on device type).
3. Judicial use of link units
Links units can fetch additional revenue. We suggest you to use 3 link units and your strategy should be to place the link units within the content to enhance CTR. We have seen websites which make almost 60% and above only from link units. Niche websites in education, home finance, passport etc can make good revenue from link ads. We suggest the use of all 3 link unit ads. A 200×90 would be a good choice to get started!
4. Monitor your Ad Type Performance
AdSense allows advertisers to choose text, image, rich media and video ads. All ad types may not perform well on a publisher site. You should take a regular watch on the best performing ad type and if needed, set an experiment to monitor performance of ad type. We have seen a lot of websites, where the text ad almost generates double of what image and flash ads generate. Also, in some case, the image and flash ads generate 2-3 X times the revenue generated from text ads. It all comes down to what ad type is performing well on your site and should be strictly monitored by you time and again. To monitor your ad type, login to AdSense, go to Performance Reports> Advanced reports> Ad Type
As you can see here, my rich media/image ads are generating almost twice impression RPM as compared to text ads. Guess, its high time for me to stop showing the text ads.
5. Test Ad Placements, Ad Colors
The single most crucial factor that will determine your revenue from AdSense ads is the ad placement. Optimized ad placements can increase adsense revenue by over 50%. AdPushup is a tool that allows you to test myriad number of ad placements, ad colors and ad sizes. Along with that, the system uses algorithmic and machine learning to understand the most optimized setup that can be beneficial to the publisher both in terms of revenue and user experience. Apart from setting different ad layouts for desktop, mobile, tablet, you can also use multiple ad color templates, both global and local.
6. Page-level ads can help you make some money
Although not much, but page-level ads can make you a few dollars. I recommend you to use the interstitial ad unit since they have a good CTR and can help you monetize additionally. I will really not stress upon the use of Page-level ads, but would suggest you to try once if you haven’t.
7. Matched Content feature can help you increase page views and revenue
Matched content lets you make more money by displaying relevant ads around the content. It also increases the page views on your site, thereby increasing the revenue per session. Though matched content ad will not have very high CPC based ads, but you need to remember that this is still in beta and google is experimenting this feature to increase user engagement on your site.
8. Interlink your Top exit pages
Google analytics can help you analyse your top exit pages. These are the pages from where your visitors abandon your site. Inter-linking these pages can actually help a percentage of your visitors to redirect to other web-pages within your site. A site-wide inter-linking can be tedious but will highly benefit you as a content owner. If users spend more time around your content, chances are high that average revenue per session would increase.
9. Use a Sticky 300×250 Sidebar ad
If you’ve a substantial amount of desktop traffic, I suggest you to use a sticky 300×250 ad unit on the sidebar. Sticky ads are only allowed for approved sub-AdX accounts. You can apply for a sub-AdX account through any of Google’s AdSense Partners. Adding a 300×250 sticky unit can help you increase your overall page RPM. Although, you may not see a substantial uplift, but whatever it is, the extra money is worth.
10. Use a Custom Search box
Using a custom search box from Google not only refine the quality of search results being displayed on your site, but also let you monetize your search pages with AdSense for search. If you’ve a high paying niche and an engaging site, I suggest you implement the search box immediately for a better user experience & navigation and also to increase your adsense revenue. Most seasoned publishers have a search box installed on their site since they know, the additional revenue counts.
11. Use Media Query
Media query enables publishers to show different ad unit sizes based on different visitor’s device type. A desktop visitor can see a 600×300 ad size for a particular ad unit while a mobile visitor will see 336×280, 300×250 or 250×250 again based on the available screen width. This just not preserve the user experience, but also let you earn more from ads which are bigger in size, since advertisers are ready for pay premium rates for these custom ad sizes which works so well for them. Here is a complete tutorial to help you get started with Media query for AdSense.
12. Have you considered the 970×250 ad size
970×250 is an extremely powerful ad size especially for lifestyle, e-commerce, shopping and news sites. Since the number of advertisers for these niches are high, the competition for this ad size remains high because the inventory is limited, thus advertisers end up paying more for these ad units. If you ask me, I will go with a custom 970×280 ad unit size since this can accomodate 970×250, 300×250 and 336×280, thereby further increasing the competition with the addition of 336×280 ad bids.
13. Tweak your Existing Keywords
A lot of publishers’ tweak some of their existing articles, making some changes in content to incorporate relevant high performing keywords to increase the CPC of the ads. Note, most of these pages are already indexed at high search ranks and the slight contextual changes only let the ad quality to refine, thereby making more money for publishers. Quite an interesting tip, I must say!
14. Blocking low paying categories and Advertisers
Sometimes, less is good! This is particularly relevant when you start getting a lot of junk ads to show. Most of them might be from dating sites, gaming etc. If you consider you’ve a refined user-base with quality traffic, you might block these advertising categories which doesn’t relate with your site’s context. Sometimes, blocking such advertisement can increase the CTR as the ads shown are relevant and users click on them.
15. Analyse Your AdSense Revenue Profile
You adsense revenue profile can tell you a lot about the ads that are actually paying you and the ones that are not. Typically, removing 10% of your ads will only affect 1% of your advertising revenue since these ads are extremely low paying. The bottom line is to go ahead and remove these ads so that your visitors are only served with quality ads.
As you can see here, that only 5% of the ad requests have a RPM of $1.79 and above and the average ad request RPM is $0.20. Keeping a track of the revenue profile is extremely important while analyzing revenue outcomes. Say, you have blocked a few AdSense categories, and want to see whether it actually helped you to increase the revenue. Simply seeing the revenue profile, you can make a clear statement.
16. Get Started with Video Content
Video content is becoming increasingly popular and a growing number of users are preferring video content rather than text content. Adx for video offers standard, in-stream and overlay (text, image, flash) ads that can help you monetize your videos. You need to have a video player like jwplayer integrated on your site and your own video content. This is an additional income source since you’ve existing traffic on your site. The best solution would be to partner with some relevant video content create and go for a revenue share model. Simply plugging in the video player on top 20% of your pages will almost cover 80% of your traffic. So, if you’ve more than 30,000 to 40,000 daily traffic, I suggest you start monetizing with video content.
17. Use Pagination
If you’ve blogposts which are very long, you split them into 2 or 3 after the post has indexed well on Google search. This trick has help me increase my traffic by over 15% only by splitting a few top performing posts. This indeed becomes crucial since Google doesn’t allow auto-refreshing ads on articles and long form of content doesn’t generate much click due to low ad visibility. Thus, this becomes a necessity and many publishers are doing this to ensure they get their share of advertising revenue.
18. Fill them Up
AdSense may not always be able to find 100% of your ad inventory. As you can see in my case, I can seeing a fill rate of 92%Under such cases, you need a backup ad network. There are a lot of CPM and CPC based ad networks which you can try as a back-up. Adhitz is one such CPC network. You can also try native ad networks as well. Here is a complete list of some popular native ad networks.
19. Are You Running Google Consumer Surveys
Google Consumer Surveys is a business product by Google that facilitates customized market research. The product was designed by Google as an alternative to internet pay walls for websites that publish content. Publishers can integrate consumer surveys on their sites and earn incremental revenue with an RPM of $20-$30 depending on the site’s traffic quality. This feature is only available for US, UK and few other publishers currently. You can go through a detailed review of the program here.
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We will come with more power-packed information and update this article as we come across new tips and opportunities that enable publishers to increase their adsense earnings. If you think we have missed something, please feel free to share via the comments below. See you soon in the next post!