For many websites, ad revenue is the only source of income for content creators, so it's in their interest for it to be easy for readers to see and click on ads. However, it's an unfortunate truth that many of the ads that are displayed on the web are ignored by intended audience, even when the ad is right in front of them. Though content publishers have little control over which ads are shown to visitors, there are things website owners can do to boost their ad views and clicks.
A recent study from Google found that a little over half of all display ads go unnoticed by consumers. To be fair, this is true of ads on every medium. People don't watch every ad they see on TV or read every ad in a magazine. However, general apathy towards ads is only part of the problem. Many ads get ignored because of issues that website owners can mitigate. The Google report notes several of these things in their findings. Here are three things website owners can do to make the ads they serve more visible, which will boost impressions and lead to more clicks.
Position Ads "Above the Fold"
Like a newspaper, the most likely place for an ad to be viewed in above the fold (i.e. before the user has to scroll). Though this doesn't mean that the very top of the page is best. The most-viewed position is just above the page fold. This may be because that area is usually held in view even as the reader scrolls to read the portion below the fold. According to the study, average viewability rates for ads shown above the fold are at 68 percent while the rate for ads below the fold is at 40 percent. This doesn't mean that website owners shouldn't display ads below the fold. The study notes that "not all above-the-fold impressions are viewable, while many below-the-fold impressions are". A possible reason for this is explained in the next tip.
Use More Vertical Ad Sizes
The study found that ads with vertical orientations had highest viewability rates. This relates to the way that ad views are counted. An ad view occurs when more than 50 percent of an ads pixels are on screen for one second. They get this data from the browser. This way, publisher aren't charged for ads placed on a page but are never in the viewable portion of the browser. The One Second/50 Percent rule makes it so that vertical ads have higher view rates. A vertical ad (or at least half of it) stays in view even as the reader scrolls down a page. Similarly, horizontally oriented ads near the top of a page may not get viewed because they're scrolled past immediately as readers hurry to reach the main content.
Keep Visitors on the Page
When it comes to ad views and clicks, it's not just the content of the ad that matters. The biggest thing website owners can do to improve their ad revenue is create content that keeps people on the page long enough for the ads to work their magic. People may b apathetic towards ads in the modern age, but if they see an ad for something they like, they will click on it. It's up to website owners to publish content that keep readers on a page long enough for that to happen. According to Google, the sites with the highest ad viewability rates were reference site, online communities and sites about gaming. These are site formats that hold a user's attention. On the other hand,sites associated with things people quickly peruse each piece, such as food and drink, news or real estate sites, had far lower rates.
For websites that rely on advertising revenue to stay afloat, properly arranging ads is almost as important for generating ad revenue as an effective SEO strategy. As the study from Google shows, there are ways that web design can either help or hurt a webmaster who needs visitors to click on ads. Use the above tips to make sure your site is doing everything it can to make it easier for readers to see the ads that will make them want to click. As Google concludes in it's report, "By understanding the factors that affect viewability, publishers can enhance their sites to maximize viewable impressions."
For tips on what advertisers can do to make their ads more click worthy, read this article with five tips for creating better mobile ads.