It’s nice to see the Adsense blog giving out specific optimization advice for bloggers today, but it’s simplistic in the extreme. Darren adds meat to the bones but even so, there is still a little something lacking from the rather generic heat-map-esque pictures Google provided.
If you really want to optimize your Adsense, then using those images as a starting point is an excellent idea, but it should not be the end in my opinion. You need to be using the tools Adsense provide you, and quite likely some third party tools also to really optimize for your own blog, your own audience and your own CTR.
As you can see from the images, those palcements are pretty sensible, and if your at a stage where those kind of recommendations are new to you, then they’re an excellent starting point. From there though, you’ll want to look at a number of slightly more advanced ways of evaluating your ad placements.
Using Google’s Own Tools
For starters, you can start by creating custom channels for each and every type of ad you are giong to use. You’ll find this all on your Adsense control panel, and it’s pretty simple to use. Set up a channel for:
- Each size of ad
- Each type of ad
- Each ad placement
- Each color combination
The idea is that by comparing CTR (click through rate) of various position/size/color combinations, using the heatmaps as a starting point, you should be able to fine tune the way you show your ads to get maximum CTR and thus earnings.
For the record, these days im not a big Adsense user, but the principles havn’t changed much since the last time i took a deep look at this. When I last optimized my Adsense, i managed to take my CTR to 33% higher than previously just based on some neat little tricks I’d read, some intelligent display logic and paying close attention to channels.
Using Third Party Tools
My personal favorite would be Adsense Tracker, which, despite the nauseating snake oil seller homepage, is a damn good tool for really discovering what works and what doesn’t with Adsense.
Dont forget though, Adsense is not the only fruit! Your best optimization strategy may be to drop Adsense alltogether and use an entirely different program. Andy Hagans would be the best person to pay attention to in that area, though to get you started, i compiled a big list of blog ad programs a while back that you might find useful.
Do let me know what your experiences are with optimizing adsense, if there are any good tools, or tips you can share that i’ve not covered, or any other points you can ad. The power of the performancing community is the community, so lets hear what you have to say!