Above vs below the fold ad pricing

Today we set in place a way to detect Partners blog ads that were showing “below the fold”. The term comes from print advertising and literally means below where a newspaper is folded, making it a less valuable position. The object was to better price Partners ad spots.

From around lunchtime today (european time) we’ve been detecting ad blocks placed below the fold and adjusting their price accordingly. The figure we came up with as a starting point was 50% of what an ad above the fold would be worth, and if you’ve had a dramatic price drop today, then that’s almost certainly why.

How to Stay above the Fold

We judge position based roughly on a 1024×768 resolution, so of course adjusting your resolution and checking your ad placement is one way of making sure your ad is correctly placed. But by far the easier method is just to take a look at where you’re putting your ads from an advertisers perspective. Is your adblock placed where it will be seen by all?

And what if you dont want to be above the fold?

Ad placement below the fold is fine, it’s just not as valuable as above the fold. And if you disagree with the auto pricing of your ads in relation to position or anything else, you can always switch it off and choose your own price.

The goal of AP is to set the optimal, fair price for an ad on your blog, but ultimately you decide the price right?

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11 thoughts on “Above vs below the fold ad pricing

  1. Most of us regard above-the-fold sidebar space as valuable as real estate in the Ginza. No takers for my above-the-fold ad so far. I am willing to wait up to year-end then a demotion will be forthcoming.

    You might consider allowing us park the ad below-the-fold then indicate that we would move the ad above-the-fold once it is booked. While we are waiting, we could use the space for other purposes. I realize that might negatively affect advertisers coming in from our site. One way around that would be to put a message in the ad holder that above-the-fold positioning is available.

  2. Now I just have to work on creating content and building traffic! And hopefully lose some weight along the way (or weigh)

  3. This is a great way to weight the pricing, above or below the fold, but something struck me as I was looking at an individual entry on my own site. Above the fold may not be the prime position for a reader to hit on the page.

    For example on an individual entry on Filmstalker, if someone is reading the comments made or adding a comment they will be looking way past the fold, they’ll only be reading above the fold for the story itself, which they’ve probably already read from the front page or the feed.

    This is just a thought I had when I looked at my own page, I think the fold weighting is a good idea since a loaded page almost always defaults to the top. There just might be something about individual templates and where readers are directed on pages to be considered, but I can guess there’s no way to implement a check for this.

    So if you’re positioning your ads on your pages, remember where your readers will end up looking. It’s cool to push for a higher price with your ads above the page, but think about where the readers are most likely to see it and click through it, initial positioning may not be everything.

    Note that this is just my personal opinion and I’m just another publisher, Nick and the other guys are the experts!

  4. As far as I know it’s on one page only. I’m technically challenged however, so there’s the chance I could have set it up wrong?

    A friend is going to be doing some housecleaning for me, so I’ll have her give it a look-see.

  5. I just checked yours debng, and it looks good on your page, but im guessing you have the same code placed in a different position as well right? maybe on an admin page or something?

    cos while i was looking at it i saw it bounce up and down from waaaaaay below the fold to where you see it on the blog listed in your profile..

  6. Actually my ad has always been above the fold, yet it still dropped drmatically in price.

    I don’t mind making any necessary changes, especially since my blog will be undergoing renovation soon.

  7. Hey Greg, i’ve not seen any loading issues (and im constantly clicking the recent blogs on the right here) but if you want to email me the location you me and chris can work out where the problem is and fix it if you have a time …

    Slow loading ads just arn’t acceptable. And we’ll make sure it’s not an issue.

  8. It looks superb Katie!

    We will work on other formats real soon. Right now there are still things we need to do just to make what we have already run smoother, but as soon as these bits are done that’s first on the list…

  9. I’ve had some occasional issues with the block taking a long time to load which makes all the pages on the site appear to load slowly. Due to browser content flowing, etc. if I place the ads on the top left of the page it can take a long time for the page content to load. Placing the ads on the bottom of the right side makes the page load 90% of the way and then spin on just the performancing part. I’d be happier to move it above the fold if either the page/image load times were faster OR there were some way to guarantee that after a little while (10 seconds?) the performancing part would quit trying to load. I’m not really sure if such a thing is possible, I just mention it to you, the technology masters, as a point that may prevent optimal ad placement.

    Also – I love the new look.

  10. Nick — Mine was below the fold for a day or so. But I spent a couple of hours playing around and got the ad in a position I like VERY MUCH that is above the fold and smack in the center of the page.

    I’ve said before that I don’t get a heck of a lot of traffic [yet ] but I hope to attract an ad eventually. And in the meantime your logo looks nice there.

    And maybe someday, we’ll get those horizontal options — and I could have something stretch across the page!

    I’m so excited by this project — it’s fun to watch it develop and particpate in my little way.

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