This is Part 5 of our series of posts for “The Ultimate Guide to Making Money From Ad Networks”.
- Part 1 – What are Ad Networks?
- Part 2 – Types of Ad Networks.
- Part 3 – Ad Network Glossary
- Part 4 – Ad Networks Earning Potential
Ad network type, revenue model, and your traffic are three important things that will heavily influence your earning potential as a publisher.
However, you will also have to get acquainted with types of ads and ad placement if you want to grow those earnings.
Ad placement is a subtle and not-so-exact science.
As a rule of thumb, you will want to remember that above-the-fold ads generally perform better when pitched against below-the-fold ads.
People’s reading habits dictate that. Take a look at the above image and notice the how people’s eyes tend to linger more on specific parts of a website.
We read in an F-pattern, meaning that our eyes scan the page.
Top of the page and the left sidebar get the most love and, naturally, that is where you’ll want your ads to appear because that is where they will get noticed.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
We already mentioned banner blindness – the idea that people tend to completely disregard banner ads because our brains have been trained to skip them completely.
So even though the header gets noticed regularly, as the heat map shows, only the most exceptional banners that appear there actually get actively seen.
When comparing left vs. right sidebar ad performance you would expect to see the left side perform better because of the way people read.
Split-testing shows that there is no significant difference between the placements.
However, our advice is to place your ads on the right.
In general, you have several seconds to capture your visitors.
If the first thing they see on your website is an ad, you will probably notice a higher bounce rate.
Make your content the star of your site. If you have enough traffic on your site you will make money no matter where your ads appear.
There are two other placement spots that are worth considering: in-content and between posts and the comment section.
In-content ads work great if you are working with an industry-specific ad network, in other words, if the ads that are appearing on your site are contextual.
Let’s say you have a blog that regularly publishes food recipes and you’re partnered up with a network that caters exclusively to that niche.
Placing an ad zone in the middle of your post might be a good idea because the ad will feel like an extension of your content.
However, if the ad is out of place (car parts ad on a food blog) it won’t get any traction – it will feel out of place and will hurt your content flow.
Ads between your post and the comment section work great if you have an engaged audience that reads to the end and often comments on your posts.
Even though the ad would appear below-the-fold, in the case of an engaged audience it won’t matter because the quality of your content will drive your audience down and you will get enough eyeballs ogling the ad.
Of course, this placement will only work if enough people scroll down – in some cases, on very popular blogs, it can even outperform your above-the-fold ads.
Types of Ads
Ad placement is something that you will need to test because the best spots will differ depending on your audience and your niche. On the other hand, a healthy mix of ad types will help you diversify your revenue model and ensure that your site has a well-balanced structure and that it doesn’t appear overcrowded with one type of ads.
Larger ad networks work with several types of ads so it’s usually not necessary to work with more networks to achieve that balanced look. The exception, of course, are ultra-specific networks such as ones who exclusively serve video ads – they usually care just video ads and you will have to partner up with another network to get access to display and text ads.
As their name implies, text ads consist of written copy and in their pure form are completely devoid of graphics.
Your success with them is going to heavily depend on their quality – the better the writing, the better the performance.
However, there are a few placement tricks that can help you boost their effectiveness.
- Only use text ads from networks that have a strong selection and vetting process when it comes to selecting advertisers. Ideally, you would want to show text ads that are very similar to your content – they should be contextual so they don’t stick out like a sore thumb.
- Place text ads in your content, especially if you’re using a network that caters to your niche. They won’t break up your flow as much as a banner ad might and there is a greater chance that your visitors will read them and follow through with a click.
Of course, text ads can be a double-edged sword. As mentioned, their success rate will heavily depend on copywriting – if it’s shoddy and irrelevant it won’t convert. That’s why it’s smart to keep an eye on the type of text ads that appear on your site. If you would be annoyed to see them somewhere while you were browsing, chances are your visitors will get annoyed too. In that case, opt out and replace them with a different type of ad.
Photo-Text Ads – These are a variation of text ads.
They can be enriched with a visual element, such as your logo or a relevant image. The image tends to break up the copy and accentuate the points made in the text and will usually perform better than standard text ads.
Not every ad network carries these but at AdClick Media, all your text ads can be shown with a small image next to them.
Banner ads are also called display ads and they come in all shapes and sizes. Banner ads are graphic or image-based but most of them will have a textual call-to-action included.
Almost every banner ad is a hybrid these days because advertisers have to use everything at their disposal to get the visitors to notice the ad and click on it.
Here’s a quick list of most common banner ad types:
The popularity of static banner ads has been declining over the past few years thanks to banner blindness that was, in turn, brought about by the flood of banner advertising. They still serve their purpose, though. Static banner ads consist of an image that is hyperlinked to the advertiser’s page – CTA is also included as ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Check out this 75 % off deal’ are proven to increase click-through rates.
Dynamic ads have an animated or an interactive component to them.
Instead of a simple image, dynamic ads try to capture users’ attention by making the part of the ad play out a short animated video or being interactive.
- Animated Ads
Since Flash elements are no longer supported by most websites, a vast majority of animated ads are in . GIF format. Depending on how it’s set up, animation can apply to the entire ad or to just a portion of it.
- Interactive Ads
Interactive ads were all the rage at some point and, when tastefully done, they can still be a great source of leads for advertisers. The interactivity is mostly in the form of a game. For example, there are three moving targets and every time a user clicks on the ad release an arrow and try to hit those targets. These types of ads are usually set up so that the third click leads away from the ad and to the advertiser’s web page.
- Expanding Ads
Expanding ads offer the advertiser a possibility to get more information into it without moving the visitor to their site. They can start as a simple static ad and then expand to feature a full-blown video or product details. Parts of the ad can be made clickable and can be hyperlinked to advertiser’s site.
Banner Ad Sizes
There are a number of banner ad sizes you can use on your websites but you should always focus on the most popular ones.
Five most popular banner ad sizes are:
Medium rectangle – 300×250 ad size is preferred by advertisers and networks carry a lot of them. They perform best when placed in-text or at the end of a post.
Large rectangle – 336×280 is another advertisers’ favorite. It works great in text, below content, or as a part of a larger ad zone in the right sidebar.
Leaderboard – 728×90 ad is wide and short and should be placed between posts or in the header.
Half-page – 300×600 ad size is growing in popularity because advertisers want more real-estate so their ads get noticed. They should be used in the sidebar.
Large mobile banner – 320×100 ad works great on mobile devices and offers double the space of a mobile leaderboard ad.
Global display ad spending is expected to eclipse search ad spending in 2016 for the first time. However, it’s important to note that this study includes video ads (as it should) – and we’re just getting ready to tackle those.
Video ads can be thought of as display ads but while regular display ads have been around for over a decade, video ads are a relatively new occurrence and are expected to outperform all other types of ads in 2016 – in terms of ad spending, that is.
Video ad revenue models differ from network to network but are usually either CPM or flat fee. There are some networks where the payout is a revenue share.
Video ads can be:
Linear – ads that take over full video player space.
- Pre-roll – appear before a video and have to be watched either partially or completely before a video will run. On the plus side, you will get paid every time someone watched as video on your page since they have to see the ad first but on the other hand pre-roll video ads can increase your bounce rate.
- Mid-roll – these ads cut right in the middle of the video. They can be extremely annoying and create bad blood between you and your site visitors – no one appreciates being accosted by an ad. On the up side, viewers tend to get invested in the part of the video they watched up to that point and are less likely to hit the back button once the ad starts playing.
- Post-roll – post-roll ads appear after the fact – the video has been watched and nothing forces your visitor to sit through the ad as well. On the plus side, they are completely unobtrusive and do not interrupt user experience. On the minus side, they convert far less than the previous two because users don’t have an incentive to watch them.
Non-linear – ads that run simultaneously with video content.
- Overlay Video Ads –these are usually a rich graphic ad that plays in the lower part of the video player. They somewhat obstruct the video but do not force the viewer to watch the ad first before continuing to content they’ve come to see.
- Non-overlay Video Ads – ads are shown below video content – sometimes video player is reduced in size so that the ad doesn’t obstruct it.
The above mentioned are the most popular video ad types but with some digging, you will find out that video has permeated almost everywhere.
Today, it’s easy to hyperlink certain words in content to show a video ad – a pop-up video player shows up and plays the ad.
Working with a video ad network can seriously boost your earnings and, if you haven’t already, you should definitely give one of these a try.
Interstitial ads get their name from their placement.
They appear ‘in between stitches’ or two separate web pages.
They can be very lucrative for you as a publisher because they are easy to skip and yet give full page real-estate to the ad – visitors who are not interested in them can simply click ‘continue to site’ and they’ll be taken away from the ad.
Due to the fact that interstitial ads cover the entire page their performance heavily depends on graphics and copy.
The best interstitial ads have elements of static banners, animation, and a clear call to action.
In terms of placement, they should always be placed where they will cause the least disruption in user experience.
This means in between login and destination page and before an action-triggered ‘Thank You’ page.
This overview should give you an idea about the types of ads that you can consider showing on your website.
Their performance will depend on a great many things and there is no magical formula you can apply to ensure you make a boat load of money from them.
The best advice we can give you is to test everything and to see how your audience reacts to every specific type of ad. Also, play with ad zone placement until you find out what works for you.
If you found this post to be helpful please share it with others! Also, head over to the comments section and let us know which ads work best for you.