The shape of the ad will have a great affect on clickthrough rate. If you choose to use a format that is very familiar and easily ignored, like a traditional banner ad shape (468 by 60 pixels), your performance will be poor. If you choose a newer format like a tower (120 wide by 600 tall) you will see better performance. www.CFNewbie.com utilizes this format. You will also see higher clickthrough rates as the overall size of the ad grows. If your site allows it, go with the biggest and newest shapes that Adsense offers.
The color of your Adsense ads can affect the way users respond. You can be subtle and blend into the rest of the page and may draw people to links as they appear to offer more information rather than standing out screaming come buy something. The subtle approach can be accomplished by selecting the standard Google Adsense color scheme closest to your site’s scheme or you can match exactly using the custom pallet.
You may want to attract attention to your Adsense ads. You can do this by selecting or creating color schemes that stand out. You will also want to use the mulitple color scheme feature by selecting several color schemes by holding down your control (Ctrl) key and clicking up to four choices. The varying color schemes may get more notice than a constant color scheme.
The position of your Google Adsense ad can have affect on how well the ad performs. Avoid blindspots and consider how a visitor exits a page. The most likely blindspot to avoid is the traditional spot for banner ads. Visitors will likely ignore a banner shaped ad at the top or bottom of your page. They will likely ignore a tower placed at the top of the right or left column if the content extends beyond the length of the ad. In the case of content rich pages, it would be wise to test placing non-banner shaped ads at the end of the page where the reader is done with a page and ready to exit. ChristianMusician.com uses this technique effectively at the end of articles, offering the reader more articles and relavent ads. It’s always a good idea to give your visitors a path through your site that is relavent and valuable to both you and them.
Google recently added channels to Adsense. A channel is just an extra bit of code that lets you track revenue from a channel such as a site, a page, or some other characteristic you may want to track.
Prior to the introduction of channels, a webmaster would place Adsense code on various sites and pages and would only see an aggregate result of clickthrough and revenues. With channels, you can set a channel for various sites or various pages or various ad types. By your using your channels you can determine what ads are working in which location. On FlashCFM.com an Adsense banner ad performed very well in some pages and a large Amazon ad performed poorly so a large Adsense replaced the Amazon ad.
USE THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
The Scientific Method can be summarized as Plan, Do, Check, Act. By planning out your attack by designing and implementing your ads, you accomplish the Plan Do portion of the cycle. By using Adsense Channels, you can check to see how your plan worked. You will no doubt see ways to Act or adjust your approach after checking your results. You may end up modifying your site or modifying your strategies on attracting traffic. No matter what the case, you will need to do a little work but the results are worth it.
Tom Barr, MBA, is a long time ColdFusion developer and perpetual student of web advertising. He maintains web community sites including CFNewbie.com and FlashCFM.com and blogs on web revenue generation in CPC Blog on his site AspiringGeek.com.