Saturday, November 1, 2008

Google Adsense Tutorial - Part 3

How To "Tweak" Your Ads To Make Them "Click"!
1. Ad Formats: "Dress" your ads for success!
How would you like your ads served? Banners? Skyscrapers? Rectangles? Squares? What about borders and background colors? The choices can be overwhelming. Many people let Google decide for them preferring to stick with the default settings. Big mistake! From my own experience I can tell you that it's like swapping a hundred-dollar bill for a ten-dollar one.
For almost one year I settled for just a tenth of what I could have been making — just because I didn't bother to control the looks and placement of my AdSense ads. The various ad formats, colors and their placement on the web page can be done in thousands of combinations. You can literally spend hours every day experimenting with every possible combination. But you don't want to, do you? Let me give you a few 'ground rules' that have sky-rocketed the CTR's on my
top-grossing pages:
+ Don't "look" like an ad: People don't visit your website for ads. They want good content. If you make the ads stick out with eye-popping colors, images or borders, that makes them easy to recognize as ads — and people work extra hard to avoid them. The same goes for ads that are tucked away in the top, bottom or some other far corner of the page. So easy to ignore! If you want people to click, make the ads look like an integral part of your content.
Today's visitors are blind to banners, mad at pop-ups, weary of ads and skeptical of contests and giveaways. So how do you win their confidence? Simple. Don't make your ads look like ads!
+ Go for text ads instead of image ads
A text ad offers many advantages over image ads: With the right formatting, a text ad 'blends in' with your site content. An image ad will not give you the same freedom with its appearance, as the only thing you can play with is the size and positioning. You can squeeze more text ads into the space that a conventional banner takes. People love to have more choices! Properly formatted text ads don't look like clutter. Banners do! People hate banners and avoid them at sight. Many tests confirm that people are much more receptive to text ads related with your content.
+ The Best Performing Ad Size
So you’ll want to use text ads and you’ll want them to look like anything but an ad. But you’ll also want them to be a particular size. Which size is that? 336 x 280 – the Large Rectangle. Why should you choose the 336 x 280 ad block? Simple. It gets the most clicks! My studies have shown that this format looks most like real content added to a page. I’ve dabbled with every size Google offers and this is the size that consistently has the best results. Other people have told me the exact same thing. That’s all I need to know! Second best is the 300 x 250 – The Medium Rectangle. This ad block size is really useful when you went to have two sets of ads side by side. They fit on most web pages just perfectly! I would also recommend using the 'wide skyscraper', text-only ads on the right hand edge of the screen — in conjunction with the 3-way matching I
talk about in chapter If you think about it, nearly all PC users are right handed (even left-handed) people like me control their mouse with their right hand because it's how we were 'brought up' to use a mouse.) By placing the ads on the right hand edge it's psychologically 'less distance' between your right hand and the screen. This 'closeness' in my opinion makes the user feel more comfortable and therefore more likely to click through to a link. They feel more in control of their visit experience.
+ Stay away from the 468 x 60 ad block!
One of the first things people do when they sign up for AdSense is to grab a 468 x 60 ad block.
Big mistake. I have a theory about why they do this. It’s the same theory that explains why the 468 x 60 block does not entice clicks. Most site owners have the mindset that when they put Google ads on their site, they must place the code that conforms most to traditional web advertising. And that would be...? Yup, the 468 x 60, the ubiquitous banner format that we have all come to know and love and... IGNORE. Everyone is familiar with the 468 x 60. And that’s exactly why the clickthrough rate on this size is very low, even among advertisers who use
images on their banners. The 468 x 60 blocks screams, "Hey! I am an advertisement! Whatever you do, DON'T click me. In fact, you should run from me as fast as you can!" In all but a few special cases, I have found the 468 x 60 ad block to be completely ineffective, and recommend ignoring it the same way your visitors do.

2. Using Colors To Increase Your Clicks
+ Design your website to Highlight AdSense
I once went to a fashion show where each model wore the exact same black outfit for the entire duration of the show. Boring? Hardly! The show was intended to showcase platinum jewelry, and the outfits were designed to enhance the jewelry — instead of distracting the audience. You don’t have to make all the pages on your website identical (or black). But you do want to make sure that the look of your page draws attention to the ads — and makes them appear as attractive and as valuable as platinum jewelry. Many websites have strong graphic elements that catch the eye — usually at the expense of the AdSense units.

If you're using AdSense, be judicious in the selection of fonts, font size, colors, images, tables and other visual aspects of your website. Draw subtle attention to your AdSense units. Make them the stars of your show!

+Make the border go!
You can more than DOUBLE your click-through's with this one simple tweak! Even before the Internet, ads in newspapers and magazines were marked off with a thick, heavy border. No wonder borders and boxes have come to symbolize advertising messages. Ads with prominent borders make your pages look cluttered. They distract the eye from the ad text, while marking off the ad blocks from the rest of the content.
Google provides an extensive color palette in your administrative area (see above). Use it to tweak the look of your ads to suit your web page. With just one simple click, you can match the color of your ad's border with the background color of your web page. When the border blends with the background, it frees up loads of space. The page looks instantly neater and the ads look more inviting. Make sure you also pick a matching background color for the ad. The ad's background must match the page background on which the ad will appear. If the ad appears in a table, match the table background with the ad background. The key is to blend the background and border color with the page, so that the text looks like an integral part of your web content.
Don't forget to match the background color for your ad with the background color of your web page.

+Text is Design too!
That's right: the text size, font, color and the color of your ads must match the other text elements. If the text color of the ads is the same as the text in the body of your page, it’ll help the ads blend into the site and make the reader feel that you’ve endorsed them. And if the size of the font in the ads is the as the size of the main body of the content, it will have the same effect: they’ll look like part of your site and not something brought in by Google. That’s the sort of blending that translates into clicks. Format your text ads to maximize clicks! I have chosen to use a 728 x 90 leaderboard at the top of my page.

This 3-way matching (titles, text and background) can generate excellent click-through rates.
Too many text styles add clutter and can confuse your visitors. Instead, try every legitimate way to make the ads look like a part of your web content. In other words use the colors to make sure that your ads don't look like ads!

3.Blue Is Best
So you want to get rid of the border. You want to get your ads the same color as the text on the rest of your page and the background matching the background color of your Web page. But what about the link itself, the line the user is actually going to click? What color should that be?
That’s an easy one: blue. I used to say that all the text in the ad should match the text on your page, including the link. After seeing an article about the benefits of keeping the links blue — and testing extensively — I don’t say that any more. The logic is that users have come to expect links on websites to be blue. Just as they expect stop signs to be red and warning signs to be yellow, so they expect their links to blue. That means people are more likely to click on a blue link than a link in any other color. The line in your AdSense code that sets the color of your link is the one that says:
Google_color_link = “#color”;
“#color” is the hexadecimal number for the color you want to use. You should make sure that number is #0000FF. Keep your link blue and you can experience an increase in click-throughs as high as 25 percent!

4. Where did my URL go?

You can change the color of your text and you can make sure that your links scream, “I’m a FREE road to where you want to go!” But you still have to display the URL. It’s one of Google’s rules. But you don’t have to display it in a way that people can see it. One legitimate trick to make the click-through link less obtrusive is to change the URL display color to match the text description color. Now the link will blend in with the text description and the eye will be drawn to the hyperlink instead of the URL. Google provides these tools for you. Why not use them? Note that the 728 x 90 leaderboard and the 468 x 60 banner do not display the url line by Google’s design. It is not a mistake and you will not get in trouble for the url not appearing with these ad blocks. It’s just the way it is.

5.Deliberate Mismatching

When it comes to choosing colors, I recommend 3-way matching and using blue for the links. But there is another strategy that you can use. You can deliberately mismatch your ad colors and styles, provided you keep it to the top of your page. This distinction generates two powerful 'zones' and therefore two types of experience for the visitor. The first zone is always at the top of the first page, above the main site banner. The titles and text colors match colors found in the banner graphic heading. (Important — the URL links are hidden, so only certain text ads will
allow you to do this.) The end result is that these ads, placed above the banner graphic look like
key control points for your site and are just more likely to be clicked. The visitor feels that they are visiting the another major area of that site.

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