We live in a mobile-first world now. Let’s start with mobile ad placement first and cover the desktop placements later in the article.
Effective mobile approach for a better yield
1. Keep your ads in the reader’s able area or increase the viewability of the ads placed. Place the ads near the content where the readers are interested in. However, do not compromise in readability because ultimately the users are coming to your website to consume content and not to look at the ads.
2. Keep the ads above the fold (ATF). Advertisers bid the highest for ATF ads in comparison to below the fold (BTF) ads and hence the top ad units get the highest eCPMs. You can experiment where to place those ATF ads i.e. whether you want to keep them before the heading of the article or just after the heading. Below are few of the suggestion for the top ad placements:
– Placing the ads just after the heading is a good practice. We do not want our readers to see the ad instead of content when they first land on our page. Let’s face it, we do not like those YouTube video ads which play before the video content starts. The same goes with article ads.
– If you want the top ad to be placed before the headline, try with smaller ad units of the size 320×100 which will come just before the headline. The upside of this placement is better reader engagement but the downside of placing a smaller top ad is lower eCPMs and lower fill rate. In this case you can place the second ad just after the first paragraph.
– If you still want to go with a square ad of 336×280 or 300×250 before the heading, make sure the heading of the content remains in ATF’s readable area so that the readers don’t have to scroll past the screen just to read the headline.
– Coming to the mid article ads or just BTF ads. This ad placement lies somewhere after 2nd paragraph or 3rd paragraph and in some cases just after the 1st paragraph (all depends on the length of the article). Publishers usually place a 336×280 or a 300×50 ad, but you can also place a flying carpet ad of size 300×600 in case of AMP version. You can experiment and observe which version gives better eCPMs.
End of the article ads – We have generally observed the publishers place square ads of size 300×250 but our suggestions would be to place a 300×600 ad unit for better viewability. You can A/B test for a better fill rate because 300×600 will have better eCPMs but there might be an issue of fill rate.
Bottom ads – The placement comes after the categories and suggested article and lies way beyond the end of the page. These are the least viewable ads; so, publishers’ experiment with either Google ads or other networks ads like Taboola or Outbrain ads. Thought, it is totally upon publishers’ editorial guidelines whether they want to place third party ads as in general those are low-quality ads. You can always choose not to place an ad at this position because of multiple reasons like lowest fill rate, lowest eCPMs, unnecessary placement expansion, etc.
Footer Sticky or Top Sticky ads – These ads stick either to the bottom or top of the screen all depending and have hundred percent viewability. You can choose from either a 320×100 or 320×50 ad sizes and can also opt for refresh-ability of the ads. Downside of these ads are few people might not like the placement of the ads. Another negative point is that you can make AdSense ad codes to stick to the screen as it is against AdSense ad placement guidelines. You can opt for your inhouse ads at this placement.
Your Desktop ad placements to maximize earnings
There was a time when the desktop version of the website ruled the internet world, but those times are long gone thanks to the dawn of super-efficient handheld devices and blazing fast cellular internet. Yet there are few websites which still witness good percentage of desktop traffic such as websites dealing in Forex, Sensex, online trading and stock market, etc.
Now, coming back to the ad placements on the desktop version of the website the in-article ad placements remain more or less the same. It is just that the size of the square ads (336×280 or 300×250) in the mobile view have to be rectangular in desktop with the banner sizes of 728×90, 970×90, 970×250, 728×250. All depends on the width of the article to accommodate the length of the ads. You can also opt for a broader width size of the ads as per your discretion, but we would suggest opting for best-performing desktop ad sizes and those are 728×90 and 970×90. Apart from in-article ads there are a few other spots which you can leverage for ad placement like footer sticky ads, left-right gutter sticky ads.
Alright, so we have learned all about various ad placements and their specifications.
We assume that you must be working with ad networks like Google AdSense.
Now, let’s understand what an ad network is.
Taking the example of AdSense, it is an ad network where various advertisers bid for a given ad inventory and the winning advertiser gets its ad to show on your website. The entire process is automated and takes place in real-time. You just need to place a piece of code from an AdSense account and rest is taken care of by Google. Same goes for Taboola & Outbrain, MGID, etc.
Now that your ads are in place and revenue is streamlined you might come across the question is that the end of the optimization?
Well, worry not!
There are various ad technologies that you can opt for like Header Bidding, Open Bidding or Exchange Bidding. In both the concepts various ad networks like Google AdExchange Rubicon, IndeXExchange, OpenX, Pubmatic, Smaato, etc. compete among each other for the ad inventory on your website. Remember, every ad network has its own pool of advertisers; so, the competition increases and thus the eCPMs. Where Header Bidding is an open-source solution and is known for a more transparent solution, Open Bidding & Exchange Bidding are Google’s own solutions. The concept of bidding is more or less the same. If you are interested in any or both the concepts you can contact us as our Readwhere Unify platform caters both the solutions.
Content is the King
This cliched statement still holds muscle and will not lose its values even in the future. Though the article above explains monetization via Google ads and other ad networks, we suggest publishers focus on creating quality content in adherence with best SEO practices to attract organic and loyal audiences. This will not up to your brand name but will also increase your inventory value. Once you have enough reach and loyal audience you can attract advertisers to directly buy your inventory with one-on-one negotiations. You can manage all those direct campaigns via Google AdManager.