The 3 Golden Rules of Using Ads on Your Website
Google, alone, bring in tens of billions of dollars in advertising revenue every year, so online ads are obviously a big deal when it comes to increasing your revenue.
However, what I’ve found is that people don’t know how to advertise properly. You can’t just sling any old ad up and wait for the clicks to roll in and turn into dollars.
That’s why I’m going to give you my three golden rules for optimizing your ads on your website to get the best return.
The moment that I realized you needed this article was when I clicked on a link I saw on Facebook. It seemed a fairly interesting topic “10 Things Men Find Unattractive in Women”, but believe me, it’s not worth clicking on!
What do you think to it? It’s pretty ugly, right?
To help you avoid making the same mistakes, I’m going to show you how this site could advertise so much more effectively.
Rule 1. Above the Fold is Sacred
‘Above the fold’ is the area of a website that’s visible without scrolling and it’s very important for grabbing a reader’s attention.
The fundamental basic of this area is that you do not overload it with ads.
And why’s that?
Well, you see, people have visited your website, first and foremost, to read the amazing content you’ve promised them.
If you bombard visitors with ads as soon as they arrive then you’ll find they have a bad experience.
And Google are well aware of the effect this has on visitors. That’s why their algorithms penalize sites who carry out this practice.
How many ads should you display then?
Well, I cant recommend a specific number of ads as it’s all down to a content:ad percentage. If we look at the example above you’ll see that above the fold it’s about 30% content and 70% ads.
Let’s take a look at the music site, NME.com – It’s not the most attractive of ads above the fold, but at least the majority of this area is content. I’d say it’s probably a reversal of the example above with 70% content and 30% ads.
Ideally you want to that sort of ratio with 70% content to 30% ads. Or, at the very least, aim for a majority of content to keep your visitors, and Google, happy.
Rule 2. Switch to Real Time Bidding
Let’s take a look at those pesky adverts then and see what they’re trying to sell me.
First off, there’s homework help. I’m a 32 year old who’s long past the days of homework, so that’s pretty redundant.
Next up, we’ve got an ad for a purifying cleansing brush. Now, I’m a modern male, but seriously, am I going to be interested in this?!
Then there’s an advert for allvoices. I have no idea what allvoices is and the ad doesn’t help either, so I won’t be clicking on it.
Finally, there’s an ad for the UK supermarket chain, Asda. I guess, you know, I could be interested in clicking this, although, I shop elsewhere.
Can you see what’s wrong with these ads?
Yep, they’re a little random. They’re not really aimed at me specifically. Wouldn’t it be great if you could deliver ads that your visitors were more likely to click on?
Well, you can, and it’s via real time bidding (RTB). I’m really excited about RTB as it provides ads that are based upon your previous browsing habits.
Now, today just happens to be the day of the UK’s most famous horse race – the Grand National. I’m tempted to have a bet, so have been visiting various gambling sites and sports sites to get the best tips. As a result, Dailymotion have served up an ad for a betting site which I’m likely to be tempted by.
Due to the sports sites I’ve been visiting, the RTB algorithm has determined I’m an outdoorsy type person. And they wouldn’t be far wrong. That’s why I’ve also been served up an ad for an outdoors store. Again, this is much more relevant for me than a homework help site!
This approach leaves me feeling as though I’ve had a good experience and that Dailymotion are trying to help me.
And that’s what you need to implement on your site.
Rule 3. Don’t use Autoplay Video Ads!
If you go a little further down on our example website you’ll find you’re confronted with that horror of webpages, an autoplay video ad!
I can’t even begin to describe how much I despise these! If I want to watch a video then I’ll hit the play button! If someone came round my house and kept playing videos at random I would hit the roof!
Sure, they’ve embedded a ‘skip’ option into the video, but the damage has already been done. And besides, the only thing you want your visitors clicking is your call to action.
I’m sure you can gather that I’m not a big fan of autoplay video ads! This one is particularly awful as it’s, again, surrounded by ads which bear no relation to my life!
You certainly want to use video ads on your site as they’re highly effective, but please let the visitor decide if they want to play them or not!
If you follow my three golden rules of using ads then you’re going to give your users a much better experience.
They’re going to be more likely to click your ads and you can’t ignore any actions that may optimize monetization of your site.
Not only that, but by providing a better user experience, you’re meeting Google’s demands and increasing your rank in the search engine results page.
Brian BelfittApril 15, 2015 at 10:21 am
These are some great tips on optimizing ads. Most bloggers make the mistake of adding ads at irrelevant places. One of the worst mistakes that a blogger can make while putting ads is integrating them on the very bottom of the post. These kinds of ads do not yield any result because they have to scroll down to see the ad which rarely happens.
Thanks for sharing these valuable tips.
Ben RickettsApril 15, 2015 at 1:37 pm
You bring up a great point there about ads at the bottom of a post. It’s a little presumptuous to assume every reader will reach the bottom!