Since many blogs got a CTR drop during the past few days, I’ve decided to make this blog post to help them out. Luckily, I’m not affected by the CTR drop.
First, what is CTR? CTR stands for click-through rate. It is the ratio of the clicks to the ad impression. Which means that if you have 2% CTR, you got 2 clicks for every 100 times the ad is displayed on your site (ad impressions). Having a higher CTR means more clicks and more clicks means more earnings.
I’m not sure about what a healthy average CTR is, Yugatech says 3% CTR is a good number for blogs. This blog’s CTR is way higher than that.
CTR is affected by many factors. Ad placement, ad format, source of visitors, visitor’s profile and blog design to name a few. Let’s tackle them one by one.
1. Ad Placement. Our target here is to place the ads so that your visitors will be able to read it and click on it when interested, NOT to place the ads where they will get clicked accidentally.
- Above the fold. An ad placed above the fold gets higher CTR than an ad placed below. The reason is obvious, people can’t click an ad they don’t see, right? Putting your ad above the fold gives the ad more eyeballs and more chances of getting clicks.
- Below your blog post title. An ad placed below your blog post title gets a higher CTR too. This is because people tend to read the ads first before your exact blog post. If they get interested, they’ll click on it. You lost a visitor and a potential regular reader, but they gave you money in return. Update: As of March 28, 2008, this technique is already illegal.
- At the right sidebar just beside your blog post. While reading your blog post, they might get interested on the ads on the sidebar related to your blog post. Another lost visitor but a money in return.
- After your blog post. Putting an ad after your blog post is a good idea. After reading your blog post, you’re giving your visitor an option to further read the comments or to click an ad related to your blog post.
- Near Search boxes. Putting link units near search boxes will give your visitor an option to type keywords on the search box on what he’s looking for or to click a link on the link unit if he found his keywords listed on it.
2. Ad formats. An ad that doesn’t look like an ad gets higher CTR. Format your ads so that it blends well with your blog. Use the same color schemes as what you’re using on your blog. Make it blend. Don’t use borders. 336×280, 160×600 are the best performing ad sizes. Use them well.
3. Source Of Visitors. Visitors coming from the search engines are the people who click your ads. This is because they are searching for something, if they find what they are looking for on the ads, they will click on it. Regular visitors don’t click your ads, and don’t even think of encouraging them to click it. That’s illegal. So, to increase your CTR, learn SEO to get visitors from search engines.
4. Visitors’ profile. Adsense-ignorant visitors will click your ads. People who knows about Adsense will not click it. Blog post talking about making money online thru Adsense and optimizing CTR like this one will not get clicks. Target Adsense-ignorant readers on your blog posts. Talk about topic totally not related to Adsense and see your CTR increase.
5. Blog design. I’ve only realized this after an experiment. A 2-column simple blog design has a higher CTR than a 3-column blog. Minimize the number of outgoing links. Too much links on your blog page gives too much competition to your ads. Having less links give a higher CTR for your blog. Do yourself a favor, remove the unnecessary widgets and buttons that slows down your blog and gives competition to your ads. Do you really need those widgets? I don’t think so. I’m actually planning to give a new look to my text messages blog.
These were all based on my experience, which you could see I’m applying on my blogs. If they worked for me, they might work for you as well. Try them, there’s no harm in trying.