How To Optimize Ad Placement In Your Website Layout

How To Optimize Ad Placement In Your Website Layout

For publishers looking to make the most out of ad monetization, optimizing ad placement in their website is critical. Ad placement refers to an ad unit or group of ad units used to specify where advertisers can place their ads. With so many options to choose from— size, type, and location of ads—creating high-value ad placements can be perplexing. 

Each choice will directly affect whether an ad is seen at all and how users engage with it. The more views and engagement provided to advertisers, the higher the ad unit value. There are no guaranteed placements for catapulting revenue. Ultimately, creating successful ad placements is about personalization and optimizing for both the backend and user experience. 

Balance User Experience

It’s important to understand that when ads begin to hinder user experience, publishers risk losing loyal audience members. Apart from seeing a decline in website traffic, revenue will also decrease. Instead, balancing ad placements with user experience can create high-performing ad units that are relevant and engaging.

Understanding user intent is the key to balance. When a publisher recognizes intent, they can make informed decisions about the types of media and placements that work best without getting in the way of users.

Ad Types

Publishers have a variety of ad types at their disposal. Ad types describe what content (image, video, audio, etc.) can be displayed within an ad unit. Testing how different types work across a site can reveal what works best. 

  • Banner ads outperform on websites that are highly textual in nature. They’re unlikely to disrupt user experience or clash with website content.
  • Native ads blend and look similar to their surrounding content. Though they improve viewability and CTR, some users may feel tricked by the content. 
  • Rich Media Ads are interactive media, such as streaming, video, and audio. When done correctly, rich media ads lead to increased impressions and CTR. Alternatively, they can interrupt user experience and lead to high bounce rates. 

Number Of Ads

75% of people form their judgment on a website’s credibility purely based on aesthetics. Providing cluttered, obnoxiously sized, and over-placed ads will only result in a higher bounce rate, low impression ratings and could devalue publisher content as a whole.

Layout A/B Testing

No ad layout can guarantee an increase in revenue. Since what works best varies from publisher to publisher, A/B testing is essential to optimizing ad placement. Running A/B testing for ad placement and user experience will provide data-backed insight into what ads to implement. 

For publishers using a header bidder provider (more on this later), using Network A/B Testing on the same page can lead to programmatic bid confusion and problems. 

Publishers can use Google’s Optimize or Adsense to run A/B testing. providers will offer layout testing and optimization.   

Design A Revenue Model

A revenue model identifies which revenue source to pursue and directly influences the strategies a publisher will use. The idea is that by identifying what metrics are essential, publishers can focus and optimize their efforts.

For example, for publishers with a CPC model, efforts should focus on improving click-through rates. In contrast, publishers with a CPM model would work to strengthen the viewership of ads and quality of placement.

Improve Ad Viewability 

With only 46% of ads registering an impression, finding ad units with high viewability rates is a top priority for advertisers. For a publisher, this means viewability must be a key focus area to consider while optimizing ad placement. There are several tactics that when used correctly, can improve ad viewability. 

Lazy Loading

Implementing lazy loading on a site can increase page speed and lead to a boost in impressions. Typically ads and other content are downloaded onto a site before a user begins navigating it. With lazy loading, placeholder content boxes are loaded, then replaced with the ads as the user scrolls through the page or a certain amount of time passes. 

Sticky Ads 

Sticky ads are placements anchored to the page that stay with a user as they navigate a page. They give users more time to view an ad and register an impression on the backend of things. Though they yield high impression rates, they can appear intrusive. Vertical ad placements perform better on desktops, whereas horizontal sticky ads perform best for mobile channels. 

Ad Refreshes

Auto-refresh can be useful to publishers with an audience that has above-average session times. While a user is still on the page, predefined triggers will request and render a new ad on an existing ad unit. This allows publishers to serve more impressions to the same user. It is important to note that any refreshing ad units not in view can negatively affect CPMs.  AdSense does not allow for ad refreshing, so publishers are encouraged to use a header bidding provider for this feature. If you’re considering implementing ad refresh onto your website, be sure to brush up on all the important elements to know.

Optimize for Mobile Devices 

To fully optimize ad placement, a publisher should ensure ads are mobile-friendly. Unfortunately, the ad layout is not ‘one size fits all’ and must be tweaked across devices. Using a 300×250 below the fold ad does well on mobile sites and is an easy place for publishers to start. However, testing different layouts to optimize impressions, engagement rates, and page loading speed will prove most resourceful. With 52.2percent of all website traffic worldwide occurring on mobile devices, mobile ads are a lucrative revenue stream. 

Deploy Header Bidding

Header bidding is an advanced programmatic technique that brings multiple demand sources together to bid on ads simultaneously. For publishers, the increase in competition results in a surplus of bids on their ad units.  Instead of just one pool of advertiser demand, you get access to dozens of large-scale markets.

Aside from yielding more significant revenue, header bidding providers are great resources for publishers seeking to optimize ad placement expertise. Header bidding providers offer strategic ad placement based on a website’s insights and analytics. 

Offer Multisize Ad Placements

By offering multisize ad placements, publishers can send requests for multiple ad sizes in one bid request. The result? An increase in the number of demand sources bidding for those ad units. Placement flexibility can also improve fill rates for publishers because of the increased competition.

Successfully optimizing ad placement in a site’s layout is about experimenting, testing, and collecting data. By exploring potential options—size, type, and location of ads, publishers can maximize their ad monetization yield. It’s important to note the best techniques and resources will produce high revenue without compromising user experience. 

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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