Nowadays, it’s common for website owners to monetize their site by selling advertising space. There are various types of ads but generally, website owners get paid per click, per views or within a certain time frame. As such, it can be a lucrative business. However, some companies struggle with ad revenue due to low click-through rates (CTR). This can be linked to many reasons like poor ad placement or lack of visual hierarchy on the website. Often, it’s not about the ad itself but the surrounding design. Thus, to increase the CTR on your website’s ads, take a look at your design first.
Before users can see the ad, they first have to get on your website. If you have a poor SEO strategy, odds are you won’t have much traffic to your website. Consequently, your ad revenue will suffer. With this in mind, the first step to increasing ad CTRs is by increasing traffic to your website. Among other factors, like keywords and page speed, having a responsive design is one of the key ranking signals search engines like Google now use to rank your website. A responsive design is one that adapts the page’s layout based on the device and user. Here are a few indicators of a responsive website:
- The content is dynamic and changes based on the device.
- The navigation is adapted to the screen size.
- The images are resized while maintaining the same high quality.
- The padding and spacing are proportionate to the screen size.
Not only is it critical for increasing organic traffic to your website, but it also leads to a great user experience. If the majority of your users are mobile, your website should be optimized with a responsive design.
White space is one of the most underutilized but valuable components of a page. It allows you to emphasize certain elements on the page and lead users toward your main conversion. Readability can also be improved as users are able to look at the site without being overwhelmed with texts and images. Take a look at Google’s homepage, for example. Their site is filled mostly with white space and features only a few elements such as the search bar, the image above, two calls-to-actions right below and a task bar on the top right corner. With so few elements, they automatically stand out.
When it comes to ads, white space can be used as a subtle but effective strategy to highlight them. What’s the point of having an ad if it’s going to blend in with everything else on the page? With a good balance of colors, visuals and content, ads can seamlessly fit into your page while also standing out. It’s all about finding the right balance of white space to grab users’ attention without leaving a void big enough to confuse them.
Where you place your ad can have a huge impact on its CTR. There isn’t a set rule for good placement on a website. It depends on your users, their motivations and the other elements on your page. However, there are a few factors to keep in mind when placing an ad on your page:
- Eye-scanning patterns: This describes the pattern users typically follow when they visit a site. The formatting style of the page, including the length of the content and visual elements, will affect how users scan the site. By using a heat map to view how users typically behave on your website, you can see which pattern they tend to follow. Knowing this information can be helpful when testing ad placement on your website. For example, if your users tend to use the F-pattern, try placing the ad above the fold, toward the top left corner of the page. With the average user seeing only 20 percent of content on a page, it’s critical that you optimize your page for ads to fit within the percentage of what they do see.
- Above or below the fold: Typically, ads do better above the fold so it’s best to test placing your ad above first. Also, consider mobile users. They are often required to scroll down to see more content. So placing an ad below the fold may not generate much revenue as some users may never see it. However, you may find that placing ads toward the bottom of your page might work better depending on the size of ad and the surrounding space.
Avoid Ad Overload
Another way your ad revenue could be affected is if you have too many ads. When users feel overwhelmed with ads, it causes friction and increases the bounce rate on your website. It can also cause the user to believe your website focuses less on having quality content and more on making money. Above all, it might disrupt the user experience and doesn’t necessarily increase CTRs. In some cases, fewer is better. Having one strategically-placed advertisement is more valuable than having 10 ineffective ones. So avoid overloading your users with ads. Instead, consider focusing on having only a few successful ads.
Test Various Ad Sizes
Furthermore, you want to consider ad sizes on your website. This is especially important for mobile users, where there is even less real estate to work with. To this end, experiment with various ad sizes to see which variation appeals best to users. Viewability is often an issue with mobile ads. Google now recommends that the optimal order for the page is title, followed by content, then the ad at 50 percent visibility above the fold. While viewability doesn’t always translate to clicks, it’s a step in the right direction. Although, all recommendations should be followed by testing.