Managing URL’s and channels
Adsense channels is one area where it’s really easy to go overboard with stats. You can set up URL channels to compare how one website is doing to another. You can also set up sub channels for each URL. If you wanted to you do something channels like this:
domain1.com - 728 banner
domain1.com - 336 block
domain1.com - text link
domain2.com - 728 banner
domain2.com - image banner
domain2.com - 336 block
domain3.com - 300 block
While this is great for testing and knowing who clicks where and why, it makes your reporting a little wonky. Your total number will always be correct but when you look at your reports with a channel break down things will get displayed multiple times and not add up to correct total. Makes things pretty confusing, so decide if you really need/want that level of reporting detail. TIP: At the very least you want to know what URL is generating the income so be sure to enter distinct URL channels.
Site Design and Integration
Once you know you are going to put adsense on your website you’re going to have to consider where to put it. If this is new site it’s easier, if it’s an existing site it’s more difficult. While there are some people who will be able to do it, in most cases I’d say if you just slap the adsense code in, you’ll end up with a frankensite monster (props to Tedster of WMW for the buzzword). While every website is different, Google has published some heat maps showing the optimal locations. No surprise that the best spots are middle of the page and left hand side. Now I’ve done really well by placing it on the right, but you should know why you’re doing it that way before hand, and be prepared to change it if it doesn’t work out.
Google has also has published a list of the highest performing ad sizes:
336×280 large rectangle
300×250 inline rectangle
160×600 wide skyscraper
From the sites that I run, I do really well with the 336 rectangle and 160 skyscraper. My next best performing ad size is the 728 leaderboard, I don’t really use the 300 inline rectangle too often. So really it depends on how well you integrate these into your site. Placement can have a dramatic effect on performance. TIP: When working on a new site or new layout you may want to give each location it’s own channel for a little while until you understand the users behavior.
Another ‘trick’ that can increase your CTR is by blending your adsense into your body copy. For example if your body copy is black, remove the adsense border and make the title, text, and URL black.TIP: Try changing all of your page hyperlinks to a high contrast color (like dark red or a bold blue) then change the adsense title to the same color.
The one area where I’ve found blended ads don’t perform as well is forums, especially ones with a high volume of repeat members. Regular visitors develop banner blindness pretty quickly. One ‘trick’ to keep the ads from being ignored is to randomize the color and even the placement. As with any of the decisions about location, placement and color it’s a trade off. How much do you emphasize the ads without annoying your visitors. Remember it’s better to have a 1% CTR with 500 regular visitors as opposed to a 5% CTR with 50 visitors. TIP: For forums try placing the adsense ads directly above or below the the first forum thread.