How To Test Google Adsense On Your Website
Google Adsense has the power to make very little money, or a tremendous amount of money, all on the same website. The disparity in income usually comes from poor ad placement, colors, and ad types.
Google Adsense Colors
There are generally three schools of thought regarding the color of Google Adsense ads on a website.
Mimic the Color Scheme of the Website
Many people have had success making their Google Adsense ads the same color as their website’s navigation and text. It’s believed that this works well, because similar colors blend in well with the entire website, and many users will click on ads, because they think it’s part of the website’s navigation.
Make It Stand Out
An opposite approach to blending in, is making the ads stand out. A common approach is to make the site navigation and text as bland as possible, and to make the ads stand out with bright, high-contrast colors.
All Things Blue
Jen Slegg, of Jensense, recently stated at the June 2005 WebmasterWorld conference in New Orleans, that the color blue is the most effective color for increasing click through rates (CTR) with Google Adsense ads.
Google Adsense Layout
The layout of Google Adsense ads can mean the difference between a 2-3% CTR and a 15-20% CTR on a website. For example, replacing a Leaderboard ad that sits at the top a web page, with a Large Rectangle ad below an article title, but above the article content, can increase a CTR by almost 400%.
Tools for Testing the Performance Google Adsense Ads
Google Adsense provides excellent tools for testing the performance of their ads on a website. Those tools include custom channels, URL channels, Google Adsense preview tool, and a downloadable CSV file.
The easiest and most powerful tool is custom channels. Google allows the creation of up to 100 custom channels. Webmasters can use these channels to specify the location, layout, and ad type of any Google Adsense ad on their website. Over time, a webmaster can run reports to see which ads perform best, and which ones don’t.
A few more ideas for testing include:
- Create and use a form to keep track of all the changes you make to your Google Adsense ad placements. This will help you research which layouts, colors and ads have worked best over time.
- Don’t test on holidays. Holidays can bring an unusual amount of traffic and CTRs, which may skew your test results.
- Placing a Google Adsense ad on the right side of the page is considered to be the worst location for ads. However, I’ve had mixed results with ads on the right side of some of my websites, so you may want to test it before you decide not to put an ad on the right side.