5 tips to boost your click-through rate and earn more from ads

by wamda, May 20, 2013

Online advertisers, publishers and marketers need to understand CTR (click-through rate) and how to use it to their advantage to maximize ad revenue. Below, Hsoub Ads offers a short guide on how and where to place ads on your site to improve a visitor's click-through rate.

What is CTR?

CTR is the ratio of the number of views to the number of clicks on a specific ad; if your ad is seen 1000 times and is clicked 100 times, your CTR is 10%. It's important to monitor your CTR, because a higher CTR translates directly to profits from ads.

In the eyes of ad providers, a higher CTR increases the value of your website (where the ads are displayed) to their network. A strong CTR means you have a high volume of visitors and perhaps an effective ad placement strategy; a win for you and ad networks.

How can you get a higher CTR?

1) Experiment: Before deciding where to place ads, you should do some tests to figure out what type and size of ads your visitors respond to the most. For instance, some statistics suggest that CTR in email campaigns can reach as high as 20% while display banners suffer the lowest CTR, averaging 0.25%

Check out the template below for some general rules:

2) Switch: If you find that an ad is not working well, change its type, size, or place (if the ad platform offers you different types to choose from) and put it in a “hotter” spot. Contiually monitor the ad's performance until you find the best fit.

3) Clean: Keep your page clean and avoid stuffing it with graphics and animations. The less web “junk” and flashy images there is, the higher the likelihood that your ad is going to be noticed and clicked on. Keep your page clean and functional so vistors don't feel overloaded with images and popups.

4) Arrange: Place the ads as close to your content as possible. If you want your ad to be seen, place it next to the content or above it. To some visitors, an ad at the top of a page when you first open the site can be irritating. Placing an ad in a sidebar or directly following content might be a better idea, giving the visitor a last chance to click the ad before he or she exists the page.

Also consider using wide, horizontal ads (like common banners or leaderboards) instead of vertical ones (like the 120x600 Skyscraper). For most people, reading horizontally is easier than reading vertically, and you want to make it easier for the visitor to glimpse, read and hopefully click an ad. Vetical ads work better on some site designs and platforms, so again, experiment until you find what's write for you.

5) Minimize: Use only important content; If a single page has lots of content, it’s going to be competing with your ads. You may find it enough to include only the post’s title, popular tags, and short content in addition to one or two social sharing buttons, rather than cluttering the page with lots of excessive social media widgets, “similar posts” boxes, category lists, archives, and an endless list of “websites I recommend”.

Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments sections below.

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Mouad Khateb is the PR officer at Hsoub, a web solutions provider for the MENA region. Khateb blogs at Al-Rasid.com and is reachable via email: “mkhateb" on "Hsoub.com”.

 
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Faissal Lachhab , Tue 21.05.2013
I was wondering why this only from layout perspective.
- there's no real success guarantee, if your ad message is weak (or if it has like no message at all).
- if your message does not keep its promise, a CTR may be in, but a lead/sale is lost.
- there's no real best practice in placing an ad (specific spots on template), A/B split testing - as you suggest in point 1 - is always in Go-Live mode as well.
 
Mouad Khateb , Sun 02.06.2013
Thanks Faisial. The article was written with the technical aspect in mind. Surely, what you said is right, an ad must be appealing in its content and message too, to be effective.
 
Faissal Lachhab , Tue 21.05.2013
Sorry, with "CTR" I meant "click"