Sunday, 17 February 2013

Ways to Increase Your Click-Through-Rate of Text Ads

Today I am going to talk about text ads, and how you can increase their effectiveness. Such ads are very common on the Internet, because they are easy to make and are widely accepted. They are also the dominant type that you get next to search queries on search engines like Google and Bing.

Text ads don’t have the glitz and glamour of banner ads which is why they are easy to ignore, which might be a good thing in the sense they are less intrusive.

Text ads may have lost their sheen over time, but they are still liked by webmasters alike for the sole reason that they are still the least intrusive form of online advertising.

If properly optimized, text ads can be as good as any image or banner ads, or even better.

A few plus points of using text ads:

  • Relevancy matters when you want to maximize revenue from your website. And text ads are more likely to be relevant to your content than any other forms of advertisement.
  • Text ads don’t stick out like a sore thumb, because they have the ability to blend seemingly with the overall layout of the website.
  • Text ads are less likely to spread malware on computers.
  • In my opinion, people are more likely to think your website to be clean and resourceful if you serve only text based ads.
  • Whether Adsense or any other ad networks, most text ads are served on a CPC basis meaning that you will get paid when someone clicks on your website ads. And with CPC ads you don’t need massive amounts of traffic to increase your revenue. 

Ways to increase the effectiveness of your text ads:

People have grown resilient to online advertisements over time, which means they are now less likely to notice the ads on your website. And this phenomenon also has a name: ad blindness. The reason for ad blindness is the same why TV viewers are more likely to switch channels during a commercial; just like TV viewers, net surfers are swarmed by online ads of various forms most of their surfing time, which has built the resilience in them.
text ads
Example of a text ad.

1) No one can deny the universal roles of colors as a stimulus, and they matter a lot on a website. Colors defuse to create an appeal and also differentiate various elements of a website.

There are certain color blends that catch the eyes better than the rest. These are the colors that you should use in your website’s ads.

From what I have seen, blue, dark green, dark red and black are popular colors for the text ad title, and you can treat them as your base colors for a little experiment that you have to do.

Tip: The default black is probably the best color for the ad text.

To know the best performing color on your website, you need to do a little test. Create four text ad units of four colors, but you have to determine their sizes depending on your website's layout. Remember to select a different channel for each ad unit for easy tracking.

Update: Some ad networks have a limit on the number of  ad units you can put on a single page.

Tip: Include at least two skyscraper style units.

Objective of the experiment: To find suitable colors for the text ad title and URL.

Premise for the experiment
  • The ad units should appear in all of your pages to make sure every unit gets an equal number of impressions; if the total number of impressions is equal for every unit, then you can take your decision on the basis of total number of clicks received over two months by each unit, or else you have to determine the combined CTR of every unit if the impressions aren’t equal. 
  • The average daily visitors-of a month- won’t change drastically from the first month to second month.
Place two ad units above the fold and other two below the fold, and leave them for a month. After a month, switch the ad units with the ones below the fold. Lastly, analyze the click through rate of each unit over two months.

Use the formula to calculate the CTR of each unit:
the way to calculate click through rate

Use the best performing color as the control and reject the rest. Repeat the experiment with four new colors, and compare their performance with the control after two months.
know the best color for your ads

For optimum result, repeat the experiment till you cover all the primary (red, blue and yellow) colors, secondary (orange, purple and green) colors and black. In my opinion, use only the darker shades of the colors other than black. If you think that your website doesn’t have enough space for four units, then experiment with two units at a time.

The above test is a simple statistical based test that doesn’t include a whole host of parameters like the behaviour of visitors.

2) Follow the three widely followed strategies to choose the background color:

Blend: If you want to place the ad units within your content, then design the units with the same background as your website and with no borders.

Tip: I personally won’t recommend using the same color as your website’s texts in the ad text title, because if you do then it will seem like you want to completely blur the difference between the ads and your content. 

: The strategy is to design ad units with background colors already present in your website.

Contrast: If you have a dark background, then you can use a background color that sticks out. The strategy is useful when you want to demarcate your ads from the rest.

Tip: Personally, I won’t recommend anything other than white for the background and borders, because the color white is adaptive and signifies purity. 
ad unit background
Source: Google support

3) It’s believed that ad units above the fold have a better chance of getting viewed and clicked.

Place at least two units above the fold and one immediately below your blog post or near the page footer.

Tip: Write a compelling introduction for each of your blog post to induce readers to scroll below the fold. Also write all your blog posts in short paragraphs to increase white spaces, which are soothing to the eyes.
4) Putting too many ad units will dilute your overall effort to maximize your revenue.

Put a minimum of three ad units (two within the content) or maximum four.

Feel free to use the comment box to voice your view.

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