AdSense Optimisation Tips for Forums
Posted on 29th July, 2007
Over at the Inside AdSense blog, the team give out tips to help forum owners improve their AdSense performance. I quote the suggestions below.
- The welcome box ad
Many forums have a message above the fold on their pages welcoming users to the site and encouraging them to register. Placing a large (336×280) or medium (300×250) rectangle next to this message catches users’ attention right when they walk through the door (so to speak). By the way, these are our best performing ad units, and may also increase the number of site-targeted ads on your pages.
- The forum post ad
Based on previous testing, integrating ad units into your page content can improve clickthrough rate (CTR). It also provides a better online experience, since your users see relevant ads side by side with normal content. In forums, the highest visibility content is often the first post, so it makes sense to place the ads here. Again, large and medium rectangles are your best bet!
- Blending colors and breaking down borders
Colors are important for making an ad visible to the user, but they should still blend with the design of the site. Removing the borders on your ads helps even more with this concept of blending. Don’t worry — even with a well-blended implementation, the ‘Ads by Google’ label keeps your users from confusing ads with content.
From my experience, forums tend to have low CTRs compare to other sites mainly because majority of their users are regular who are familiar with the forums layout and hence blind to ads.
On the other hand, having regular users mean forums enjoy higher page view. A forum owner can take advantage of this by creating useful forum that attracts advertisers that pay on a CPM basis. CPM ads can make more money for the owner regardless of the forum CTRs.
One of the most successful forums that I know of is the DigitalPoint.com Forum which is pulling over $10,000 a month from Google AdSense alone. Shawn Hogan, the founder shares the revenue with the users to create a win-win arrangement for both parties. He was featured in an article (free registration required) for the New York Times last year.