4 Tips for Optimizing Ads

If you’ve ever even spoken with another publisher or seen their income report, you will quickly realize not every publisher is paid the same for their ad real estate. Many factors contribute to how much an advertiser will pay for an ad space.  There are many qualifiers that advertisers use to determine what they’ll pay for certain ad slots. By understanding what weighs their decision to bid will help you improve your ad strategy.

The major influencing factors for an advertiser are:

  1. The number of ads on a given page
  2. The size of those ads
  3. The placement of the ad
  4. The traffic quality of the visitor

These 4 factors make the biggest difference in determining the value of your ads.  As we talk about these elements of your site remember that every site is different and even identical sites, if they differ in size, will perform differently.

Number of Ads

When it comes to ads, having lots is not always best. Setting aesthetics aside, the number of ads on your page is critical because you want to create a healthy amount of competition on your page without overdoing it. Too many ads on a page deflates the impact of all ad spaces while too few leaves money on the table. The ideal number of ads on a page is 5-6 but that number varies based on the type and design layout of your website.

 Size of Ads

Size is also an important consideration when determining value.The International Advertising Bureau (IAB) has set standard sizes to “reduce and simplify the amount of work for agencies that may be faced with having to create several assets of a similar size for different publishers.” Advertisers make the majority of their ads in standardized sizes. If you choose to use nonstandard sizes there will be a smaller supply of ads to fill your inventory and thus your ads will not fill at high prices. The top performing ad sizes, in order of performance, are:

  1. 300×250 pixels
  2. 728×90 pixels
  3. 160×600 pixels

Keep this in mind when designing your header, your sidebar, and your footer to make sure you’ll be able to accommodate these sizes. Here at Monumetric, when we implement your tags, we’ll resize your header, sidebar, and/or footer (with your permission, of course) for free to make sure you’ll be able to get the best yield from your ad sizes.

Below is an example of ad sizing, and also of ad placement’s which we’ll talk about next. Credit to Bunny’s Warm Oven for letting us use her blog as an example.

An example of ad placement and sizes placed by The Blogger Network to Maximize Blogger's Income

This details ad-placement and sizing strategies


There is a big industry debate on the importance of placing your ads either above or below-the-fold (above-the-fold is the top 1000 pixels of a page). Our  data has shown that while ads placed above-the-fold do perform better than ads placed below-the-fold, this margin of performance is sometimes only by a penny or two. In almost all cases, the formatting of your website should not be changed simply to accommodate more above-the-fold ads. Rather, it’s best to make room for a leaderboard (728 x 90) somewhere above-the-fold and make sure your sidebar will accommodate a 300 x 250 ad placement.

The next most important consideration to keep in mind when placing your ads is the proximity of your ads to your content. Advertisers want their ads to be seen alongside content. Having your ads by high engaging content is a higher priority for advertisers than whether or not an ad is above or below-the-fold. It is not uncommon to see sidebar ads, which are below-the-fold, performing the same or better than an ad of the same size above-the-fold (as long as the below-the-fold ad is close to the content, of course).

On the other hands, ads placed far from the content have been nicknamed “orphan ads”. Orphan ads almost always have low fill rates and low eCPM’s.  To help your ads get the highest revenue possible, format your page and your posts so that your sidebar stays close to relevant content. Proximity to content is also why in-image ads perform so well.


Optimizing Ads for Your Blog - Orphan Ad Example

Remember Your Ads Should be Next to Content

Traffic Quality

Advertising is a game of communication. Advertisers want to talk with visitors who are most likely to buy their product or use their service, and they use information from your site to identify them. Sites with high levels of user engagement and a large numbers of followers, comments, and links are more attractive to advertisers because advertisers can more easily  identify viewers in their target markets. The longer a visitor spends on your site and the more pages they visit  is also important to advertisers. More screen time = higher eCPM’s.

Advertiser will also look at the caches of those who visit your site and send them ads tailored to their search/browsing history.  Have you ever visited a website and noticed that the advertisements are all for the same company?  You (or someone who has used your same browser) have most likely visited this advertiser’s site before or performed a search that has identified you as a good candidate for their product. This is an example of “retargeting ads” and will boost the price advertisers are willing to pay to advertise on your page.


In the end, nobody should get into publishing because they have a passion for ad management. Publishers become successful when they are passionate about their content and want to share that with others. Keep these ad tips in mind as you work to build your content and design  so you can maximize your revenue potential, but don’t let them consume the reason you continue to publish.

If you have any questions about your specific site, feel free to reach out to your ad manager. Or if you aren’t a member of Monumetric yet and want to see what you could be making with a custom ad strategy and premium demand click here.

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