How to optimize ads: a few ideas worth testing

For many ad publishers, the first weeks of the year are a comparatively quiet time in terms of advertising revenue. The peaks around Black Friday and the festive season rush are over, and many advertising budgets are empty.

In most industries, prices for clicks are down, and your revenue may be lower than usual. Why not use this time to optimize your ads without having to fear a dramatic loss of income?

Seasonal RPM for ads
(source: MoneytizeMore)

Optimize ads with Advanced Ads

Take the opportunity to review your ad setup and playfully adjust its configuration. Sometimes, small changes can make a big difference. In this article, I will present some possibilities and features from Advanced Ads that can help to optimize your ad performance and increase your revenues.

Try new Placements

Have you ever questioned the positioning of your ads in your website’s layout? You might be aware of the powerful locations like a banner above your content. But how about a popup ad that appears when the user has scrolled a certain amount of pixels? Or why not display an ad, when the visitor is about to leave your site?

Advanced Ads offers many types of Placements to display your ads at specific positions on your website. They make it easy to manage a complex ad setup. The basic version of Advanced Ads initially offers 7 Placements. You can extend the number of available placements with our add-ons.

Placement Tests

Speaking of Placements: a handy way for finding the best performing positions for your ads is running A/B tests. With Advanced Ads Pro enabled, the Placements section offers dedicated options to set up those tests. By using Test Weights on your Placements, you can determine how often which Placement will show up to your visitors.

Optimize ads with the placement tests of Advanced Ads
Compare ad performance in different positions with placement tests

After creating a Placement test, you can set an expiry date and create an email reminder to inform you (or another recipient) when the test period is over.

Please refer to our manual article for an in-depth tutorial on how to test placements against each other. If you are testing in-house ads, custom code, or images, you should use the Tracking add-on to track impressions and clicks.

PopUp and Layer Ads

PopUp and layer ads in WordPress

The PopUp and Layer Ads add-on offers a placement with high click rates. You can fine-tune the appearance of the popup with various parameters for timing or interaction. For example, you can fade out an ad after a certain time, or you can display a popup after a specific amount of scrolling. 

PopUp and Layer Ads brings life to your ad setup by placing ads and even other content in a layer above the rest of your content.

Place ads randomly in your content

ads on random position

Advanced Ads Pro offers an additional placement called “Random Paragraphs”. As you can guess: the magic behavior of this placement is to inject an ad after a random paragraph in a post or page.

With every page load, the ad will be placed randomly in your content which is a great way to find ad blindness, especially for returning visitors.

Sticky ads and fixed widgets

As said earlier, popup ads are a powerful way to improve the click-through rates of your advertisements. Another high-performing ad type that is known to attract more clicks is an anchor ad. These ads are always visible in the browser window.

Our Sticky Ads add-on lets you place anchor ads on the top, bottom, left, and right of your browser window. This ad type is known to perform especially well on mobile devices.

An enhanced version of an anchor ad is a sticky area that scrolls with the content. You might know this from fixed navigation menus on the top of a website. Using a similar placement for your ads can be very efficient and boost conversion rates. This way, you can emphasize an ad and put it in the focus of your visitors’ eyes.

If you would like to make widgets in your sidebar sticky then check out our Fixed Widget plugin.

Try various ad networks

If the revenue from your existing ads and ad partners is low, the risk to lose money when trying new ad networks is also decreased. I have found that some networks and partners have advantages compared to others. Some work better in the content, others in the sidebar, or for specific topics.

You could use random ad groups to rotate among ads from different partners on the same spot. This will allow you to compare the actual revenue each partner is generating under the same conditions.

Try other AdSense ad formats

Many of our users and customers use AdSense as an ad serving network. Over the last years, AdSense introduced a couple of new ad types, which you can also place using Advanced Ads.

In-feed ads by AdSense are ads embedded in an overview of posts, also called “feed”. A lot of WordPress themes show such post lists as your home page. Archive pages of specific categories are another kind of such post lists.

With In-feed ads, you can place AdSense ads directly in this grid. This placement is similar to the Post Lists Placement, but it is optimized for AdSense ads.

Creating an in.feed ad unit in AdSense
Creating a new inFeed ad unit in AdSense

For a detailed tutorial on In-feed ads, check our manual here.

You might also check out Multiplex Ads by AdSense. These ads appear often at the end of a post or page and look similar to a related articles block with advertisements in a grid layout. Please check our tutorial below for a detailed explanation of how to set up those Multiplex ads.

Lazy Load ads

Nowadays, browsing the internet is not like going for a walk with a tortoise anymore. There is still a lot to do, but listening to the chants of your bleeping modem while patiently waiting for a website to load is a thing of the past. While internet connections are way faster today, websites are much more complex and full of data and media.

A good ad setup goes along with a good browsing experience. Therefore, it is crucial to make your website perform smoothly on every browser and device.

An essential tool for good page speed is lazy loading ads. This method only loads content when the user scrolls near to it. Used on images, this is a massive speed-up for your site. Why not lazy load your ads? If you have ads placed in the bottom parts of a long post, it is not necessary to load all of them immediately.

Don’t worry: If users visit your site for the content, they will read and scroll down. Don’t underestimate the advantages of aesthetical and technical functionality: no one wants to be nagged by ads when surfing on a website already strains your patience. Impatient users might even leave your website when it loads slowly and appears to be bulky.

With lazy loading in Advanced Ads Pro, your page speed improves, and your users will experience fluent browsing. The following article offers insights into a detailed case study on how lazy loading ads can help to optimize your ad setup.

Privacy for website visitors is a critical thing to consider when you set up your website with advertisements. The rights for privacy and data protection are regulated through specific statutes and differ between countries and regions.

Since the internet is, by its name, a world wide web, there are some challenges to master in order to meet the regulations mandated by law. In the EU, data privacy is regulated through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Californian residents in the USA can rely on the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Advanced Ads allows you to implement a simple consent message or integrate with a content tool you might already have installed on your site. Both options would hide ads managed with our plugin unless consent is given by the user.

Summary – Optimize ads and test new features

There is always a time when ad revenue goes down for reasons that are outside your influence. You can either ride it out or become active and use this period to try something new. When the number of visitors and clicks is low, you can check out untested features to optimize ads and maybe even increase the conversion rate.

This is what we originally built Advanced Ads for. Our add-ons help you to enhance and customize your ads. With the All Access bundle you get all add-ons and just everything we have, including priority email support in case you run into any issues or have additional questions.

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