optimising online revenue

What are the best page positions for ads?

February 2009


Your pages, your users
'Hot' page areas
'Above the fold'


Although there are certainly techniques involved in positioning ads to attract the most attention, you'll also want to consider your own page layouts carefully in order to identify the prime advertising zones.

Ask yourself a few questions. What are likely to be the most interesting areas for your public? Examples might be things like top ten lists, prominent images or regular features such as a movie review that repeat visitors have come to identify and locate.

Perhaps your site includes 'rich' content such as games or other interactive elements that users often focus on.

And what about the atmosphere you'd like your page to convey? Sophisticated, cool and clean, or something that's a bit more buzzy, with the sense that there's lots going on?.

Your advertising will need to reflect all this, too. like to visit our styles section where we've tried to match particular types of ad with a range of layouts and environments.

But let's get back to the subject of positioning....


'Hot' page areas

When we look at a web page there are parts that most people tend to focus on more than others, and it follows that these usually make the best places to position your ads.

Google - best areas for clicking on ads


The layout above depicts a typical page divided into various zones. The areas that receive the least attention are coloured white, then pale yellow, and so on, with the hottest area depicted in bright orange.

Most online advertising companies ask publishers to describe where their ad content is placed because advertisers use this info to help plan their campaigns (in fact, Google AdWords has a specific Positioning feature for advertisers).

For this reason it's really worth using these zones. Not only will they help boost your Click Through Rates (CTR), their use should also make your site more attractive to advertisers generally.


Above the fold

'Above the fold' is a term that's often used in web design, although originally it relates to newspapers.

You know how papers stacked at a news-stand are folded in the middle? This means that only the top half is visible - but it's the part containing the all-important headline and also the area that most people look at first when the paper's actually in their hands.

Any ads appearing here are obviously in a premium position, too.

With web pages, anything immediately visible on-screen is said to be above the fold, while content you need to scroll down to see is below the fold.

As with a newspaper, ads or any other content located above the fold are in the best position because a surprising amount of people won't take the time to scroll pages.

Of course, whether you can actually avoid this depends a lot on the kind of site you're creating - blogs in particular often involve at least some scrollable content.

As a rule of thumb, it's often considered better to break down very large amounts of text onto several different pages and link them all together. But of course, there are also times when it's better to keep everything together - on a page like this, for example, which is giving info about one particular topic.

With such pages, you might want to try using inline ads inside your text, or positioning ads at the start or end of the various sections.

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