Ad Sizes and Placement (discussion)

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I'm hoping you guys can help me to strategize a new ad placement system.

### Background

My ad-driven site focuses on custom-designed message boards and classifieds=
. I have an average of 370,000 unique visitors per month, and about 4 milli=
on pageviews per month (with an average of about 11 pageviews per unique vi=
sitor). The wide majority of my visitors are repeat visitors, with more tha=
n 60% visiting the site several times a day.

For ads, I have a 160x600 Adsense PPC ad (image) on the left, which is the =
one that has the most clicks and higher PPC (generating about 47% of the cl=
ick-through revenue). On the right, I have 3 ads that we sell on the site, =
120x120 (can be either image or text), and beneath that, a 120x600 Adsense =
PPC ad (image; the lowest performing of all, about 22%). I made the locally=
-sold ads 120x120 specifically to match the width of the 120x600.

Finally, at the bottom of the page, I have a 728x90 Adsense PPC ad (image).=
 This has also been pretty well performing (about 31%) without being intrus=
ive at all, so I don't intend to change that.

The locally sold ads aren't PPC, but instead just pay a flat monthly fee to=
 be put in rotation with the other ads on the site. Each page load chooses =
3 locally sold ads at random from the list of current advertisers.

### The Problem

With the locally sold ads (the 120x120), the site visitor can choose to cre=
ate a text ad that fits the block, OR upload a 120x120 image. If they choos=
e to do a text ad, I built a very similar program to Google Adwords; they h=
ave 7 lines, and they can enter a limited amount of text on each line.

This is effective, but I keep running in to problems where the advertiser n=
eeds more characters on a line, and can't understand why they can't fit mor=
e. I've been tracking, and about 70% of the ads that are abandoned appear t=
o be because of the size limit. But at the same time, I don't exactly want =
them to write a book in a 120x120 spot.

I tried rebuilding the site to drop the 160x600 on the left, then change th=
e right to a 300x250 Adsense PPC (image), followed by (2) 300x100 locally-s=
old ads (similar in appearance to the ads on Facebook; image on left with t=
ext on right), followed by another 300x250 Adsense PPC (text). This definit=
ely gives the local advertiser more room, but with several new problems:

1. While the 300x225 ad theoretically has a higher PPC value, having it on =
the right makes it practically invisible. Since people read left-to-right (=
in English, anyway), the left-side ad was always in their vision, but not t=
he right-side ad. Since the PPC ads are currently our primary source of ad =
revenue, this is a big gamble.

2. Having the extra width for the local ads is great, but having it below t=
he PPC ad pushes them slightly below the fold, so they'll get even less att=

I tried moving that column to the left, but then the ads just seem way too =
aggressive. And I don't want to risk losing traffic because of overly domin=
ant ads.

I also considered just modifying the local ads to 160x160 and placing them =
above the 160x600 on the left. But, pushing the highest-paying PPC ad down =
is a real gamble, and since 160x160 isn't a common banner size (there's no =
common banner with a 160px width other than 160x600), that becomes a proble=
m for our more knowledgeable advertisers that choose to use an image instea=
d of text. Granted, our number of advertisers that are less knowledgeable a=
nd choose text heavily outweigh those that know what they're doing, the fac=
t is that the more knowledgeable ones tend to advertise more long-term, so =
neither are (financially) more relevant than the other.

Of course, the existing 120x120 isn't exactly industry standard now, either=
. But most already have a 125x125 that can be easily adapted, so it works o=
ut (but not perfectly).

### The Question=20

So, inevitably, I'm curious if you guys can offer any suggestions on how I =
might improve the usability and appearance of the locally sold ads, without=
 making any serious sacrifice of the PPC ads?

I know that some of you might want to know the website address before givin=
g real suggestions. I do not want to post it, because I don't want searches=
 for the website to reveal this email address, and some of the incredibly s=
tupid questions I've asked over the years! LOL  Not to mention questions I'=
ve asked regarding security for the site. But if you email me at the Gmail =
address from which I'm posting, then I can send the address to you by email=

Re: Ad Sizes and Placement (discussion)

responding to wrote:
Jason C  wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Maybe instead of arguing with them you can make the ad spot a scrollable
fixed size div? Then, if they get creative and can fit everything into the
box, the ugly scroll bars would not appear. But if they want to "write a
book in a 120x120 spot", they'll have to deal with the scroll bars.

That may just give some of the advertisers enough of an incentive to write
concise ads and maybe others will be OK with the scroll bars - but the
important point is that you'll keep them satisfied and they won't leave

With Google squeezing  every last penny out of their own property and
edging publishers out of the PPC-supported websites business model, you
may just find those local advertisers suddenly more important to please
than Google. Maybe not right away, but give it a year or two and I think
you'll be glad you kept all those advertisers happy...  


Re: Ad Sizes and Placement (discussion)

On Mon, 28 Nov 2011 17:18:13 -0800 (PST), Jason C put finger to keyboard
and typed:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
more characters on a line, and can't understand why they can't fit more. I've
been tracking, and about 70% of the ads that are abandoned appear to be because
of the size limit. But at the same time, I don't exactly want them to write a
book in a 120x120 spot.

An advertiser never needs more characters on a line. Sometimes they want
more, but that's because they havem't learned how to write an effective ad.
As you've said, Google imposes a limit, and it works.

What you really need to do is educate your users that less is more. On the
page where they submit the ad, maybe, include some statistics which show
that shorter ads get more clicks. Or write your own version of Google's
hints and tips page:


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