If I had a nickel for every AdSense tip I’ve read about or been told, I wouldn’t need to earn a living with ads.When it comes to AdSense and other display ads, simple changes can dramatically improve your revenue. I realize not every website publisher has a goal to maximize display ad revenue, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t test.
Chances are if revenue isn’t the main goal, user experience is, in which case ads should be tested to maximize user experience and revenue.
When it comes to AdSense and display ads, one website’s ad optimization isn’t necessarily the best for your site(s). In fact, if you publish multiple sites you may have different layouts.
Test the following with display ads:
- Text vs. image vs. text and image ads
- Ad colors;
- Ad style (borders, fonts);
- Ad sizes;
- Location in site;
- Mobile, Desktop and Tablet ads; and
- Anchor ads.
In addition to testing the ads themselves, test different post formats. Consider the following:
- Image and/or video placement;
- Long vs. short paragraphs;
- Relationship to other ads, optin boxes and other features; and
- Length of content.
Taking all of the above variables into consideration means there are unlimited variations you can test.
Who has time for that?
After all, you need to produce content, do SEO, social media, keyword research, market research, etc. etc. etc.
That’s where AdSense optimization services and software can help.
While I’ve used ad optimization services extensively, I currently stick to my own ad management. However, using these services for 6 months was helpful because they confirmed that I was doing a pretty good job. Had they dramatically improved my results, I’d continue using them. I know they improve results for many publishers because the following services/software have many publishers using their services.
They have 2 services, which you can use simultaneously. They are:
Ezoic full is where Ezoic will test ad placement, color, design… everything automatically. Over time, the software will optimize your ads according to your stated goals which include revenue optimization, user experience or a combination.
With Ezoic full, the software will generate different website templates and insert different sized ads in different locations testing thousands of combinations. Over time, the system will narrow its options as it figures out the optimized configuration for your website.
Ezoic Lite lets you choose ad placement and retain your site design. What’s cool about this is you can load up your website with dozens of ads (varying sizes) all over the place and then the software will test combinations until it figures out the optimized configuration per your stated goal.
Ezoic Lite’s benefits are you can retain your site’s design and you can narrow down the ad options if you have a pretty good idea what works best for your site.
Yes, you can run Ezoic Full and Lite at the same time to see what works best.
- 5 ads. With Ezoic, you can place up to 5 ads on desktop and 4 on mobile. This is more than the 3 AdSense ads which can help with revenue (especially longer content). This is a huge benefit of using Ezoic.
- Comprehensive testing: If it can be tested, Ezoic can test it automatically and will figure out the best configuration over time.
- AdSense insurance: This was the main reason I gave them a shot. Ezoic is a certified AdSense partner (and certified AdSense Publisher), which means they stand behind their Ezoic Full placements. You can be confident the ad configurations with Ezoic Full will not result in any issues with AdSense from a placement perspective. Note, if you send low quality traffic to your site or participate in click fraud activity, you can still lose your AdSense account.
- Anchor ads on mobile: With Ezoic, you get anchor ads on mobile devices. These ads can generate a lot of money on mobile.
- Native and pop up ads (optional): You can choose to include native and/or pop up ads on your site which can add incremental revenue. These fall into testing as well so in the end they will only be placed on your site if they contribute to optimizing for your stated goal (revenue vs. user experience).
- User experience: Ezoic believes (correctly) that user experience can improve your site’s SEO. Therefore, they offer user experience optimization in relation to revenue optimization. Their theory is if you improve user experience, you improve your chances of doing better in the search engines.
- Knowledgeable people: The people behind Ezoic publish their own sites (huge sites with huge traffic numbers). It’s good to know they’re managing their own sites. Moreover, they test new features on their sites before rolling them out to their publishers.
- App service: While I never used this service, Ezoic will also turn your website into an app which provides another traffic channel/revenue stream for your site.
- Mobile responsive: Using Ezoic Full, your site will be mobile responsive and the system will test your stated goal on mobile separate from desktop. This is good because optimal mobile ad placement and user experience performs differently on mobile vs. tablet vs. desktop.
- AdSense Partner and Certified Publisher: Ezoic is one of a few AdSense certified ad optimization services. This is important because it means they have strong connections with AdSense.
- Easy-to-use: I love how everything is handled in the Ezoic dashboard.
- No commitment. You can stop using the service any time.
- Excellent reporting: When I started with Ezoic, their reporting was weak, but they’ve since enhanced reporting considerably. Now you can track revenue on a url-by-url basis, geography, traffic source and device. In fact, Ezoic’s tracking is better than AdSense.
- Ezoic Full templates aren’t that great. If you like your site’s design, go with Ezoic Lite.
- Testing takes a long time. Because there are thousands of configurations to test, it can take a couple months until you see decent optimization results. Yes, you will likely lose revenue compared to what you previously earned during the beginning testing phases.
Ezoic is a must-try service. Be patient. While I can’t say definitively that you’ll increase revenue, it’s worth trying.
Sortable generated very good results for me.
They test many advertisers within an ad space and their technology displays the highest bidder. It’s like using AdSense, but includes many other advertisers. The theory is with more demand for those ad spots, bids will be higher and you’ll earn more revenue. Yes, AdSense ads are included in the bidding.
In other words, their testing is primarily within the ad unit itself. It doesn’t test placement, although you’re encouraged to manually place their ads in different locations for testing.
- Increased demand for your ad spots: Sortable’s core service is their relationships with many ad networks and advertisers which then integrates with their software so that they maximize bidding for each ad spot. Demand for your ad spots is higher than just using AdSense offers.
- 5 ad units. You get 5 ad units for each web page on desktop and 4 for mobile.
- Mobile anchor ad. On mobile, you get a high-performing anchor ad in the footer (this can pay well on mobile).
- Sticky ad unit in the sidebar (this is golden). Yes, it includes sticky AdSense ad if AdSense wins the bid for the spot. Note that typically sticky ads are against AdSense TOS, but with Sortable, you get permission for a sticky ad.
- Non-Sortable Ads. While Sortable doesn’t like it, you can place additional non-Google display ads on your site. For example, if you use in-image ads, you can use them in addition to Sortable.
- Excellent customer service: If you’re accepted, you’ll have a rep who is very responsive and helpful.
- Results-based fees: Sortable’s fees are a percentage of your revenue. This means their interests are aligned with yours. They want to increase your revenue.
- Direct access to Google. Sortable has connections with Google, which means if there is an issue with ads on your site, you’ll actually get information as to what the issue is so you can fix it.
- Short ramp up time. By this I mean it doesn’t take long for Sortable’s software to optimize revenue. You’ll know within a few of weeks whether the service will help your ad revenue.
Reporting: The reporting console is not very detailed. You will not get much data about your revenue which means you’re flying blind.
I strongly recommend trying Sortable. Chances are they will increase your revenue and if they don’t, you’re not obligated to continuing with them. If it doesn’t work out for you, just go back to what you were doing. They’re definitely worth 2 to 4 weeks of your time.
Which should you try?
That’s up to you. Perhaps over time try all 3. They’re all different and focus on different features.
When/if you find one earns you more revenue, that’s the service for you.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.