In a previous article, I talked about the importance of tweaking your Google Adsense adverts, specifically issues of size and placement. If you haven’t read that yet, I suggest that you start by reading Improving Your Adsense Click-Thru before you proceed with this, the second part of the topic.
You’re back now? Great. Let’s keep talking about this interesting topic.
And before I go any further, please realize that while the specifics of this discussion are about Google adverts, the general user interface issues are true across the board: if you want someone to see something, you need to move it into their area of consciousness before you can have any success.
That’s why it’s so common to go to a Web site and stare blankly at the screen, trying to figure out where a given link is located, even though it’s on a side navigational bar or similar. Even this site has that problem to some extent: quick, find the link that talks about custom 404 error pages!
But let’s get back to Google. If you’ve already joined Adsense you know that while their model is clearly pay per click, you’re on your own trying to figure out how to maximize your results. Worse, the default ad design that Google offers has black text on a white background with an aqua blue border. Probaby not a good look for your site, and much worse, overtly obvious as a Google ad (e.g., a visual element that many people have learned to ignore).
Fortunately you can easily change the color scheme of your Adsense ads. One way is to use their preset choices, but, again, do you want to try and find the “closest” color scheme that matches your site, or do you just want to match the exact colors you’re using?
google_color_border = "FFFFFF";
google_color_bg = "FFFFFF";
google_color_link = "0000FF";
google_color_url = "666666";
google_color_text = "333333";
(Tip: If you don’t understand the hexidecimal color scheme used here, you might want to grab a copy of Creating Cool Web Sites which is an instant education in all aspects of HTML, CSS and Web design)
Most likely, the two that you’ll fiddle with the most are the google_color_border and the google_color_bg, which define the border and background color of the adverts themselves. What I suggest is that you have the border and the bg the same color as the background of your existing Web page, so that the adverts appear much more to be part of the content of the page, rather than an isolated element.
Oh, and if you don’t have these five variables in your Google Adsense code, it’s completely safe to paste the five lines above in – though you will want to double check that my color scheme of bright blue titles, grey URLs and slightly darker grey descriptive text against an undifferentiated white background works for your design, of course.
My experimentation has shown that making the adverts appear to be part of the content of the site will improve your click thru rate significantly, particularly when coupled with the ideas discussed in the first part of this article, Improving your Adsense Click-Thru.
Next time you go to a Web site and see Adsense adverts that are very different in color and design, are stuck on the very top or (worse) the very bottom of the page, and just stick out like a sore thumb, think about the fact that five minutes of alterations could likely double – or better – the click thru rate and significantly improve the revenue from that very page.
And if you haven’t signed up yet, why not click on:
and join the thousands of people who are monetizing their Web site traffic with Google’s help?