Friday, April 07, 2006 | 2:02:00 PM
We caught up with Ivan Heneghan, a Dublin-based AdSense optimisation specialist, to learn how 'optimisation' differs from 'optimization'.
Why did you agree to let us profile you?
A brilliant story! After you featured Mike Gutner, a UK-based publisher who I've worked with posted to his own blog asking why I hadn't been featured, whether I even existed, and if I did, guessed that I was "a tall Russian man" with a check shirt and a moustache. Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say I'm quite nerdy-looking, and although I do have a moustache, I abhor check shirts.
Tell us an optimisation story... have you ever seen a publisher make a small change and see big results?
Oh yes, lots of them! But one of my favourites was a science website that was earning about $10 per day. They were using a 468x60 Banner at the bottom of their pages, but started experimenting with two 300 x 250 Medium Rectangles -- one placed just at the top of their content, and another placed directly under the main content on each page. They also tried using more blended colours. Things went crazy from there and earnings shot up to $700 per day. Finally, they moved one of the 300x250 Rectangles from the top of their page to a location more embedded in their content. After that, earnings went to over $1,700 per day!
What are the top 3 tips you like to tell publishers?
1. Use wide ad formats. Many publishers find the 728x90 Leaderboard outperforms the 468x60 banner by about 70%. I particularly recommend using the 728x90 Leaderboard, 160x600 Wide Skyscraper, and 300x250 Medium Rectangle.
2. Embed Google ads in your content, and place Google ads at the end of your articles, news stories and reviews. Placing a 468x60 Banner in the typical slot at the top of page, or a 120x600 Skyscraper along the right-hand side of page, work well for cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) ads. However, for cost-per-click (CPC) contextual advertising, AdSense tends to work best when integrated with your content.
3. Blend your ad colours into your website. After running a test with a bright pink 728x90 Leaderboard on a black background, I learned that complementary colours often work better. Try blending the background and borders of your ads into your site, and use a text colour that stands out but already exists on your site. Blending decreases ad blindness and users are more likely to notice ads that interest them.
What websites are you reading these days?
I'm an avid soccer fan, so www.football365.com is my main haunt and I've recently discovered www.joga3.com. I revert to my nerd side on a regular basis by using www.gamespot.com to keep up with the latest computer game news. Google video also keeps me entertained.
Any other advice?
AdSense-related: Use link units. They are fantastic and give your users even more options.
Non-AdSense-related: When visiting European countries, always check which side of the road they drive on before crossing the main roads.