Wednesday, August 09, 2006 | 10:07:00 AM
On the AdSense team we're always talking about "hot" (good) and "cold" (bad) ad placement. I love this approach and I find myself analyzing my everyday life in the same way.
Just the other day, I had some friends over for dinner and placed the appetizer in a very "cold" place, in particular, a coffee table that my puppy Tori could reach. Needless to say, she wasted no time teaching me a lesson by eating the salmon in one gigantic bite. She was satisfied, and I was down about $20.
The lesson for AdSense is that "cold" ad placement on your pages can cost you, so if you're looking to maximize your earnings, try to place your ads in "hot" places on your site. (This can be hard to figure out because often you're juggling your users' experience and the existing layout of your site.)
The most general tip I can give is that an ad placed above the fold is "hot," and one placed below the fold is "cold." I'm not sure if that rhyme at the end will help you remember this, but I sure hope that it does. Beyond that, you need to start thinking about your site design in order to create the "hottest" ad placement. The first thing you should consider is whether your site is vertically or horizontally organized. If your site is vertically based, you might consider trying to integrate a "blazing" skyscraper on the left hand side of your pages. On the other hand, for more horizontally laid out sites I love seeing a "smoking" leaderboard placed right below the title or the first section of content. Both of these placements fit within our traditional heatmap and should work well on your sites.
The next thing you should consider is placing your ad in the "hottest" spot of them all -- the middle of the page above the fold. Let me qualify this by saying that placing a one of our button or half-banner ad formats in this location just for the sake of having an ad in this middle of the page is not a good idea. In keeping with the vertical vs. horizontal theme, you should look to see if leaderboard, banner or rectangle will fit for you and your users in this location. Other considerations are whether or not the ad itself can be wrapped by your content or if it will function as a divider between two sections of content or navigation.
I hope that the story about Tori the puppy and these examples help you create the hottest site possible. One last note: you'll never know what type of results you can get without experimenting. So start seeing what hot spots your site holds for you.
P.S. No animals were harmed in the writing of this post!