Advertising that pays by the view – or by the thousand views, as it happens – is rarely worth the screen real estate it takes up. Clicks are where it’s at; conversions even more so. Obviously, then, you want to do everything you can to maximize the number of people clicking through your ads. You can’t just go out and buy clicks; the abuse will get you removed from the ad program. Your best bet is to study and streamline every aspect of your ads. Here’s how.
This only applies to ads that involve images, of course. What guidelines can you follow to make sure your images are the best they can be?
Split-test different images with subsets of incoming visitors to best determine which images work. Sometimes, a simple color change can make all the difference. Sometimes you need a whole new image.
This applies to both text and graphical ads, assuming the graphical ads come with accompanying text. You have limited space – less than 20 words, generally – to make your ad stand out. Here are some tips for optimizing your copy.
Change up your copy periodically, and test it the same way you would images. Just don’t test both changes at once! If you do, you won’t know which change was the one that had the beneficial or detrimental effect.
Where, on your page, are your ads positioned? Sidebar ads are some of the most easily ignored, lowest-converting ads available. Top header ads can be lucrative, but they can also look spammy. Ads in your footer are easily ignored, because they’re below the fold. Ads in your text need to be differentiated from non-ad links, and ads that disrupt the text need to be carefully positioned to avoid disrupting the user’s thoughts.
Every position has a drawback, and your audience may respond differently than other audiences on other sites. All you can do is test different positions and figure out what works best.
What are you advertising? The content of your ads – the product you’re selling – makes a difference. If you’re a blog about home repairs, running ads for a travel agency is unlikely to provide the conversions you want. On the other hand, affiliate links to the Amazon tools section might perform much better.
The key here is relevance. You need to sell something, or post affiliate links to something, or accept ads to something that is relevant to your audience. You should avoid the biggest spammy ads, like smiley/screensaver packs or pharmacy storefronts. You should, instead, sell something you yourself would be interested in buying. In fact, some of the best affiliates are those you link to in reviews because you honestly love the product.
How targeted is your traffic? Where is it coming from? If you bring in better traffic, and more of it, they’ll be more interested in your ads both from a personal interest standpoint and from a “support the site I love” standpoint.
To this end, you need to focus your content on bringing in more people, specifically more people interested in the stuff you’re advertising. Write related content, like reviews, guides and tutorials. Write content angled at the people who would use those tools or products.
You can buy traffic, but that traffic needs to be focused. Clickfarm traffic does you no good, because the people or robots coming to visit aren’t doing anything to click your ads. For that matter, if they do click your ads, you risk program removal if your traffic purchase is detected.
Okay, so optimizing your landing pages is a bit out of range for this article. Your landing page doesn’t increase clicks, but it can make more of those clicks turn into conversions. Part of the problem, particularly with affiliate links, is that you don’t control the landing page. If you do control it, however, do your best to optimize it.
If you’re selling products of your own, or have some control over the deals you offer on your site, you might consider making those deals better. If you’re selling an ebook for $10, and you get 1,000 purchases, you’ve made $10,000. On the other hand, if you reduce the price to $5, you might get 2,500 purchases, which gets you $12,500. It’s up to you to test different offers and figure out what converts at the highest rates, while maximizing your profits.
One trick you can use here is the time-sensitive offer, particularly if you’re using remarketing in some way. Offer a product to a user, and if they don’t bite, track the next time they come by. This second visit, offer them the product at a one-time discounted offer. You’ll get a lot of conversions simply based on people who don’t want to miss a good deal.
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Do you know if this will hurt my earning CPC at all? I’m trying not to set off Google’s “smart pricing” algorithm by getting too many low quality clicks….