18 tips for Maximizing Ad Revenue with Website Design

In previous posts, we’ve written quite a bit about different techniques and strategies publishers can use to maximize ad revenue. One key element that all of these strategies require is a site design that lends to a good user experience with a layout that also maximizes ad revenue and performance.

Whether your sites user sessions are long tail or a single pageview, we’ve put together a list of 18 things to keep in mind with your site’s design that will allow you to maximize your return from your programmatic and static demand partners.

  1. No more than five ad placements per page though there certainly doesn’t have to be five on each page.
  2. Create ad slots that enable the max ad size that could be served. Ex. 300×1050 could also serve a 300×600 or 300×250 or 160×600.
  3. Centered layout that allows for site skinning.
  4. Ads should be as integrated as possible into the user workflow. A part of the site vs. pasted onto the site.
  5. Ads shouldn’t appear directly so close to navigation links that fradulent mis clicks could occur.
  6. Viewability. The designer should consider whether 50%+ of the ad is likely to be viewed for more than 1 second. If not, it’s likely not going to be considered viewable.
  7. If possible, each page should contain the three most common IAB ad unit sizes: 728×90, 300×250 and 160×600.
  8. If you’re going to run two placements, the ideal placement to double up on is the 300×250 because it returns the highest value.
  9. Don’t encourage quick scrolling that will lead to non-viewable ad placements.
  10. There needs to be padding (native content) between ad placements.
  11. Ad placements shouldn’t intersect with one another at any point.
  12. Have a small caption underneath each advertisement letting viewers know that the image is an advertisement.
  13. Refrain from pop-up advertisements. If you run them, make sure they’re capped 1/24 and have a clear close button.
  14. You do not need consistent ad templates across your site’s pages.
  15. Always have at least one advertisement in a reader’s sight.
  16. Comments are not content and placing ads in the comments looks bad, and can turn readers away.
  17. For sites with usage across multiple device types, create designs and ad setups specific to the device (desktop-specific units vs. mobile ad units – ex: desktop 728×90 vs. mobile 320×50 for the leaderboard).
  18. Consider locked rails/auto-refresh if your site does not have many pageviews and long time spent on individual pages – check with ad team first to make sure this doesn’t violate user agreements.