How Does Google AdSense Define a Page View and CTR?

Before we start with optimization, we need to understand when AdSense considers a page was viewed. For Adsense, anytime a page loads the ads. It is considered a page view. Ads get impressions when the ads are loaded in different areas of the publisher’s website while a visitor is browsing the pages.

The Click-through rate is the percentage of users who click on an ad by the total impressions. Publishers sometimes have a lot of pageviews but very low CTR, indicating a high percentage of visitors “bounce off” the page.

What is Google Active view?

Active View is a technology available in Google services, such as YouTube and other Display Network websites, that lets Google Ads check if your ad is viewable. It measures the viewability of ads is measured by the standards of the Media Rating Council.

  • Google Ads counts a display ad as viewable when at least 50% of the area is visible on the screen for at least 1 second.
  • The ad is viewable for display ads of 242,500 pixels or more when at least 30% of it should be viewable.
  • Video ads are viewable when at least 50% of the ad is visible on the screen. The video should pay for at least 2 seconds.

Basic Optimization Practices

1. Maximize Conversions With Multiple Ad Units

Mixing ad units of more than one type and size on your page is a simple method to increase your click rate.

Multiple Ad Units

Placement is key. The best-located ad should show up first on your page, so the highest bidders will get this premium location, and increase your earnings.

Keep in mind, though, that AdSense has a maximum ad policy. You can place up to three AdSense content units, up to three link units, and up to two search units on each page.

2. Reduce The Number of Ads Above The Fold

Above the fold is the part of the web page that is visible for the user without scrolling down.  Understandably, this position is more desired and more expensive than below the fold.

Many publishers make the mistake of placing too many ads above the fold, cluttering the space, and annoying visitors. Google took this into account, and now penalizes pages with too many ads above the fold. 

If you click on a website and the part of the website you see first either doesn’t have a lot of visible content above-the-fold or dedicates a large fraction of the site’s initial screen real estate to ads, that’s not a very good user experience. Such sites may not rank as highly going forward.” (Google webmaster blog)

3. Don’t Forget to A/B Test Your Ads

This is a basic step of digital advertising, yet many times marketers overlook it. Google AdSense enables you to experiment with ad units, to choose the best performing one. You can test how your ad performs with only text, or with text and images, for example. Or analyze how changing the background color may increase the number of clicks. 

Preparing an A/B test requires a bit of effort, as you need to create at least two versions of the same ad, prepare and monitor your experiment, and finally analyze the metrics to choose the winner. Leading monetization platforms, however, can ease your work by adding advanced A/B testing features to the software. These tools create multiple variations of an ad unit, prepare and conduct the test and then select the winner.

A/B Testing of Ads

Source: Google AdSense.

4. Implement Responsive Ads

Responsive web design is no longer a trend but a must-have, since they contribute to a better user experience. Users today find ads on multiple devices with multiple screen sizes. Therefore, ads that adjust to the size of the screen draw more of the user’s attention. Responsive ads get a higher click-through rate (CTR) than non-responsive.  

You can create responsive ads in your Google Ads account by following these steps: 

1.  Log into your Google Ads Account.
2. On the menu, click “All Campaigns”.
3. Select “Display Campaigns” – choose the campaign you want to make responsive.
4. Click on “Ads and Extensions”, then “Ads”.
5. Click on the plus “+” button.
6. Select “Responsive display ad”.
7. Choose the “ad group”.
8. Add and save images or video.
9. Add headlines, descriptions, business name, and link.
10. Preview and save the ad.

 

5. Link your Analytics Account to Your AdSense Account

By linking your AdSense and Google Analytics accounts, you can have access to AdSense metrics.  You can track revenue, clicks, and impressions to better understand how your site is monetizing.

Link your Analytics account to your Adsense Account

Source: Google AdSense

Use this data to adjust the ad load and optimize the position of the ad, and your content. You can also use insights from Google Analytics to refine the ad units.

6. Focus On The User

Don’t forget that the real goal is to deliver value to the user and enrich their experience. UX (User experience) is then key to giving satisfaction to potential customers. Too many ads can have a negative effect on the user. 

Mixing ads and content in a balanced way can ensure a smooth user experience and reduced bounce rates. Consider the position of the ads, they should be placed to integrate as seamlessly as possible with the content. Also, both the ads and the page should focus in usability.

7. Enhance The Quality of Your Content

When it comes to improving your AdSense revenue, the quality of your content is a must. If your content doesn’t drive traffic, you don’t get money. To optimize your content, there are some tips coming from the Google algorithm itself. Google rewards content that is interesting to the user, is published on a regular basis, and shows expertise in the topic your visitors are interested in. 

Keep in mind, that while visitors may be interested in the ads, they are on your site for the content. Even if the ad is interesting and relevant, if your content is as engaging as it should, visitors will scroll down and may forget the ad. 

You can solve this by adding hovering, sticky, or floating ads, that will “follow” the user as they scroll down with the content.

Enhance your quality of content

An example of sticky ads: Image source

Learn more about how to optimize your site for search engines

8. Create and Nurture Your Audience

Before setting up AdSense, make it sure you built an engaged audience that can bring revenue. Filling your website with ads before your visitors know about it, is a sure recipe for failure. Moreover, in this cookie-less world, is more important than ever to create an audience of subscribers, readers, and regular visitors to your site, before you start monetizing with ads. By doing this, you will also make your site more attractive to advertisers.

9. Customize Ad Styles and Sizes

Optimizing for size is more than using responsive ads. You should create different layouts for different devices to be sure the ads are displayed in the right place. Relaying on responsive technology without customization can result in a banner taking up too much screen space or being placed in the wrong place on the screen. 

So, what can you do to prevent these issues? Assess the performance of the ads on mobiles such as tablets and smartphones, and add a layout just for mobile devices. 

Another common issue is when the ad styles don’t match the page’s aesthetics or content. Check that the ads are consistent and blend with the page’s layout and content for a seamless user experience. Using contextual ads delivers ad units that best match the user intent and the page content.  

10. Use AdSense Filters to Your Advantage

While filters don’t directly increase the revenue, they can help you filter out ads that may clash with your site’s content. However, don’t go overboard, filtering too much can have a negative impact on your revenue.

Use AdSense Filters to Your Advantage

Source: Google AdSense

Test how different ad category filters impact visitors, by turning on filters that can improve the experience for your visitors, then measure how visitors react. Check bounce rates, time on site, and engagement time. Then compare with the data when the filters are turned off. By doing this you will get accurate data about how effective are AdSense filters on your visitors.

11. Create Custom Channels

If you haven’t set up custom channels in your AdSense account, you should start. With custom channels, you can create groups of ads or placements advertisers can target directly. By doing this, the competition for your ad space will increase. 

Custom channels let you group individual ad units and get performance data for each group. For instance, tracking how your top-right ad is performing. You can also track ad units by adding custom channel IDs to your ad unit code. For instance, to track how much you earn in a group vs another. 

Here’s an example from the Google AdSense Help page

Google Adsense Help Page

How do you create a custom channel? 

  1. Enter your AdSense account / Reports
  2. Click on Settings
  3. Select Manage custom channels
  4. Select Add channel
  5. Choose your AdSense product and give your channel a descriptive name.
  6. Choose which ad units you want to track with this channel.
  7. Click Add. 

You can learn how to manage, remove and activate custom channels on the Google AdSense Help page. 

12. Beware of AdSense errors and issues

Sometimes your AdSense console will flag errors and warnings. Here are some of the most common and how can you fix them: 

  • Crawler errors: “Robot denied”. This error message indicates the AdSense Bot cannot reach your site. If this happens, remove these two lines from the robots.txt file and you’ll grant access to the AdSense crawler:User-agent: Mediapartners-Google

    Disallow: /

  • Missing ads.txt file:  You can get a warning in your AdSense account if one or more ads.txt files don’t have your AdSense publisher ID. To fix it: go to Sites/Overview on your AdSense account and verify on which sites you need to add the publisher ID.
  • Fluid responsive ads must be at least 250px wide: Let’s say the available width is 225px, you will get an error message. This warning appears if Google didn’t have enough space to display the ad, and the ad space will stay empty. To solve this, you can place smaller ads or change your layout.

AdSense Optimization Tips for Video Ads

Video ads require their own optimization. Here are some best practices:

Use a third-party HTML5 Video Player

There are many third-party video players that support video ads delivered by the Google Ad Manager and AdSense for Video. If your site doesn’t already support an HTML5 video player, add a third-party tool. You can find a list of video technology companies partnering with Google.

Use All Ad Formats

The Google IMA SDK supports multiple video ad types, including linear, non-linear, non-skippable, and skippable. For instance, an overlay (non-linear) ad appears over the bottom third of the screen and it is available only for web video players.

Video Ad Types

To maximize your revenue, mix all types of video ads.

Enhance reporting by assigning channels.

Similarly to custom channels or regular ads, you can assign channels to video ads. Channels enable you to check reports on the performance of each page or ad unit. For instance, you can track the performance of your video ads on different pages.

Advanced Google AdSense Optimization Tips

1. Detect and fix invalid traffic

What is invalid traffic? According to Google: “Invalid click activity consists of any clicks or impressions that may artificially inflate an advertiser’s costs or a publisher’s earnings, and for which we decide not to charge the advertiser. This includes, but is not limited to, clicks or impressions generated by a publisher clicking on his own ads, a publisher encouraging clicks on his ads, automated clicking tools or traffic sources, robots, or other deceptive software.”

If you get invalid traffic often, you risk your account suspension, regardless of where this traffic is coming from. 

What can you do? Some of the tips recommended by Google include avoiding low-quality traffic sources, beware of social media paid traffic, and having a healthy balance of ads and content.

2. Block or Unblock Categories

By default, AdSense marks the safe categories as “enabled” and disables the risky categories. Most publishers go with the default settings. However, there is a common pitfall here. 

Many publishers think that it is better to allow all available categories to increase advertiser competition. But in reality, some categories will have a higher CPC and others a high CTR. You should choose the categories with a high CTR and low CPC. How do you do that?

Look at the performance reports and check which categories are underperforming, for instance,  categories that have a lot of impressions but low revenue. These are the ones to block.

3. Use AdSense smart pricing feature to get higher CPCs

The smart pricing algorithm will track the conversions of the ad for the advertisers, so websites with higher conversions get higher CPC bids.

How can you make Smart Pricing work for you? First, block underperforming categories. Then review the layout so you don’t bring non-converting traffic. To achieve that, assess your customer journey, providing relevant content designed for each part of that journey.

4. Use advanced GeoTargeting

Almost anyone around the world can see your site, but a too wide approach can impact your revenue. Some countries have higher CPC than others, such as developed countries (UK US, Canada, and Australia). If your site is not in English, add an English section to get higher CPC views. 

If your site is in English, focus to build an audience in those better-paid locations. Check the Countries section in your AdSense performance report.  Then focus on bringing more traffic from the areas with the highest CPC.

FAQs

  • 1. How do I optimize AdSense ads?

    Some tips recommended by Google include:

    • Try Auto ads: they are easy to set up and offer customization options and different ad formats.
    • Test and experiment with your ad settings, (A/B testing, for example). You can also let Google run experiments according to your ad format settings.
    • Increase the number of viewable ad impressions on your site. For instance, reducing the page length and placing ads above the fold. This will lead to more clicks.

  • 2. How much traffic is good for AdSense?

    While AdSense doesn’t have a traffic minimum to apply, you need to make a reasonable amount of traffic to make revenue. There are other conditions that you need to meet to be accepted on AdSense:

    • Your site should have enough content to be reviewed.
    • The site design needs to be usable.
    • You need to have enough essential and relevant pages on it.

  • 3. Why is my AdSense revenue low?

    The most common causes of low AdSense revenue include invalid clicks, wrong ad placement, declining CPC, and low-quality traffic sources. Try to follow the above tips to fix these issues that can cut into your earnings.

  • 1. How do I optimize AdSense ads?

    Some tips recommended by Google include:

    • Try Auto ads: they are easy to set up and offer customization options and different ad formats.
    • Test and experiment with your ad settings, (A/B testing, for example). You can also let Google run experiments according to your ad format settings.
    • Increase the number of viewable ad impressions on your site. For instance, reducing the page length and placing ads above the fold. This will lead to more clicks.

  • 2. How much traffic is good for AdSense?

    While AdSense doesn’t have a traffic minimum to apply, you need to make a reasonable amount of traffic to make revenue. There are other conditions that you need to meet to be accepted on AdSense:

    • Your site should have enough content to be reviewed.
    • The site design needs to be usable.
    • You need to have enough essential and relevant pages on it.

  • 3. Why is my AdSense revenue low?

    The most common causes of low AdSense revenue include invalid clicks, wrong ad placement, declining CPC, and low-quality traffic sources. Try to follow the above tips to fix these issues that can cut into your earnings.

You optimized your ads, what’s next?

Good for you, your ads are optimized for your content, you have an engaged audience and everything seems right. Now it is time to take your monetization efforts to the next level. Leveraging a monetization platform can ensure your visitors are getting the most relevant ads for their intent and content. 

CodeFuel is a complete monetization platform with a mission to deliver native and contextual ads that improve the user experience. The platform delivers ads finely targeted to the user intent, which provide value and enrich their experience, increasing clicks and revenue. 

How does it work? CodeFuel uses machine learning and advanced analytics to understand users’ intent and the context of the digital property. Then the platform serves ads tailored to it, which blend with the context and don’t disrupt the customer journey. CodeFuel works with major ad networks such as Bing and Google Sense to deliver the maximum possible results to publishers. Learn more about how CodeFuel can help with site monetization.