This case study reprint is at least 5 years old, but the principles behind it still holds true today. I am inspired to optimize my Google AdSense ads placement on my sites and I recommend you to read one of “official” Google Adsense case studies.
Askthebuilder.com used testing to grow revenue from $10,000 to more than $30,000 a month with Google AdSense.
Case study : Ask The Builder: www.Askthebuilder.com
People seeking authoritative advice on everything from sealing asphalt to installing crown molding often turn to AsktheBuilder.com for the information they need. There, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist Tim Carter delivers practical tips, in-depth how-to’s, and product information for handymen and handywomen across the country.
Carter is a licensed master plumber and carpenter with his own radio show. He also makes frequent television appearances. Since founding AsktheBuilder.com in 1995, his primary focus has been catering to an avid following of fellow builders on the site. As he says, “I spend a tremendous amount of time writing articles, answering people’s emails, and creating quality content for my site.”
To bolster the value of his content and offer promotions on useful, relevant products and services to readers, Carter began providing contextual ads on his own in 1996. He displayed ads containing photographs and set high standards for the information in the ads. “I made certain the ads were truthful and respectful, and I turned down more than 100 advertisers in the screening process,” explains Carter. He also achieved exceptional levels of success, with a clickthrough rate of 20 to 40 percent.
“Visitors to my site are usually in a significant amount of pain. Their roof is leaking or they have a crack in their foundation,” says Carter. “I want to solve their problems, and that’s what AdSense does. AdSense provides instantaneous solutions to problems that my visitors have.”
The only issue was that signing up and maintaining a stable of advertisers was practically a full-time job for Carter, who preferred to focus on content development.
In April 2004, Carter learned about AdSense for content sites. He recognized that it would enable him to reach thousands of advertisers and screen ad quality with minimal time and effort. Carter immediately experienced a jump in advertising revenue of 400 percent. His monthly advertising revenues, including AdSense, grew from $1,500 to $7,500. Realizing that this relatively small change in advertising strategy had a big impact on revenues, Carter set out to fine-tune his AdSense program to maximize his cash flow and content exposure.
Carter quickly began tests using AdSense channels, trying different ad formats, colors, and placement to gauge relative effectiveness. He tracked each change by channel to determine if adjustments resulted in increased revenues. He immediately found ads with a yellow background resulted in a 40 percent drop in income, so he discontinued them. And he also found ways to dramatically improve performance.
One winning strategy Carter discovered is a rectangular format: the inline rectangle worked well with his content layout. He saw a 20 percent jump in revenue from placing the rectangle in the upper left corner inside his articles. He has also been able to match AdSense ads with the color scheme on his website to deliver visual continuity that’s appealing to readers. With his recent implementation of the link units format in the upper left corner under the site search bar, Tim was astonished to see an 18 percent jump in his revenues.
Carter also tested placement of ads and ad unit sizes to gauge performance. “I now put ad units above the fold and to the left before I place them anywhere else,” he says.
He also saw that AdSense units perform well when they are within the body of his articles.
Tim’s AdSense revenues now average $1400 a day and growing. Overall, Carter is enthusiastic about AdSense: it allows him to focus on content development, and gives him built-in tools to measure ad performance and make changes to maximize revenues. “People come to me for help,” says Carter. “They get what they need from my columns and advice – and also from ads delivered by AdSense.”
About Google AdSense
Google AdSense is a program enabling online businesses to earn revenue from serving ads precisely targeted to specific web content and search pages. With service levels ranging from online sign-up to dedicated support management, a broad range of sites profit from AdSense. Thousands of Google advertisers also benefit from AdSense by gaining exposure on sites across the Google Network, which includes many of the Top 100 Media Metrix sites such as AOL, About.com, Amazon, Ask.com, and Lycos. For more information, visit www.google.com/adsense.