Keeping up with AdSense, August Edition

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The Inside AdSense blog is full of great tips and expert advice on topics of great interest to a modern web publisher such as content, ad viewability, mobile optimization, analytics, and more.

In Keeping up with AdSense, we compile the top insights in one handy little list. We know your time’s better spent reading one post instead of 10, and sometimes you just feel lazy — which is fine, too.

Either way, you’re welcome.

1. Optimize Mobile Ad Sizes

AdSense stresses the importance of optimizing your mobile ad sizes for maximum revenue. Statistically speaking:

  • RPM increase could be possible if you swap 320×50 ad unit with 320×100 (and place it slightly above the fold).
  • Mix 300×250 unit with content below the fold for a potential increase in CPM.
  • Keep a minimum 150 px whitespace between (enhanced-features-enabled) text ads and content to prevent accidental clicks and ruined UX.

Then again, these are guidelines, what worked for others may not work for you. Use your own good judgement and optimize to find ad placements and sizes that bring you the most revenue.

2. Matched Content

Matched content mixes relevant content from your own site and sponsored content (from around the web), this is AdSense’s foray into the native ad segment.

Put this unit where it matters — in an area where it will be highly viewable (more on that in a moment) and will look enticing enough to engage your audience.

Here are some matched content placement best practices.

Also, make sure you’re constantly monitoring their performance. Here are  some matched content metrics to monitor.

3. Improve Ad Viewability

This is the bar for viewability — at  least half of your ad unit’s pixels should be visible in the viewport for minimum 1 second. This is the next ad currency in a UX-conscious web.

Think with Google had some great insights on ad viewability. According to the report, what works best are relatively small (120×240 and 240×400 px) vertical ad units placed near the fold.

It is also stated that:

While viewability varies across industry verticals, content that holds user’s attention works best everywhere.

Bottom line: You want more viewability for ad units? Create awesome, engaging content, regardless of your niche.

4. Be Social With Google

There’s content with ‘long shelf-life’—the evergreen, helpful information that users just keep coming back to without fail. Then there’s viral content.

Adsense assigns significance on social media and the need to duly cover topical themes and events to make an impact with your social marketing. Find the latest topics with Google Trends, give it all you got with other Research Tools and create covetable content that’ll be instant hits with your audience.

Incorporate this in bite-sized, social-media-friendly formats in manners that will resonate with your audience in your strategy and you will get noticed like never before.

Here are some tips from AdSense blog on how to amplify content with social media.

5. Audience Engagement Tools

AdSense shared some UX and brand-building tips from its well-known Guide to Audience Engagement to help you create and nurture a fantastic image online.

  • Maintain a consistent voice and image across all touchpoints that your brand has with the audience. This includes the website, blogs, and just…all of the social media channels.
  • Know your audience. Know what motivates them to share content. According to NYT, 68% people share content.
  • Don’t just share and leave ’em hanging. Engage and involve your audience to create relationships that last with a brand that’s human.

There’s also a nice little list of tools to help you kick start your social media strategy. Go ahead and check it out here.

6. Get AMPed Up

AMP Project was born in an attempt to make mobile web browsing faster for every Joe who tried and failed to find information online on their phone in the time-limit of 3 seconds.

In February this year, Google started giving out positions in “Top Stories” section (for relevant mobile searches) to pages created with AMP, which immediately led to widespread adoption of AMP amongst publishers (for obvious SERP-centric reasons with a bare-bones, superfast mobile-UX benefits thrown in for good measure).

Emboldened by this success, Google launched an early preview of expanded AMP support earlier this month.

The purpose is to gain feedback from users, web developers, and site owners to “create a better mobile search experience” and to test the waters before making AMP more universally available later this year.

This gives enough time for publishers to get their act together and begin implementing AMP on their site pages.

We recently published a publisher’s guide to AMP which should come in handy if you’re still confused about the basics.

Seriously though, no matter which side you fall on, this is good news.

8. Better Content With Google Analytics

Jay Castro (of Google’s Mobile Content marketing team ) put out a brilliant post compiling ways to improve your content strategy with Google Analytics.

Here’s our take on it (with step-wise guides and hypothetical instances thrown in for laughs).

Key Takeaway

AdSense wants you (yes you!) to focus on creating content your audience wants and loves. To do that, you’ll need to know who your audience is and what exactly they expect from you.

Optimize content and ad units for mobile. Get up and AMP up your mobile experience.  Tell some stories, be funny (or radical or silly… just find your own voice), and establish a presence.

The revenue will come. Your content just has to be worth it.