Where in a page layout they should leave room for advertising for the best results is always a difficult question to answer publishers, but thanks to a large-scale study by Casale Media we now have a few statistics on hand.
Ads Should Be Above The Fold
Common practice has determined that leaderboards (728x90px banners) should be positioned above the fold, as users will see the ad on first looking at the page. Many ad networks already have this placement as a requirement, but the study has shown that above the fold placement is seven times more effective than below the fold. That is a huge margin and one that should be taken note of by all publishers when designing their websites.
The First Ads Shown To Users Are The Most Effective
Banner blindness is something we all have to contend with, as CTR averages remain around the 0.2% mark for online display advertising – but there is more to this than users just becoming blind to common ad formats as they use the web more heavily. Users are also more likely to click through on an ad if that ad is one of the first few shown to them during that browsing session. It appears that for each site, a user scans more of the page layout at the start of their visit before their interest is focused on the content – and this is the time when advertising is the most effective. Banner blindness becomes more of a problem as their browsing session continues and they become “used” to the design and ad placements on that website.
Repetition Works To An Extent
Ads shown to users over five times were 12-14 times more effective than ads shown less than five times, so whilst banner blindness may increase over many pageviews – the ad is at least being subconsciously viewed and interpreted – with the more impressions, the more effective the ad. There is a point, however, when oversaturation occurs and the interest of that user again falls – so advertisers should cap the number of ads shown per user.
Both publishers and advertisers want to run successful online display advertising campaigns, as better ROIs for advertisers mean better eCPMs for publishers – studies like this should help us put together more effective campaigns for everyone’s benefit.