We have researched, tested, and re-tested our ad placements to make sure that they are performing at peak levels, have high viewability, and aren't obnoxious to your readers.
In order to make that all work, your content needs to work with your ads to make the most out of how your readers are actually engaging with your site.
Write your post narrative so that it has short paragraphs separated with pictures.
Longer content on screen will allow us to run more in-content ads on mobile and on desktop, and will also get users to your bottom sidebar ad quicker.
The goal is at least 4-5 in-content ads per post, for best performance.
(When checking your posts for in-content ads, make sure and append
"?test=houseads" without the quotes onto the end of the URL, and test in an incognito window. That'll ensure you are seeing accurate placements.)
It will always pay off to have lots of short text paragraphs and images to make your post longer. Plus, writing with shorter paragraphs and a space in-between makes for easier reading on all devices.
The longer your posts are, the more google likes you. Google rewards "good" content, and one of the ways they judge that is by length. Try to shoot for 300 words or more, not including the recipe (if you run one).
Keep your sidebar short and sweet.
As you can see, we run only two ads in the sidebar. One at the top and a "sticky" ad at the bottom. We have found that these ads work the very best when the sidebar is not loaded with content.
The sticky ad is at its best performance when it comes into view quickly and stays with the user for a significant stretch of time as they scroll down the page.
Advertisers love it, and pay well for it. It has to be the last thing in your sidebar, because it is a major ad exchange violation to have it scroll over other ads or content. That's why we suggest keeping the sidebar widgets on the lean side.
The shorter the sidebar, the less the user has to scroll down to see that bottom unit, raising its viewability. The better viewability for your ads, the better CPMs our networks will begin to offer -which puts more money in your pocket.
One caveat: If you are utilizing the Optimize Ads for Desktop Pagespeed feature, you may want to place a sidebar widget (or two short widgets) at the top of the sidebar that will effectively push the first ad "below the fold" and out of the first screenview.
Please remember that if you make changes to your sidebar you will need to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to have your ads retargeted.
Use Page-Level Data
Page-Level Data is a powerful tool that offers a ton of useful information to help guide your optimization efforts. Metrics like Impressions per Page, CPM, and Viewability can help narrow down which posts are performing well and which posts are in need of optimization.
Site Health Checks
Once your ads have been live for a week, you'll also get our amazing Site Health Checks that'll show you where there are opportunities for optimizations!