I love writing content online, and I also love Google Adsense. Adsense is a great program that helps online publishers earn revenue from their content. Since I do run my sites as a commercial enterprise (meaning I do earn revenue that exceeds expenses), I do take the time to try and maximize my revenues.
So I have been researching ways to increase Google Adsense revenue, and I stumbled upon an interesting idea: Less Adsense ads per page may increase total revenue.
Do Less Adsense Units Per Page Make More Revenue (Money) Per Click?
First let me back up and explain the theory on how this supposedly works. Adsense advertisers use a “bidding” process to bid for their ad placements. The highest bidder for a particular phrase or keyword will have the top ad placement, at the top ad unit that first appears in your page’s HTML code.
The more ad units (and ad spaces) you have on your page, the more bids there will be. So the theory works by saying if you only have 1 Adsense unit on your page (as opposed to the maximum 3), you will increase your revenue since the only bidders that show up will have higher costs per click.
To illustrate how this will work, let me give a brief example:
If you used all 3 Adsense units (that show both image and text ads), and you placed a large skyscraper, and 2 large square sized ads on your page. In this example, you can have up to 13 different ad slots (5 text on the skyscraper, and 4 text on the large squares each).
Of course, sometimes the large square or skyscraper may be an image ad, in which case only 1 ad slot counts. But assuming they are all text ads, there may be as many as 13 different ad slots.
So if there are this many slots on your 3 Adsense units, the clicks may be priced as follows:
As you can see, if someone clicked on the last Adsense unit on your page, and clicked a lower ad, it would result in a lower click earning. However, if they clicked the top ads, it would result in a higher click earning.
The theory then goes, that if you only use 1 or 2 Adsense units on your page, you will reduce the number of low paying clicks.
So in the other example, assuming you only have 1 large Adsense square (with both image and text ads set), you could have 1-4 ads slots displaying on the page only (depending on whether an image or text ad shows). The costs per click may look something like this:
Thus, the one ad would result in the highest click, and you would earn more revenue. I researched this and looked at a lot of threads and posts by other bloggers and webmasters online, and I was eager to see if this worked. Some said it worked great, others said they earned less using this method.
On one forum, an actual Adsense advisor recommeded people use the maximum number of ad units (3), and that they use the larger formats to maximize revenue. So needless to say, there was a lot of conflicting information, so I thought I had better try this myself.
Did My Adsense Revenue Increase or Decrease with Less Ad Units?
I spent a few hours preparing this experiment across all of my blogs/sites so I could get a good feel for whether or not it was working. So I took down all ads except for 1 large square.
I then waited eagerly to see if it was going to change my revenue earnings. The first day earned a normal amount of revenue (it was only 1/2 day actually, since the first half had the normal amount of ads). So it seemed as if perhaps it was working.
The second day seen a noticeable drop in earnings. The next day was again low. Then the next. The difference was about 5-10 from my average earnings. Then it went slightly up compared to the drop the next day, but still not up to the usual earning amount.
In fact, this theory was quickly disproved when I saw some very low “clicks” that came in on one of my other sites. I then realized that even though Adsense and Adwords does use a bidding process, there are other factors at play.
I then experimented some more, and changed it to 2 small ad units (200X200 square), and added one on top and one on the bottom of my page. This did not make much of an impact either, and the earnings were still low.
I let this experiment run for about a week and a half to make sure that it wasn’t just a small dip that was unrelated to the ad change (and Adense does seem to have cycles of higher earning days sometimes). It wasn’t. My traffic was the same as before I tried the experiment, and the low costs per click made me realize that the theory simply didn’t work.
Therefore, I then placed all 3 ad units back on the page (set to both image and text ads), and used the 3 largest formats (large skyscraper, and 2 large squares).
Then, within a day or two my earnings were back up. In fact, they continued to climb and are still slowly creeping up even today by a few dollars each month.
Conclusion: Less Ads Do NOT Equal More Revenue with Adsense Always
I did try this on all of my websites to get a strong idea of whether or not it was working. Unfortunately, on every site the earnings were down. I received less clicks, and less revenue per click in many cases as well.
Therefore, it seems as if the Adsense Advisors were correct: By using the 3 Adsense units, and using the 3 largest ad types, you can increase your overall revenue.
So I added all of the ads back on my sites, and decided to just focus on writing more content and getting more traffic. I feel that for now I have “tweaked” my ads enough to maximize their earning potential, and now I just need to build up my site’s content, provide useful articles, and build traffic.
Why Do More Ads Still Equal More Revenue Then?
The theory of “less is more” certainly seems logical, but I think the reason it didn’t work is because it left out a few important facts. First, you have to assume that Adsense will display the full amount of ads every time a page loads on your site. It doesn’t.
Many times I will see that for a large square, only 2 text ads will display. Of course when an image ad appears, it is only 1 ad. So you could have all 3 ad units on your page, and still only have as few as 3-5 ad units appearing.
Add that to the fact that the larger ads are more appealing to advertisers since they can get more “space” on your site to show their product. This increases competition and “bids” for the larger ads.
Also, the more ads that appear on your page, the more likely a person is going to see something they are interested in. Therefore it is no secret that there is a strong correlation with number of ads and number of clicks.
I suppose the Adsense advisor that posted on the site realized all of this, and that is how they knew that from experience, more ads will help you maximize and optimize your Adsense earnings.
Of course, every person should experiment themselves with different sized units, colors, and number of ads on their own site. Some people may receive a different result than I did. But overall, I know that I will maintain the 3 full ads on my site until something changes.