Just The Facts Ma’am!
Ever wonder how well sidebar banner ads really fair under real world testing?
So did I!
And when I went looking very very few CURRENT people were reporting data fostering my belief that all was not peaches and ponies!
Now mind you, this was by NO MEANS a comprehensive test.
However, I used the cool MaxBlogPress Max Banner Ads plugin to test 2 groups of 3 banners, in rotation, in my sidebar. (Solid plugin, btw) I was interested in how their click through rates (CRTs) would fair.
One group was situated about 2/5th of the way down my sidebar and the other was about 4/5ths of the way down. While neither of these are “prime time” spots, frankly I’m not a banner ad marketer and I was testing as much for me as for anyone.
Yes, these numbers WOULD have been higher if I had shoved one of them up to the highest spot in my right hand sidebar as many marketers do – however, for most skilled social media marketers that spot is reserved for the thing that makes us the REAL money – our list building offer.
I have been running this plugin for in excess of six months and by now there is no doubt the numbers are statistically significant for my site and those two locations in blended average.
At first it would seem that those click through % numbers are miscalculated – until you double check the math!
0.24 PERCENT for the BEST one – yuck!
Don’t get me wrong, their locations are sub optimal, but let me repeat, YUCK!
You can see I’ve just gone through and put a red x (disabled) next to some of the lowest performers (0.15-0.16 percent) but as I’m writing this I’ve decided it’s time to remove the plugin (yay for a faster loading blog) and replace those 2 widgets with a single – hard coded widget – with 3 of my favorite ones that performed well.
This will result in less plugins lowdown of my blog, a chance for the images to be optimized and cached (again faster loading), no more backlinks for MaxBlogPress since I was using their free version, a little more room in my sidebar … and potentially a few less sales… although with those numbers I doubt I’ll notice!
There’s actually a possibility that by highlighting only 3 that are really doing better than the rest that my net income could go up. Either way, it’s not going to significantly dent my wallet and it will make for a better user experience.
Now, many of my fellow blogging friends use Buy Sell Ads to sell ad space for banner ads. As I’ve not gone that route, if you are one such blogger, would you mind sharing what your REAL stats look like on CTRs for those boxes?
Most that are offering BuySellAds are also placing theirs at a higher (better) location than I did so by default they’re going to have a slightly higher CTR. How much better? Well that’s something that’s REALLY important to anyone buying ad-space to find out!
So it was an interesting experiment in social blogging and information gathering. I had a fun run with this plugin (it really is a solid plugin) but the overall click through rates are just dismal.
There are of course a lot of variables that go into those rates and a lot of optimizing that could be done but since most people indicate that in a “best case scenario” that 2% CTR would be awesome, I’m just not feeling it’s worth it to bring quite that high volume of ad-spam to my readers when I can tighten things up and optimize and focus more on the great income list building brings. (Of course, without this test, I wouldn’t know which ones were getting better CTRs, so I learned a lot here.)
What has your experience been like with sidebar banner ads? Whether as a blog owner or as a visitor to sites using them how do you feel about them. If you run a blog that uses them what are your CTRs running?
I look forward to hearing from you!
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