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My Experience Overcoming Very Low Adsense Ctr On Forums

Discussion in 'Google Adsense' started by dcristo, Dec 22, 2015.

  1. dcristo

    Yellow Belt

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    Starting a forum can be an extremely rewarding experience if it takes off and turns into a thriving online community. But it can be a hard slog before you get there!

    Most novice forum website administrators assume that once you have a busy forum with a large number of users and active participation, the money will follow because there are lots of eyeballs browsing the site on a daily basis. But generating a lot of money from a forum requires a certain amount of thought and careful planning.

    Increase-Adsense-Earning.

    Monetizing a forum is a balancing act. You want to be careful that you don’t annoy members by displaying too many advertisements. If you are too aggressive with showing Adsense ads, you will scare away your visitors, which will result in a pretty dead forum!

    On the other hand, if the forum is not generating much in the way of revenue, then it may not make much financial sense to keep going with it if it’s not a real passion of yours and more a business. Hey, even if you originally started the forum website because it’s a passion, there isn’t anything wrong with trying to pay for your web hosting expenses and to try and make a few extra bucks.

    It is fairly common knowledge in the webmaster world that monetizing a forum website can be difficult, as they usually attract very low click through rates with Adsense. This makes sense as most of your forum visitors would be regulars that have become ad blind, as they are there to discuss stuff and participate in the community if they have something to say. They are not usually wanting to buy something.

    So what can you do to overcome the problem of low Adsense CTR on forum websites?

    Well, you definitely want to play around with where the ads are placed on your forum to see how this will affect adsense click-through rates. Initially you might want to have adsense show in between posts on the forum thread pages. Most forum visitor’s eyeballs gravitate towards the first post of a forum thread, so it makes sense to include adsense ads in this section - either between the first and second forum posts, or you can have ads side-by-side with normal content in the first post like they’ve done in this forum pictured below.

    MegaGames.PNG

    But as already mentioned, you need to find the right balance between monetizing the forum and enhancing the user experience, so you don’t want to have ads featured after every post. Instead of sacrificing the user experience of my forum visitors, this led me to thinking outside the box a little bit, as I didn’t want the ads to be too in your face and give the members a bad experience.

    One thing which has really performed well on my forums since I implemented it was adding adsense to the forum archives. I am typically experiencing much higher CTR levels on my archives as opposed to on the forum. I think this just comes down to being able to be a bit more aggressive with showing advertisements on the archive as it is not the main part of the forum. On the main forum I typically only use two of the normal adsense blocks on any one forum page, however with the archives I am a little more aggressive and show the full 3 adsense units. The archive pages are also very plain so the ads are very in your face, which probably has something to do with the higher CTR as well. Anyway, instead of me trying to make sense of why the archive pages experience better CTR, who really cares, they do and that’s all that matters.

    The other change which has also worked really well for me was adding a photo gallery to the forum website. Again, this has allowed me to be a bit more aggressive with ad placement. Another reason why I feel this has a positive effect on CTR is because the gallery pages tend to be comprise of only a few images on each page, so there is very little up and down page scrolling, so in most cases all of the ad blocks are above the fold. Keep in mind that Adsense doesn’t show targeted ads when there isn’t a lot of text on the page, so the more text you include with the images, the better CTR you can expect.

    I am sure that if you applied one or all of these suggestions, you should hopefully see a positive effect on CTR and your Adsense revenues. And without sounding like I am beating a dead horse, the main thing to keep in mind though is the experience of your forum visitors. I guess the same thing can be said about any type of website you’re trying to make money with.
     
    #1 dcristo, Dec 22, 2015 at 2:38 PM
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  2. Marth

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    A few tips I've learned over the years.
    1) Not all ad categories pay the same. General video games as a category will not pay as well as Gambling ads
    2) Having your ads blend in to your website (color and similar text) will be both more visually appealing to the traffic and can help click thru rates.
    3) Sometimes it's just a phase you can have bad months of traffic/CPM as well as peaks don''t get discouraged.
     
  3. dcristo

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    Very true. But also keep in mind Adsense is not the only way to monetize a site. Using your example, if you have a popular video gaming forum, developers may pay you to review their games, and you can make money through other direct ads.

    Good point. I was going to include this in the article. You can blend ads by removing the borders and using a similar color theme.

    It is important to test things to see what works and doesn't work. Otherwise you can't know if you are leaving money on the table.
     
    #3 dcristo, Dec 22, 2015 at 2:49 PM
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2015
  4. jazzvaga

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    Making money from adsense is not that easy, you have to write quality content regularly and then readers will be convinced to click on a certain section that is appearing in your forum.

    This way your CTR will improve automatically, stick to your habit for a longer time before giving up.
     
  5. dcristo

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    A forum produces user generated content. You have no control over the content. All you can really do is ensure the forum doesn't have spam, or as little of it as possible. That way, it will encourage good discussions and keep users returning back to the forum.
     
  6. jazzvaga

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    Keeping the content part good enough & making readers to click on certain ads or links drive the CTR graph up in a certain time period, this is what can be done.

    Its not just writing & writing all around, but to make sure our motive to keep CTR growing as well.
     

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