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I am wondering where I should place adverts for my site. I understand a bit about human computer interaction. So I am assuming that the adverts need to be positioned in places where they will catch the users attention to be clicked. I also know that adverts can be very irritating. I am wondering what the best position is to place adverts.

I know some sites place their adverts in the side bars and some place adverts at the end of each article. What is the best of both worlds which takes into account the best way to get the users' attention about the advert without being irritating to them? Right now I have placed my adverts on the edge of my page.

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You say you want your users to click those adverts. How willing are you to sacrifice the UX of your service to improve your PPC revenues? –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Apr 20 '12 at 18:25
    
What kind of site do you run? A blog? What do you mean by irritating? Ads are mostly annoying to users and often distract them from the content of the site. –  greenforest Apr 20 '12 at 19:40

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Alex Kirtland just recently published an article which discribes 10 good rules on advertisement on websites in his article Ads Are Here To Stay: Planning For Ad Placement:

  1. Wrap the ad
  2. Cluster the ads
  3. Use leaderboards
  4. Use multiple layouts
  5. Place ads beyond 800 x 600
  6. Hold firm on pop-up ads
  7. Create guidelines: the ad styleguide
  8. Check the business model
  9. Take advantage of text-only ads (ala Overture and Google)
  10. Personalize the ad

These are som very advices, which one could start with. Personally I disregard ads that follow me down on scrolling on the right hand side. These are annoying and can have the opposite effect. I like ads that doesn't move, and are placed away from the content I want to read.

The same goes for pop-up ads. Don't use them. The only time a pop-up is OK to use is if your measuring your web site through a survey and not trying to sell anything.

Also flashing ads should be avoided, since they disturb the user and most probably have the opposite effect. On general, be careful and group ads together making it clear what are ads and what is not. Then the ads can be useful and make profit for your customers and of value to your users.

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+1 for link to article. I consider especially 'Place ads beyond 800x600' and 'Hold firm on pop-ups' as good UX advice. –  greenforest Apr 20 '12 at 19:52
    
Thanx @user12999 (who would probably change username to be more useful :-), I agree. I wanted to write something on mobile ads as well, but it was off topic on this question. –  Benny Skogberg Apr 20 '12 at 19:59
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yes, one day I'll change my username :-) –  greenforest Apr 20 '12 at 20:44

User Experience and Marketing are often at odds with each other. While ad placement should obviously not interfere with the usefulness of the site, ads are often there to make sure the site stays in business.

The key is really to focus on good user experience of the ads. Are they contextually appropriate? Written well? On message? Properly targeted? etc.

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You might be aware of this phenomenon known as "banner blindness" http://www.useit.com/alertbox/banner-blindness.html

Essentially, it means users do not look at anything that resembles an ad banner like those often seen on the top and sides of pages.

Instead, you might try to integrate "paid content" or relevant ads with your normal content so that it is less intrusive to the user experience, which your visitors will naturally appreciate if the advertisements are relevant to the rest of the content on the page.

Note this example from Amazon: enter image description here

The "Product Ads from External Websites" are display ads that are made to look similar to Amazon's patented "You might also like..." or "Customers who bought this item also bought" suggestions.

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I'm afraid I strongly disagree with this advice. Integrating adverts into your own content is going to create confused users who lose trust in your site and its content. Amazon's implementation is particularly bad - they open a brand new browser window, so disorientated users who find themselves outside the Amazon ecosystem can't even use the back button to return. –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Apr 20 '12 at 18:50
    
Maybe Amazon's implementation was a bad example, since the experience is different when clicking paid content than normal content. My intent was to demonstrate that if an ad is relevant in context, making it look like normal, non-paid content should not be an issue to the user while simultaneously raising clickthrough rates on that ad. It is a good point though, that the experience MUST be the same for both types of content (paid vs non) for this method to be effective. –  Tim Apr 20 '12 at 20:06
    
The only way the experience will be the same is if they're both types of content on your site. Otherwise, confusion is inevitable. And you can still lose your users' trust with this method. I'd still recommend you avoid it. –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Apr 20 '12 at 21:00

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