Friday, 13 April 2007

Blend Your Ads for Higher Click Thru Rates

A recent study by, "How Matching Ad Design to Context Improved Conversion by 127%" (available as an online Web Clinic in Windows Media and Real Player formats) has established what AdSense users have generally believed to be true, that blended ads generally perform better than ads that stand out from the site's content.

"Blended ads" are ads that use the same font, color scheme, etc. to the site's main native content. The study showed that blended ads "performed significantly better" than non-blended ads in both CTR and conversion rates.

The authors also suggested that the main reason for the increased performance is the effect of "ad blindness" when non-blended ads are used. As well as matching fonts and colors, the authors also suggested that, for maximum performance, any logos etc. used in the ads should be "small enough not to shout 'advertisement' so loudly as to be blocked by the subconscious 'ad filters' of content site visitors."

This study isn't exactly breaking new ground since blending ads has been recommended by Google and authors such as Joel Comm for a long time now. However, it's good to see some empirical data to support this. It's also important not just for AdSense (etc.) publishers but for advertisers who place their ads on handpicked sites - including advertisers using image ads. Thus, if you are advertising on site, make sure that your ad is designed in such a way that it blends into the site's native content for maximum performance.


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