Optimizing your ad title colors for higher click through rate

AdSense Optimization Boot Camp Tip #4 

Optimizing your ad title colors is one of the most important things you should consider when optimizing your AdSense ads for higher click through rate.  At the very beginning when AdSense first launched, most people went and tried all various colors of the rainbow when it came to their ad units, often something that matched the color scheme, but not with a lot of thought about how one component – specifically the title – could affect CTR.

When it comes to your ad units, the very first thing you should try is your ad unit title in hyperlink blue, although I prefer a slightly brighter blue version of traditional “hyperlink blue” (I will find the exact one I usually use, if anyone is interested).  Because visitors tend to look at anything that is blue text with an underline as a potential link to something else, people do tend to look at it more closely, even if the title had been something more eye-catching like pink or green. 

However, blue is not always the best choice, contrary to popular belief.  If the outgoing links on your website are a different color, test that color as the title in your ad units.  For example, if you look at my blog, all the outgoing links in the content are red, so I would test red as the ad title as something that I suspect would perform just as well – if not better – when compared to the CTR of the hyperlink blue.  And the sidebar links are a unique shade of turquoise/teal, so I would set up a third ad unit with that specific color as the title and see how it performs.

Lastly, consider testing your ad title color as the same accent color of your site.  So, using as an example, the green is used as an accent color, so I would test that color as the ad title and see how it performed.

As with all your testing, be sure to set up a separate channel for all the different title colors you test, and then rotate them evenly for a few days so you can see what the difference in CTR is.  Then select the best performing one as your primary ad style, or consider rotating the second best perofrming style in a limited basis to prevent banner blindess, such as showing the second ad style 5-15% of the time.

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11 comments to Optimizing your ad title colors for higher click through rate

  • I’ve done robust testing on this. Doing blue, blending it with my site links, doing every primary color, and finally, rotating every primary color on each page view.

    In the end, after giving around a million impressions to each color, rotation gave the best results. But they were all within a small range of each other.

  • […] Slegg (often known as “JenSense”) has posted a nice piece about choosing the right “ad title” color for your AdSense ads.  She primarily gives two […]

  • I’ve found that #000080 and #0000CC work well for that “hyperlink blue”. If you have one that works better, I’d love to try it out.

  • Last year I used PHP to rotate between green, red and blue. The blue performed as suspected, the red was surprisingly higher than the blue, and *nobody* liked the green.

  • netmeg, did you have green, red and blue as main or accent colors on the page?

  • Red white and blue – it’s a 4th of July kind of thing. No graphics to speak of, just text and borders.

  • If you had green accents on the site, it probably would have done better than it did. A lot of it has to do with how the eye interacts with color on the page, and subconscious expectations of what the color is doing on the page.

  • My guess is that to avoid ad blindness, you need to use a mixed strategy. The exact proportion or random mix should be easily calculated using zero sum game theory.

    I further predict that people will ignore this and either look for the perfect colour ad or use a mix which is completely inefficient – such as use the second best ad at 10-15%.

    The correct ratio simply depends on the payouts and can be adjusted daily, weekly, monthly depending on your confidence level.

  • I used Pubmatic ( to help me test color combinations. The product is still in beta and free. The nice thing is that it determined when to swap colors in and out. It took a lot of the work out of the process.

    The thing you have to remember is that it takes a certain number of ads and clicks for the results to be meaningful and depending on your site’s size, it may take awhile. You may also see some less than desirable color combinations while it’s testing. You can also give it a color scheme to use from an existing AdSense color palette.

  • I use diferent color palettes depending on the color of the page and in the mood I’m in when making a blog,up ti’ll now everything is going fine,money is rolling in.

  • […] Slegg (often known as “JenSense”) has posted a nice piece about choosing the right “ad title” color for your AdSense ads.  She primarily gives two […]

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