AdSense Optimization Boot Camp Tip #9
A few years ago it was the latest thing to start blending AdSense ads by matching the ad units border and background color with the background of the site. People started trying it to increase CTR and slowly, seeing garishly styled ads slowly disappeared except on sites that needed to use obscene color schemes in the extreme (yes, there are sites than need those hideous color combinations, but in my experience, they are fortunately few and far between!)
But I have slowly noticed a trend over the last year or so where publishers are so focused on blending their ads so much that they have made them too blendy. They match the sites so closely that readers just skim right over the ads because there is absolutely nothing appealing or noticeable about them to draw the eye.
The most noticeable reason is the fact that people match the borders and backgrounds of the ad unit with the page background, make the title blue and the text and URL black. There is a reason why AdSense uses a default URL color of green and not just black to match the description!
One recent site I saw had only blue and black as the sites colors, with a white background. So when the ad units were blue and black, there was nothing to really make them noticeable or differentiate them from plain content on the site. An introduction of a third on-page color, such as in the logo or on outgoing links would have helped tremendously, and it could have then been used as a title or URL color, or even a border color. So even though placement can be stellar, ad units that are too blended just won’t perform as well.
How to quickly test if your ad units are too blended? Set up two channels – one for the one you think might be too blended, and a second for one that is a more obvious color scheme, such as red titles or URLs or whatever color it is that you use as an accent on your site. This is not the time to try one of those garish color combinations I mentioned before! Rotate both 50/50 and see which version has the highest CTR rate after a few days. If you find the new one has a higher CTR, you have just increased your daily revenue.
You could find your blended one actually works just fine, or it might not be as blended as yo are worried it might be. But regardless, you have just completed an easy A/B test to increase your earnings. Now you can go and apply it to other things you want to test.