In Internet advertising, a clickthrough refers to the process by which a visitor clicks on an online ad and goes to the advertiser’s website or to the page where the advertised item can be bought. Also known as an ad click or request, it is basically the term used to refer to the click done on an ad to find out what’s behind the ad or to place a purchase. It sounds very elementary and simplistic but it’s not that simple trying to increase it, to have more clickthroughs or a higher clickthrough rate for an online marketing campaign.
Improving ad clickthrough rates is not just about raising the number of ad clicks. Beyond the numbers, there is the need to maintain the balance of clickthroughs and usability. It’s vital never to sacrifice a site or blog’s usability just for the sake of clickthroughs since such a strategy will most likely backfire. A page that has been made barely usable will drive away returning visitors or encourage them to make use of ad blockers.
The following are some of the most effective methods for increasing click through rates while maintaining usability:
Focus on a niche or specific topic
You can’t expect to engage readers in your blog if you keep writing about random things. If you are creating a blog that is meant to be monetized mainly through clickthroughs, choosing a specific subject or niche matters. Visitors are less likely to click on links or ads within a blog if they just happened to stumble upon the blog compared to those who intently searched for particular content. Users of the web nowadays no longer easily fall to big banners and flashy texts that advertise random “interesting” things.
Wisely position your ads
The way ads are arranged also significantly matters. The keyword here is “exposure.” You have to place your ads on portions that are easily conspicuous to readers. Aside from considering the fact that most people read blogs with an F-shaped pattern, also consider obtaining a heat map of where your visitors click the most on your blog. Use a tool like Crazy Egg to generate your heat map. Obviously, you will want to position your ads on the portions where visitors do the most clicks.
Or, forget the typical banner ad approach and use more interesting ways for getting attention for ads. Infolinks, for example, has constantly worked to provide smarter, contextual based ads that provide more focused ad copy and higher performing ads increasing engagement. Their inText ads are great for overcoming banner ad blindness and works by double underlining high value keywords that present targeted ads when hovered. In addition, they offer very specific customization features that allow publishers to match a precise look and feel.
Be reminded, however, that you should make sure that ad placement never becomes obtrusive. Overall design and layout should remain pleasant. For the most part, you can rely on your own judgment in deciding whether or not your blog’s design is still comfortable for your readers. Else, refer to design guides to come up with something universally acceptable.
Write interesting and useful content with appealing or eye-catching titles and add thumbnails
Don’t waste the opportunity of making a visitor stay in your blog longer. Ensure that the content you post is interesting, useful, and given eye-catching titles. They should also have thumbnails (for the links or content snippets) to attract attention. You don’t have to see an authoritative research report to realize that it’s always preferable to have images in your blog, in both the content proper and the summaries or snippets.
Content is a vital factor even when it comes to increasing clickthroughs. Quality content adds to the credibility to a blog, making visitors feel assured that the blog they are visiting is not just some shabbily created page that could possibly distribute viruses or malware. Very few people would be interested in clicking anything on a blog that is covered by all types of ads, with the content portion taking up only a small fraction of the page.
Make the ads blend with the blog’s overall design and theme
In addition to good ad positioning, you also have to make sure that your ads don’t look different from your blog. Use the same or complementary colors. Don’t make the ads stand out in the wrong way. Many users of the web are already familiar with Google ads, for example, that they do the conscious effort of wanting to avoid clicking on them since they know that they will only be brought to a new page or tab that is not related to the blog they are currently reading.
Create links within your site or other sites you own
To keep your readers longer on your blog, make it a point to have internal links within your posts most of the time. These links should be relevant to the article, though. Also, use blog widgets that recommend related to content to your readers at the bottom of a post. If you are writing long articles, you can make them appear in multiple pages to encourage more clicks within the blog and let the ad banners or boxes refresh to make them show new ads that readers may find interesting.
Internal links are important not only for search engine optimization but also in keeping a visitor longer in a blog. Also, when properly implemented, internal linking should add value to a post. These internal links can lead to other content that explain certain points mentioned in the post.
Pay attention to the length of your content and page
Always bear in mind that most users of the web tend to either have shorter attention spans or tunnel vision. If you write lengthy posts in long pages, many readers will likely look for other blogs that can offer more concise presentations. If you successfully make them read your lengthy article, readers may end up concentrating on them and ignoring the ads on the sides, top, or bottom. The length of your content and page matters so be sure to keep it in check.
A study by Medium concludes that the optimal blog post length is 7 minutes or around 1,600 words. This is, however, not your basis in coming up with the ideal length for increasing clickthroughs. For more ad clicks, you need it to be shorter. If you separate a long blog post into several pages, with each page having around 200-400 words, you can help improve clickthroughs. This is because the ad banners will be refreshed and the reader will be forced to go back to the top portion of the blog page and read through, creating more opportunities for readers to possibly click on the ads they see.
Always remember that efforts to increase clickthroughs should always be balanced with blog or site usability. “Trapping” readers into compulsorily clicking on your ads will create a bad user experience and discourage returning visitors. Similarly, forcing readers to repetitively click into the site to view the content they want to view creates an unpleasant experience. Balance should always be taken into account.