Friday, June 01, 2007

Increase Adsense CTR with Background Images

Adsense publishers are always looking at ways to increase their Page CTR (CTR stands for 'click through rate'. It's expressed as a percentage of the page impressions that resulted in somebody clicking one of the AdSense ads. So, for example, if you had 1,000 page impressions, and those 1,000 page impressions resulted in 100 clicks on the ads, that is a 10% Page CTR) and their income from Adsense. To this end, I purchased for US$ 7 some Adsense Background Images from Adsense Background Images Store Front. The vendor states:

  • AdSense background images are the hottest new way to boost your AdSense CTR, and
  • Although many believe that it violates the AdSense TOS they are dead wrong. It has been confirmed by Google to be completely safe and compliant with the AdSense TOS. The only pictures they said would violate this is ones that point to the ads or ask for them to be clicked. You will not find any of that trash here though so don't worry.

The code for inserting a background image for your Adsense ads is quite simple. The vendor's code used tables but I changed that to divs. Also, I did not change any of the Adsense ad code. I put up the ads using three of the vendor's background images as seen here, here and here and yes I did see a 300% increase in my CTR and earnings during the period the images were up. I had also written to Adsense support asking them whether these images were okay. Here's Google's response:

The background images used on your site would be considered a violation of our program policies because it could draw unnatural attention to your ads. Publishers are not permitted to encourage users to click on Google ads or bring excessive attention to ad units. For example, you may not use symbols or misleading images that direct attention to the ads on their sites. We ask that you please restore the ads to their intended settings.

We ask that publishers copy and display the ad code exactly as it appears in the 'Your AdSense code' box of your AdSense account without any modifications. Please keep in mind that modifying the ad code or drawing unnatural attention to the ads are against our program policies.

Incidentally, you can also get the Adsense background images from adClustr for free. adClustr also mention that their images are approved by Google. I did use one of their images a post-it note (I checked for the image today and it's no longer available on their site?) and asked for Google's approval. Here's their response:

The rule of thumb is that any image which intentionally or unintentionally draws unnatural attention to your Google ads is probably a policy infringement.

This includes placing ads on shapes like post-it notes, or placing background images behind the ads. Please note that your ads should appear exactly as they look in your account, without any modifications.

One good thing about Adsense support is that no matter how many times you write to them on the same point, they will definitely answer your queries! I now pointed out to Google about a post-it note ad and usage of background images on Karen Cheng's site. Again, here's Google's response:

This background image (post-it) seems OK because the webmaster has clearly separated her ads from the primary content of her page, and it is obvious that they are ads. To be more clear, it all depends on the implementation. User clicks should result from genuine interest in the ads rather than deceptive implementation.

As mentioned above, background images are sometimes OK depending on the implementation. Some background images are deceptive in the way they are designed. Others are not as deceptive, but the placement on the page might trick users into clicking on them.

Finally, can we use Adsense background images?

Here's Google's answer - "Background images are fine so long as the ads are clearly portrayed as ads, and clearly distinguished from the content."

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Blogger SatishTalim said...

With background images, I observed that the Bounce Rate reduced and the Average time on site increased.

Bounce rate is they come to your site and leave without looking around (so they view 1 page and leave). Exit rate is the page that most people have left on after looking around the site).

More important is the time spent on your site by the viewer. This also had increased.

9:24 AM  
Blogger Allan said...

Nice post, however i have to disagree to a certain extent, I am not saying I am right and you are wrong, purely my opinion.

Comparing and the old one, I feel that the new one is more professional looking giving people the look and feel of a professionalism and crediblity. Very important. The simplicity will impress more visitors than the old one.

Let's just take all big websites as a benchmark, do you see them using background images on their ads??

I cannot rem a few other good examples. But you get my point?

Of course you can disagree.

Allan aka moneymakingguru

12:35 PM  
Blogger SatishTalim said...

Allan, I agree with your point. What I want to say is that proper usage of subtle background images can increase one's CTR and one can use images that go with the overall design of the site.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the info. I will try it.

Thanks, fuser

BTW, ive added this blog to my directory (

4:14 AM  

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