What could be causing your CTR/RPM to be lower on mobile?

Mobile is the fastest growing platform and it’s important for us to ensure that our sites are set up for long-term success. Recently, we’ve heard questions and concerns about lower than expected click through rate (CTR) and revenue per thousand impressions (RPM) for mobile inventory and we’d like to share some insights as to what may cause this.

To understand what’s happening you need to look at your performance reports. Analyzing your AdSense performance allows you to see how well your ads are performing and which devices your ad units were viewed on.

To view this report simply log into your AdSense account, click “Performance reports” and select “Platforms” from the “Report type” dropdown.

You may notice that your CTR or RPM is lower on mobile than it is on tablet and desktop. This might be caused by one or more of the following reasons:

  • Your site may be displaying suboptimal ad sizes
  • Your responsive design is using the column drop approach
  • You’re not focusing on optimizing for viewability

Here are three tips to increase help you identify the issues and take action to improve your mobile RPM.

If you’re not using AdSense to monetize your online content, be sure to sign up so you can start turning your passion into profit. 

1) Use high-impact mobile ad formats to ensure you have optimal ad sizes throughout your site. 

The 320x50 ad unit was the original mobile ad banner, but now there are a range of mobile ad sizes and formats to choose from. If you’re using 320x50 ads you should consider replacing them with 320x100 (just above the fold), 300x250 (below the fold), or a responsive ad unit. These ad sizes tend to generate higher RPMs than 320x50 ad units.

  • The 320x100 ad unit performs best on mobile screens and can be placed in numerous positions throughout your site. Research from Google shows the most viewable ad position is right above the fold. The 320x100 also increases the fill-rate competition because it allows the 320x50 format to compete for the same space.

  • The 300x250 ad unit is a popular ad size used by advertisers across the globe, resulting in a large ad supply, increased competition, and a potential increase in earnings. Research on viewability has shown that a 300x250 ad unit placed just below the fold has generated approximately a 50% viewability rate for other publishers. This ad unit could potentially help you maximize the impact of your ad space. 
  • Responsive ad units automatically adapt to your page layout and the space available for the ad unit across desktop, tablets, and smartphones. AdSense identifies the appropriate ad size and then determines the best size for the screen. 
2) Pay close attention to your ad placements, especially if you’re using a responsive design column drop layout.

Responsive websites are a great multi-screen strategy, but they present a challenge for high-impact desktop ad units that can be easily avoided. Responsive websites commonly use a column drop approach to design. This is where the entire right-hand column on a desktop screen drops down to the bottom of the page when the website is viewed on a mobile screen.

This means that a strong performing ad unit on the right-hand column of your desktop site could become an underperforming unit below the fold on mobile devices.

If this is how your site is designed, you should consider alternative ad placements, for example: moving your right-column ad units above the fold on mobile devices.

3) Focus on counting viewable impressions with Active View in your AdSense account.

Checking the Active View percent of your ads will give you a good indication of your mobile vs. tablet and desktop ad viewability. A display ad is counted as viewable when at least 50% of the ad is within the viewable space on the user’s screen for one second or more.

If you find that your Active View percent is much lower on mobile than it is on desktop, this could mean that your ads are not visible to your users and alternative ad placements may need to be tested.

There you have it, three tips to increase your mobile RPM.

Monitor your AdSense performance across devices to understand and identify potential underperforming units. If you’re using a responsive web design, make sure your ads are viewable on all devices. Finally, use Active View to track the viewability of your ads.

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow us on Google+ and Twitter, we offer tips, tricks, and downloads to help you make the most of your AdSense account. 

Until next time,

Posted by Paul Healy, from the AdSense team

Source: Inside AdSense