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A Quick Analysis of AdSense Data

Updated on August 18, 2013

Analyzing Google AdSense ad placement.



This is an analysis of a couple of pieces of data provided to me by my friend Donald Sutherland during our discussion on the Learn with Google for Publishers Community forum (Sutherland, 2013). The data provided is a sample, and not intended to be interpreted as actual performance at any particular time or scenario. In this analysis we will take a look at two key concepts of the Google AdSense system; the size and placement of ads, and the platform on which to focus our development.

Maximizing AdSense Revenue:

The way I see it, the most important thing we’re looking for when we analyze AdSense performance statistics is maximizing the amount of revenue our site will generate through AdSense. When considering the size and placement of ads to be placed on the pages of our site, the obvious thing we would default to look at is the add size/placement, and the platform that generates the greatest number of dollars (or whatever your monetary denomination).

Going Deeper:

However, it goes a little deeper than that. Let’s take a look at the ad size and placement analysis first. Given the data shown in Table 1 and Table 2 below, I have constructed a couple of spreadsheets to analyze said data. In reality, we would probably want to sample location and size separately. However, for this exercise, we’ll keep them combined as shown below. The first thing we notice is that the ad sample that seems to generate the greatest amount of money is the 300x250 ad placed in the Mid Left below Post Title position. However, we need to dive a little deeper to get a better idea of our site performance. Ad performance is not based only on the raw amount of money the site generates. It is important to consider two other factors. These are the click through rate (CTR) and the earnings per click (EPC).

Click Through Rate and Earnings per Click:

The CTR tells us what percentage of the ads being displayed is actually being clicked on. This is a factor that we publishers have very little control over. It really measures how effective an ad is at luring the viewer into clicking on it. If this number is very low, you might not want to use ad formats that present these types of ads. On the other hand, the higher CTRs are good ads to focus on.

The (EPC) is a direct measure of how much an advertiser is willing to pay for each click on their ad. In general, the higher the EPC, the better the ad placement or ad size is.

Let’s Look At The Data:

Taking a look at Table 1, we see that the ad position/size that tends to generate the greatest CTR is the Various Locations at 336x280. However, because the location is ambiguous, this is not a very useful measure to go by. Therefore, we’ll look at the EPC and two other measures I didn’t mention earlier; the number of visitors needed to obtain a single click (VPC), and the earnings per visitor (EPV). For the VPC measure, we want the lowest number possible. A low VPC number means that it takes fewer visitors to generate a single click. This is also a good measure of the effectiveness of the ad’s ability to entice the viewer. Finally, the EPV measures how much money each visitor will generate. With this in mind, we can say that when we multiply the VPC by the EPV we end up with the ad position/size that gives us the greatest number of clicks which also generates the greatest amount of money from each visitor’s click. I call this the earnings per visitor’s click (EVC).

Figure 1: Ad Position/Size

Ad Position/Size
Ad Position/Size

In this case, we see that the best performing combination that was tested is by coincidence, the 300x250 ad placed in the Mid Left below Post Title position, which generates 62 cents from only 32 visitors. If we had 100 times the number of visitors (3,200), we would generate $62.00 from the above mentioned ad position/size.

Comparing Platforms on AdSense:

Now let’s take a look at the platform issue. Based on the platform data shown in Table 2, we can also look at two of the same statistics; CTR and EPC. As we see at first glance, the platform that seems to generate the greatest amount of revenue is the Desktop platform at $158.19 in the sample time period. However again, we want to look deeper into the effectiveness of the ads being clicked on (CTR) and the amount of earnings from each click (EPC). According to the data shown, Tablets tend to generate a higher viewer response (CTR) along with greater revenue from each click.

Given this information, we can assess that even though tablets are not generating the greatest number of raw dollars at this time, as they increase in popularity they appear to be poised to outperform the other listed platforms.

Figure 2: Platform Comparison

Platform Comparison
Platform Comparison

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My Final Analysis:

In my final analysis based on the presented data, I would recommend running the 300x250 ad placed in the Mid Left below Post Title position on a site optimized for the Tablet platform. Keep in mind that these results will definitely vary according to your specific situation and scenario.

Works Cited:

Sutherland, D. (2013, June 30). Learn with Google for Publishers. Retrieved July 1, 2013, from Google Plus:


Figure 1: Ad Position/Size.

Figure 2: Platform Comparison.


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