Optimisation tips

Most successful ad styles

Choosing the right ad styles can mean the difference between ads your users will notice - and click - and ads they'll skip right over. We've outlined a few strategies below that are designed to decrease ad blindness, the tendency for users to ignore anything that's separate from the main content of your site. By making these changes, you'll be making your ads more visible to users.

Blend, complement and contrast

Let's briefly define the three techniques you can use to design ad styles that will be successful for your site:

  • To blend, make the background and borders of your ads the same colour as the background of your page where the ad is placed. If your site has a white background and you don't want to spend a lot of time choosing ad colors, we recommend using our pre-designed Google default ad style.
  • To complement, use colours that already exist on your site, but don't match the background and borders exactly where the ads are placed.
  • To contrast, choose colours that stand out against the background of your site. Contrasting is recommended only for sites with a dark background, so we suggest using an ad style with a white background, white borders and blue titles.
See examples of blend, complement and contrast:
Blend
Complement
Contrast
Blend
Complement
Contrast

For most colour techniques, we recommend using colours for your ad text and links that already exist on your site. For example, if the links on your site are all green and your text is black, use green links and black text in your ads as well. Since most users are accustomed to seeing blue links, you might also try using blue. In general, use common sense when choosing your ad styles. If your site's main colours are pastels, don't design ads that are all primary colours. Users won't click on ads that are visually offensive.

The colour strategy you should use on your site varies depending on the ad placement and the colour of the background where the ads are placed. Review the table below for a quick reference about which strategies we suggest will work well on your site:

  Ads within content Ads adjacent to content
Light background behind ads Blend Blend or complement
Dark background behind ads Blend, complement or contrast Contrast or complement

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Repeat visitors and sites with busy content

Even if your ads are designed perfectly, the techniques above might not work for a couple of reasons:

  • Does your site have mainly repeat visitors?
    If your visitors come back day after day, they're likely to become blinded to the position of the ads over time, regardless of the ad colours. Try customising the way your ad looks or occasionally switching the location of your ads on the page.

  • Does your site have a lot of ads and busy content?
    If your site is filled with ads or packed with loads of competing content, chances are that you'll need to use more visually arresting colours to make your ads catch a user's eye. If the techniques above aren't getting results for you, try using more prominent ad styles
Tip for making your ads visible: open your page and give it a quick glance, putting yourself in the mindset of a regular user. Do the ads draw your attention, without being garish? Would you be likely to notice and read them, or do your eyes glide right past them? Try to find a balance between ads that overwhelm your content and ads that your users won't even see.
Imagining you're a user, look at these examples:

Would you notice the ads in these implementations?

Muted
Standout

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