How can I help my sticky sidebar ad perform better?

The sidebar of your site is a prime place to earn from ads for your desktop pageviews. Most AdThrive publishers have one or two regular (stationary) sidebar ads, as well as a sticky sidebar ad.

Note: If your theme does not include a sidebar, consider adding one. Sidebar ads are highly-viewable and sites running sidebar ads typically see 30-40% higher ad earnings.

What’s a sticky sidebar ad?

A sticky sidebar ad runs at the bottom of your sidebar. When a reader scrolls past this ad, it “sticks” to the screen and scrolls with the reader to the bottom of the page. For most AdThrivers, this is one of the highest-paying ad placements, because the ad stays visible for so long!

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The sooner this ad comes onto the screen and starts scrolling with a reader, the better it pays — so a nice, short sidebar will boost the payout power of your sticky sidebar ad!

How can I see if my site is running a sticky sidebar ad?

The easiest way is to visit a post on your site and see if your sidebar ends with an ad that scrolls with you as you scroll down the page. If you check your site’s homepage, your sidebar may not have enough room for the ad to ‘stick’ and scroll, so that’s why it’s better to look at an individual post.

You’ll also see the sticky sidebar ad listed in the ‘Earnings’ tab of your AdThrive dashboard in the ‘Earnings by Ad Unit’ widget.

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Don’t have a sticky sidebar ad?

We’d love to make your lowest sidebar ad “sticky” — just submit a ticket and let us know! This is an awesome way to increase your income without adding extra ads!

Optimize Your Sidebar!

You can optimize your sidebar for maximum earnings by making a few simple changes. We recommend taking a look at your sidebar using a post page rather than your homepage, so you get a good feel for how your sidebar functions for the majority of your site traffic.

When optimizing your sidebar, the goal is to reduce it down to the most important and profitable items. Remember, a shorter sidebar equals higher sticky sidebar ad payout! We’ve found that every 300px shorter the sidebar is, the sticky sidebar ad earns about 5-10% more.

Every single pixel of content in your sidebar should bring value to your site. Ideally, it should either encourage readers to consume more content or actually pay you money.

Need ideas for identifying ‘dead weight’ in your sidebar?

Try this Google Analytics heat map tool you can install for the Chrome browser! It shows you the percentage of visitors interacting with your sidebar content, so you can easily identify and remove things that don’t get significant interaction.

Here are some suggestions for slimming down your sidebar:

  • Widget size suggestion: Keep sidebar widgets to maximum dimensions of 300x250 pixels.
  • Subscription boxes: Pop-ups or sliders should never cover your ads, or you risk violating advertiser policies. If you are seeing conversions from a sliding subscription box, set it to appear on the other side of the screen from your sidebar ads.
  • ‘About Me’ widgets: These are great for sharing something about yourself with your visitors — just make sure images aren’t larger than they need to be! Google likes to see text (not just an image of text) above the fold for advertising and SEO purposes! Win-win.
  • Social media widgets (like Instagram or Pinterest feeds or a Facebook like box): These are notorious for slowing down your site. On top of that, they probably aren’t receiving good engagement. Consider ditching the social media widgets from your sidebar. Bonus: you won’t be sending visitors OFF your site to another platform.
  • Top post widgets: Review top/popular/featured post widgets to see if they are benefiting your internal traffic and actually increasing pageviews. Consider limiting the number of posts displayed, choose smaller thumbnails or icons, or remove entirely if you’re not seeing results.
  • Disclaimers: If you have a disclaimer or disclosure text in your sidebar (for example, a copyright policy), consider moving it to the footer of your site.
  • Affiliate ads: Is your affiliate content actually pulling its weight? Dive into reporting to make sure the earnings justify the space it’s taking up in your sidebar.
  • Badges & buttons: Different programs and memberships ask you to display their badge on your site, but these are actually just free ads for those companies. They take up valuable real estate in your sidebar that you could be using to make real money, so we highly recommend removing them or moving them to the footer area of your site.

If you make any major changes to your sidebar, please submit a ticket so we can check it out and make sure everything still looks good with your ads!

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