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Google AdSense Heat Map Revisited
by Vaughn Aubuchon

The Google Heat Map filled me with mystery and longing, because it does not show the ever-so-critical "fold", or bottom of the first screen (nor the top of the last screen).

On this page, I have attempted to show the fold on an "extended" Google AdSense heat map.  On this extended heatmap, I have attempted to define the previously grey areas of ad placement on the last screen (bottom of the page), as well as on the(a) middle screen.

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Heat Map 1 . . . . . . . . . . Heat Map 2 . . . . . . . . . . Heat Map 3 . . . . . . . . . . Heat Map 4
Google AdSense Heat Map 2

Heat Map #1 above - Shows the standard heat map from Google.  This map is for a one-screen, no-scrolling webpage - not too common.

Heat Map #2 above - I have extended the length of the map, and inserted a "fold", for any webpage that is at least
2-screen heights tall.

Heat Map #3 above - I have guessed at the "hotness" of the previously undefined areas.  What do you think? (7-26-06)

Heat Map #4 above - I have added a "middle screen", for any webpage that is at least
3-screen heights tall, and I have numbered 27 ad placement areas for reference. (8-02-06)

Discussion

I have a problem with the large, original grey areas - they are not grey.  They are some color between the yellows and oranges and reds.  For instance, on Heat Map 1 above, the area at the top between the Best (red)(9), and the Poor (yellow)(7) is certainly NOT grey - there is no "blind spot" there.  The color should be either dark orange, or light red.  Just look at all that grey.  It isn't grey.  It is either bad or good.  It should not be undefined.

What if you have no "Top Level Navigation" (4)(side navigation instead)?  Does this area go to yellow (2) from above, or orange (6) from below?  We are talking somewhere between poor (2) and good (6) - a noted difference.  For instance, if I put an Ad Links Unit in this space, is it poor or good?

I know, I know.  It all depends on the site.  Cop-out.  It always depends on the site.
BUT, on MOST SITES, is it yellow or orange?  That's what I want to know.
Grey is one thing, clues are better.

And what about that page footer (26)?  It is halfway between GOOD (25), and the WORST (27).  How can this be?
What if this area is an Ad Links Unit?  How many micro inches above the bottom must it be, to suddenly transition from terrible to really good?

I think about things like this when I get bored.  There is an exception to everything, but it is fun to think about, and speculate. Also, note that Google's main search ads go in area 7, which is defined by Google as "poor".

Did you ever notice the large disparity in results, whenever Ad Link Units are discussed?   Some say they are great, others say they are terrible.  Perhaps Ad Link placement is extremely critical, and if you are off the mark just a little bit, the difference in performance is profound and astounding.  Hence, the trickiness in areas 4 and 26 above, where people frequently place Ad Link Units.  Just a thought.  

Some Questions That The Original AdSense Heat Map Does Not Answer
1. Should the bottoms of areas 5 and 8 be yellow?
2. Should the bottom of area 7 be white?
3. Is area 11 really yellow?
4. Are areas 14 and 21 really orange (my guess)?
5. Should the tops of areas 16 and 23 be yellow?


Then, there is the ratio of "line-scrollers" to "page-scrollers".  This affects how the "middle page" becomes, in fact, the "middle page".  A middle-page can therefore be anywhere.  Should we assume 768 pixels for average screen height, when considering the "page-scrollers"?  This page is about 5 1/3 screens for me, at 1000x768 pixels.  I usually start out page-scrolling, and end up line-scrolling. You?

Maybe the next step is assigning "inch" values to the areas (such as, "must be no more than 2 inches from the top", or "never closer than 1 1/2 inches to the bottom".  And, "avoid the lower right corner on all screens at all costs".  Yeah, that's it.  Who is up for it?  Some people will do anything to get out of work.


Google AdSense Heat Map 3

I made this Google Heat Map 4:3 aspect ratio illustration above to help me better understand the hot spots of ad placement.
My idea, is that no matter how you got to the screen you are looking at, viewer reading still seems to proceed from top left to lower right.
It would therefore make sense that any screen represented, would have similar hot spots, except for perhaps the end-of-article effect.
I have tried to illustrate this above.

What do you think?



Disclaimer
NOT A Google, Inc. Site
I recreated the Google AdSense Heat Map, for purposes of illustration and discussion.
This page consists of a compilation of public information, commonly available on the internet, at multiple sites, as well as public webmaster forums, and simple manual tests.
The opinions stated above are merely the personal opinions of the author.
I am not privy to any inside information.
This information is continually changing, and may not be relevant when you read it.
Although the author makes every effort to verify the information on this page, no information on this page is guaranteed to be correct, and any data contained herein may be erroneous.

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This Vaughns Summaries Google Heat Map Revisited page
was last updated on 2013-12-03.