The Online Arbitrage Case Study: How Trendelier Increased AdSense Earnings by 217%


There are so many ways to increase your Google AdSense earnings. Our very ambitious aim is to cover every which optimization possible under the bright shiny light of the Google logo. But, with all the different ways to increase your AdSense earnings, we still love talking about ourselves the most.

And our favorite thing to talk about is how AdSense publishers can use our testing platform to increase earnings.

The below is a short version of a case study on how we were able to leverage the our testing platform to increase’s, one of the largest entertainment news websites, AdSense RPM by 217% in 5 weeks.


Who’s is a classic online arbitrage website.

As a website that makes 100% of it’s revenue from advertising, Trendelier relies heavily on the success of its monetization channels. One of the main sources of revenue for Trendelier is Google AdSense.

For a while, the website’s AdSense earnings had hit a wall. Their teams spends a great deal of time sourcing, creating, and curating their content with truly awesome results: Millions of people visit their website a month, their content goes viral constantly, and their engagement metrics are… impressive, most impressive.

With so much going on the content front they have very little time and manpower to fully optimize their ad networks and maximize their ad earnings.

Trendelier’s account manager quickly set up different ad layouts to maximize their Google AdSense CTR:

What experiments did Trendelier run?

Mobile Experiment

The first version they created targeted a popular article that sees a considerable amount of mobile traffic. The variation consisted of only 2 ad units.

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Why only 2 ad units you ask? Why not use the maximum?

Because a page viewed is a page viewed. If you didn’t see a click on the first two ads displayed on the page, you are not very likely to see a click on the third ad displayed… Go ahead, test this out.

Hypothesis: Two ads can generate more revenue than three ads.

Variation 1: 2 ad unit layout

This variation displayed 2 Google AdSense ads. The first was placed under the title while the second was placed just above the navigation buttons.

This variation saw an overall click-through rate of 2.67%

Variation 2: 3 ad units layout

If the first variation displayed two ads, then you guessed it, the second displayed three ads.

The first ad was located above the title with a second ad just below it. The final ad was placed just above the navigation buttons as with the first variation.

This variation saw an overall click-through rate of 2.08%


Overall, variation 1 increased CTR by 28% over variation 2. This increase in CTR led to an increase in RPM of 44% The control received almost no traffic during the experiments.

Desktop Experiment

Once again, this experiment is designed to test a certain hypothesis. One that has become commonplace with most online publishers.

Hypothesis: In-content ads perform better

The whole premise of banner blindness and native advertising is really based on the notion that readers are blind to ads located outside the content vertical and they have trained their eyes to see only the content vertical of the page.

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Variation 1 – Side Bar Ad Unit

The first variation consists of two in-content ad units with one ad unit in the side-bar.

The side bar ad unit was placed outside this vertical and as part of a sidebar that displays links and ads to other content pieces. For the purpose of this screenshot, we have disabled all other advertisers, which is why you see “advertisement” instead of the other ads being displayed but trust us, they’re there.

This variation saw an overall CTR of 2.56%

Variation 2 – In-Feed Heavy

So if the first variation displayed 2 ads in-content and one ad in the sidebar then this one, you guessed it, displays all three AdSense ads within the content section, or feed, of the page.

Native advertising owes a lot of its success to its content like features. 53% of consumers look at native ads more frequently than at display ads. One of the reasons is undoubtedly due to its location within the content feed.

However, in reality, this variation provided a 1.75% CTR overall.


There’s a lot of research out there that will tell you that your visitors see you native ads more than banner ads. That may all be fine and true. What you should be asking yourself, though, is do they click on them more?

Judging by the Trendelier experiments above the answer is no. The “native style” in-feed ad layout did not receive a higher click-through rate than the classical layout.

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Actually, the classical layout beat the “native layout” by a surprising 46%, which generated a whopping 68% increase in RPM.

But what does this all mean?

Let’s face it, most buzz news websites monetize their traffic with CPC networks, and when your website has a strong ROI focus click-through rates that are even a fraction higher can make a significant impact on your bottom line.

That’s why it’s important that you take away the following two suggestions:

  1. A page view is a page viewed. Using our system you can deliver the ad with the highest CTR first on the page and if that ad doesn’t convert a click through then the other ads on the page are not likely to either. This unique capability lets our users display less ads on the page and get a higher overall CTR and RPM for the page.
  2. In-feed means more eyeballs not more click-throughs. Ads located within the content feed are more likely to be noticed but not necessarily more clicks.

Do you think your website is different? Start using the tips above and see what results you get then come back here and show us how wrong (erase) right we were.



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