Guy Kawasaki Leaving Money on the Table [Adsense Case Study]

Guy KawasakiHow to Change the World, Guy Kawasaki's personal blog, received some impressive traffic in 2006 - 2.5 million pageviews and some 21,000 RSS feed subscribers. But when it comes to advertising revenue, the blog generated just $3,350 or ~$280 per month from Adsense/Feedburner combined.

If you are curious to know why a personality like Guy Kawasaki would ever care about generating money from his blog, read his comment on Chris Anderson's blog [of The Long Tail fame] where this former Apple evangelist explains why he cares about advertising revenue:
1) My mother taught to never leave money on the table...

4) I use the ad revenues, Amazon Associates fees, and jobs-board fees to pay for my hockey obsession.
It turns out that Guy recently made the switch from Adsense to Federated Media though he continues to be a part of Feedburner Advertising Network [FAN]

Guy's blog has all the ingredients - large traffic, subscribers, neat sit layout, good organic search rankings - that are essential to make some good revenue from contextual advertising. All that may be missing is optimization.

Most of the articles are long and span below the mainfold. The level of reader-engagement is pretty high and you will see tons of comments with each post further increasing the length of the page.

A typical blog reader behaves in the following manner - he will first read the entire blog article [provided it interests him]. Then he will either head over to the comments section to leave his feedback or look for links [at the end of the story] to external sites where he can learn more about related products or services. If we place our contextual advertising in these centers of high visibility, we'll probably see much better results.

Before     After

Observe the before and after screenshots of Guy Kawasaki's blog above. The structure is blogpost followed by trackbacks and comments. In the optimized version, we have added a 336x280 Google Ad unit just near the rating widget.

The advantage of using 336x280 format is that it accepts all kinds of ads including rich media. Secondly, wider formats always perform better than skyscrapers or small rectangle.

You will also notice a Feedburner rectangular ad near the comment posting form. A majority of readers on Guy's blog are leaving comments so that area also attracts lot of attention. Feedburner offers a very high CPM and it deserves a good placement so as to attract more advertisers.

Since his blog is also part of the FM network, their ads can be easily integrated in the sidebar above the fold.

He can even consider using Google Custom Search or Adsense for search instead of FreeFind as the results of CSE can easily be integrated integrated in the existing site layout and they can be monetized as well.

Read previous Adsense case studies here and here.

Update: Much Ado about Not Much - Guy is amused at the drama following his "Adsense Income" post. His main reason to blog - To make meaning and fulfill my mantra of “empowering people. So true.