Banner Ad Placement Heat Map

The heat map below is an attempt to visualize the current trend in banner advertising. It shows banner size and placement (highlighted in white) on 50 different popular sites. The brightest white areas are where banner ads were most frequently placed and the black areas are where no banner ads were displayed. The two red lines are 1,024 pixels apart to provide scale. Click here to view the heat map at full size.

 

Observations

 

  • The most frequently used areas are along the top and right sides of the page.
  • The most popular ad sizes are 728x90 Leaderboards and 300x250 Medium Rectangles.
  • More sites place Leaderboards above the main navigation than below.
  • Very few sites are placing banner ads along the left side of the page.
  • The observed common placements do not match up very closely with Google's suggestions.

 

Methodology

 

At around 6:00 PM EST on 10/24/2008, I captured screenshots of the latest 50 articles posted in Digg.com’s content section, skipping any sites that did not contain banner ads and only counting each unique website once. The screenshots were then pulled into Photoshop, each as its own layer. Excluding the advertising areas, I removed all areas of the pages and filled the remaining advertising areas in solid white. Each layer was then set to ~95% transparency.

Kevin is Viget's product design director in our Falls Church, VA, HQ. He concepts, launches, and optimizes products for the World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Privia Health, and OPOWER.

More posts by Kevin