How to Create Targeted Sidebar Advertisements (Without Using Code)

I had a request for more information about adding functionality to your blog that will help increase your revenue – without requiring any kind of programming skills.

Targeting ads are one of my “must be able to do” items when building any new site. Years ago I wrote a tutorial on creating targeted advertisements in Thesis via code in custom functions. If that tutorial scares you – or if you’re simply not using Thesis – there’s a very simple way to create those targeted advertisements using a free WordPress plugin called Display Widgets.

What Display Widgets Does

Display Widgets allows you to assign any widget to show (or not show) on the sidebar within any category, post or page.

Is Display Widgets the most advanced widget for showing widgets conditionally in WordPress? Nope. But it is the best of the “easiest” I’ve found for those who don’t know (and don’t want to know) anything about programming or writing code.

Just install Display Widgets via your plugin administration screen and activate it. Now, when you go to your widgets under Appearance > Widgets, you’ll see that every widget you open now has a set of options to show or hide a widget based on a variety of factors.

Display Widgets

Why You Should Use Targeting in Sidebar Advertising

There are plenty of reasons you might want to show targeted widgets in your sidebar. I’ll give a few examples below.

Showing people affiliated ads on specific topics they’re obviously interested in

If someone is roaming around the Sugarrae website reading all of my SEO related posts, chances are – you guessed it – they’re interested in SEO. So showing them ads for merchants like Raven Tools which offers services specifically related to SEO just makes sense.

Avoiding showing people affiliated ads on specific topics they’re obviously not going to convert on

If a user is in my Thesis tutorials category, chances are that they ALREADY USE THESIS. So showing them an ad FOR Thesis is simply a waste of real estate and revenue opportunity. Instead it makes more sense to opt to show them an ad for Themedy or Traffic and Trust from a potential conversion standpoint.

Utilizing custom AdSense channels

I’ve already written about how custom channels can help you increase AdSense revenue. I’m currently migrating several of my affiliate sites into one large (and new) brand (more on that later). The site includes several tightly connected but yet completely different topics. I’ve created a different AdSense widget for the sidebar for each topic section so that advertisers can target the topic that is actually related to their specific product. The more targeted the audience of an ad, the more an advertiser is going to be willing to pay to get in front of them.

Creating custom ad zones

As with Adsense channels, if you’re using an ad network to generate blog revenue, you can create targeted ad zones for the very same reasons (and results) as creating custom channels with Adsense.

Choosing different types of ads for different sections based on actual revenue numbers

Not every topic makes the same money with the same ad platform. You may find an affiliate banner converts like crazy in one section of your site while AdSense has an unbeatable CPM rate in another and your ad network ads kills it in another. Not only does targeting your sidebar widgets allow you to show more relevant ads to the user, but it also allows you to pick and choose which types of ad platforms to show in the best slots based on your actual conversions and earnings.

Registered users are different than non registered users

I don’t use registered user accounts here on Sugarrae (basically allowing or requiring a user to be logged in to comment), but I use them on a handful of other sites. A user that has taken the time to create an account with your blog is obviously “warm” to you – and your site – and can be marketed to differently as a result of that assumption. Let’s say you have a newsletter subscription widget in your sidebar. You might choose to create two. One generic sign up widget that shows to non registered or logged out users and one more specific to show to logged in users with different copy like “You’re already a member of our community, shouldn’t you be a member of our mailing list too? It’s FREE!”

Targeting Ads Increases Revenue Potential and the User Experience

If you’re not currently targeting the ads on your blog, you’re missing out on potential revenue. Additionally, users could be missing out on being shown potential solutions to their specific needs or problems. Whether you do it via custom code, more advanced (and slightly more confusing for newbies) widgets or a simple solution like Display Widgets, you should definitely be doing it.

Have experience with alternate conditional widget plugins? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

About Rae Hoffman

Rae Hoffman aka "Sugarrae" is an affiliate marketing veteran and the CEO of PushFire, a search marketing agency specializing in SEO audits and link building strategies. She is also the author of the often controversial Sugarrae blog. You can connect with Rae via Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Sugarrae runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

If you’re someone who doesn’t understand a lot of PHP, Genesis will give a ton of functionality that you wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise with a simple control panel instead of having to alter code. For the advanced, Genesis has incredible customization possibilities via Genesis hooks.

The theme is not only highly customizable, but it has allowed me to run Sugarrae more professionally, with a much more targeted focus on monetization than it ever has been able to achieve before.

You can find out more about Genesis below:

Comments

  1. I just tried the plug in and this is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I make heavy use of this on my sites, where I can target direct ads to cities and counties, display AdSense on appropriate pages (and keep it off other sections of the sites). I even use it for special announcement banners (along with a great free plugin called Ad-Rotate) Not only is it a breeze to use, but unlike a lot of plugins, it can stand up to heavy traffic without bogging down your site. Highly recommend.

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