The Top 5 Highest-Earning Ad Units and How They Affect Your Site Revenue

highest earning ad

Not every ad placeholder is made equal. If you simply shove as many ads as possible on your site, you may earn more in the short term, but burn your audience and cause them to ditch your site entirely in the long run.

But there are several ad units that simply work; they have become standard and normalized as a highest-earning ad unit for different sites over years and years of appearing all over the internet. These are unobtrusive and widely recognized by users everywhere. If your site is using the following ad units on your page, you’re setting yourself up for success in terms of balancing ad revenue and a high-quality user experience.

Ezoic recently created a brand new button that fully optimizes your entire site so that your site’s whole advertisement structure earns you the most revenue possible (while still creating a high-quality experience for your audience). It’s nearly impossible to manage every variable and ad unit on every page for every visitor, and Ezoic’s AI determines the optimal ad units for every visitor.

Still, the savviest publishers should acquaint themselves with the highest-earning ad units so they can make more informed decisions in the future. 

Highest-Earning Ad Units for Ezoic Sites 

1. Anchor Ad

Easily the highest-earning advertisement by a wide margin, anchor ads come in both bottom and top of page, waiting to load until the user scrolls past content so the ad doesn’t obscure any content. This ad stays on the users screen until they manually close it, meaning it has enormous visibility and extended accessibility for any visitors.

If you turn on the “Maximize Your Site’s Revenue” button, Ezoic’s AI will ensure these anchor ads appear the maximum number of times to increase your ad revenue while maintaining great user experience. In any case, anchor ads are an absolute must-have for publishers looking to earn the most ad revenue on their site.

2. Top of Page

The next highest-earning ad probably isn’t a big surprise — top of page ads. They’re typically large banner ads that take up a sizable portion of the users’ screens, impossible to miss and easy to see. Advertisers typically must enter a fierce bidding war for this real estate on highly-trafficked sites, ensuring publishers see the most revenue for top of page ads.

Some publishers may worry top of page ads are supremely annoying to their users, and will push users away from their site. Not so! In a recent study conducted by Hubspot, a whopping 56% of people revealed that pop-up ads were the most annoying type of ad, while less than 6% of people said they found banner/top of page ads to be the most annoying. 

3. Vignette

As Google explained, “Vignette ads are full-screen ads that appear between page loads and can be skipped by users at any time. Vignettes are displayed when the user leaves a page, rather than when they arrive on one, so the user doesn’t have to wait for them to load.” These ads have seen an enormous rise in popularity recently, earning publishers significant income while being a more seamless ad experience for users. 

This is due in large part because Google introduced full-screen ads for larger and wider screens (like desktops) in November 2020, which allowed a more widespread use of vignette ads.


4. Under Page Title

Similar to top of page ads, under page title ads are far more prone to earn more revenue as an ad unit simply based on their prime location on a page and the possibility for advertisers financially competing with each other to fill that slot:

This is a highly lucrative ad unit, one that can easily become one of your biggest earners for ads on your pages. They are also widely accepted and recognized by a vast majority of internet users, and have minimal interruption for readers who scroll down to see more of your content.

5. Under First Paragraph

If you’re noticing a trend here, it’s true: the most lucrative ads are typically the ones that are the most visible and difficult-to-miss for the average site visitor. Your highest-earning ads typically appear at the top of the page, where visitors are bound to see it.

Ads under the first paragraph are no exception; advertisers are more prone to bid for these higher-visibility slots where users are practically guaranteed to see the ad:


Now that we know which types of ad units are the highest-earning ad units, let’s go one level deeper and talk about ad sizes by revenue. According to our most recent data, the following are the highest-earning ad sizes:

Highest-Earning Ad Units by Size


As Newspack revealed, this size is the most popular, accounting for 40% of display ads served across the web. This size is most often found in the sidebar on desktop or inline on mobile.

It’s a classic, and seamlessly fits across the board for mobile, tablet, and desktop. 


According to The Online Advertising Guide, this size is “commonly called a 728×90 or Leaderboard, but can also be referred to as a Leaderboard Banner or Super Banner. A 728×90 ad is usually placed at the top of a webpage so that it will be seen immediately when the page loads.” 

This is a classic banner ad that can fit a variety of sites, especially on desktop as a large top-of-page ad.


As Directive Consulting noted, the 320×100 ad placeholder is particularly high-earning on mobile devices as ads, due to their small, versatile nature (you can fit them in nearly every ad placeholder slot on your site):

3×3 (Vignette)

As we noted earlier, vignette ads have seen a surge in popularity in the past few years. Advertisers are willing to pay higher rates to show a fullscreen vignette ad, while still remaining a minimal interruption as users can simply close the ad at any time.

What Publishers Should Do With This Information

There are literally endless variables that determine and dictate user behavior on your site: traffic source, device type, country of origin, whether they’re on WiFi (public or private?) vs cellular data (are they home or traveling?), not to mention the utterly unique web browsing behavior each user is connected with. 

It’s literally impossible to plan for every visitor’s optimal user experience on your site. The result is typically a net negative in both revenue and user experience; you either show too few ads (of the wrong type/placement) in hopes of elevating user experience, or you have too many (of the wrong type/placement) which causes the user to leave your site anyway.

The point here? Let AI and machine-learning do this work for you. Savvy publishers will understand placeholder sizes and strategy, yet Ezoic’s AI should be doing the heavy lifting to fully maximize your revenue and optimize your site’s performance.

You can read more here about how to maximize your site revenue with the click of a button, but essentially, Ezoic recently created a brand-new feature to assess every possible ad unit, size, and feature of ad placeholders to create the most optimal revenue for you and your site. 

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By Anthony Moore

Anthony Moore is a writer, speaker, and coach. He's helped hundreds of entrepreneurs create successful businesses, and has gained over 7 million views for his work on entrepreneurship, personal growth, and productivity.

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