Goodbye, 1028, hello, something bigger

February 29th, 2012 by Chris

728+300 = 1028. This equation has caused me endless problems.

A standard screen resolution is 1028 pixels, but also the sum total horizontal room needed for the two most popular IAB ad units is 1028 pixels. If I want to maximize a website design for ad display that often involves using both 728 pixel wide leaderboards and 300 pixel wide rectangles.

So, it fits perfectly right? No, not quite. The obvious solution is to put the box ad somewhere on a left or right menu or side bar (and maybe a second one nested in a content paragraph), then to put a 728 ad above the content. But you have to account for pixels taken up by the browser scroll bar on the right side of the screen, and you need padding or spacing between page elements or it’ll look bad, so that 1028 resolution shrinks to something like, minimum, 970, and that just isn’t enough room.

So it has been a battle, trying to figure out an optimal ad layout while limiting resolution so that people on 1028 or smaller resolutions do not have to horizontal scroll.

On some sites I’ve done a hybrid situation where I park the 728 leaderboard over BOTH the content block, and the sidebar block, and that can work. That type of layout can even squeeze into an 800 wide resolution (which we should have all left by now, if not, do so, you’ll make more money). On other sites I’ve limited myself to a 250 pixel wide box ad. Then I get these emails from Google “You know if you changed this ad from 250 pixels to 300 pixels you’d make like $100 more per day?” I think “Great, okay Google, I’d love $36,500 more per year, but you tell me how I’m supposed to fit it in?”

The solution is to kick 1028 to the curb. 85% of browsers now use a resolution higher than 1028×768. So this past week I tweaked my garden blog settings to be bigger than 1028 so I could get a beefier sidebar without losing my 728 content ads. This site finally pushed me to do this because it uses a lot of big pictures in posts, and so I wanted to keep the large post space, and because I wanted to include a few new things like recent forum posts on the sidebar (so as to draw more traffic into the forum) and it really needed a wider column.

I plan to do this same thing with some of my other sites in the future (such as the site Google keeps telling me will earn more, but its bigger, and will take some time), and I tell you what, it feels good to be unchained from 1028 limitations. I settled on a width of 1050, which allows me to fit in what I wanted to fit in. It does mean approximately 15% of my users may have to horizontal scroll, slightly, but that is okay, maybe it’ll get them to upgrade their computer.

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