While one of the most important objectives of search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns today is still “direct response” (e.g: clicks and conversions), brand awareness has definitely taken a whole new meaning when it comes to advertising.
Brand advertisers goals are normally different with that of direct response advertisers, as they are not looking for clicks and conversions, but rather to create certain awareness among users. To illustrate this better, here is an example:
Direct Response Advertiser: A company selling some kind of gadget. They are looking for clicks to direct them to their website to ultimately generate a sale (conversion).
Brand Advertisers: A company wants to create a “buzz” prior to a launch of some new product. Say company X will launch a revolutionary new SEO tool that will blow your mind away. “X SEO Tool, Three weeks to countdown”. The advertiser in this scenario does not want clicks, but rather to call the attention of users about a product launch they are going to have. Maybe they will direct you to a page that is some sort of pre-sale page or with a tease, to further enhance the awareness.
Considering that brand advertisers have different goals from that of direct response, it is also safe to say that they are more selective when choosing for websites to publish their ads. This is where, Google AdSense ad placement management comes into play. These types of advertisers will more likely be looking for available spaces that are above the fold because they are more attractive and will want their ads to be immediately visible when a page is loaded.
That said, Google AdSense has recently launched a new beta advertiser feature that will enable brand advertisers to target their ads to available units which can help them accomplish this goal. Google has implemented a statistically-driven model that takes into account various user habits, including various types of web browsers, monitor sizes, and screen resolutions, etc. and will only consider ads above the fold if they are fully on-screen when the browser window loads.
Placing your ad units above the fold, will increase your chances of being targeted by this new type of advertising and hence, improve your earnings. So far, it is still not clear if this type of advertisement will pay by click or by impression, or both. In any event, this will bring more revenue to your website, particularly if you have a good amount of traffic. Give it a test drive and see if it works for you. Nothing to loose, a lot to gain:) Good luck!