After speaking some more with the “powers that be” I decided to go forth with the ad units. You can find them on any product page at www.columbussupply.com. I tried to blend the ads into the theme of the site without hiding them entirely. The purpose of the ads is still for them to be clicked, but not to overpower the message of the product description, as the purpose of the product description is still to sell the product. Essentially, we’re trying to monetize the casual browser who is not really intending to buy anything but is rather looking around or comparison shopping. Those who are looking to buy something will buy something, ad click or not, since we really (actually) do have the best prices on the internet for virtually everything we sell.
I’m not new to adsense or the placement of ads. I am aware that the placement of the ad is not optimal for the best clickthroughs, but that’s not the point. I don’t want my customers to see an ad as the first thing on the page, but rather as they work their way down and have already been served the product description message. The primary goal is to sell products, and I feel that some people may get turned off if they are bombarded with ads as soon as they hit the page.
I’m interested to hear feedback on how the ads are placed, if they’re too overbearing, too obvious, not obvious enough, whatever. Do the ads serve their purpose?