Auto Ads are a new feature from Google AdSense which places ads on your site automatically. No need to create ad units or put them manually on your site. Sounds simple enough, but how about the revenue? We have been a beta tester of this feature and can report what is awaiting you with the official release on February 20th, 2018.
Google AdSense Auto Ads?
Showing AdSense ads automatically on your website – that sounds like QuickStart, right? That particular option was only available to new AdSense accounts without manual ads set up. It wasn’t introduced well. It turned out that all of them had the Page-Level Ads code enabled, which is also used to verify new sites and to deliver QuickStart ads.
Auto Ads are replacing QuickStart and Page-Level ads and are in fact, only changing how they are managed in your AdSense account.
The only significant change at this point is that you can enable Auto ads on a per-site level and you can group sites using the same settings.
The settings include the ad types:
- Text & display ads
- In-article ads
- Anchor ads
- Vignette ads
- Matched Content (mobile only)
- In-feed (mobile only)
There are no further settings. Placements, sites, and styles of the ads will be chosen by AdSense automatically.
How to set up Auto Ads
- log in to your AdSense account
- navigate to Content > Auto ads
- you can choose from global settings for all sites in your account or select and group individual sites
Global and site-specific options are only different regarding the sites included. We are using the Global settings here.
- click on the pen to open the settings
- select the ad types you want to be used for Auto Ads
- click on the Setup Auto Ads link above the global settings field
- read on if you use WordPress or copy the code and insert it between the </head> tags in your site’s code
Insert the Auto Ads code
The Auto Ads code is the same code you would insert into your site to verify your AdSense account or to enable Page-Level ads. There is a chance that you already have or had it on your site.
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Using WordPress, you could just go to the
header.php file of your theme and insert the code there. If you might change or update your theme later or don‘t feel comfortable coding, you could use this Advanced Ads WordPress Plugin. Even the free basic version comes with a feature that places the Page-Level Ads code automatically on your site.
Just go to Advanced Ads > Settings > AdSense and enable the Page-Level Ads option. No further coding needed.
You can find more information in the WordPress Auto Ads tutorial.
AMP Auto Ads
When you are already using AMP, you might ask yourself if you can enable Auto Ads there as well.
While AdSense supports something called AMP Auto Ads, it is technically not related to the Auto Ads feature discussed in this article.
AMP Auto Ads are also in beta right now, and we will cover them in another article. You can already read up on them here.
Testing Auto Ads
We tested Auto Ads on two different websites. One was a standard blog, the other a dictionary-like site with a lot of automatically generated content.
The performance of the blog increased a bit while the number of ads displayed by Auto Ads went down to 2 ads compared to 3 ad units on the manual setup.
On the other website, no ads showed up at first while manually placed ads showed up correctly. After a few days though, one automatically placed ad showed up in the footer or header of the site.
There is no dedicated report for Auto Ads. You can find the ad types you enabled in the Ad behavior report type, though.
This report allows you to analyze the performance of the types like Vignette ads or In-article.
This might not be enough since it wouldn’t allow split-testing if you use the same ad types in your manual setup. To be fair, this is only a limitation if you want to split test AdSense Auto Ads and manually placed ads in the same period, which might be a bit complicated to set up. I definitely don’t recommend running manually placed ads and Auto Ads at the same time.
Should I enable Auto Ads?
As far as I can see, Auto Ads could be an improvement if you are not comfortable doing setups and tests on your own.
If you have a website with a conservative blog structure then testing Auto Ads for a few days might be worth it. So far, I cannot recommend it for advanced layouts and site types.
I would also not recommend using Auto Ads if you have other ads on your site. There is no option to set the maximum number of automatically injected ads and no way of controlling where the ads are injected.
I haven’t seen layout issues so far, but it could still happen that AdSense places its ads close to other attention-grabbing elements. Imagine you want to lead your visitors to a custom action, like a newsletter subscribe form or contact button. If you display bright ads close to these elements, users might only interact with one of them.
Update: I received feedback from the AdSense team about the compatibility with manually placed ads. They can detect manually placed AdSense and DFP ads and don‘t display Auto Ads automatically next to them. They recommend to keep a manual setup if you have one and enable Auto Ads anyway to fill in spots that don’t have ads, like in very long articles.
What do you think?
AdSense Auto Ads are a pretty new feature, and I would like to read your feedback if you have tested them already. Let me know which kind of sites you used it on and whether it helped you to increase your revenue or not.