We have seen how to display adverts by inserting code into the theme, where it is supported, and in sidebar widgets. Now let’s look at an example of displaying an advert using the free Ad Inserter plugin.
The biggest problem you will face with displaying ads using a plugin is the large number of options and settings. Getting an advert to show in the right place on the right pages involves setting options and creating rules.
Deciding which options you need to set and which rules you need to create can be very confusing, even when you are used to a plugin.
Even if you try something simple, such as displaying an advert after the first paragraph, there may be several options. For example, is a heading a paragraph? Is five words a paragraph? You can ignore short sentences and only count text as a paragraph if it has more than 10 words.
Suppose you want to place the advert at the end of an article. Where is the end? Is it after the last paragraph or is it after the comment form? Where does the ad plugin think is the end?
Check your ads
You would think placing adverts would be simple and obvious, but it isn’t. It is great having this level of control over the placement of ads, but it makes setting up ads difficult.
You might need to experiment and ad placement settings and see what happens. Insert some ad code into the plugin and then view a page on your site and see where it appears and if it is OK.
When viewing your website, always use an incognito or private browsing window. Adverts may be hidden for you as the site admin.
Never click your adverts, even if it is just to check that they are working. It is against the AdSense rules and Google has systems in place to detect it.
A single accidental click will result in the money earned being deducted from your account. It happens sometimes and is nothing to worry about. Many clicks will result in you being kicked out of AdSense and you will lose any unpaid earnings.
Let’s take a look at an example of placing an advert on posts on your site using Ad Inserter. This plugin is one of the best free ad plugins for WordPress.
1 Go to AdSense
Go to the AdSense website (google.com/adsense) and click the menu button. Click My ads in the sidebar.
2 Choose an ad
We saw in an earlier article how to create ads in AdSense. You can select a previously made ad and click Get code, or create a new ad unit and then get the code for that.
3 Copy the code
The code you need is displayed and below is COPY CODE SNIPPET. Click the link to copy the code to the clipboard. An alternative method is to click in the code, press Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C (PC) or Command+A, Command+C (Mac).
4 Switch to WordPress
Go to WordPress and in the sidebar move the mouse over Settings. Click Ad Inserter. Alternatively, click Settings and then click Ad Inserter.
5 Insert the code
- This is the default name for this ad. Click it and then enter your own name, such as header banner, footer ad, and so on.
- The free version of Ad Inserter has 16 tabs for 16 adverts. Click a tab. Any tab will do provided it isn’t in use. (Tabs with red numbers have active ads.)
- Click in the code box and press Ctrl+V (PC) or Command+V (Mac) to paste in the code.
6 Set the display options
So far it has been easy. Now you must create the rules for displaying the advert. There are so many options it is confusing at first, so here the main ones have been listed.
- These buttons show/hide different options. Some basic options display all the time, but others are shown or hidden depending on which buttons are clicked.
- Automatic insertion: The default setting is Disabled and this means the ad will not show. Click here and choose an option, such as before the post, after the post, after a certain number of paragraphs and so on. I selected After Post.
- Posts and pages: You can choose whether to show this ad on posts or pages. I checked Posts, but not Pages. This means the ad will appear on normal posts, but not on the About page and other pages. These are different and I don’t want ads on them.
- Select the users: Click here to select the users that can see the ad. You can show ads to all users, only logged in users, not logged in users, and so on. This option enables you to hide ads for members, such as a membership site where people can log in, but show ads for the general public.
- Special pages: Here are four special pages. Tick the boxes to show ads on these pages or clear the boxes to hide them. I have inserted a matched content AdSense ad and it should not appear on these pages because they have no content, just links to the articles on the site.
- Set the alignment and style. Usually the Default setting works fine. If you had a small ad placed in the content, you could choose to align it left or right, with the content wrapping around.
7 Choose the target
Click the Devices button in the last screenshot and options appear that enable you to choose whether the ad appears on desktop computers, phones and tablets.
If you had a large horizontal banner, such as 970 x 415 pixels (yes, they can be that big), you would not want it to appear on a mobile phone. It just wouldn’t fit. You could hide it using the options here.
Wherever possible, use the option to create responsive ads in AdSense. These automatically detect the screen size and select an ad that fits.
On a desktop PC a visitor might see a 970 pixel wide banner, but the same page on a phone might display a 468 pixel wide banner. With responsive ads you don’t need to use these options.
These options can also be used to target audiences. An ad for a mobile phone or phone accessories could be displayed only on mobile for instance.
8 Black and white lists
Click the Lists button (step 6) and black and white lists are displayed.
Select Black List on the right and anything you enter into the boxes, such as categories, tags, URLs and so on, will prevent the ad from appearing.
I have a category called Members and this article belongs to the Members category. I have hidden the advert by adding it to the Categories black list.
Select White List on the right and you can display adverts only on the categories, tags, URLs you add. If you had a cookery website with recipes you could display this ad only on vegetarian recipe posts, for example. The white lists enable you to target specific articles with specific adverts.
This is a powerful feature and by matching ads with relevant content you can improve the performance of the ads.
9 Alternative options
Here is a quick look at some different ad options. The matched content ad using the settings above was appearing right down at the bottom of the page after the comment form where hardly anyone would see it. So I use these settings instead.
- I set Automatic Insertion to Before Paragraph.
- Paragraph number is 1.
- Count is set to From Bottom.
This counts paragraphs from the bottom up and it is set to insert the ad before the first paragraph. The result is that the ad appears after the last paragraph in the content. Think about it!