Learn how to use Google AdSense Auto ads, the easiest way to show ads on a site. In around five minutes of your time you could have a website that is generating an income. It is a great feature.
Few people would say they love advertising, but it does keep the internet free by paying the bills on websites. This one, for example, would not exist if it was not for the (small) income provided by advertising.
If you have a website or blog of your own, you may be thinking of displaying a few adverts, but how do you go about it?
One thing you must do before anything else is to join Google AdSense and this is covered in Part 1 of this course: 16 things you need to do to be accepted by Google AdSense.
Traditional ad placement was covered in the following parts, so if you jumped right in with this article, go and read the course Get Started With Google AdSense.
In a nutshell, the usual way to place adverts on your site is to use HTML or text widgets in the sidebar of your site or a WordPress plugin like Ad Inserter. First you must go to your AdSense account and create ads of specific sizes, then copy the code for an ad. This must them be pasted into widgets or plugins on your site.
It takes time and effort and a certain amount of knowledge and experimentation to get it right and there are numerous ways you can get it wrong.
How to Auto ads work?
Auto ads make the task of displaying ads a lot simpler by reducing the amount of code to just one short block that is inserted into the header of pages on your site. Ads then magically appear in various places on the page, such as a banner at the top, in the sidebar, at the foot of the page and so on.
According to Google, Auto ads are AI powered and automated systems analyse your site and then select the best ads and the best positions to place them. It can take a while for them to appear, so you will not see them straight after posting a new article. They should be visible half an hour later though.
Auto ads Pros
- Easy to install
- Set it and forget it
- No need to choose where or when ads are shown
- All the hard work is done by Google
Auto ads Cons
- Limited choice of where ads appear
- Can place too many ads on your site
- Might not be the best size or position
- Might not work with your theme
- May place ads in poor positions
What if you already have AdSense ads?
This new AdSense Auto ad code can be used where there is existing AdSense code without any problems. In fact, it may be beneficial to mix it up and use both Auto ads and traditional ads.
For example, I like to have a single widget in the sidebar to show a 300 x 600 pixel AdSense ad, but all the other ads are placed by Auto ads. Basically you can force one or more ads to appear in whatever size or position works best for you using widgets and plugins, and then leave the rest to Auto ads.
1 Go to AdSense Auto ads
Go to google.com/adsense and sign in to your account. Click My ads, expand Content and select Auto ads.
2 Get started with Auto ads
The first time Auto ads is visited you will see a message like this. Click the GET STARTED button. On subsequent visits you are taken straight to step 4.
3 Select the ad types
Select Text & display ads, which basically means let AdSense decide which type of advert is best – text, images, and so on. You can also choose where ads appear with the controls below, for example, In-feed ads show ads in lists, such as a list of posts. In-article ads inserts ads between paragraphs in a post article. I find In-article a bit irritating, so have switched off this option, but it is up to you.
There are several more options further down the page and usually the best setting is on, but the amount and type of advertising is up to you.
4 Auto ads home screen
After setting up Auto ads, this is what the Auto ads home screen looks like. Click SETUP AUTO ADS to get the code you need. The pencil icon below is to edit your ad preferences and the chart icon is to view a performance report.
5 Copy the code
The code you need to insert into your site is displayed in a pop-up box. Click COPY CODE SNIPPET to copy it to the clipboard.
6 Insert the code
The Auto ads code must appear in the header of every page on your site that you want to show Auto ads on. This requires a WordPress plugin and one option is All-in-One SEO. Click it in the sidebar and about halfway down the settings page is an option to insert additional headers for posts, pages and the front page.
Click in the box and press Ctrl+V (PC) or Cmd+V (Mac). I only have ads on posts and the front page, not pages like About.
To see other plugins that can insert Auto ads code into the header, read How to insert code into the header of a WordPress post or page.
7 Get a performance report
Back at the Auto ads home screen (step 4), the chart icon on the right is used to get a performance report that shows how much each type of Auto ad is earning you. It will not show anything straight away, so give it a week or two to get going, then click the chart icon.
There are the usual report options like choosing the date range and below is a chart and a list. It shows the type of ad, impressions, clicks, estimated earnings and so on. If a particular type of ad is not working, you might want to disable it to make it better for visitors, but without losing too much income.
Note that this report is only for Auto ads. Other ads that you place manually are not shown here. You must go to the AdSense home screen to see all income from all ads everywhere.
View your site
After enabling Auto ads, check your site the next day or next week using an incognito or private browser window so you see it as visitors do. If there are too many ads or to few, change the auto ads settings or the number of ads you place manually using widgets or ad plugins.
All manual or all auto may not be best and a mixture of both could work better.