If you are using AdSense on your website and have not started optimizing your ad units, you are leaving money on the table. Clearly, optimization is a very important process for webmasters, no matter the size of their site. Ad optimization will allow you to find the best ad unit size and placements, and ensure that your ad sees its intended audience.
Optimization may seem like a complicated procedure, but luckily there are several plugins that can simplify the process. These plugins provide features such as ad rotation, restrictions on the display of ads, and custom placement of ads.
Using these plugins on your WordPress blog streamlines the task of optimization and allows you to test – which ad configurations work best for you.
The first of these plugins is named Ad Injection. Ad Injection allows you to inject any advertisements into your posts or widget area. This is a flexible plugin with many features including ad rotation, restricting ads to older posts, and setting the number of advertisements based on post length.
- Ad Injection places ads into the content automatically, making the entire process easier.
- If you want to position content yourself, you can place the ads almost anywhere on the page – at the top of the post, the bottom of the post, in-between paragraphs, on a fraction of the page, etc.
- Ads can be blocked for specific viewers to help prevent false clicks.
- With Ad Injection, you can disable ads for viewers from referring sites (Facebook, Wikipedia, etc.) making the user experience better for new visitors.
- Compatibility issues with SuperCache.
- You can’t A/B Test Ad locations. For Ad sizes, what it does is simple rotation.
- You can’t target ads outside the content/widget area.
Although the benefits are numerous, there has been an issue reported with Ad Injection and its interaction with another plugin, Super Cache (which speeds up a WordPress blog by allowing the users to see static HTML files instead of comparatively heavier PHP scripts).
WP-Insert is another plugin that shares many functions with Ad Injection and is lovingly referred to as ‘the ultimate WordPress plugin”. It has a basic interface, showing exactly what you can use WP-Insert for and providing the user with a lot of control. One standout feature WP-Insert has is that it allows up to three different ad networks to run on your blog without any conflict. As a result, WP-Insert makes it possible to run AdSense along with Adbrite and nearly any other ad network you wish to use.
- Like Ad Injection, WP-Insert allows you to control where the advertisements are placed, and even goes further by allowing you to set rules as to when and where ads will be displayed.
- WP-Insert also enables the display of certain ads for certain geographical locations, helping you cater to your audience to an even further degree if you have visitors from all over the world.
- With WP-Insert, adding tracking codes is as simple as pasting them into the header or footer of your website or blog.
- The syntax-highlighting tool is ideal for programmers because it makes code aesthetically pleasing and easy to work with.
- You need to limit the number of ads per page manually.
- Again, you can’t A/B Test between different ad locations.
According to the Product-Specific section of Google AdSense’s program policies, users are barred from publishing more than 3 AdSense ads per page. Since WP-Insert does not have an automatic limiter, you will have to keep track of your ads and do this limiting manually.
WP-Insert is quite similar to Ad Injection, but is slightly lacking in features. However, the plugin is fully compatible with SuperCache and is also easy to use, making it ideal for both newer and more-advanced users.
Simple Ads Manager supports ad rotation, but does so based on a defined weight for each advertisement. Each group of advertisements has an “Ads Place” and each Ads Place records the number of advertisements in that place and how often they are interacted with. This really allows you to monitor what ads you have running and how well they are doing with your audience.
- Compared to Ad Injection and WP-Insert, Simple Ads Manager has a wider variety of ad limitations and blocks. You could limit advertisement display by the type of page, on a single post, by category, by author, by tag, and more.
- With Simple Ads Manager, you can also choose to display ads based on certain criteria, rather than block or limit them.
- Simple Ads manager allows for simultaneous use of multiple ad networks, and supports placing limitations on the networks seamlessly.
- Simple Ads Manager is complex and can be difficult for some people to use.
- The plugin’s click counter was inaccurate when we tested it, painting a false picture of your traffic and optimization.
All three optimization tools allow the user to control where advertisements are placed on the page, and have their own individual benefits. Simple Ads Manager and Ad Injection both allow the user to block advertisements from other users by some means, whereas WP-Insert does not (it allows you to choose different ads for different geographical locations but it will not block ads altogether). Simple Ads Manager and WP-Insert support short codes, which could come in handy for formatting, while Ad Injection does not.
In addition, Simple Ads Manager and WP-Insert support the use of multiple ad networks, which Ad Injection does not. To make up for this, Ad Injection allows the user to inject almost anything into the blog, while both Simple Ads Manager and WP-Insert lack this.
Each Plugin has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages, but there is a huge gap when it comes to testing and optimization.
The plugins I wrote about are great and recommended, however, the reason why we started AdPushup was simply because websites are still not able to optimize their ad revenues properly and we feel that there is a big opportunity for a product which can do this efficiently for websites without requiring the webmaster to learn about advanced algorithms or any other rocket science.
Let me give you an example: A website I worked on recently, I created 200+ Ad units, that’s right 200+ AdSense ad units to test between different ad locations, sizes for each location, different ad themes (borders, colors, text size). For a website with enough traffic, testing so many variations pays off very well (as it did in this case too).
The biggest problem however was creating so many ad units – you still have to do it manually and while the interface which Google provides is decent, it is not designed for creating ad units in bulk – so I had to spend a great deal of time creating these ad units. No plugin I mentioned above can help you here.
At AdPushup, you don’t have to switch between your AdSense account and website/wordpress editor. Creating ad units in bulk is a breeze and it’s all done from within our editor.
Next, another problem which no plugin had solved yet is reporting. You put your ad code in wordpress and the plugin has no clue about how each ad unit is performing or which ones are performing better. So you have to manually keep a track of this from your AdSense account to measure how ad units are doing in each spot and then come back to your plugin/editor to edit the code and make them show more often.
This is not scaleable, you can’t do this with 200 ad units nor can you keep doing this constantly – this is not your full time job.
So, at AdPushup, we created an intelligent engine, which distributes your traffic automatically between different ad variations to test ad units, which were created (in bulk) in our app itself. I’m calling this an intelligent engine because it knows how your ad units are performing (making more money) and based on that it decides which ad units to show more often than others.
Next, the engine gets even more intelligent as it knows what banner blindness is. It constantly keeps a track of this and as soon as it notices banner blindness around your ad units, it automatically starts finding the new best performing ad unit (or variation).
I can write about numerous other points where we’re trying to get better than currently available solutions, but I don’t want to make this a full blown article promoting ourselves, so I’ve outlined only a couple of major issues which we’re trying to solve.
I think it would be best if you install and play around a little bit with each of the plugins I mentioned above to compare – I’d love to see your feedback in the comments! Happy Testing!