Google AdSense is one of the easy ways to monetize your online content. AdSense policy allows publishers to show 3 content ads and 3 link unit ads on a single page. In addition you can earn more using two search boxes, matched content recommendations and showing page-level ads on mobile devices. But the problem of using so many ad codes on a single page will kill the page speed and directly affect your user’s experience. Google explains user experience can be improved by stop serving non-potential ads on your site. This feature is called “Ad balance” and helps to show less ads without much impact on your revenue. In this article let us check out how to use ad balance feature in Google AdSense account.
Logic Behind Ad Balance
Though you are allowed to show lot of ads on a page, generally more than 80% of revenue is generated by fewer ads on your site. This has two dimensions – one is ad placement and the second is high paying ads. Though both of these dimensions are very much interlinked.
Ads placed on the above fold area attracts higher bids from advertisers and generate most of the revenue for your site. Ads placed below the content area and sidebar do not attract much attention from users and hence always paid less by advertisers.
Google treats this as a rule of thumb and allows to stop serving low paying ads on your site. This means your earnings will not impact much when the lower bid ads on below fold content are blocked. This is exactly what the Ad balance feature will do in Google AdSense account.
How to Enable Ad Balance in Google AdSense?
Login to your AdSense account and navigate to “My ads > Ad balance” section.
You will see the graph like below with two bars showing estimated revenue and ad fill rate. Ad fill rate is nothing but the percentage of ads served on the page. Below the chart, you will see the best user experience range and the slider to adjust the ad fill rate.
Based on the site traffic, Google judges the best user experience range for the ad fill rate. For example, in the above picture, Google thinks when you reduce the ad fill rate to even lower than 50%, the estimated revenue is not going to get impacted.
Let’s change the ad fill rate to 50% and check the estimated revenue. As expected, the revenue drops just 1% when you show only 50% of the ads on your site.
The above case of comparing 100% and 50% ad fill rates can be better explained with an example.
100% Ad Fill Rate:
- Number of ad code on a page – 4
- Number of ads served on a page – 4
- Number of ads shown as blank – 0
- Total estimated earnings – $100 per month
50% d Fill Rate:
- Number of ad code on a page – 4
- Number of ads served on a page – 2
- Number of ads shown as blank – 2
- Total estimated earnings – $99 per month
This means, you can show only two ads on a page with a mere 1% in estimated revenue drop. With fewer ads the page will load faster and also the user experience will be improved.
When you drag the ad fill rate bar further low in the better user experience range, then you will see the steeper drop in the revenue. For example, when the ad fill rate is set as 10% the revenue is dropped to 88% as shown below.
Once you decided the ad fill rate then set it accordingly and save your changes. Google will serve ads only as per the fill rate you set here. You can monitor the revenue and change the settings any time later.
Is This Reliable?
The answer is NO. The above logic will work well when you have huge traffic, say million users per month. But for those with less traffic, this method will heavily hurt your revenue. Let us take an example of a site getting 1000 visitor per month. The site generates $10 from 5 clicks and all those clicks came from the ads placed below the content. This will make Google to think that only the below content ads are performing well. When you adjust the fill rate then Google probably will stop serving ads appearing above the content thinking that those ads are not generating high revenue for you. Now that no above fold ads are displayed and assuming if no user clicks on the below content ads then the revenue will be zero.
In summary – it is not possible for Google to judge which ad might generate more revenue when the traffic is less.
Also the logic will work when you have different ad units on different places of your page. When you use the same ad code on multiple places (say above and below the content), it will be really difficult to differentiate where exactly the revenue came from.
Will User Experience Improve?
We really don’t think so. When you reduce the ad fill rate, the blocked percentage of ads will be served with empty blank space. In this case, the ad code will be still loading on the page though it does not show the ads. Assume you have 300×600 skyscrapper ad on the sidebar, showing white space on larger ad space like this will distract the users instead of improving user experience.
We recommend not to enable this ad balance and leave the ad fill rate as 100% especially when your site gets low traffic. Rather you can use different ad codes on the page and assign unique custom channels to each ad code. This will easily help to track the performance of each ad unit clearly and also will help you to take optimization action on those not performing ads. Google also offers optimization tips when the particular ad unit is not performing well. You can take action based on these optimization tips and use best performing ad formats to earn more from AdSense.