How to Use Google AdSense Matched Content Ads?
What is AdSense Matched Content?
During April 2015, Google introduced a content recommendation widget through the existing AdSense platform. This is very similar to recommended articles from outbrain or taboola and indicates the intention of Google’s entry into this area for monetizing. This widget is also comparable to the related posts widget in WordPress and other CMS platforms. The widget will look something like below when placed horizontally as a carousel with previous / next navigation links.
Who Are Eligible?
At the time when this article is written, matched content is a beta feature in Google AdSense and only the sites with sufficient traffic and unique pages are eligible. Of course this is only applicable for AdSense publishers since the purpose of the recommended content widget is to increase the page views thus improving the ad revenue indirectly. If you are an existing AdSense publisher, check your eligibility under “Settings > Site management” of your AdSense account. There will be an indication saying the eligibility of your site as shown in the below picture:
There are three possible eligibilities for matched content ads:
- Not eligible indicates your site does not meet the traffic and unique page requirements.
- Eligible to use indicates your site met the eligibility criteria.
- Eligible and show ads indicates you can display matched content recommendations along with in-between advertisements for monetization.
How to Create Matched Content Ads?
If you have an eligible site under your account, then create an AdSense ad unit like regular ads and choose the ad type as matched content.
You can use any of the existing ad styles or create a custom ad style for your matched content ad. Get the ad code and place it on the eligible site after 15 minutes. Though we saw the widget was displayed instantly, if the changes are not propagated Google will display normal content ads instead of recommendations.
Can I Make More Money With Matched Content Ads?
Ideal purpose of the matched content ads is to improve the user engagement, page views and time on site without having direct impact on AdSense revenue. Since more page views will result in increased RPM and the possibility of increased ad clicks there is a high possibility of increased revenue with matched content ads.
Though it is offered as a free recommendation tool, the purpose it is being offered as part of AdSense account is inevitable that Google will soon or later convert this as a monetizing option. Even at this point of time, there are sponsored ads displayed in-between the related recommended posts indicating Google may be experimenting this feature in beta mode.
What are the Guidelines?
Since the purpose of matched content ad is different they have different set of guidelines:
- Ensure to place the matched content ads only on the eligible site, placing it on the other site may not display the recommendations and the recommendations will only work within a domain level.
- Only the pages having AdSense ad code (either normal ad or matched content ad) will be shown in the recommended content widget.
- The matched content ads will not be accounted for the content ad limit on a page level. Though there is no limit on number matched content ads on a page mentioned by Google, it makes sense to strict with maximum of two widgets.
- Google recommends to place the widget either above or below the AdSense ads or place below the post content to increase the user engagement.
- The widget is responsive and works on mobile devices also.
Pros & Cons
There are many advantages as well as disadvantages of using AdSense matched content ads on a page.
- The widget has very limited controls like the page needs to have a featured image and open graph meta tags so that Google will show the images. At this moment there are no options to choose text only recommendations.
- Since recommendations are using script, users can block with ad blocking softwares. Also if Google services are not available then matched content widget will show blank space.
- Works within AdSense account with platform independent.
- Increases the possibility of getting more revenue with the existing content on site.
- Related posts widgets are resource intensive since all posts are to be indexed before retrieving the relevant posts based on title or tags. Matched content ads are relatively loads faster and no additional server resource is required.
Monitoring Performance Reports
One of the biggest advantage of using matched content ads is that you can easily monitor and get readymade reports from the performance reports section of your AdSense account. There are three metrics available for this reporting – total impressions, recommendations and clicks as shown in the below picture: