Google AdSense Auto Ads vs. Manual Ads

If you have an approved Google AdSense account then, you might be confused between implementing Auto ads and manual ads on your blog or website.

In this article, I will be comparing all the aspects of the Auto ads and manual ads and will help you to make the best decision.

Additionally, I will also share my experience of using Auto ads and manual ads and will help you to set up these ads.

What are Auto ads?

Auto ads were introduced on Feb 21, 2018.

The main purpose of the Auto ads is to utilize the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically display the right amount of ads in the right places to provide a good user experience.

This feature really comes in handy to those publishers who don’t like to manually place ads across their websites to save time and effort.

Enabling Auto ads is very simple and straightforward as here you only need to insert one piece of code.

And then, Auto ads will scan your blog and display ads in the places where they will perform best.

The number of ads shown will depend on the length of your blog post.

You need not worry about continuously optimizing these ads because AdSense automatically optimizes the Auto ads for you.

You can use toggles to easily turn on and off different features and ad formats.

Auto ads are also available for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) sites.

Auto ads for AMP
Auto ads for AMP

You can use both-

You can use Auto ads, even if you already placed manual ads on your blog to increase your revenue.

In this case, Auto ads will recognize the vacant ad spaces and will display ads there.

You need not perform any changes to the already existing ad units.

Advantages of Auto ads-

  • Implementing Auto ads across your blog is very easy and saves your time and effort.
  • You can easily turn on and off various ad formats like In-page ads, Matched content, Anchor and Vignette ads.
  • You can preview the ads for both desktop and mobile before finalising the changes.
  • Auto ads utilize the goodness of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

So, by reading all these positive things about Auto ads you will be excited to try them on your blog.

I too was thrilled by knowing about Auto ads and I used them on my other blog for eleven months from September 2019 to August 2020 and later, I completely switched over to manual ads.

I was surprised to see that using manual ads instead of Auto ads increased my revenue and brought many other benefits.

Disadvantages of Auto ads-

Content Formatting

Sometimes, the content formatting of your blog posts might get disrupted.

For example, you might not want to show ads near call to action or at certain places for maintaining the flow of your blog post but Auto ads might get displayed at those places.

Irregularity

I noticed that sometimes, the Auto ads were not at all being displayed in my blog.

But sometimes, my blog posts were packed with too many ads.

Around eight ads per blog post were being displayed and in my opinion, these are an overload of ads.

Overload of ads irritate the readers and make them leave the website which in turn affects the ranking.

Yes, Auto ads have Ad load feature by which you can control the number of ads.

But in my experience, I found that this feature works well only for the home page and not for the blog posts.

Even after deleting a few Auto ads, I found them re-appearing in the remaining section of the blog post.

Now, as I am using the manual ads, I have full control over the number of ads in my blog.

Effect on speed-

After shifting from Auto ads to manual ads, I noticed a significant increase in my blog’s speed.

I checked the speed of my blog with PageSpeed Insights and was surprised after noticing that my blog’s speed nearly doubled after moving from Auto ads to manual ads.

If your website is already slow, implementing Auto ads will greatly slow down your site.

Effect on earnings-

Here also, manual ads emerged as the winner.

I noticed no difference in Cost Per Click (CPC) but the Ad revenue per thousand impressions (RPM) of my blog increased remarkably when I moved from Auto ads to manual ads.

Lack of control-

Compared to manual ads, Auto ads provide only a very few control options.

With Auto ads, it is difficult to control the placement (position) of your ads and the look (formatting) of your blog or website.

With manual ads, you can display whichever ad units you like (In-feed ads, In-article ads, etc.) at the positions you desire, but this is nearly impossible with Auto ads.

Personal experience-

I continued using Auto ads until August 2020 even after observing all these drawbacks hoping that over the time they will get improved.

But I didn’t see any significant improvements, so I completely removed Auto ads from my blog and manually placed ads.

The winner-

The winner

At this point of time, manual ads are way better than Auto ads in every aspect.

Let us hope that in future, the Auto ads will improve and perform well.

But for now, the real winner is the manual ads.

Which one should you use?

From my experience, I would recommend you to use only manual ads.

But if you want to try Auto ads, I would recommend you to try them for a few months and then try manual ads or try using both Auto ads and manual ads and see which perform best.

AdSense provides you detailed reporting to observe the performance of Auto ads and manual ads side by side.

You should always select the best performing ones.

If you want to learn how to set up Auto ads, please read the section below.

How to set up Auto ads?

Setting up Auto ads on your blog is very easy and in this section, I will show you the various ways to do the same.

Follow the below mentioned steps to turn on Auto ads-

  1. Log in to your Google AdSense account.
  2. In the sidebar located on the left-hand side, click on Ads and then on Overview.
  3. Here, you will be presented with all your Google AdSense approved sites, click on the Edit (pencil icon) besides the site in which you like to display Auto ads.
  4. You will be directed to the Ad Settings Preview and here, you can turn on Auto ads by toggling the Auto ads under “Site settings”.
  5. You will be provided with an option to preview how your website appears both on mobile and desktop with Auto ads. If you don’t like the position of an Auto ad, simply click on the bin (trash) icon besides that Auto ad unit to remove that ad.
  6. You can also toggle on the- Optimize your existing ad units? setting if you like Google to optimize your existing ad units and your Auto ads together.
  7. After this, you can also toggle on or off various Ad formats like In-page ads, Matched content, Anchor and Vignette ads.
  8. You can also adjust the Ad load and add Page exclusions to exclude certain pages from displaying ads.
  9. After performing all the above mentioned steps, just click on Apply to site button to save all your settings and apply them to your website. If you want AdSense to run an experiment to test your settings you can choose- Run experiment first instead of Apply now and then, click on save to save your settings.
  10. It will take up to an hour for the Auto ads to appear on your website.

Page exclusions-

If you don’t want to display Auto ads on some pages like the home, about and contact pages, you can simply add the URLs of those pages to page exclusions.

Page exclusions feature
Page exclusions feature

How to insert Auto ads in your blog?

Site Kit Plugin-

This is the easiest way to start displaying Auto ads on your website.

After setting up the Auto ads by following the steps mentioned under- How to set up Auto ads? follow the steps mentioned below.

Install the Site Kit by Google for your WordPress website and activate it.

Then, head over to the settings of this plugin.

And connect AdSense service and Google will automatically display Auto ads across your blog or website.

Here, there is no need to paste your AdSense Auto ad code in your blog as AdSense automatically recognizes your blog when you connect your AdSense to your blog with this plugin.

Other methods-

There are a few other methods to display Auto ads on your blog if you don’t want to use the Google Site Kit plugin.

First of all, login to your AdSense account and then, go to ads and overview.

Under “Let Google place ads for you”, click on “Get code”.

Get code for Auto ads

You should copy and paste this code in between the <head></head> tags on every page across your site.

Follow the steps from 3 to 9 under the subheading- How to set up Auto ads?

Then, AdSense will automatically display ads.

Plugins-

If you don’t want to manually place this code, you can install plugins to do the same.

You can install and use WordPress plugins like Head, Footer and Post Injections, Insert Headers and Footers, etc. to easily insert the AdSense code into the headers.

Then, follow the steps from 3 to 9 under the subheading- How to set up Auto ads?

How to turn off Auto ads?

Follow the below mentioned steps to turn off Auto ads-

  1. Log in to your AdSense account.
  2. Click on Ads and then on Overview.
  3. Select the website for which you want to turn off Auto ads. Click on the Edit (pencil icon) besides that particular site.
  4. In the Ad Settings Preview page, just toggle off the Auto ads under “Site settings”.
  5. And save the changes by clicking on the Apply to site button.

How to manually place ads?

Compared to Auto ads, placing manual ads is a little time-consuming and manual task.

But the process is very simple, first of all you need to select a few ad units, then create them and copy and paste the generated ad codes in your blog.

There are a few ways to do this which I am going to mention in this section.

How to generate ad codes for manual ads?

By ad unit screen
By ad unit screen
  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Navigate to Ads and Overview and By ad unit.
  3. Here, you can create new ad units for Display ads, In-feed ads, In-article ads and sometimes you will also be presented with Matched content and Link ads.
  4. Click on the ad unit for which you want to generate code.
  5. Name your ad unit and finally create the required ad units.
  6. That’s all, now you can place these ad codes in your blog to display manual ads.

How to generate ad codes for Display ads?

Out of all the ad units, AdSense recommends using Display ads.

Settings of Display ad
Settings of Display ad

So, in this section I am going to help you to create ad codes for the Display ads and guide you to manually insert them in your blog.

  1. Under create new ad unit, click on Display ads.
  2. Name your ad unit.
  3. In Display ad preview, select whether you want a square or horizontal or vertical ad.
  4. Under Ad size, you will be provided with two options, Responsive and Fixed. It is recommended to use Responsive ad size because here the ads will adapt to your page (blog post) layout and different devices.
  5. Click on create.
  6. Then, copy the generated code snippet and place this ad code in between the <body><body/> tags of your pages where you want the ad to appear. ( Just create a HTML block in your WordPress Gutenberg editor and copy and paste the ad code there and update the blog post).
  7. But if you want this ad to appear in the sidebar of your blog (it is recommended to create a vertical ad unit for sidebar), head over to your WordPress Dashboard, navigate to Appearance, Widgets and under Available Widgets select Custom HTML and drag it to Sidebar. Paste the ad code in the Content section of the Custom HTML and click on Done.
  8. You can also use a plugin like Q2W3 Fixed Widget for WordPress if you like to create a sticky widget that sticks to the screen while scrolling to display a sticky ad in the sidebar.
  9. Finally, click on the Done button in the AdSense Dashboard.

The manual placement of ads is best when you want to show ads only in a few blog posts.

For example, if your blog posts are promoting affiliate products and you don’t want to display ads in these posts, you can manually place ads only in the blog posts which don’t contain any affiliate products.

Noting down the URLs in which you manually inserted ads will be helpful.

WordPress plugins-

If manual insertion of ad codes in blog posts overwhelm you, using the WordPress plugins is the best option.

With the help of plugins, you can quickly insert the ad codes across your entire blog within a few minutes.

Ad Inserter – Ad Manager & AdSense Ads plugin-

This is one of the popular WordPress plugins to insert ad codes.

With this plugin, you can easily display ads across your posts, homepage, category pages, static pages, search pages and tag/archive pages.

Follow the below mentioned steps for using this plugin-

  1. Install Ad Inserter – Ad Manager & AdSense Ads plugin on your WordPress blog or website and activate it.
  2. In your WordPress dashboard, navigate to settings and then, Ad Inserter.
  3. You will be presented with some blocks in which you can paste the AdSense ad codes. After pasting the code, click on save settings to save your settings.
  4. Generate the ad codes as mentioned under the subheading- How to generate ad codes for manual ads?
  5. Below the blocks you will be provided with many checkboxes which you can check to display ads on posts, homepage, category pages, static pages, search pages and tag/archive pages.
  6. This plugin also provides many ad insertion options like before post, before content, between posts, between comments, footer, etc.
Blocks of Ad Inserter plugin
Blocks of Ad Inserter plugin

Apart from Ad Inserter – Ad Manager & AdSense Ads plugin, there are several other plugins like Ads by WPQUADS, AdRotate – Ad manager & AdSense Ads, etc.

Also read-

How many AdSense ads per page can you display?

So, do you prefer using Auto ads or manual ads?

If you have already used either of them, please share your experiences in the comment section below.

Please appreciate my work by sharing this article.


Naveen Reddy

Hi, I am Naveen Reddy, the founder of Neat Blogging. I am a very passionate blogger and my motto is to simplify and redefine blogging and teach the right mindset required to become a successful blogger.

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