A few weeks ago, Google AdSense updated their ad placement policies and made a significant change to the famous ad limit, the number of ads allowed on a single page. It is almost uncovered by other media or even the AdSense blog itself, so let me summarize the change and the implications in this post.

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The old ad limit per page

In the first half of 2016, there was an explicit limit for ads on a page. This is the exact list from the AdSense placement policies:

  • Up to three AdSense for content units
  • Up to three link units
  • Up to two search boxes

Furthermore, there was a limit of one large ad unit per page.

Publishers may not place more than one “large” ad unit per page. We define a “large” ad unit as any unit similar in size to our 300×600 format. For example, this would include our 300×1050 and 970×250 formats, our 750×200 and 580×400 regional formats, and any other custom sized ad with comparable dimensions.

There was no discussion about this limit. Many publishers who didn’t find this part in the placement policies didn’t know if link units and content ad units count together in the three ads limit, but this was it.

The latest change will definitely lead to more confusion.

Ad limit now

You can read up on the updated version of the ad limit here or find the most important paragraph below:

Advertising and other paid promotional material added to your pages should not exceed your content. Furthermore, the content you provide should add value and be the focal point for users visiting your page. For this reason, we may limit or disable ad serving on pages with little to no value and/or excessive advertising until changes are made.

What this actually reminds me of are a lot of statements made by Google in terms of search engine optimization. There are no specific numbers, but rather a demand for balance between content and other elements.

I often get asked by users about AdSense allowing to display ads from other networks together with AdSense ad units. The answer is and was always “yes” and this is also reflected in the policies now. It is no longer an AdSense ads limit, but an ad limit in general. In my understanding, this also applies to other elements like affiliate links.

What are too many ads?

I know that it is a tough task to know when you have “too many” ads on your site, because this is a personal opinion and you will always have the feeling that you might be able to earn more with an additional ad.

While not scientifically methods, here are a few suggestions how you can determine if you have too many ads:

  • Ask visitors for an honest opinion.
  • Check your site for a clear call to action. Do ads draw the attention away from your content?
  • Check your site with different devices. Is it possible to see more than 2 ads at the same time?

Those are just test questions, but might help.

What is AdSense doing to enforce the ad limit?

I believe that there will not be much change in handling this policy, because it is in fact something that existed before.

On many websites you could see more than 3 content ad units already without the site having a specific deal with AdSense or an agency. On others, the fourth and later ad space just stayed blank when included on purpose or by accident. This practice of a technical enforced limit is probably being kept up by AdSense.

While I believe that AdSense has the power to scan sites for the amount of content and ad units automatically, they will probably review cases of possible violations of the policies manually, especially from larger publishers with older accounts.

Like with all violations of this kind, I expect publishers to being informed about possible issues with a deadline to fix it.

Removing the ad limit in Advanced Ads

Our Advanced Ads plugin for ad management in WordPress has an ad limit setting for AdSense ad units by default. With the specific ad limit removed, I am thinking about keeping this setting, but removing the default state of this option from being enabled to disabled, so it is possible to show more AdSense ad units.

This is where I would like to get your input. Do you find the default AdSense ad limit should be removed from the plugin or not?

Should the AdSense ad limit be disabled in Advanced Ads?

  • Yes, allow more than 3 content ad units. (76%, 59 Votes)
  • No, keep the limit. Better save than sorry. (24%, 19 Votes)

Total Voters: 78

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Update: due to the clear direction of the votes, the AdSense limit is now disabled by default. New users can still activate it though.

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Comments

  1. Bablu Chakma

    Thank you very much for your nice article. So exactly how much adsense ads are supported now per page limit? Am I eligible to put six or seven adsense enabled ad units per page now?

  2. dhanunjai

    i been searching for this answer since so many days can you help

    Actually as adsense has no limit now, we can put more than 3 ads know

    so will this also apply to adx networks which pay by cpm i.e earlier in Adx networks, we can put upto 5 ads per page, so for them also limit lifted ?

    and other is s adsense has no limit and adx network has 5 ads limit, can we put 5 adx networks ads and 2 to 3 adsense ads in a page?

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi, I don’t know what you mean by “Ads networks”, but AdSense terms don’t automatically apply to other services. As I stated in the article, also the number of existing ads is validated by AdSense, so 5 ads from another network might already be enough. It depends on the content-ads ratio though, which is not measurable.

  3. Ryan Rajpoot

    I think for smaller website or blog 3 add unit is more than enough for per page but bigger blog and website 3 ad unit is not sufficient. I think we should place ads as per our website design and any how it shouldn’t violate adsense policy.

  4. Jual Bibit Tin

    Hi Thomas
    I would leave the feature in as you suggest and just change the default..
    As always, this product rocks!

  5. Mohit

    i guess 3 ad unit are enough for a page inculding link ad, what i observe is adding more ads lower down the cpc. any idea on it ?

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      As I said in the article, there are in fact long pages where more than 3 ad units would be justified, too. If you have a short page that has no valuable content below the fold, even 3 ad units can bee too much.

  6. vishal

    3 Ad units and two links units are enough for 1000 word article. Building ad units will decrease the blog quality for sure

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Karan, thanks for reaching out. I can not give you a concrete number, but the information in the article should help you to determine whether you have too many ads or not.

  7. Vibha Sharma

    This change by Google puts onus of deciding “how much is too much” on the publisher. I think it is a good move as the earlier ad restrictions were getting obsolete. As per the new guidelines, I think the maximum number of ad units per page should be five.