A month ago we converted one of our websites from HTTP to HTTPS. Little did we know that this will cause a disruption in our ad setup. Learn more about the lessons we learned in this article.
Why did we move to HTTPS?
HTTPS encrypts all requests and responses to and from our website, allowing a secure communications. There are two reasons why we wanted to use a secure communication.
The main motivation was to protect our personal data including everything we do in our WordPress dashboard. At first we thought about changing the protocol just for the dashboard but then we decided to use it in the frontend as well and make sure that all of our visitors information are send savely too.
The second reason is that we travel often and hence use a lot of different WiFi networks. We wanted to feel more secure and protected in those situations.
At the beginning we decided to make this change just for one of our websites to see what can go wrong by this change. Our goal is still to use SSL encryption for all of our websites.
Ads on HTTPS pages?
After we have switched to HTTPS we noticed that some ads were missing on the website. We checked all of the pages and noticed that the ads from some particular ad networks are definitely not being delivered after this change.
Ads fail to be delivered because HTTPS web sites require that the entire content of the page, including the ads, is sent over a secure connection too. We contacted networks in question and found out that some of them do not serve ads on the HTTPS pages at all, while others (e.g.Creafi ), just needed to update our ad tags.
Ad Networks that do not serve ads on HTTPS web pages
One of the ad networks that worked very successful for us was SwitchAds. Since they do not deliver ads to secured pages we have lost approximately 500$ per month from SwitchAds directly plus almost the same amount from the fallback ads without having a proper replacement at hand right away.
Another ad network with which we were very satisfied was PixFuture. The RPM was quite good as well and we almost recommended this network, but with the problem on HTTPS secured websites we have to find a proper replacement for them as well.
Ad Networks that serve ads on HTTPS web pages
There are of course some ad networks which support secure ad serving on HTTPS web pages, such as AdSense.
Running AdSense on HTTPS sites
However, if you check AdSense Help for this matter you will find out that switching to HTTPS might reduce your earnings. That can happen because AdSense removes non-SSL compliant ads from the auction which will result in reducing auction pressure. As a consequence from this your earnings could be lower.
We were either lucky and this scenario did not happen in our case or there are already enough ads compatible with HTTPS. Our earnings from AdSense were actually even higher in the month after we switched to HTTPS protocol.
Some other ad networks that serve the ads on HTTPS web pages are ValueBrand (Germany), RTB, Chalk Social.
Running DFP on HTTPS sites
We can also confirm that ads served with tags from DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) are working without the need to change the code. Of course, only if you didn’t alter the tags somehow.
Not switching to HTTPS
When we wanted to switch to HTTPS on our German website we have contacted important networks to see whether their ads are SSL-compliant, instead of switching to HTTPS immediately and hoping for the best.
The biggest (and local) ad network we use there serves HTTPS ads, but with a significant reduction in revenue as a consequence, because they will also remove non-SSL compliant ads from the ad auctions, which will reduce auction pressure and our revenue. As they put it, it is not the fault of the network, but the agencies who set up ads through the network.
Therefore, we have decided to postpone the switching process for this website and to wait until the majority of ads will be SSL-compliant.
If you are thinking about making this change and use the HTTPS protocol on your website you should be aware that there are some ad networks that can not deliver ads anymore.
Do not repeat our mistake and just switch without asking the ad networks to confirm that they are working on secured websites.
Some of them will probably send you new ad tags, and others will not have the solution for delivering ads to secured pages. In order to minimize your losses you have two options: not to switch to HTTPS protocol or to find an ad network which will work equally good for you and deliver SSL-compliant ads before switching.
Ad networks that serve ads on HTTPS web pages: AdSense, ValueBrand, RTB, Chalk Social and Creafi (after the change of the ad tags).
Ad networks that do not serve ads on HTTPS web pages: SwitchAds and PixFuture.
Do you have some experience in this matter, which you want to share by leaving us a comment below? Do you know which ad networks deliver ads to the secure pages, and which do not?