Anchor Ads – as announced in November 2011 by AdSense – are already a reality. And no one told you! AdSense simply rolled out there version of sticky ads and didn’t tell their publishers – not directly at least. So this article is the first one covering the feature after it was put out there.

(Sorry to the newsletter readers to get another message shortly after the last post – but this is either really great or horrifying, but definitely important news.)

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Anchor Ads – the cool version of mobile ads?

Google AdSense explained the nature of anchor ads with these words:

Mobile anchor ads work by allowing a 320×50 banner ad unit to be anchored to the bottom of the smartphone screen, staying there when your users scroll up or down the page.

Another difference to previous banners formats is that users can close the ad for the current page view. This should guarantee the a user acceptance even when the banner is more obstrusive due to the sticky position at first.

Anchor Ads announcement in November 2013

Since Google AdSense announced their anchor ads in late November 2013 I was more than excited to test them. I was even very close testing them in the beta phase until my AdSense contact went into holidays and disappeared after that. Believe me, I tried hard to get another shot at this since I knew from my tests that mobile sticky ads can increase your ad revenue by 400% and more.

AdSense Anchor Ad Grafik

If you read the announcement you will notice the time schedule of just a few months. Well, it took a lot longer.

Anchor Ads went live – and no one told you?

I am reading the AdSense blog constantly. I even get the feed! So I was more than surprised, when the first anchor ad appeared on one of my websites and I haven’t heared about the rollout yet. I did some research and actually even found a kind-of-announcement. Kind-of, because it appeared on the AdWords blog – the counter part of AdSense, where advertisers buy ad space.

On September 29th 2014 they announced several new ad formats. One of them was the anchor ad format, explained with this text:

Ads that stay put even while a person scrolls down the page: The anchor ad format is a mobile web ad unit that sits at the bottom of the screen on a mobile device. As a user scrolls down the page, the ad remains “anchored” to the bottom of the screen. The user can dismiss the ad at any time.

See the left screen on the next picture to know, how these new mobile ads look like. This is exactly how I see them on my own sites, too.

Adsense and Mobile Ads Screenshot

Facts and educated guesses

As you know from my other posts, I like to have control over my ad setup and test it. Showing mobile ads on all of my sites without asking me feels like a violation of trust to me. Anyway, since there is no public statement from AdSense, I want to share some of my other findings and assumptions I found regarding anchor ads.

(Current) facts

  • there is no report on these ads
  • there is no way to turn off the automatic anchor ad feature in AdSense (as you would expect it below “Allow & block ads”)

Educated guesses

From analysing my ad income stats in AdSense and Analytics, I have some assumptions about the new mobile ad format.

  • the anchor ad appears only on the iPhone
  • you need a mobile optimized site or a working responsive design to have anchor ads.

How do publishers get paid?

The biggest question however is – how do we get paid for the anchor ads? Publisher can neither create those banners nor are there special reports.

Another question raising from this is how AdSense implements those ads. This might be easy if there are already banners on the page. Since the active positioning of the sticky ads is not needed, Google AdSense can use any ad tag to roll out the anchor ad.

If the anchor ad is rolled out through another ad, the earnings might be added to it, right? Possible, but our mobile ads rather decreased than increased in performance during the last weeks.

Conclusion

Anchor Ads are great news for the increasing problem of monetizing websites with a lot of mobile visitors.

However, I think publishers would agree that it is AdSense’s turn to tell us more about anchor ads as soon as possible and allow us to actively create or at least influence them. I am sure not every publisher would like them to show up on his website.

Have you already discovered anchor ads on your site? I would love to read your ideas on them.

Image Sources

  • AdSense Anchor ad announcement: Google AdSense
  • Adsense and Mobile Ads: Google AdWords

The Author

Image Sources

  • AdSense Anchor ad announcement: Google AdSense
  • Adsense and Mobile Ads: Google AdWords

Comments

  1. Sam Peoples

    Hi Thomas,

    We’ve been using the mobile anchor ads on our site for at least 6 weeks now and I have to say I am very disappointed with them. 75% of our mobile is traffic but on a wide variety of devices and feature phones as well as smart phones.

    Are the anchor ads definitely iPhone only? Would make them almost defunct for us despite 75% of our traffic being mobile.

    Would be great if you had any tips for implementation of a mobile anchor ad which will really make the difference to revenue we know it can.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Sam, thank you for your insights. Since the anchor ads are new to me as well I don’t have any tipps to optimize them – yet. My own stats show a huge difference between iPhone and other smartphones though.

  2. Chris Thompson

    Hi, after Google originally announced sticky ads, I have been waiting for news as I’d be interested in implementing them on my site.

    What ad format did you have running on your page when you saw the sticky ad? I’m a bit surprised Google would serve a sticky ad if that wasn’t something you hadn’t explicitly requested.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Chris, the sites I saw it all are using a mobile ad (320×50). Anyway, I haven’t ruled out the possibility that Google secretly accepted our sites for anchor ads, but are still waiting for a reply.

      1. Chris Thompson

        Thanks. Personally, I would like it if Google would change their terms of service to allow us to implement anchor ads ourself. I have a responsive design, and this would be relatively easy to set up. I have no idea how Google’s anchor ads would work with their responsive ad format, as I have several responsive units on each page.

  3. Mark Howie

    If you have these adverts available to you as a publisher, your AdSense account manager will have to have sent you the Javascript code – as far as I know they won’t just appear of their own accord. In order to track activity you can add an Adsense channel to the script so that you can use the “custom channel” report to see income.

  4. Pavel

    Hi Thomas, thanks for your post.

    One and half year passed since AdSense announced mobile anchor ads on blogspot.de saying “will gradually roll it out to everyone over the coming months”. It’s March 2015 now but i still cannot see this ads type in my account. Looks they are rolling it out extremely “gradually”. Do you know anything about availability of mobile anchor ads for now? Has anything changed from your perspective? Have you got any traces of mobile anchor ads in your AdSense account? Or it keeps working independently till now?

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Pavel, unfortunately, nothing changed since my article was published. My requests to AdSense get answered with the same standard reply telling me to use a custom channel to track it, but when this doesn’t work, the previously good contact suddenly stops. Regarding a public roll out, I also have no idea when this will happen.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      The feature was just released as “page-level ads”. Please check your “my ads” section in AdSense for more information.

      1. Oscar

        Could you possibly add an screenshot with that option you see, please? It’s driving me crazy, I can’t seem to find where to create these type of ads nor how to implement them, it’s frustrating.

        Thank you very much Thomas!

        1. Thomas Maier Article Author

          Hi Oscar. Sorry for the confusion, but it seems that my clients and I got lucky but not everyone can use this feature already. There is a screenshot from the menu icon in the post, so if you don’t see it there then you probably don’t have it yet. There must be a criteria for this feature that no one knows about yet.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      It is very easy using my Advanced Ads plugin. It comes with a feature to enable the new page level ads in AdSense and with the Sticky add-on you can also create sticky and anchor ads with other types of ads.

  5. Raj

    Hi Thomas,
    Advanced Ads plugin we can using very easily, This post is very good. I can going using anchor ads plugin on mobile.

    Thanks
    Raj