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.)
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.
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.
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.
- 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”)
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.
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.
- AdSense Anchor ad announcement: Google AdSense
- Adsense and Mobile Ads: Google AdWords