For a few days now publishers can make use of two new ad formats in AdSense: Anchor ads and Vignette ads. The idea behind it isn’t new if you work with multiple ad networks like me, but if you used only AdSense before, this can feel like a game changer. Why do I sound so reserved? Find out in my in-depth evaluation below.

Update April 27, 2016: As of today, Page-level Ads are available in every AdSense account. My review is now backed up by months of beta testing and still valid. If you want to integrate the page-level ad tag with just a click into your WordPress site then use my free and highly rated Advanced Ads plugin.

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2 years and an almost-launch

I read the first announcement of an upcoming Anchor ad feature in the AdSense blog in November 2013 – almost 2 years ago. At that time other networks already used anchor or “sticky ads” on mobile devices, so it was time that AdSense made it available too.

In November 2014 I thought that the ads were already rolled out and wrote this very first review. It took me months and many conversations with the AdSense support team to find out that this wasn’t a public feature. It just happened that they enabled it for my site after a one-on-one optimization call without telling me more about it.

Just a few weeks ago they disabled the anchor ads on my account again, but also told me in confidence that I won’t have to wait long for the official release. I am glad that they kept this promise at the end.

The new Page-level ads can be used by publishers now. However, there was no official release yet – neither on the AdSense Google+ community page nor in the AdSense blog. Does this mean that they don’t trust it yet and are scared that many publishers starting to use it at the same time might break something?

What are the new Page-level ads?

The Page-level ads introduced now allow you to optimize ad income on high-end mobile devices.

They are additional formats that don’t count towards the “3 ads per page limit” like normal ad units. In theory, they should help you to monetize your mobile traffic without changing your current ad setup.

AdSense didn’t just publish the anchor ads, but introduced a whole new section in the menu which separates the new Page-level ads from the widely used content ad units.

You can access the page-level ads through the My ads menu item in the top navigation and below the “Content” section in the left menu.

Page-level ads menu

Does the “BETA” notice tell us that this is experimental and might be removed later or can we build a long lasting ad optimization based on these ads already? I don’t have the answer on this yet.

You can see 2 ad types on the page:

  • Anchor/overlay ads
  • Vignette ads

You can keep them disabled, enable just one or be brave and activate both. Changing the setting here won’t have any effect on your site yet. You still need to include the ad code there. More on this below.

Let’s take a look at both ad types.

Anchor/overlay ads

When I first read about this ad type I thought that AdSense combines anchor ads – ads that stick to the bottom of the page – with overlay ads which normally take up the whole screen.

However, it looks like they only mean anchor ads which technically also are an overlay, just not for the whole page but at the bottom of it.

adsense anchor-ads

I have been testing this ad type with my own implementation already some years ago and found that it increased the mobile ad income by over 400%. I stopped when AdSense made it clear that this wasn’t allowed and was then happy when I was able to beta-test this new format.

Vignette ads

The ad community is not very consistant with terms so it is easy to be confused sometimes. However, I have never seen the term “Vignette ads” yet.

Maybe it is an invention from AdSense to distinguish their implementation from others, but what they just released is also widely known as “Interstitial Ads”.

adsense vignette-ads

The vignette ad is displayed when a user clicks on a link and before the next page is displayed.

I know from previous tests of pop-under formats that this vignette ad might look like a reason to leave your page at first, but users will get used to it. Since this test I am more open to such formats.

There are also a couple of things with which AdSense makes sure that it won’t disturb the user experience too much:

  • it is not suddenly popping up, but only when a new page is loaded
  • it won’t appear after every link
  • it doesn’t appear for links that don’t lead to a page (e.g. javascript listeners) or feature-links like a “Log out”
  • it can easily be closed
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Results from my first test

I tested the anchor ads for a few days on one of my sites and was a bit disappointed. Here are some general observations.

  • click price is equal to my normal ad units
  • click rate is about 1/7 of my other ad units
  • active view is lower than my normal ad units

My observations might of course be a different from yours. Please leave a comment with remarks about the performance on your site so that other readers get a better impression of the potential.

The questions I now have are:

  • Why are the click rates so incredibly low?
  • Why is the Active View rate lower if this format can’t be scrolled away?

I will leave them open for now. Maybe this depends too much on my own sites and can’t be generalized.

I haven’t tested the Vignette ads yet because I couldn’t make sure to react in time on user complains – in case there might be any.

Where is the performance report?

If you already enabled the page-level ads and are now looking for the performance report then here is a quick tip:

Go to Performance reports in the main navigation and choose Ad behavior as the report type. Anchor ads / overlay and Vignette ads should be listed in the result table.

Click on any of them in order to filter for more information like performance by bid type, channel or country.

Issues with Page-level ads

After a few days of testing I can say that the integration is easy and income is generated. However, when I first wanted to see the ads in action I thought that they don’t work.

Only after I scrolled down to almost the very end of the post the ad actually showed up. If I remember correctly, the beta that I used displayed the ad right away.

Maybe this is different on other sites, but it made me curious about this statement from the description of the ad:

Shown by AdSense at optimal times to help increase revenue and provide a good user experience

From this I would say that the ad might not be displayed with every page impression and right away. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any detailed information about this. Please leave a comment below if you have an idea about the conditions that AdSense checks before displaying an ad.

Not working on all mobile devices

Something you only learn if you dig deep into the manual for the page-level ads is that they don’t work on some browsers. Here are some examples:

  • not running in Firefox or Opera Mini on Android devices
  • only running on iOS 5 and higher and in Safari and Chrome
  • Anchor ads not supported on any Windows Phone, Vignette ads only on mobile Internet Explorer and Windows 8

Here are other issues:

  • does only work in portrait mode (if you hold your device vertically)
  • does only work on devices between 320 and 420 pixels wide
  • does not work if you are zoomed into the page

These issues show that the technical implementation of these ads is far from optimal and probably the reason why AdSense needed so long for the rollout.

How to make use of Page-level ads?

If you haven’t enabled Page-level ads yet then it is worth taking a look at the dedicated AdSense page. I think it already provides everything you need to know about the activation and implementation of the ad code.

In case you are using WordPress then this is even easier. In the next version of my Advanced Ads plugin (v. 1.6.9) there will be an option to enable Page-level ads without additional coding.

Before that you can use the Header Code placement in Advanced Ads for it:

  1. Log in to your AdSense account
  2. Go to My Ads > Content > Page-level ads and activate the page-level ad types you want to use on your site
  3. Scroll down to the Add the code for Page-level ads to your pages section and click on the blue Get code button
  4. Copy the code from the text area
  5. Log in to your WordPress site
  6. Go to Advanced Ads > Ads
  7. Create a new ad
  8. Insert “Page-level ads code” as a title
  9. Choose the “Plain text and code” ad type
  10. Insert the code you got from AdSense into the ad parameters textfield
  11. Publish the ad
  12. Go to Advanced Ads > Placements
  13. Select Header Code placement, a name you like and the ad you just created
  14. Save the placement

The AdSense code should now be visible in the source code of your page.

AdSense also provides a test to check if the implementation works. Check out the AdSense Help to learn more about it.

Quo Vadis AdSense?

With Page-level ads AdSense did an important step to monetize mobile content. I am not yet convinced that this will be enough to cover the losses that some sites have from users moving from desktop to mobile devices, but it is better than nothing.

I expect the vignette ad to perform well, but only in terms of click rates. Until there is more competition and a dedicated format for advertisers to book anchor and vignette ads, I don’t expect click prices to increase.

This still might take some time because it is still hard for advertisers to convert mobile traffic into sales or other actions like on desktop devices. Therefore, they are still not eager to pay the prices that they pay for desktop traffic.

For publishers who are already able to monetize mobile traffic, the increase from these new formats might not be that large.

With iOS 9 having a pre-installed ad-blocker there is already a new challenge ahead and I hope that the solution is not going to take another 2 years.

Did you test the new Page-level ads already? Do you agree or disagree on my findings? Let me know in the comments.

The Author

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Comments

  1. D R

    Thanks for the nice review. Unfortunately, I’m not seeing this option in my account, in the left column I just see ‘Ad Units’ and then ‘Custom Channels’. Looks like this beta is still per invitation/exclusive.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Thanks for checking. I will gather feedback and maybe we can learn together where it was rolled out and where it wasn’t yet.

  2. Andrzej

    Thanks for your post. I remember to be very excited about anchor ads after reading you post where you increased your income by 400%. I jumped into my Adsense but couldn’t find them anywhere. So I asked Adsense support for help and after a few emails they explained me how to implement them and gave a custom script to place on my website.

    Unfortunately, after a week or so I was a bit disappointed and I decided to remove them from my site because of:
    – very low CTR (much lower than my other ads)
    – lower CPC than other ads
    – it seemed like they were displayed intermittently even on supported devices. One time I’d see an ad and then after refreshing or going to another page it’s not there anymore.

    It seemed to me that a few $$$ more was not worth to decrease the user experience.

    Ps. The “Page-level ads” option is not yet available in my account.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Anrzej, thank you for sharing your experience. I hope to find a use case where these ads make sense, but for now I am only gathering reserved feedback.

    2. Roger K. Kristiansen

      “– it seemed like they were displayed intermittently even on supported devices. One time I’d see an ad and then after refreshing or going to another page it’s not there anymore.”

      I talked to our AdSense contact yesterday, and she mentioned that these are only shown 1 in 10 times to avoid affecting user experience too much in a negative way.

  3. Roger K. Kristiansen

    Hi Thomas,

    It seems that this beta is not enabled for everyone. My “My ads” -> “Content” menu does not show any such entry as you are mentioning. Just thought I’d let you know. 🙂

    Cheers,
    Roger

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Thanks, Roger. I saw this on all my client’s accounts and didn’t have a reason to think it wasn’t available yet. It also seems like it doesn’t depend on the geo location or account language. Maybe it is the size of the account?

  4. Piyush Golani

    Hello,

    Very nice and amazing article. But what if we use to open our blog several times a day from our mobile phone only ?

    Does it harm the google terms ? as we are seeing the ads again and again ! ?

    specially vignette ads !

    Please solve my query.

    Thanks

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Interesting question! I think you should be save when you close the ad, but you should not click on it.

      1. Yohan

        Very poor revenue with these 2 types of ads.
        – Appear rarely in pages. comes randomly.
        – so far i got $0.13 with my website which has 20k users visit in one month.

  5. PNR Status

    My CTR is up-to 1% and want to increase it, will you give any suggestion on this regard. Site name is pnrstatusbuzz.in, just have a look and suggest me necessary changes.

  6. Zak

    Page Level ads can be a great additional revenue stream, particularly if your site has a high average page views/ session eg. with content such as Top 20 Beaches in the World. The concept has been taken from mobile apps where many app & game publishers are generating high eRPM’s. Obviously it will take some time for advertisers to adopt a new ad format but it’s definitely worth testing. We’re going to start rolling out wider tests across our network of publisher partners.

  7. sudhir mishra

    I’m Using Google Adsense In my blog Since 1 Year, I realised That Text Ads Perform Well Than Image Ads, After Turning All of My Image Units ads into Text Only Unit My Earnings Increased By 67% One more thing I wanna share Here That Do not miss Link Units, Link units are more profitable than Content units, I always Get Higher CPC from Link units than Content units.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Thanks for sharing your insights. From my tests I can say that all what you wrote can be true, but can also be the opposite. It really depends on a lot of factors which setup is the best and I am glad that you found the one that works best for you.

  8. Aish Rai

    I just started using the page-level Ads for my blogs. After one week of using them, I just removed it because these ads are merely giving 1/4th CPC compared to other Ad units in my niche. Currently it’s a clear no-no to Page-Level Ads from me.

  9. --removed--

    Mine is always around 8 to 10 percent ctr as I have given responsive ad unit and previously 336 x 280 more weight.

  10. Raj

    Hi Thomas,
    Thanks for the guide, I would like to know why have you not implemented them in your site..? And I do have a site related to jobs, do you thinking implementing pagelevel ads there would be a great choice..?

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Raj, I am not using any ad networks on this blog. You need to test for yourself if the page level ads work. Job pages can have good revenue in general and page level ads might increase that too.

  11. suman

    I was use the other type of ads placement ,but my CPC was vary love. One day i have discovered this awesome website, After read this article , i have used page level ads now my cpc is vary good, I just want to say thanks for best tips.

  12. Patrick

    Hi Thomas

    I activated the “page levela ads” several months ago.
    It’s still present on my website when i surf mobil
    I see figure in the reporting (not easy ton find)
    BUT the management menu in the “My Ads >> Content” is not there anymore

    Should i leave it active on my website?
    Any idea

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi Patrick, if you see the income rolling in and it is performing ok for you then I don’t see a reason to worry.

  13. Jackqulin

    Thanks for your kind information. I’m going to apply for adsense account, if I be approved by them can I be a user to this feature as a new account holder?

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      I have seen many accounts. Some large and older accounts don’t even have it yet while others have page level ads available right from the start. Unfortunately, I don’t know the internal criteria for this.

  14. Rinku

    Many thanks Thomas Maier for this fantastic tutorial. I will certainly be implementing it on my blog site quickly.

  15. aamir khan

    that is really good article,, you explained it in a very easy way, i mean there is no confusion when i was reading it,, it is really helpful for me and i will be back here to read more and i bookmarked it as well.. thanks a lot for this information
    http://whatsappstatus143.wikidot.com

  16. Priya Singh

    Hi,
    Adsense is one of the most helpful method to make money from website by monetizing website . here i read this awesome review of adsense page level ads test and learnt a lot from this single blog post.
    I am happy to read more blogs from your blog.
    Keep sharing 🙂

  17. Harneet Gujral

    Well I have tried lots of ads and monetization methods but still I am unable to get a good ad placement idea,,, May you please help me out

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      I share plenty of ideas in other articles, like more ads into the content and optimized sizes. Page-Level ads indeed didn’t help many publishers.

  18. Prabu Krishna

    Got the option today. Ads are working perfectly. Since I don’t want to change anything in the editor, I was searching how to place the ad code above the header. Thank you for suggesting Advanced Ads plugin 🙂

  19. Melbourne Lender

    I’ve only just received the notification today that I can now use Page Level Ads (Australia is always behind the curve).
    I’m pretty eager to implement these, as the clicks (and hence revenue) on some of my niche sites have declined in recent months.

    My first thoughts upon watching the video from Google about implementing the ad code were, “How is this going to go with WordPress?”. It doesn’t look like my trusty old Ad plug-in I’ve been using for years (QuickAdSense) supports Page Level Ads. Soooo….. that’s where your “Advanced Ads” plug-in comes into play 🙂 I was reassured by the “made in Germany” badge 😉
    One question though – Will I need to purchase the pro version in order to implement AdSense Page Level Ads?

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi there, this feature is included in the basic version already, so no need to go Pro right away. But I would very appreciate it anyway 😉

  20. Ramesh

    Good info on new ad formats. I just enabled Page Level Ads and need to check performance in coming weeks. I tried similar ads from other networks and the response / user experience was poor.

  21. Edwin

    Hi,

    I also got the trigger yesterday to use page level ads and this appears to be the first place I am reading about it comprehensively.

    Thanks for this detailed report and maybe I will give it a shot

  22. Tamil Arasan

    I received a notification that page-level ads are enabled on my adsense account and I was very happy to implement it also both ads worked fine without any problem. But, I worry if it could perform well like regular units as current generation users are capable of differentiating ads and links. This creates a situation where ad interaction decreasing day by day. Forcing visitor to see ads like Vignette unit will reduce user experience and also bounce rate. Anyway let us wait to see their performance.

  23. Muhammad Tabish

    Hey sir,
    This is Amazing and Fantastic Helpfully Article, Today Login My Adsense Account Seen Notification Page-Level Ads, Follow Your Tutorial Step by Step, Run page Level ads On My Site, thanks a lot For Sharing me, best Informative Post, Keep Up The Good Work,
    Have a Nice Day Ahead,

  24. David

    Just added both ad types to my site http://www.dadview.com then i tried it with an iphone 5. I clicked on roughly 20 different pages/posts. Vignette appeared once, full page ad appeared once also. Easy to get rid of so shouldn’t impact user experience much and i had no other ad networks for mobile so its better than nothing.

  25. Ruoaa

    Every thing went down since i used the CTR is very very low alnost nothing compared to views i removed it from my blog after few hours

  26. Rick

    Used them for some months, vignette at first and anchor thereafter. At least in my experience, they have VERY poor performances compared to traditional Adsense units, in my case the CTR was not bad but the CPC was about half of that of other units, income was overall negligible if compared to that of three traditional units I have. Furthermore, I suspect they could kill the RPM of all other units, unless you have a very high level of traffic / requests from advertisers, and worsen the navigation experience of your visitors (the vignette is really annoying, and the anchor “hijacks” a relevant portion of your screen space giving you peanuts in reward )

  27. Prerna

    Oh thisa new way to add to revenue but I have one doubt that I have blogger custom blog in which we can’t place ad between the posts, so can we also place 3 adsense ad units and this separately because putting above and below title 2 ads together would look like too may ads one under the other.

  28. Sakshi

    Hi,
    I activated the Google Page-level ads few days ago but nothing yet, I am sure things are going to turn out soon and i Think not all AdSense account have that feature for now because i have not yet seen the Page-level ad on it.

    Thanks for the info..!

  29. Kamitosa

    I’ve applied adsense page level ads and they are doing well for me. I easily get RPM upto 12$-20$ daily. Your experiences are really appreciated.

    Thanks

  30. jasper

    What about the earnings from page level ads? Is it already added automatically to your daily earnings report?

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Yes, your earnings are added automatically and visible in the reports section.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      I am not aware of any conflicts between page-level ads and other ad units. They also don’t count for the 3 content-units-per-page limit either.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      If by “testing” you mean checking your site with your own device then this is normal, because page-level ads don’t show up all the time. For real tests you should use the information AdSense provides for this in your account.

  31. Dinesh

    “Page-Level Ad tag was not the first ad loaded on the page.”

    On the other smartphone, it says that the page cannot display anchor or vignette ads because the viewport is not between 320 and 420 pixels wide and that the current browser is not supported.
    How to solve the problem

  32. Bhavya

    Very Great Post. This Page Level Ads can Increase some CTR. Only 1 Question about this. Where can I Place it’s Code in my WordPress Blog.

  33. Dipak Patel

    page level ads can slow the speed of web page i found an warning in web masters tool
    which page have page level ads
    Can it harm the speed of web page??

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Every ad somehow slows down your site, so page level ads do too. Though, it should not be worse than with other AdSense units.

      1. reko

        Hi Thomas,

        Thank you for the article.
        Just now I’ve tried the AdSense page-level ads.

        One thing that I would like to know is :
        will it be OK if I turn on the button for both ads ? (the Vignette and the Sticky/overlay)

        Anyway I’ve tried it to “ON” both button in my AdSense account and after I test it in my cellphone (by typing the URL address followed with #googleads), my conclusion is that we can not “control” on what page should the Vignette ad type appear and on what page should the Sticky ad type appear since it’s all the same code for both type ? It seems that Google is the one who decide which one of those two type ads that will appear at the page ? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

        Thank you in advanced.

        regards.

        1. Thomas Maier Article Author

          Hi reko, yes about everything. You can activate them at the same time, the ad code for the header is the same and AdSense itself decides whether and when they deliver which ad. There is a test option in your AdSense account to check if the implementation is done correctly in your account.

          1. reko

            Thank you for your explanation, Thomas.
            I will do the test in my AdSense account to check whether my implementation is done correctly or not.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      If you are referring to AdSense, then the best are Large Rectangle, Wide Skyscraper and Leaderboard. Page-Level Ads are not on every page performing that well, so you’d need some testing.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Please check the resource in the article about testing. There is more information within your AdSense account.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      Hi, it is on AdSense to decide what to show. If you didn’t disable Vignette ads in your account then they think it is not appropriate to show it to you. Other visitors might still see it though.

  34. Movie

    Even I’ve applied page level ads and they are doing awesome. I would really appreciate if you can tell me how to increase RPM.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      There is not much one can do about improving Page-Level ads, since AdSense decides on its own when to show them and the position is also the same. If they are working well for you, just keep them.

  35. Mrityunjay

    Recently, got adsense approved and so I thought I should first learn about different ad types.
    Thanks a lot for sharing such a wonderful content.

    1. Thomas Maier Article Author

      I tested the effect on popups and popunders already before Vignette ads in this test and don’t think it will make much difference, since AdSense controls how often it will show up and the last thing they want is to let users leave sites with their products on it.

  36. Red Rose

    Well by observing such a stroke at present era, we simply conclude that adsense too worried about competition however they are the real king in online advertising.

    I really love page level ads