Are you wondering whether Google Adsense auto ads or Manual ads perform better?
Google announced some major changes to its Adsense product for 2024 so I’ve been spending a lot of time testing and tracking different ad placements to prepare for one of the biggest shifts for bloggers who display Adsense ads.
Adsense will focus on impressions over clicks so it’s important to optimize your blog for maximum impressions instead of CTR.
MediaVine and Raptive are two of the largest impression-based ad networks for bloggers but you need at least 50k monthly page views to apply for these networks. Hopefully, the Google CPM update will make it easier for bloggers & website owners to earn similar RPMs without needing tons of traffic.
This could be one of the best times to start a blog and make money with Google Adsense in the history of the internet!
I’ll share with you my personal experience on using Adsense Auto Ads vs. Manual ads and provide some actionable tips and tricks to maximize your earnings.
What are Google Adsense Autos Ads?
Adsense Auto ads are automatically placed units across your blog that only require a single piece of HTML code.
Google uses AI to find the best placements on your website. Here are some of the following Auto ads units available:
- Banner Ads
- Related Searches
- Anchor Ads
- Vignette Ads
- Side Rail Ads
Auto Ads are the quickest way to start making money with Google Adsense because they don’t require any technical knowledge or coding experience.
Just copy and paste the Auto Ads code onto your website between the <head></head> tags to start displaying ads:
<script async src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-XXXXXXXXXXXXXX"
Remember to replace the XXXXXXXXXXX with your Adsense pub ID to start showing ads correctly.
Alternatively, you can download the Google Site Kit WordPress plugin to show Auto Ads without placing any code on your blog.
What are Google Adsense Manual Ads?
Google Adsense Manual Ads are manual ad placements that you create within the Adsense Ad builder tool. You can customize these ads based on the following traits:
- Fixed vs. Responsive Ads
- Ad Size
Manual Adsense Ads require you to manually place them inside your website using either the manual WordPress Theme Editor or a WordPress advertising plugin such as AdInserter.
Adsense Auto Ads vs. Manual Ads: Which Performs Better?
I gathered data from my personal Google Adsense account from December 8th 2020 to December 8th 2023 to see which ads made me the most money.
In those 3 years, I generated over $14,000 and 4,700,000+ ad impressions to give me a good idea of which ads perform the best for my portfolio of 3 sites (sports betting, finance, and travel).
~85 of my ad income came from Auto Ads while Manual display ads earned around 15%.
Vignette Auto Ads (the ones that pop up once a user clicks to another page) outperform the rest by a large margin.
The best-performing Adsense ad units for my sites were:
- Vignette Auto Ads: $44.66 Impression RPM
- In-page Auto Ads: $1.88 Impression RPM
- Display Manual Ads: $1.49 Impression RPM
- Anchor Auto Ads: $2.57 Impression RPM
- Multiplex Manual Ads: $1.63 Impression RPM
Should You Use Adsense Auto Ads or Manual Ads? What about Using Both?
I always enable Adsense Auto Ads because they pay the most money on average. The biggest issue is that sometimes Google will place an ad in a weird location on your blog. You can turn off certain areas of your site using the Google Auto Ads builder tool.
Manual Ads will boost your income but don’t expect a massive bump in Adsense earnings. Prepare for a 10 to 20% Adsense income boost if you’re already running Auto Ads.
In my experience, I recommend using both Auto Ads and Manual Ads to optimize your Adsense earnings.
At first, I was super worried about the reader experience but then realized that most people are used to viewing lots of advertisements on Facebook, Tiktok, X, and other social media sites.
Don’t be afraid to show Adsense on your site because blogging is a real business that requires your hard work and precious time to become successful.
Most visitors will not buy something from you or purchase an affiliate product so displaying Adsense helps you keep the lights on!
Optimal Adsense Auto Ads Settings
Let’s assume you want to set up Auto Ads on your website for the first time. You’ll need to make sure you have “Adsense Auto Ads” turned on by hitting the blue checkmark.
Adsense Auto Ads Overlay Formats
I recommend selecting all 3 Adsense Auto Ads formats to show the maximum amount of Ads.
Exclude Auto Ads From Certain Pages
If you want to exclude Adsense Auto Ads from showing on certain pages (i.e. About me or Contact Us) then click the “Excluded Pages” link to block Auto Ads from showing on specific pages.
Click the “Add Exclusion” link to open a page called “Manage Page Exclusions”
Enter any URL that you want to block Adsense Auto Ads from showing on or enter a section of your website to prevent from showing Auto Ads in the entire category of your website.
Adsense Auto Vignette Ads Frequency
I always leave this at the default setting for “10 minutes” because most visitors will only stay on your website for a few minutes and visit less than 2 pages on average.
However, you can change this setting to show vignette ads more frequently. You can choose from the following intervals:
- 1 minute
- 2 minutes
- 5 minutes
- 10 minutes
- 30 minutes
- 1 hour
If you want to show as many vignette ads as possible then go with the “1 minute” setting. I haven’t tested this much but will play around with the time intervals and report my findings soon.
Overlay Ads on Wide Screen
I recommend leaving both boxes unchecked to show both anchor and vignette ads on screens wider than 1000px (usually for desktop visitors).
In my experience, vignette ads pay the most so I want to show as many as possible.
Adsense Auto Ads In-page Formats
I always keep all 3 boxes checked to enable Auto ads within my blog pages.
Recently, I’ve noticed that Adsense doesn’t always show In-page Ads within your content depending on which theme you are using.
If your In-page Ads aren’t showing then try changing your WordPress theme or CMS to see if that works.
If you changed the themes then try adding manual ad placements to solve the problem. Manual Ad placements can perform well within articles by placing a different ad every X paragraph (more on that later).
Exclude In-page Ads on Certain Pages and Areas
If you don’t want Adsense Auto In-page Ads to show on either certain pages or areas of your website then use this tab to tell Adsense which pages/areas to exclude.
Sometimes, Adsense will show Auto ads in a weird location that breaks your site or messes something up. That’s when you use this feature to fix the problem.
Adsense Auto Ads Ad Load
Ad load is an interesting feature that gets debated a lot in various online blogging forums and social media groups.
You can use 3 basic Ad load settings to optimize your website:
- Low: Show fewer ads and focus on user experience
- Balanced: Show a balanced number of ads
- High: Show as many ads as possible to maximize revenue
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to Ad load. Showing fewer ads will improve user experience but might harm your Adsense revenue. Test each setting by dragging the Ad load bar and give it a few days to see how it affects your earnings.
The Final Verdict – Auto Ads Is the Winner
Numbers don’t lie and my sites made A LOT more money with Auto Ads than manual placements. I’m not sure what will happen in 2024 and beyond once Google switches from a CPC to a CPM advertising network.
In the future, bloggers will make the most money by showing a large number of ads instead of maximizing CTR.
On the other hand, I love the freedom and control of manual ad placements within my articles to boost my ad impressions. Mobile visitors won’t see your sidebar often so make sure to put most of your ads at the top of your page and within the body of your content.
Do you have Adsense auto ads and manual placement questions? Leave your comments below and I’ll be happy to assist you.