Make sure your site is ready
This course will walk you through how to sign up, set-up, and start profiting from your publication via AdSense.
Before you apply to join the ad network, make sure your site is in top condition. Two important areas of focus are:
Apply for an account
When you’re ready, you can apply for an AdSense account at google.com/adsense/signup.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Connect your website to AdSense
Google will review your account for approval
Once our systems detect that you’ve placed the ad code on a live page on your sign-up URL, we automatically continue the review process and check that your site complies with our policies. When we’ve completed the review (typically in 1-2 days), we’ll email you about your application status. For more information, see Application review waiting time.
Even after your initial review, AdSense will continue to check that your site complies with our program policies. Many things can trigger policy violation warnings, such as unauthorized use of copyrighted material, or deceptive layouts that makes it hard for users to distinguish between content and ads.
If your application is not approved at this stage, you’ll receive an email explaining the disapproval reason and possible next steps that you can take.
Create your first ad unit
Once your website has been approved by AdSense, you can create your first ad unit.
Congratulations. You’re part of the AdSense network
Your site can now run ads that will generate revenue.
For additional support in getting started, check out our complete AdSense guide.
Monitor your site performance
With millions of websites competing for readers’ attention, publishers have to work harder than ever to engage their audiences. That means producing unique content and delivering it with seamless user experience.
When it comes to monetization, you’ll want to track some key performance indicators including:
- Return visitors
- Bounce rate
- Pages per visit
- Time on site
You can use the free version of Google Analytics to begin tracking your performance. Once you know what’s working (and what’s not), you can look for ways to improve your site design to capture more AdSense revenue.
Design user journeys, not just web pages
The most successful AdSense users create a holistic experience for users. Rather than designing web page destinations, try thinking of it as a user journey. Cohesive messaging and user-focused site design deliver greater results for both your audience and your business.
Create a “moments map.”
A “moments map” will help you identify the user moments you absolutely want to win or can’t afford to lose. It lays the foundation for a good user experience and encourages site design to focus on the flow of audience engagement.
Examine and map out all phases of the user journey for your reader, and look for the moments where people want to get the latest headlines, dive into a deeper topic, be inspired, see an infographic or connect with other readers. Then determine the best format to share your content while meeting the time limitations of various visitor types.
Make it easy for readers to find what they’re looking for
Research shows that 67% of users will leave your site if it takes too many steps get their desired information.
Calls to action
What do you want your audience to do? Be sure to spell it out with clearly defined, interactive calls to action. These can include bold “sign up” or “read more” buttons and casual prompts directing viewers toward specific content or pages.
To learn more, download the AdSense Guide to Audience Engagement.
What does “viewability” mean?
Ads used to be measured by impressions – if a page loaded, and the ad was on it, then it counted as an impression. The problem with this is that if the ad was “below the fold,” the user wouldn’t see it unless they scrolled down.
Today, the industry standard is “viewable impressions.” Media Rating Council and IAB define a display ad as viewable when at least 50% of the ad is within the viewable space on the user’s screen for at least 1 second. That means an ad unit on the first screen (“above the fold”) will be counted as viewable if a user opens the screen for one second, but an ad below the first screen will not be counted unless the viewer scrolls down. For video ads, the measurement is two seconds. To learn more about viewability and how it’s measured, check out this interactive demo.
How improving viewability helps publishers
Advertisers tend to bid more for viewable impressions because these ads have a higher chance of being seen and engaging their audience. You can track viewability in the Active View index in AdSense. It measures the percentage of ads that are viewable out of the total number of ads on the page. For example, if one out of two ads are viewable, the rating is 50%. For most web publishers, if we increase the current viewability average of 40% to 70%, we can potentially see a CPM uplift of 109%
Focusing on viewability will increase the long-term value of ad inventory. If an ad unit is rarely viewed, you may learn that viewers don’t scroll to that area, quickly scroll past it, or that the ad size or format needs adjustment. You can discover the most (and least) valuable spots on your site and optimize your ad units accordingly.
Ad sizes can affect viewable impressions
In general, the higher the viewability index, the more users are seeing the ads on your site. But, few sites reach 100% ― 50% is a more typical target. To maximize the impact of your ad space, try test these methods:
Best practices for mobile optimization
As you improve viewability, you can also improve the user experience and decrease accidental clicks and spam rates by leaving room between ads and the content. Typically, 150 pixels of space is a good starting point; test and adjust to see what works best with your content.
To increase mobile viewability, you can also use AdSense’s two page-level ad formats: anchor and vignette. Anchor ads stick to the bottom of the page as the user scrolls, so they are always above the fold (ATF). They are smooth, easily dismissed, and typically reserved for high RPM ads. Vignettes are mobile full-screen ads that appear as users navigate between pages of a site and can be dismissed at any given time.
Learn from other publishers.
How Google AdSense works
AdSense is a free, simple way to earn money by placing ads on your website.
Here are the key points to how it works:
Why multi-screen matters
Online audiences today access content through several different devices – laptops, mobile, smartwatches and more. Sixty-one percent of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d move on.
To stay competitive and provide a good user experience, it’s important to optimize your site for multiple screens. That means you also need to adjust your site’s ad experience accordingly. AdSense makes this easy with different ad formats that work well in different context–anchor ads, vignette ads, and responsive ad units.
To learn more, check out this video of monetizing on multi-screen.
Learn about ad formats
There’s a wide variety of ad types, including: text, display, rich media, link units, responsive ads and matched content. Take some time to familiarize yourself with them to determine the optimal mix for your site.
This ad format is primarily used on mobile and sticks to the bottom of the page as the user scrolls. Our version of anchor ads are smooth, can always be dismissed by the user, and are smart. Because these are quite prominent ads, we reserve them to only show at the best times so that they have the biggest impact. In other words, we’ll only show anchor ads when a user hasn’t already seen that many and when these ad slots can be filled with high-paying ads.
Vignettes are mobile full-screen ads that appear between site pages–such as when a user navigates through a long article. Because they are considered more interruptive, we reserve them for only the highest value impressions.
To ensure that a single user isn’t overwhelmed by vignettes, we pre-load them. When a user leaves a page, the ad immediately appears, allowing the next page to load in the background. This makes transitions quick and lets users skip the ads at anytime.
Responsive ad units
Responsive web design dynamically controls the presentation of your website according to the properties of the screen/device where it’s being viewed. A responsive ad unit controls the size of the ads on your page, in line with how you control the rest of your page layout across devices.
To simplify your code and save you time, our responsive ad code automatically adapts the ad unit size to your page layout. AdSense calculates the required size dynamically based on the width of the ad unit’s parent container, then determines the best standard height to go with it.
AdSense also supports ad size changes after a screen orientation change. So, when a tablet or phone goes from portrait to landscape, we’ll request and load a new ad with the correct dimensions to fit the new layout.
More multi-screen resources
To see examples of more ad types, click here.
For in-depth guidance and helpful tips on optimizing AdSense for multiple screen formats, check out these resources:
Free ebook: DoubleClick Mobile Web Speed Toolkit
Make digital ads part of your monetization plan
In today’s world of digital journalism, it can be challenging for publications to sustainably produce quality journalism. Digital advertising can play an important role in generating revenue. There are many tools that make it easy to profitably display ads on your site without compromising your readers’ experience, or the quality of your news.
What is an ad network?
Many businesses may be willing to pay to show ads on your site, but the process of finding them on your own is challenging. Instead of spending time pitching your site to businesses individually, you may want to consider working with an ad network.
Ad networks do the hard work of bringing together the parties that participate in online advertising, making it easier for everyone involved to succeed. They build relationships with businesses looking to advertise, and sites looking to make money by selling ads. Through an ad network, advertisers can get access to a large inventory of sites at scale. Ad networks also help publishers find advertisers quickly. You can spend less time and effort marketing your advertising space, and instead focus on creating the best website for your users. Most ad networks do a revenue share with their publishing partners.
How do publications get paid?
Ad networks offer multiple payment models: in some, advertisers pay to display an ad, in others, they may offer a pay-per-click (PPC) model, where advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad. PPC aligns interests of advertisers, publishers, and users. As digital advertising has matured, additional “pay for performance” models have emerged like “pay per download” and “pay per acquisition,” all designed to better meet the needs of both parties.
Many ways to tap into Google’s ad network
There are several advertising products that connect your site with the Google ad network. All of them give you control over the type of ads you show your audience and where they appear.
AdSense: monetize your website with ads.
AdMob: monetize your apps with ads.
YouTube partner program: monetize your videos with ads.
Google News: monetize your pieces running on Google News.
To sign up for an AdSense account, click here.
To open an AdMob account, click here.