Adsense Auto Ads, 5 Reasons Why I disabled it!

In February 2018, Google announced Adsense Auto Ads beta – powered by machine learning, the auto ads can figure out the right placement and has the ability to learn how well the ad performed in a particular position. Well, that was an interesting announcement and the news prompted every website owner to enable auto ads. I had also enabled it, but after a couple of months, I decided to disable it. Why I did stop using the ads that is powered by future technology – machine learning? Here are the reasons.

5 Reasons Why I disabled Adsense auto ads?

Unable to limit the number of ads

Too many ads, that was a comment from one of my regular readers. After enabling auto ads, I started seeing too many ads on the site. But I remember, once Adsense had a policy that a maximum of three content ads, three-link units can be placed on a single page. Here’s an AdSense policy page via Wayback machine. Well, I thought this policy made sense because no reader wants to see a page that’s bombarded with too many ads isn’t it? But the current Adsense policy does not have that policy anymore (It has been replaced with Valuable Inventory heading). Does this mean the page can have any no. of ads? Auto ads showed five big ads in a page, that was way too annoying and of course, I wasn’t surprised when a reader said that he was annoyed seeing lots of ads.

I see the “Ad Settings Preview” page has an option to control the number of ads that should be displayed on a page. I used the slider to control the no. of ads and preview showed 2 in-page ads for mobile & 2 in-page ads for desktop.

Adsense auto ads limit

However, I don’t see that change reflected on the site. It still showed more than 5 big ads even after hours (generally, Adsense takes around 2 hours to reflect the change after you change settings). Have anyone tried this setting and it worked for you? Let me know in the comments.

Ads overlapping with contents

Another good reason why I stopped using Auto ads. Some of the ads showed on the page were overlapping with the content. If I go back to the Adsense placement policy, it says the ads should not overlap the content, but some of the auto ads were overlapped on the content (sometimes I see it overlapped on the mobile device and few times on the desktop). Here’s the image showing the Ad overlapping on the content.

Adsense auto ads limit

I tried debugging the reason for the overlap and what I could find was – Adsense has tried placing an Ad on the sidebar which is sticky. The sidebar displays the topics to allow the user to jump to a specific section of the post, so it just sticks to its place even when the user scrolls down the page and that made the advertisement overlap on the content, which is against the Adsense policy.

we restrict the use of ad implementations on desktop which cause the ad to appear in a “sticky” or “floating” position on the page as the user scrolls or navigates through the page.” – via 

So how can Adsense auto ads decide its placement so that it can avoid placing ads on a sticky layout and be in compliance with placement policy?

Ads placed on a position that I did not want to

It’s an Auto ad placement, so there is no way I can control where the ad should be placed on a page. I saw ads placed on a position where I do not want to it be. For example, I saw ads placed between bullet points (on related posts widget at the bottom of the site), which made the site look uglier. Here’s an image of one such placement.

Adsense auto ads control placement position

I observed another issue here – the ad was placed close to the links, which is against another Adsense policy called “Encouraging accidental clicks” (the visitor can accidentally click the ad when he tries to click related post link). Does Adsense auto ad take care of such policy into consideration while placing the ad?

Repeated advertisements

I’m not a big fan of seeing repeated advertisements and neither my readers will. It seems Adsense does not check if a particular ad has been already displayed before serving one (I understand that each Adsense code makes an independent request to Google’s ad service, thus making it difficult to check if the ad has been already served or not. Moreover, such an action would increase the delay in serving the ad). But there are repeated advertisements displayed at various positions on a single page. Well, this situation can occur even in manual ad placement. Is this something Adsense can look into and fix it?

Adsense auto ads repeated

Not much improvement in earnings

We (myself & my colleague Mr. Santhosh) didn’t start this blog with an intention to make money, we just wanted to create a knowledge base that contained all the issues that we solve during our day to day work. But the reality is, it’s not easy to maintain a blog (domain & hosting renewal, security, SEO, content writing, etc…) that forced us to monetize this website, but we were not seeing big earnings with manual ad placements. I thought Adsense auto ad seems to be the future (in fact, it’s) and that could improve our earnings because Google can analyze the ad placement that has the potential to attract more clicks. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way.

To conclude, Adsense auto ad could be the future of online advertisements and I understand Google seems to be collecting feedback from the users. So it may improve in the future, but for now, I’m going to disable Auto ads (that’s my personal opinion) and replace it with manual placements.

How to disable Adsense auto ads?

Login to your Adsense account and click Ads > Overview. Select “By site” tab, click on the edit icon placed in the row that displays the site you wish to disable auto ads. Now, go ahead and click on the toggle button next to “Auto ads” under Site settings. That’s it, remember to place your old Adsense codes.

Note: Few users say that you can choose to run both the manual ad placements & auto ads, but won’t that make your site look uglier with too many ads?

Updated on December 13, 2019

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