Google is continually adding more AdSense tools to the user interface. However, in 2020, successful publishers need an assortment of tools to ensure that their ads are performing to the highest standard. We’ve put together an ultimate toolkit for digital publishers that goes beyond AdSense tools to help you develop, manage and optimize your ad-funded website.
Google Official AdSense Tools
Experiments in AdSense UI
Within the AdSense user interface, publishers have the option to run experiments that compare the performance of a variety of settings. Experiments work by splitting your site’s traffic and running the original settings to a percentage of your audience, whilst running the variant to the rest of your traffic. The results help you to make informed decisions over which ad settings perform best on your site. For example, you could test which ad formats generate the most revenue.
You can learn how to create an experiment in AdSense here.
AdSense Ad Review Center
The Ad Review Center is a tool that enables you to have more control over the ads that are shown to users visiting your website. When the Ad Review Center is enabled, you can review individual ads once they have shown and decide whether you wish to keep them on your site or block and report them. This enables you to get rid of ads that do not match your site’s content or brand values. For Ad Manager publishers, Google Ad Manager also has an ad review center.
Site Kit by Google
Last year, Google released open-source Site Kit plugin for WordPress which enables publishers to easily set up the following Google tools on their WordPress website: Google Analytics, Google Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, AdSense, Tag Manager and Optimize. Insights from these tools surrounding audience, revenue and performance can then be viewed in a central dashboard within WordPress. Post-configuration, publishers can also choose to receive notifications with at-a-glance data snapshots.
Google Publisher Toolbar
Google Publisher Toolbar is a Chrome extension that provides publishers with up-to-date information on your ads and accounts. It can also be used to block unsuitable creatives on your site. When browsing your website using the Publisher Toolbar, you can view additional information about your ad via an overlay. Examples include ad size, display URL and advertisers’ name. You can click the overlay for more detailed ad unit data, such as estimated revenue and buyer name. You can install the Chrome extension here.
Google Official Tools for Ad Manager Publishers
Publisher Ads Audits for Lighthouse
If you run Google Ad Manager on your site using the GPT tag, Publisher Ads Audits for Lighthouse is an excellent tool that enables you to analyse the performance of ads on a page. The tool runs a series of automated tests which then suggest actionable feedback, enabling you to improve speed and overall ad quality. Ads that load quickly result in a better user experience and higher revenue, so the information obtained from these reports is well worth having.
View our publisher guide to Publisher Ads Audits for Lighthouse here.
Google Publisher Console
The Google Publisher Console is an invaluable tool for any publisher that serves ads using Google Ad Manager. Authorized users can use the Google Publisher Console to gain valuable insight into how Ad Manager is functioning on a web page. Using the tool, you can check the implementation of ad units, troubleshoot any ad delivery issues and optimize your campaigns. Publisher Console is generally seen as the replacement for the Google Publisher Toolbar which was deprecated and deemed as unreliable in 2019.
We published a three-part video guide to help publishers navigate the Google Publisher Console:
- Part 1 – How to enable the Google Publisher Console
- Part 2 – How to use the Google Publisher Console
- Part 3 – How to test new implementations, fix errors and block creatives using the Google Publisher Console
Video Suite Inspector
If you run video ads on your site, you’ll want to test your tags and be able to quickly troubleshoot any issues – that’s where Video Suite Inspector comes in. Video Suite Inspector enables you to check video ad tags for your in-stream audio, in-stream video or VPAID creatives and ensure that they are rendering properly on your audio or video player.
Ad Manager Ad Review Center
Like AdSense publishers, Google Ad Manager publishers also have an Ad Review Center which enables you to monitor and manage the ads that show on your site. You can access the Ad Review Center tool by going into the Ad Manager user interface under Delivery > Creatives > Ad Review Center.
Other Helpful Tools for Web Publishers
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Web Page Test – Speed Testing Tool
Any website user knows that page load time is a major contributing factor to page abandonment. If a web page takes a long time to load, users are more likely to leave the page. This hypothesis is supported by Google who found that the probability of bounce increases to 123% if a web page takes up to 10 seconds to load. It is also worth bearing in mind that page speed is also becoming a more important element when it comes to SEO ranking.
Using Web Page Test, you can test aspects of your website’s performance, such as speed. The tool enables you to run simple and advanced tests on your website speed from multiple locations across the globe using various browsers. The results will provide a wealth of information that can then be used to check optimization and make improvements.
Google Search Console
We’ve spoken multiple times on our blog about why Search Console is vital for web publishers, but this tool is now more essential than ever since Google’s adoption of the Better Ads Standards. Using Search Console, you can review the ad experience report which informs you whether any of your ads violate any of Google’s policies. Besides ad experience reports, Google Search Console has a number of useful functions that publishers can take advantage of. Examples include finding your top-performing keywords and pages or checking and fixing crawling errors and broken links.
Ad Inserter Pro
Ad Inserter Pro is an ad management plugin for WordPress that can be used to insert code anywhere on your website, including ads, banners and widgets etc. The advanced advertising features enable you to easily insert ads into optimal positions to maximize your revenue. Additional features also give you better control over how your ads function on-page.
You can install the WordPress plugin here.
Last but not least, we have Chrome DevTools which are built directly into the Google Chrome browser. These tools enable publishers to edit web pages on-the-go and quickly diagnose any issues. The user interface can seem overwhelming but the tools provided are invaluable and can enhance your productivity. With Chrome DevTools, publishers can develop, test and debug their website within the browser.
An example of how we use Chrome DevTools is to check how ads look and function on a page through multiple viewports, such as mobile or tablet.
Hopefully, this list of tools has helped you navigate through the plethora of online publishing tools and resources available to give you an edge against your competition. We’d love for you to give these tools a go and to let us know what you think.
What are your favourite tools for digital publishing? Leave them in the comments below!
Dolly joined the OKO team in early 2019 and certified to Google Certified Publishing Partner status. Dolly manages publisher communication and learning at OKO.