In January 2014, the Google AdSense team launched their own AdSense WordPress plugin to help publishers display ads without the hassle of adding individual ad units to text widgets and theme files. This week, we learned that they are retiring the plugin. While we do not use this plugin (it is quite basic and doesn’t have DFP support), many publishers we speak to do.
Most plugin developers update their plugins to bring new features to users, so it is a shame that Google has decided to simply close it down. It is possible that they have other plans in the pipeline for WordPress users, but at present, it is back to managing ad layouts and placements yourself.
Google made a statement regarding its demise: “We frequently review our products and features to ensure they’re providing maximum value to our users. After reviewing the AdSense Plugin for WordPress, we’ve decided that going forward we can better support WordPress publishers through new innovative features like our automatic ad formats and other upcoming initiatives. As a result, we will be deprecating the AdSense Plugin for WordPress in May, 2017.” AdSense Help.
From March 2017, with immediate effect, new publishers can no longer sign up for AdSense via the plugin. This was a convenient way for some publishers to create an AdSense account, but it is no great loss to see it go.
From April 2017, existing users will not be able to change their ad settings or ad units through the plugin. This will mark the time that the interface between the plugin and AdSense is closed.
After May, Google will stop supporting the plugin, so really you should deactivate the plugin at your earliest convenience.
Although it got off to a rocky start, partly due to some publishers receiving policy violation notices for displaying too many adverts, the plugin gave what many AdSense publishers had been asking for for years: a simple way to show AdSense ads on WordPress websites.
Will I lose my ad revenue?
Google says that your earnings will not be impacted, and so long as the plugin is running, ads should continue to display on your site. But it is possible that a future WordPress update will conflict with the AdSense WordPress plugin and force it to deactivate. If this happens, your ads and the associated revenue will immediately stop.
Google has advised all users to backup their website, and then deactivate and delete the plugin. This is very sound advice. However, their advice for replacing ads is far from optimal. They suggest that you “Paste the ad code directly into text widgets in WordPress”, however, this will generally mean ads will only appear in sidebars, and if present in your theme, the header or footer.
For most websites, it is better to place adverts where they can be seen while reading content, and with most mobile responsive websites, this is within the posts and pages themselves.
What are the alternatives to the AdSense WordPress plugin?
Gone are the days when a skyscraper ad in the sidebar would provide a healthy income – with most themes now pushing sidebars down to the footer on mobile devices, it means that these ads are rarely seen.
Ads are now best placed within content, and this is not possible using a standard WordPress installation, as text widgets cannot be added to post pages, and code within theme files will only appear immediately above or below the content.
Fortunately, in WordPress there are some very good plugins to help display ads, such as Ad Inserter by Igor Funa, which allows you to add any code of your choice just about anywhere within posts and pages. However, Google does not endorse or support any WordPress plugins. Another option is to use QuickStart, which is a new AdSense feature that controls ads on sites that does display “page-level ad code”. Because this product from Google is so new, we have not yet been able to test its effectiveness at optimising ad revenue, so for the moment suggest a more closely managed method.
If you would like help optimising your ad layouts, get in touch with OKO today. We have been working closely with WordPress publishers for several years and understand which ad types perform best in WordPress, and how to ensure that ad placements do not violate AdSense policies. We can also show you how to setup DFP, and you may be able to take advantage of the powerful AdX platform too, to further boost your advertising revenue.