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Responsive Design and AdSense

Can it be done?

5:13 pm on Mar 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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So I've been launching most of my sites recently in responsive design (where the layout shifts depending on the device / viewport) but I'm running into issues with regards to advertising.

I've pretty much come to the conclusion that, at this time, there's no good way to serve up AdSense on a responsive design site, and still maintain a good user experience, avoid click fraud (unnecessary clicks) and stay inside TOS.

Link units don't work at all - the smallest link unit is 468x15, I believe, and that won't work on an iPhone or otherwise 320x viewport. I mean, it displays, but scrolls off the screen. And if you have breadcrumbs, your link units can look mighty like breadcrumbs on a small screen.

468x60 ads are problematic as well. Google now "automatically" detects the device and serves a slightly differently formatted ad, but it still scrolls off the screen on my iPhone. Plus the ads are formatted kind of strangely - two of them, separated by a bar, with a condensed font.

300x250 ads in the sidebar work fine; the sidebar is usually served in a single column underneath your main content (on a WordPress site) - BUT if your user is scrolling down with his finger, it's difficult to avoid touching the ad, which could result in a lot of accidental clicks. Too many of them and you get frustrated users AND Google notices and sends you "the email."

Eventually they'll have to address this, but at the moment, the only solution I have is to keep using the mobile plugin (and not the responsive design), until Google catches up.

(The idea of using jquery has also been tossed about, but I'm not sure about the TOS there either)

Anyone else dealing with this yet? A third to half my (considerable) traffic is mobile now, and it's becoming more and more important.
12:53 pm on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Accidental clicks are bound to happen from time to time on mobile sites with most people now using a touch screen device. Also, I really can see how mobile ads will see a drastic drop in CTR compared to traditional computing. I take notice of ads when I am on the desktop/laptop but rarely do the same when I browse on a table. I personally hate browsing on mobile phones as the screen size is not conducive to web browsing. I think Google will come up with something. It may requite a lot of testing before they release something that is likely to work on mobile platforms.
12:54 pm on Oct 30, 2012 (gmt 0)

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3:47 pm on Nov 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I posted earlier in this thread about how my Adsense RPM for non-desktop devices was minuscule because my top-earning ad at the top of the right sidebar was getting pushed below posts on narrower screens. Well, I worked out a way to make the ad pop to the top (below the header and above the post title) on narrower screens, using CSS and loading the ad only once. The results have been fantastic. Over the last few weeks since I made the change, my RPM for tablets is actually higher than the RPM for desktops, and the RPM for high-end mobile devices is about 75% of the desktop rate (though for both tablets and mobile devices, the CPC is till much less than that on desktops). Now I just wish I had made the change months ago.
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