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Beware of responsive ads, I switched back to 728x90

responsive ads lower adsense earnings

     
11:47 am on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Howdy all,

You may have seen my hissy fit message recently about closing my adsense account. Well I changed my mind and reopened it. In the process of doing so I had a revelation about why my adsense earnings had gotten so bad.

I was laying in bed thinking about it, and realized that two things had happened:

1. I changed my theme.

2. I switched to responsive ads.

One of the problems with the new theme (which has already been changed) was that I could not run my trusty 728x90 banners the way I was before. This proved to be a big problem for me in terms of earnings. I had to use responsive ads to fit into the theme, the content column was too small for a 728x90 ad. With responsive it seemed to default to 468x60 a lot of the time.

So after updating my sites with a new theme with a wider content column, I switched back to 728x90 across the board. And guess what? My earnings have gone back up to where they were before. It's shocking to see the difference when I look at my adsense reports.

I had initially been quite enthusiastic about responsive ads, they seemed like a good idea. But when I looked in my reports I realized that they didn't work at all for my earnings given the theme I was using. And even when I tried my new theme, they still didn't seem to do well for me. I don't know why but they just didn't seem to generate much in the way of revenue for my sites.

But 728x90 banners? They are kicking ass. Yes, they are as old as the hills. They aren't exciting or new but damn it they really do seem to work.

So I wanted to share my experience here with you all in case anybody else had been having a similarly difficult time with responsive ads. Try going back to the trusty 728x90 size and see how that works for you.

BTW, I initially also wanted the responsive ads for mobile because I thought that would help mobile earnings. But guess what? The 728x90 size seems to work better for that too despite the fact that you don't see the whole banner on an iPhone 5 size screen, you only see part of it. And yet I'm getting better mobile clicks than I did with the responsive ads.

Anyway, food for thought if responsive banners are causing you any kind of earnings headaches. I'm glad I switched back to 728x90.
12:04 pm on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'd personally be a little concerned about the 728 not displaying fully on mobile. Might cause some of those clicks to be considered invalid which could lead to issues with your account.
12:06 pm on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Jpch, so far so good with it. I never had a problem with it before with my old theme back when I was running just 728x90 ads so I'll stick with them until a problems comes up, if it ever does.
1:57 pm on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I think you might be on the wrong side of history there, but if it works for you, good luck with it.

I use responsive ads, and have no problems displaying 728x90 ads on viewports that are wide enough to show it. Me, I probably would have fixed the theme before I'd go back to the old ads, but that's why there's chocolate and vanilla.
10:18 pm on Feb 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps I am, netmeg. But for now I have to go with what works best for my sites. I think the 728x90 banner will still be one of the most important sizes for a long time to come.

And good point about the theme, dumping the second theme and going with the third was what let me switch back, so yeah it was definitely important.
1:33 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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so far so good with it.


How do you know? Google doesn't give you a report of how many invalid clicks you're generating. They will be kind enough to disable your ads or ban your account when it becomes an issue for them though.
2:28 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've had an adsense account since 2004, jpch. I think if it was a problem I'd have known about it quite a long time ago.
8:42 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Best of luck to you then.
4:54 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I have been tinkering with 720X90 lately and have tentatively seen some good thing.
Just not constantly.
5:51 pm on Feb 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

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since going responsive and using AS responsive units, I saw a step increase in earnings by about 20% overnight and it's stayed up at those levels ever since (going back about 7 months now)

I would look at implementation first before getting rid.
10:34 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I had a significant - over 30% - increase by using native AdSense responsive ads. I do intend to write a blog post about it at some point.

The secret here is that AdSense responsive ads can show an MPU on mobile, even when they show a banner on desktop. Significantly, the revenue increase is mainly from tablet and mobile.