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Adsense 3 ads limit lifted?

     
6:29 pm on Aug 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hi I just got an email which says google adsense has change its policy of 3 ads per page to Valuable inventory. (The email is not from Google).

Please check the following news article [adpushup.com...]
9:49 pm on Aug 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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That's ridiculous, if true. Just imagine the chaos once GAPs (Greedy Adsense Publishers) start loading up each of their thin-content pages with four, five, six or more ads. Google might as well start bankrolling the adblock industry.
12:05 am on Aug 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If this were true, I'd think it would be getting more attention.
1:45 am on Aug 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Heh! heh! And some folks wonder why we have AdBlocker discussions?
2:00 am on Aug 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My first thought was this was some random site with a headline to get clicks. That said I went to the waybackmachine myself. They are right. That section of the guidelines got replaced

Ensuring proper ad placement
*Ad limit per page*
Auto-refreshing ads
Ads on thank you, exit, log in, or error pages

Got replaced with

Ensuring proper ad placement
*Valuable inventory*
Auto-refreshing ads
Ads on thank you, exit, log in, or error pages

Not sure what is going on. If they did change the policy I don't think everyone can have 8 ads. Instead it sounds like a lot of sites currently with 3 ads might not meet these new guidelines.

Also maybe the 3 ads section got moved but I didn't see it.
2:26 am on Aug 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The more I read those guidelines the more I don't like them. They replaced a defined policy (3 ads) with something very vague. And they are going to ban people for not following guidelines that are far from clear.

"For this reason, we may limit or disable ad serving on pages with little to no value and/or excessive advertising until changes are made."

I get the point. But there is going to be a lot of disagreement about this with different reviewers looking at your site. Some people think 10 ads is excessive and some would say 2 ads is excessive.

This is like saying any artwork in your house should be "good".

And remember your site is not being reviewed by some infinite intelligent entity named google. Its a 21 year old kid looking at your site while drinking a slushee.

And that kid is now banning sites with very vague guidelines.
1:11 pm on Aug 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Where I see this could be useful - when using responsive ads and hiding some via media queries for particular screen sizes, I assume in the past we were limited to 3 in total - including any hidden ones.
Now it looks as though we could use this change to have more than 3 in total, though obviously not over doing the number that are being displayed.
1:36 pm on Aug 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I think this is a thing. I found 2 more pages that used to reference 3 ads under "optimization tips" for adsense

Here are the old links

[web.archive.org...]
[web.archive.org...]

The new pages have stripped out the reference to 3 ads and replaced it with a link to the valuable inventory policy

[support.google.com...]
[support.google.com...]

The pages have text along the lines of "Provided you don't place more ads than content on your pages”.
2:10 pm on Aug 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It's a smart move by Google's part. The rule had in essence been weakened by many other smaller ad agencies that came into force. As well as the full rise of mobile. The original rule was outdated.

I doubt that we will see the full rise of the #*$!ty MFA like decade ago. Social traffic with multiple pageview / adclicks is really the new #*$!ty MFA. I personally get suckered into those baits everytime by my own network of people on FB.

There will still be somewhat of "hidden" vague guidelines such as limited amount of active ad views per scroll, but most likely it's by case by case basis, and people will have to find out after that magical threshhold had been triggered.

In a sense...use common sense.

It's really business as usual regardless of this change. I have been placing 3 adsense slots + other ad slots for years on my especially long pages with 10+ pagescrolls. And I am not going to change my other slots into Google's with this rule relax.

Adsense unit slots RPM gets lower anyways the more ads that come from the system.
8:15 am on Aug 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Looks like, google does not clearly mention that they removed that restriction of 3 ads/page, rather, they added more confusion, It believe, if someone adds more ads without concentrating on content vs ads ratio, it will definitely lead to ban, simply wait and watch till you get good clarification.
11:01 am on Aug 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My first reaction was that this was an error when updating the help page. It wasn't - there has definitely been a policy change. This makes sense, as 3 per page is less relevant with long mobile pages and infinite scrolling. It looks like the new policy is about ad density. Let's hope that it has clear, hard edges.
5:42 pm on Aug 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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So google confirmed. 3 ad limit is a thing of the past.

[marketingland.com...]

From the article

"The Valuable inventory section has now been updated to reframe the content-to-ad ratio policy from one with specific limitations to one that relies on common sense and gives Google more discretion"

I am hoping google provides some more details. This policy is far from clear. And its pretty likely reviewers and publishers will not agree in a large number of cases. I doubt even reviewers will agree with each other.
9:44 pm on Aug 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I think this makes a lot of sense. Three ads on, say, an "infinite scroll" page are a lot less intrusive than three ads on a short page with a sentence or a paragraph of non-template content.

IMHO, publishers who are always trying to push the limits may find this new policy inconvenient, but those who make an effort to provide a decent user experience shouldn't have anything to worry about.
2:11 am on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I am hoping google provides some more details. This policy is far from clear.


That's the point. The less clear it is, the more it benefits Google. Three ad units per page was a hard rule. This is squishy. What we think might look good on a page might not be the same as what Google thinks. Since this is their game, their opinion will always win.
4:13 am on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Does the rule related to mobile 1 ad per screen also changed?
8:06 am on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Our understanding (Google Certified Publisher Partner here) is that 1 per mobile screen + no 300x250 ATF on mobile still stands. I'm talking with Google today so will be trying to get some clarification if it is available yet.
9:20 am on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I had a feeling this policy change might be coming at some point since new ad styles were not counting towards the previous limit. I have a few pages where 4-5 ads would make sense BUT for performance reasons I won't put that many on a page. Adsense really needs to allow me to load their basic .js file ONE TIME per page, and not with every unit if it's already been loaded.

Until then more is not really an option.
1:10 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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They should specify how many words per ad ration is the maximum.

The publishing world is different - while years ago everyone thought 300-500 article will solve the World's problems now some publishers often create 3000+ word posts.
1:50 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@JS_Harris You can load the file once, check out the Adsense T&C's...
[support.google.com...]

Hope that helps :)
4:19 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Adsense really needs to allow me to load their basic .js file ONE TIME per page, and not with every unit if it's already been loaded.


I've been doing that for a couple years at least. I load the .js once per page (via Google Tag Manager) and that takes care of all the ads on the page. Never had a problem with it.
9:15 pm on Aug 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I guess the questions that publishers need to ask themselves are:

1. Content - do I have the content to support 4+ ads per page?
2. UI - do I want to subject my readers to 4+ ads per page?
3. Profitability - will it be financially beneficial to move to 4+ ads per page?

In my case the answers are "Yes", "No" and "Probably not".

I agree that G's guidelines are now even more vague. This may even be a honeypot for future warnings and purges. Anyone who starts plastering ads on content-thin pages had better watch their inbox.
8:26 am on Aug 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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matbennett,

have you asked for clarification from Google yet?
7:53 am on Aug 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've had some guidance through from policy this morning. I'm going to write up an interpretation of this on the OKO blog as soon as I get a chance. The TLDR version is that there should be more content than ads. The phrase being used is "publisher provided content" (so not other ads, sponsored content, widgets etc).
2:36 pm on Aug 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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This could be linked with [webmasterworld.com...] - Adsense offering experiment to reduce the number of Ads.
3:26 pm on Aug 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Yea, I got one of those notices about reducing ads too. Once my peak period is well and truly over (after Labor Day) I'm willing to give it a shot; I'm curious whether they'll just show big ole white spots or have the sense to collapse the placement (I don't specify the size in a couple places)
3:37 pm on Aug 30, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I don't think that the two are only related in so much as they are about finding the balance of user experience. The idea of the 'less fewer ads' trial is interesting though: 10% less ads for <=1% less earnings (help link here for anyone who hasn't seen it [support.google.com...] .

I haven't had any clients agree to test this yet, but my understanding is that the ads are replaced by whitespace rather than collapse - unless you are using collapsing ad units anyway.

What is a more interesting question is whether they will fire alternative ads. This is almost a "bottom 10% price floor", so if it would fall back to alternatives that is potentially an interesting setting to play with.
8:13 pm on Sept 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I pushed one of my ads far enough down that it is only seen 1/3 of the time. So in a sense I have 2.33 ads and my ads were reduced by almost 25%.

My overall RPM went up slightly. That said there could be other factors (seasonality etc) that could be affecting issues.

I might be looking at the numbers wrong. My impressions on the ad stayed the same but "Action View Viewable" plummeted. Does "Actiion View Viewable" affect the RPM. I would assume it doesn't but I am not 100% sure.

Also the number of clicks for that ad went down but the cpc increased.
12:54 pm on Sept 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Weird time for the ad limit to lift. Anything above 2 ad units and 1 link unit and my CPC falls into the toilet, driving my RPM down too far for it to be worth it. I can't imagine how horrid the CPC on the fifth ad unit would be. But the lifting of the rule makes sense considering the popularity of long-read articles and infinite scroll.
 

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