Best Ad Placements on your WordPress Site

Manuel Campos

If you are using Adsense, you have to figure out what the best ad placements are, and doing so requires some testing.

People who use Ezoic, Mediavine, AdThrive, and other ad networks can let those networks find the best placements for your sites.

I moved some of my sites to Ezoic and the difference in earnings wasn’t that big at all because I did my best to have the best ad placements on my WordPress site.

I still recommend using an Adsense alternative or getting your own ADX account to take advantage of all the additional inventory.

You gotta test, test and test again if you want to make more money with the same number of visitors and the same content.

These are the best ad placements based on the data collected by Adsense and Google Ad Manager.



Sidebar Ads (Seven Units)

When it comes to the sidebar, I recommend using these sizes:

#1300×250
#2336×280
#3300×600

If you can make different ad sizes fight for the space, I would also include:

#1120×600
#2160×600
#3250×250

If you have long form content, place two or three ads on the sidebar that visitors can scroll past them as they read the content.

If you are using Ad Inserter pro, create four additional Sticky Sidebar Units

Make sure that the last widget is sticky.

Sidebar Ad #1Non-Sticky
Sidebar Ad #2Non-Sticky
Sidebar Ad #3Non-Sticky
Sidebar Ad #4Sticky
Sidebar Ad #5Sticky
Sidebar Ad #6Sticky
Sidebar Ad #7Sticky

If you think seven ads on the sidebar are way too many ads, you can use this approach:

  • If sidebars ads are making you more money that in some in-content ads units, you can remove them. In-content ads bother people more than sidebar ads.
  • Sticky ads are not shown all at once.
  • Sidebar ads have higher RPM’s than in-content ads so you will probably get more impressions and more money for those impressions.
Monetize with Ads

Remember that sidebars ads are visible on Desktop devices only since it doesn’t make any sense to keep them on tablet mobile devices for two main reasons:

  • Sidebars Ads on tablet make sites look spammy.
  • On mobile devices, Sidebar ads become become after-content ads and their viewability rate decreases drastically.

In case you are wondering where I got those ideas from, You should check what Search Engine Journal is doing in terms of monetization with display ads

You can use the free version of Ad Inserter to create ad widgets and make one of them sticky.


Anchor Ads (For Desktop and Mobile)

Anchor ads are a type of overlay ad that stays at the bottom of a webpage regardless of scrolling.

Make sure you have those anchor ads on your site.

You can create those using several methods:

  • GeneratePress and GP Premium will let you insert ads on the footer.
  • You can do that with the Free and Pro Version of Ad Inserter.
  • You can insert them on your custom footer using a core HTML block

Last but not least, you can add anchor ads from your Adsense Panel but they are worst looking ads you will get.

The width and height of the anchor ad for Desktop and Tablets must be 728×90

300×50 or 320×50 ad units are good for mobile devices and some smaller tablets.

Use the same Adsense ad unit for the anchor ads for Desktop and Mobile.


Interstitial or Vignettes Ads

Interstitial ads or Vignettes ads are the ones that appear between two content pages or when you are about to leave a website.

In Adsense, You can set the Vignette Ad Frequency, so they can be displayed after a user has spent one minute checking your content

Last month (May, 2024), Vignette or Interstitial Ads made 25% of my earnings.

Vignettes ads get lots of click and the impression RPM of vignettes ads is usually higher than in-content ads placed below the fold so, you better activate vignettes ads and remove some low performing in-content ads if you don’t want to bother your site visitors with too many ads.


In-Content Ads (For Desktop and Mobile)

This is the part that you have to test, test and test again to make sure you have the best ad placements.

I would use Ad Inserter to place Adsense Ad Units:

#1After Paragraph #3
#2Before Table of Content
#3After Table of Content
#4After Paragraph #10
#5After Paragraph #15
#6After Paragraph #20
#7After Paragraph #25
#8Every 125 Words to 150 words

Take into consideration that I have a Table of Content before the first heading and the ads before and after it won’t bother visitors that much because they are not breaking the text.

Remove the ad units that are making you less money.

I always monitor which Ad Units make me more money and which ones are making me less. The one that makes me less will be moved deleted.

Make sure that units below the fold are being lazy-loaded

All the information to make those decisions can be found in your Adsense panel or Google Ad Manager Reporting Session


What about Side Rail Ads?

Side rail ads are not shown to all desktop users, only to use who own big monitors so I don’t know if they will make a difference on your earnings.

If you have three sidebars ads, four sticky sidebar ads and anchor ads, Side rail ads would be the straw that will break the camel’s back.


What about Before and After Content Ads?

I have tested adding an ad unit before the content but that units always get a low viewabilty rate.

After Content ads are not part of the discussion. They don’t get that many views.

I might try adding a big size unit (970×250) to see if that makes a difference. Search Engine Journal usually places a big one after the content.


Ad Fill Rate

If you want to optimize your set up, you should pay attention to the fill rate on Desktop and Mobile devices.

Ad units with higher viewability rates tend to get higher fill rate.

Keep in mind that not all visitors are the same when we are discussing monetization with display ads.

The economy of the country where your visitors are located influences the ad fill rate.


Ad Viewability

If you want to improve the viewability of your ad units:

  • Add anchor ads
  • Add Vignettes
  • Add ads on the sidebar
  • Add Sticky ads on the sidebar
  • Make sure units below the fold are lazy loaded
  • Create in-view ads (Mediavine calls them that way), sticky ads for regular ads.

Adsense Alternatives

Adsense Alternatives are not going to turn my $800 into $1600 or $2400 unless you didn’t know the basics about how to use Adsense or something.

I can’t say the same about Mediavine and AdThrive since my sites target Spanish native speakers and those two don’t want to work with those type of sites.


Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am José Manuel. I am writing about things I know and things that I am learning about WordPress. I hope you find the content of this blog useful.

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