Jenstar

How to set up an alternate ad for AdSense

AdSense Optimization Boot Camp Tip #11

I have had a few people comment and email about how to set up an alternate ad for AdSense when I talked about Supplementing your AdSense income with affiliate ads, the instructions Google provides aren’t completely clear.  So here is how to set up your own alternate ad for AdSense, so that you can show an advertisement that will earn you money, rather than a Google PSA (Public Service Ad) which will not earn you any revenue… except maybe earn you a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart thinking that one of your visitors might donate to the current cause or charity that Google is promoting in return.

Here is how to set up your own alternate ad… you can use an affiliate ad, an advertisement for something on your own site you want to promote (such as your own ad sales, a newsletter or your blog), or even an ad creative for a charity you wish to donate your unused ad space to.  Then select an image ad that is the same size as the AdSense ad unit it could be replacing.  So if your ad unit is 468×60, then you want to select an ad that is also 468×60.  If you use something larger, it will only display the top left 468×60 of the image, it will not auto-resize the ad space to accomodate the new one.

Then you want to create a new webpage.  It will be a blank webpage, there is no need for adding a title or header.  Just paste the ad code from the affiliate program, or create an image ad linked to a webpage, if you are creating your own.  Then save it with a file name that you will remember – in the example I am using youraltadpage.html but you should be a bit more descriptive, such as 46860altad.html if you need to create multiple ad units for various sizes, or something like categorynamealtad.html if you need to create different ads for different sections within your website.  Then upload it to your site, noting the full path of the page, such as http://www.example.com/youraltadpage.html  You can robots.txt the page so that search engines do not index it if you wish, or simply add a noindex meta tag to the page.

In your AdSense javascript, add this line:

google_alternate_ad_url = “http://www.example.com/youraltadpage.html”;

Or if you are using the new style of hosted AdSense units, you can go into your Manage Ads tab in the AdSense set up and edit your code to include your alternate ad URL.  Select the “Show non-Google ads from another URL” radio button under the “Alternate ads or colors” section.  Then paste your URL into the text box that pops up.

 Then you are done :)  As an added bonus, you can check your logs to see how often the webpage is shown to a visitor, which can help identify any potential PSA issues your site may be having.  You can learn more about this in Do you have a problem with your site showing PSAs, which highlights the whole PSA issue and what can be done about it.

You can also switch around your alternate ad as you do testing, so you can show whichever ad has the highest ROI for you.  This is especially important if your site is showing a higher percentage of PSAs than usual.  But setting up an alternate ad is a smart way to increase your revenue when AdSense is unable to show advertisements for any reason.

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5 comments to How to set up an alternate ad for AdSense

  • You can also switch around your alternate ad as you do testing, so you can show whichever ad has the highest ROI for you. This is especially important if your site is showing a higher percentage of PSAs than usual. But setting up an alternate ad is a smart way to increase your revenue when AdSense is unable to show advertisements for any reason.

  • Thank you for your insight into how to switch the adsense code to an affiliate code. I never really thought about that before and actually took off the adsense code from my blog as I felt it distracting my visitors.

    This could certainly be the answer to my problems and am going to sleep over this and see how to use this information wisely.

    Claude- Brisbane

  • just out of curiosity – do you work for adsense? do you have any official relationship with them?

    It’s odd that they make you the final arbiter of adsense dogma; an adsense evangelist as it were – have you ever interpreted the rules incorrectly and issued a retraction?

    some of the rules are ambiguously written and you seem to have a narrow interpretation.

    with deepest respect, humility and admiration,

    jammy

  • Love the blog! Got a question for ya. I recently out adsense on one of our more prominent sites. Yesterday clicks were around a buck each. Today they are at $0.25 each. I think ads with lower CPCs are getting the clicks today. Is there any way to ferret out the low cpc ads and put them on the blacklist? Thanks so much!

    Charles

  • Jen,

    I assume adding google_alternate_ad_url = “http://www.example.com/youraltadpage.html”; does NOT violate the AdSense terms “to not modify the AdSense java code in any way” as it is a legitimate addition to the code?

    Pls confirm, thanks.

    N.

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