Google AdSense Link Ads Retiring in 2021

AdSense Ad Optimization
Last updated: September 12, 2021 | by Kean Graham
Google AdSense Link Ads Retiring in 2021

This post was most recently updated on September 12th, 2021

Google recently announced that they would be retiring AdSense link ads. They’ve taken into account feedback from publishers and advertisers and want to improve ad experiences continuously. As such, they will instead focus on creating new ad formats and improving existing ones.

What are link ads?

Link ads are similar to contextual ads and are topic lists targeted towards the interests of website users. The text link type ads can be displayed in a fixed or responsive size. Here’s an example of link ads:


What does this mean for AdSense publishers?

From March 10, 2021, publishers will no longer be able to create ad units for link ads. If you still have responsive link ads active on your site by the due date, they will start showing display ads. Any fixed link ads still active will stop serving completely. Google will attempt to collapse these ads where possible or show a blank ad.

Link ads compared to other AdSense ad types

Google continuously experiments and runs tests to improve ad performance. They’ve concluded that responsive display ads generally perform equally well compared to link ads. Even though link ads will be retired, publishers can still compare historical link ad performance with current ad units through the AdSense Ad Unit Report.

What should publishers do?

As mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure that you remove any fixed sized link ads before the 10th of March 2021 to avoid blank ads from showing and missing out on ad revenue.

Google also recommends that you try the following ad setups as an alternative to link ads:

AdSense auto ads

-Display ads

-Native ads (especially if you want users to have a customized experience)

-Matched content ads (if your site is eligible)

We highly recommend vignette ad units. MonetizeMore has vignette ad units that compete with multiple ad networks including Google to get high Ad RPMs.


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