AdSense’s Support for SSL-Compatible Ad Tags

Until recently, Google AdSense and DoubleClick Ad Exchange ads couldn’t run on HTTPS pages. This meant that sites that had valid reasons for using HTTPS couldn’t monetize these pages. Fortunately for publishers, Google has loosened this restriction, and now it’s possible for publishers to run ads on HTTPS websites.

In case you aren’t familiar, HTTPS is a secure internet communication protocol often used by financial and e-commerce websites to protect customer data. It stands for “HTTP Secure”, and it layers the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) on top of the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol, which then encrypts the data that’s sent. When customers enter their credit card or bank account numbers on sites that use HTTPS, the data is encrypted using SSL.

Why hasn’t Google allowed AdSense or Ad Exchange ads to run on HTTPS web pages? Like many questions about Google’s policies, we may never know the answer. Political battles inside Google could have led to the decision just as plausibly as technical decisions based on security concerns. Either way, decisions have now been reversed; you can now run ads on your HTTPS pages. But make sure you generate your ad tags correctly, or your ads won’t run.

Running Ads on HTTPS Pages

There are pros and cons to running ads on HTTPS pages. On one hand, if you run ads on HTTPS pages, you’ll be able to monetize pages you weren’t previously able to. This could result in increased overall ad revenue.

But don’t expect the same eCPMs from these ads. Non-SSL compliant ads will be removed from the auction, which will reduce the auction pressure. This will make ads on HTTPS pages to earn less than those on HTTP pages.

HTTPS ad checklist

Before running ads on your HTTPS pages to make sure that Google doesn’t reject the ads on those pages, make sure that all your content — including ads on the page — is SSL-compliant. The SSL-compatible code you generate with AdSense also works on HTTP sites, but will not change the way the ads are served.

Running HTTP ads on an HTTPS site will result in a mixed content warning or no ads at all, so make sure you’re only running HTTPS-specific ad tags on these pages.

To use new ad code on HTTPS-enabled pages, follow these steps:

  1. Generate an ad code or use the tag code generator.
  2. Paste the newly-generated ad code into the HTML source code on the page where the ads would appear.
  3. Remove “HTTP” from the existing ad code. You should end up with source URLs that begin with two forward slashes (e.g. //pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/show_ads.js)
  4. Add these ad tags to your HTTPS pages.

One of the keys to ad revenue optimization is getting as much money as you can from each page — including HTTPS pages. If you run an e-commerce website, HTTPS pages could represent a significant chunk of your website!

Don’t leave money on the table by leaving pages unmonetized. We’ve helped clients get more 25-50% revenue from their previously-underperforming pages, and we’d love to help you, too. Contact MonetizeMore today to start optimizing your AdSense revenue.

Kean Graham

CEO and Founder at MonetizeMore

Kean is the resident expert in Ad Optimization covering areas like AdSense Optimization, DFP Management, and third-party ad network partnerships. Kean believes in the supremacy of direct publisher deals and holistic optimization as keys to effective and consistent ad revenue increases.

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