SEO Webmasters | Visit Homepage | Application Platforms | What are AdSense Responsive Link Ads?

AdSense Responsive Link Ads Are Retiring | Why & When?

Of course, there is a message circulating to all web publishers that Google AdSense Responsive Link Ads are being retired. And one of the reasons is in order to modernize their available ad formats. Based on the feedback from users, publishers, and advertisers like us.

Therefore, going forward, besides Google AdSense Responsive Link Ads they’ll be focusing on improving and developing other ad formats to help you grow. Some well-based experiments show that, for the vast majority of publishers, responsive display ads can perform as well as link ads.

AdSense Responsive Link Ads Are Retiring

NB: You can see the sample message we received from Google AdSense regarding these changes from the above screenshot.

Related Topic: Website Monetization Beginners Guide For Webmasters

That’s why Google AdSense is constantly optimizing responsive display ad units to maximize performance. And as such, you’ll be able to monitor the performance of your link units as usual. Through the ad units report to compare performance before and after.

Attached along with the message as a Signature was the following note: ”We appreciate your patience and understanding as we continue to develop our products.


The Google AdSense Team”

So, what are AdSense Responsive Link Ads? And why does it matter to follow the new guidelines as a publisher? Well, follow my leads below to get more informed.

What are Google AdSense Responsive Link Ads?

When you talk of Blog Monetization through Google, AdSense Responsive Link Ads display a list of topics that are relevant to the content of your page. And they’re closely targeted to the interests of your users. Simply, because users directly interact with the topics.

And therefore, they may be more interested in the ads they eventually see. Only that unlike other ad units, AdSense publishers are paid for clicks on the ads that are linked from topics. But, not for clicks on the initial topics themselves.

What are AdSense Responsive Link Ads?

The ads on the linked page are pay-per-click Google ads similar to those shown in standard display ad units. So, what is the responsive behavior of these Google AdSense link ads? One thing for sure, link ads are responsive by default.

In that case, they allow you to support a wide range of devices. For example, computers, phones, tablets, etc. By automatically adapting their size to fit your page layout. And they’re intended to work with sites built with responsive design.

But, they’ll also work on non-responsive sites too. Regardless of which device users use to visit your site. And in reality, responsive link ads can help you provide a great ad experience.

Why are AdSense Responsive Link Ads retiring?

As I mentioned, one of the reasons is in order for Google AdSense to continue modernizing their available ad units format. And generally, this is solely based on the feedback they get from users, publishers, and advertisers.

Eventually, this’s also in conclusion to their conclusive experiments. The experiments show that, for the vast majority of publishers, responsive display ads can perform as well as link ads. And as such, Google AdSense is constantly optimizing responsive display ads — to maximize performance.

And as a publisher, you’ll be able to continually monitor the performance of your link units. You’ll be able to do so through the ad units report while comparing performance before and after the retirement period.

What does this mean?

It means that from 10-03-2021, you’ll no longer be able to create units for the Google AdSense link ads. And thus, your link ad units will be renamed. With [previously link ad unit] added to the end of the ad unit name. This will apply to both responsive and fixed-size link ad units.

Meaning that responsive link ads will begin to serve as display ad units on your site(s). And in that case, fixed-size link ads will stop serving on your site(s). And therefore, Google will collapse each ad unit where possible. In other cases, they will only show a blank ad space(s).

Related Topic: How Google AdSense Native Ads Work | Webmaster Guide

What to do next? Well, there is no action required from you in relation to your responsive link ads yet. As these will begin to serve display ads from 10-03-2021. But as a thumbs-up, I recommend that you remove the fixed-size link ad units from your site.

Try out the following ad formats instead:

As for the Matched content, to enumerate, it’s a free recommendation service that offers you a simple way to promote your content to your site visitors. Just like you’ll see some examples of Matched content ad units below this article. By offering your readers more content that’s relevant to them.

And by so doing, you can increase your site’s page views, the time spent on your site, reader loyalty, ad impressions, and ultimately ad revenue. So, with that in mind, you can read and learn more about customizing Matched content through AdSense first.

Related Topic: Display Ads | How to Increase your Website Ads Revenue

All in all, when we talk of ad size optimization settings, you can let Google automatically optimize the size of your ad units on mobile. So, there’s no need to create new ad units or change your ad code. Your existing ad units will change their size based on the context and orientation of the user’s device.

And as such, they may even show larger ads, full-width ads, etc. Then again, as a result, more ads will be eligible to fill your ad units, potentially leading to an increase in revenue. But, at times, there are some limitations you need to know.

For instance, this optimization setting only works on mobile-optimized sites. And in addition, Google is unable to optimize in the following scenarios:

  • Iframed ad units (this includes ad units served through ad servers such as Google Ad Manager)
  • Ad units with dimensions restricted to parent container (e.g., a fixed height, overflow: hidden, etc.)
  • A user’s first-page view. Google uses their first-page view to get the ad size from accounts.

More often, for the user’s subsequent page views, they’ll apply your settings. Not forgetting, you can also preview automatically optimized ads on your site.


In reality, Google is always working to create new features that provide additional benefits to its publishers. As part of this objective, they’re currently running a small-scale test of combined Google ad link units.

This test is taking place on less than 2% of all page views on a random basis. So, you may or may not see these units on your pages. During this test, combined units will be served to a small number of regular ad units on publisher pages.

And you’ll be paid for all clicks on the Google ads accessed through link unit topics. As well as for clicks on the Google ads that are present in the ad unit.

Related Topic: How a Web Banner AD is designed | A Step-by-step guide

This test is only for a limited time, and Google cannot make any commitments as to whether these ad units will be available on a broader basis in the future. That’s why it’s important that you make a shift while the sun still shines.

It’s also important to realize, AdSense publishers are permitted to click on link unit topics on their webpages. Provided that they do not click on any Google ads on the resulting page. Since it has the potential to inflate advertiser costs.

However, you may still prefer not to click on the link unit topics that appear on your site. Simply, because clicking on these links has the potential to inaccurately inflate impressions. And as a result, affect your reporting metrics too.

Finally, I hope the above guide on new changes to Google AdSense Responsive Link Ads was helpful enough to you and your web team. But, if you’ll need more support, you can Contact Us or even share your additional thoughts and questions in the comments section.

Let's — Get In Touch!
For any personal assistance from our SEOs & Webmasters, you can Contact Us by filling the form below (or call +254 724 944 456) and we'll be in touch within 24 hours.