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Matched Content Ad Units | Tips to Increase Site Revenue 

Technically, in order to increase your overall website revenue, you can specify the requirements for responsive matched content ad units by Google AdSense. For instance, you can customize the way they look by adding parameters to your ad insertion code. These parameters even allow you to change things like the layout of your content units.

You’ll also be able to specify how you’d like to arrange the rows and columns of recommendations within them. You can also use these parameters to set different settings for mobile vs. desktop. For example, you can give the layout parameter a single value. So that your Matched content unit will have the same layout on mobile and desktop.

Matched Content Ad Units

Whereas, if you give the layout parameter two values, then your Matched content unit will have one layout on mobile (the first value) and a different layout on desktop (the second value). The parameters also work with AMP Matched content units.

What are Matched Content Ad Units?

Note: The examples described in this article are acceptable modifications of the AdSense ad code. You won’t violate the AdSense program policies by modifying your Matched content code in these approved ways.

Matched Content Units or Matched Content Ad Units is a free ads recommendation service by Google AdSense. It offers you a simple way to promote your content to your site visitors. By offering your readers more content that’s relevant to them.

Equally important, it allows you to increase your site’s page views too. As well as the time spent on your site, reader loyalty, ad impressions, and ultimately ad revenue. These recommendations are based on topic similarity and are personalized for the reader.

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

Our experiments show that on average Matched content recommendations increase the number of pages viewed by 9% and the time spent on-site by 10%. See this Inside AdSense blog post for more information: Matched content: designed to engage your users and increase visitor duration.

Note that these options are only available for responsive Matched content units and that all parameters are required for customizations to work. After you’ve modified your ad code, make sure you test your Matched content units on different devices and screens to make sure that they’re working correctly.

With Matched content units, you choose the pages where you’d like the recommendations to appear, then AdSense promotes the articles on your site that are most relevant to the readers of those pages.

Some important things to know about Matched content units:
  • They bring relevant content to the attention of your users, which can help increase page views and time on site.
  • You can place Matched content units on any of the pages on your eligible sites.
  • Recommendations are within-site, for example, if you have two sites abc.com and xyz.com, then the recommendations Google generates for each site will be internal to that site.
  • Note that Google only generates recommendations from pages that have Google ads or Matched content units on them.
  • These units work on mobile, tablet, and desktop.
  • For sites where the majority of articles don’t have an image, Matched content units will display in a text-only format.
  • The AdSense Program policies still apply to pages containing Matched content units.
  • They are not eligible for use in experiments.

In this video we cover what Matched content is, how to check if your site is eligible, and how to create a matched content unit:

Matched Content Ad Units Eligibility

It’s important to realize, Matched content is only available to select publishers. To use Matched content, you must have a site that meets the Google AdSense minimum requirements. That’s for both your site traffic volume and the number of unique pages.

That said, I’ve put these requirements in place to ensure that Matched content provides a great experience for your visitors. Moreover, you can always check the Ads page in your Adsense account. In order to see if you’re able to create Matched content units.

Depending on your site, your eligibility will be able to show one of the following key features. Let’s now consider what each action means and what you should do next.

You’re not Currently Eligible for Matched Content: 

What it means: It means your website doesn’t yet meet the minimum requirements for traffic volume and the number of unique pages. Thereby, your website must first meet the minimum requirements. For both traffic volume and the number of unique pages.

In addition, Google will only show ads in between your Matched content recommendations after the requirements are met.

You’re now Eligible for Matched Content:

What it means: It’s good to bear in mind, the “Monetize with ads” option is always switched on by default. But, you can switch it off if you don’t want to show ads. Or even while creating or editing your Matched content ad units.

Note: Even if you’ll have the “Monetize with ads” option switched on, it doesn’t mean that Google will start showing recommended ad units right away. That’s why it’s important to check if your site is eligible for Matched content first.

How to start showing Matched Content Ad Units on your site

For sure, to start showing Matched ads on your site, means you’re now all set with your Google AdSense Matched Content Monetization Feature. Keeping in mind, showing ads in your Matched content units can help further monetize your site.

As I mentioned, to be eligible for Matched Content by Google AdSense, your site must first meet the minimum requirements. Such as for traffic volume and the number of unique pages your overall site gets.

To check the eligibility of your site:
  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Click Sites.
  3. Click Matched content.
    If you don’t see Matched content under “Sites” then you’re not currently eligible to use Matched content.
  4. On the “Matched content” page, check to see if your site is listed:
    1. Meaning, if your site is listed, you may place Matched content units on any of its pages.
    2. But, if your site isn’t listed, then it’s not currently eligible for Matched content.

Eventually, if at least one of your sites is eligible, you’ll see the option to create Matched content units on the ‘Ads page‘ in your account. It’s good to know that the recommended ads have the “Ad” label. But, before even monetizing your Matched content units, there’s something you’ll need to know.

Be aware that:
  • First, the ads will only show when appropriate recommended ads are available.
  • Secondly, these ads will replace some of the recommendations in your Matched content unit.
  • Again, smaller Matched content units with only one recommendation slot will not show ads.
  • Sometimes, the ads will be styled to complement the look and feel of your content recommendations.
  • Lastly, you can start tracking the revenue generated by your Matched content ads right away.

In order to track your Matched content unit, you can do it simply by viewing the ‘Ad units report‘ section on your ‘Reports‘ page. You can read and learn more about how to track the performance of Matched content units in detail.

Related Topic: Infolinks | The No #1 Platform For Innovative Ads By Intent

Next, let’s now look at an example of a Matched content unit showing ads and recommendations. Also, with that in mind, you can learn how to create a Matched content unit in detail. It’s also good to note that Google AdSense regularly checks the eligibility of sites.

Meaning, if your site isn’t eligible yet, feel free to check back later when you have more traffic and/or unique pages. Below are a few things to always remember too before you get started.

What if your website is a subdomain?

Note that for subdomains (e.g., m.example.comforum.example.com, etc.), the recommendations they generate are across the entire top-level domain.

For example, let’s say you place Matched content units on your eligible subdomain example.exampleblog.com. It means that your Matched content units will include recommendations for all of the exampleblog.com subdomains.

What if you own multiple sites?

Basically, if you’re a publisher with multiple sites, you might find that only some of your sites are eligible for Matched content. In this case, I ask that you only place Matched content units on your eligible sites.

Obviously, because if you place Matched content units on ineligible sites, then Google AdSense won’t be able to populate your site ad units with recommendations.

The best practices to Create Matched content ad units

In other words, Matched content ads are a free service by Google AdSense. It promotes relevant content from your site to your site’s visitors and can help to increase your page views and the time your readers spend on your site.

To create a new Matched content unit:
  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Click Ads and then Overview.
  3. Click By ad unit.
  4. Select Matched Content.
  5. Use the drop-down in the upper corner of the preview area to see which of your sites are eligible for Matched content. Learn more about eligible sites.
  6. Give your Matched content unit a name.
  7. In the “Style” section, change the style of your Matched content unit to match your site.
  8. In the “Size” section, choose an ad size that fits your layout.
Some Notes:
  • I strongly recommend using a responsive layout. A responsive layout is different based on the width of the container and the screen size (e.g., on mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.). You can see how your Matched content unit may change in different containers by using the drag handle in the preview area.
  • When using a custom size, I recommend choosing an ad size with a width: height ratio of around 2:1 for a horizontal layout, or 1:2 for a vertical layout. I don’t recommend that you use traditional banner ad sizes like the 728×90 for Matched content.
Some Notes:
  • Neither the height nor the width of your custom size can exceed 1200 pixels, and only one dimension can be greater than 600 pixels.
  • In the “Ad options” section, leave Monetize with ads switched on unless you’d prefer not to show ads in your Matched content unit.

By using this feature you agree to let Google try out different ad types and optimize the number, format, and size of the ads in your Matched content unit. You can learn more about showing ads in your Matched content unit.

  • Next, Click Save and get the code.
  • Copy and paste the ad code into the HTML source code of any of the pages on your approved site.

See more best practices for more information on placing your Matched content unit.

But first, while your Matched content settings are propagating across the Google systems, standard ads may serve in your Matched content unit. To avoid this, please wait 15 minutes before putting this code on your site. Below are some more requirements and best practices.

The Best Placement of Matched Content Units

Matched content units work best for sites with longer content pages, such as in-depth articles, which have an associated image. Note that you can boost the performance of your ads by placing them close to your Matched content unit.

To help Google find better articles to recommend, you can add a unique image to each of your content pages. Or even use popular meta-tag protocols such as the Open Graph on your pages. You can find other useful meta-tags on the Providing Structured Data page on the Google Developers site.

You can also apply more settings to your Matched content units. Matched content settings give you more control over which articles you want to be promoted in your Matched content units. You can apply settings for each site that’s eligible for Matched content.

There is also a matter of Time freshness. The time freshness setting lets you choose how recent the recommended articles are in your Matched content units.

To set your time freshness:
  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Click Sites.
  3. Click Matched content.
  4. On the “Matched content site settings” page, find and click your site.
    • Use the filter to help you search for sites.
  5. On the “Your current settings” page, click the Down arrow below “Time freshness” to open the “Settings” panel.
    • Any time: Show articles from any time in your Matched content units. Google will optimize for topic similarity, reader interest, and article age to ensure you have good quality recommendations.
    • Most recent: Show articles that are as recent as possible in your Matched content units. Exactly how recent depends on the number of articles you publish on your site.

If you publish lots of articles, recent might mean the last few days. If you don’t publish many articles, recent might mean the last few months. Google will adjust the time frame to make sure you have good quality recommendations. Select one of the following options and your changes will take effect within 24 hours.

Blocklist

If you see an article in your Matched content unit that you don’t want us to recommend, you can add it to your blocklist. After you’ve blocked an article, it won’t be shown again.

You can add pages, site sections, or subdomains to your blocklist. Note that Google already excludes some types of pages such as “contact us”, “about us” etc., so you don’t need to block these pages.

To add a page, site section, or subdomain to your blocklist:
  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Click Sites.
  3. Click Matched content.
  4. On the “Matched content site settings” page, find and click your site.
    • Use the filter to help you search for sites.
  5. On the “Your current settings” page, click the Down arrow below “Blocklist” to open the “Settings” panel.
  6. Click Add URL.
  7. Enter the URL of your page, site section, or subdomain.
  8. Select one of the following options:
    • Block this page only
    • Block this page and all pages belonging to this section or subdomain. For example, if your URL is mysite.com/section, then all URLs following this URL will also be blocked (e.g., mysite.com/section/onemysite.com/section/two/threesubdomain.mysite.com/section, etc.).
  9. Click Add. Your changes will take effect within 24 hours.

To remove a page, site section, or subdomain from your blocklist, click the close icon next to its URL.

Preferred content

The preferred content setting lets you specify articles that you want to appear frequently in your Matched content units. You can use this setting to drive traffic to specific pages. Google will always recommend at least one article from your preferred content list.

To add a page to your preferred content list:
  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. Click Sites.
  3. Click Matched content.
  4. On the “Matched content site settings” page, find and click your site.
  5. Use the filter to help you search for sites.
  6. On the “Your current settings” page, click the Down arrow below “Preferred content” to open the “Settings” panel.
  7. Click Add URL.
  8. Enter the URL of your page.
  9. Click Add. Your changes will take effect within 24 hours.

To remove a page from your preferred content list, click the close icon next to its URL.

How to customize your responsive Matched content unit

If you have specific requirements for your responsive Matched content units, you can customize the way they look by adding parameters to your ad code. These parameters allow you to change things like the layout of your Matched content units.

And as such, you can specify how you’d like to arrange the rows and columns of recommendations within them. You can also use the parameters to set different settings for mobile vs. desktop.

For example, if you give the layout parameter a single value your Matched content unit will have the same layout on mobile and desktop. Whereas if you give the layout parameter two values, then your Matched content unit will have two layouts.

Related Topic: What are Vignette Ads? & Why did Google roll them out?

One layout on mobile (the first value) and a different layout on desktop (the second value). The parameters also work with AMP Matched content units.

Note that these options are only available for responsive Matched content units and that all parameters are required for customizations to work. After you’ve modified your ad code, make sure you test your Matched content units on different devices and screens to make sure that they’re working correctly.

Note: The examples described in this article are acceptable modifications of the AdSense ad code. You won’t violate the AdSense program policies by modifying your Matched content code in these approved ways.

How to Change the layout of your Matched content unit

The layout parameter (data-matched-content-ui-type) lets you control the arrangement of the text and images in your Matched content units. For example, you can choose to have the image and text side by side, the image above the text, etc.

The following layout options are available:
  1. First, Image and text side by side
  2. Secondly, Image and text side by side with the card
  3. And then, the Image stacked above the text
  4. Also, the Image stacked above text with card
  5. Lastly, there is also Text only and Text with card
Specify the number of rows and columns in your Matched content unit

The recommendations inside a Matched content unit are arranged in a grid. You can specify how many rows and columns you want to show within that grid. For example, you could set your Matched content unit to be a 2×2 square, a 4×1 column, etc.

You set the number of rows with the data-matched-content-rows-num parameter and the number of columns with the data-matched-content-columns-num parameter. You must set both parameters and data-matched-content-ui-type together.

Some Notes:
  • There are some restrictions on the number of rows and columns you can set. The total number of recommendations in your Matched content unit must be between 1 and 30. If you try to show less than 1 or more than 30 recommendations, then your Matched content unit will appear blank.
  • Sometimes we might not be able to show the exact number of rows and/or columns you’ve specified. For example, if you’ve set a large number of columns but your Matched content unit isn’t wide enough to fit them all. In this case, we’ll adjust the number of rows and/or columns so that your recommendations fit well in the available space and provide a good user experience.
Row and column examples:
  1. 4×1 (mobile and desktop)
  2. 2×2 (mobile and desktop)
  3. 3×3 (mobile and desktop)
  4. 4×1 (mobile) and 2×2 (desktop) for responsive sites

The next thing is troubleshooting your Matched Content Ad Units. After you’ve customized your Matched content unit, it’s possible that it might not appear exactly as you expected. Here are some common issues with Matched content units and how to fix them:

1. Blank Matched Content Ad Units:

Definitely, there’re two reasons why this might happen: The total number of recommendations in your Matched Content Ad Units are either less than 1 or more than 30.

You should change the number of rows and/or columns in your Matched content unit so that the total number of recommendations is within the limit. Your Matched content unit is too wide for the number of recommendations you’ve set. In this case, you should try reducing the width of your Matched content unit.

2. Fewer recommendations than you expected:

What if your Matched Content Ad Units has fewer recommendations than you expected? Well, this can happen for one reason or two. First, when there’s not enough space to show the exact number of recommendations that you specified.

For example, if you’ve set a large number of recommendations and your Matched Content Ad Units are either too narrow or it’s being viewed on a small screen. When this happens, we adjust the number of rows and/or columns to best fit the available space.

You could consider changing the width of your Matched Content Ad Units. Or even setting different numbers of rows and columns for mobile vs. desktop.

3. The key recommendations are text-only:

You might see this if your Matched content unit is too narrow for the number of recommendations you’ve set. In this case, you should try increasing the width of your Matched content unit. To fix more related errors, you can also consider using the console to find errors in your Matched Content Units.

You can use the console in your browser to check that you’ve correctly modified your Matched content ad code. For example, the console can tell you if your ad code is missing a required parameter or if a parameter contains an invalid value.

Final Words,

By definition, Google AdSense Ads is a program run by Google. An ads network through which website publishers in the Google Network of content sites serve their adverts.

Technically, the ads network service includes text ads, image ads, video ads, or interactive media ads that are targeted to the site content and audience. Not to mention, all these advertisements are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google.

They can generate revenue on either a per-click or per-impression basis. Google beta-tested a cost-per-action service, but discontinued it in October 2008 in favor of a DoubleClick offering (also owned by Google). You can learn more about how Google AdSense works in detail.

Remarkably, back in Q1 2014 alone, Google earned US$3.4 billion ($13.6 billion annualized), or 22% of total revenue, through Google AdSense.

Related Topic: What is Monetization? Forms of Native Display Advertising

By the same token, AdSense is a participant in the AdChoices program. That’s why AdSense ads typically include the triangle-shaped AdChoices icon. This program also operates on HTTP cookies.

In 2021, over 38.3 million websites use AdSense. Perse, that’s why it’s a very great and ideal ad network for beginner site publishers. Especially, for those that are just getting started with monetizing their web content with paid ads.  

Finally, are you a Google AdSense publisher? If your answer is Yes, let us know how you feel about it in our comments section below. But, if you’ll need more support, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can help you. You can also look at other forms of Web Advertising Networks in detail.

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