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21 Jul

Adsense Ads: Why It Is Not A Good Idea To Use Asynchronous Ads vs. Synchronous Ads Right Now

Oliver Krautscheid Feb 03, 2014
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Adsense delivered great results last month. This month I decided to give asynchronous ads another try to improve the site loading speed. Here are some results:

Please note this article is 1 year old. By now responsive ad units that are asynchronous are the norm and work just fine.

Reason 1 Not To Use Asynchronous Ads: Significantly Lower Adsense Impressions (50% Lower)

Before I started testing I already knew that the ad impressions would go down. I tested asynchronous ads before, but not very extensively, so I need some precise numbers for my site.

Adsense Ad Units Viewed.png

As you can see above, the results are not pretty. Impressions went down 50%. Most sites usually have one unit that is performing really well and it usually sits above the fold. If you start using asynchronous ads, people can scan your site more quickly and may ignore ads that sit above the fold. In any case, the numbers don’t lie. However, ad impressions alone are not very conclusive.

Reason 2: Bounce Rate Does Not Improve Significantly

If I were to use asynchronous ads, it should at least improve my bounce rate so I can get higher rankings for some time. So I decided to look at the bounce rate:

Bounce Rate Asynchronous Ads.png

As you can see the bounce rate only improved during one hour and that may just be a fluctuation. In general the bounce rate did not improve or was even a couple percentage points worse than before.

Another reason not to use them is that the user experience does not improve. On the contrary, when I visit a site with asynchronous ads I find myself waiting for this page to be fully loaded (ads are also part of a page), while synchronous ads are already loading when I first open the page making it easier to quickly scan a page. I find it somewhat silly that Google is using the time it takes to fully load a site as a ranking factor, instead they should look closer at the time it takes until the first rendering takes place, which is really more about “first-byte” time and how well your server is responding.

Reason 3: Revenue Drops By 70-80%

During my tests with asynchronous ads, revenue dropped 70-80%. It’s possible that the Adsense bot may have to fully crawl your site again and that’s why the numbers were so bad. This is not so great for large sites, as it could take a long time. There’s obviously a correlation between ad unit impressions and revenue, so it only makes sense that the revenue went down, but I didn’t expect such a huge drop:

Adsense Revenue Asynchronous Ads.png

This really shows that Async ads are not ready for implementation just yet. At least not on my sites. I will stay away from those for some time to come or until I have figured out why they are performing so badly for me. Obviously, there can be other reasons involved, like a bad server response time during my tests, but I tested very carefully and made sure the server was responsive at all times.

Have you tested asynchronous ads yet? What are your findings?

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Bulls and Bears

3 Responses

  1. I myself noticed the same thing when switched to async code. The page loads faster then the ads, so naturally visitors move on to next page even before the ads load.

    Reply
  2. I went one step further and added another above the fold ad unit and it actually increased the CTR on other ad units because it delays the ad loading speed. I believe users keep waiting until a site is fully loaded including ads, that may explain the CTR increase.

    Reply
  3. Please note that this article is no longer up to date. Responsive ad units which are async perform very well these days

    Reply

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