Setting Up Ads

When you are thinking of setting up ads for your first ad network, we at The Online Advertising Guide recommend choosing Google AdSense. The criteria for deciding on your first ad network if you are a small site are laid out here, but even when your site is larger we believe it makes sense to start with AdSense.

This is because as well as AdSense being easy to get started with, it also works well as a remnant network. This means that you can use it to monetize all of the impressions which your main ad network does not – for more information on setting your site up like this, see Using Multiple Ad Networks.

Once you are happy with how you have prepared your site for ads, it’s time to sign up for a service and get started. This will require you to do some amount of work within the code of your site, as well as setting up financial information, so be prepared to do both of these things before diving in.

As we recommend AdSense, we have put together the most vital information on how to get started with AdSense. Other Ad Networks will likely not diverge too far from the below either, so it is worth a read no matter which ad network you go with.


How Google AdSense Works

As we’ve said, we recommend Google AdSense for new and small sites because it is simple to use, and gives you a good return. It’s a good product for mainly two reasons:

  1. Google has bought many great online advertising companies, and they are all slowly but surely being integrated, which means Google AdSense has access to a lot of great staff, technology and advertisers.
  2. They are massive, so if you follow their rules they should be able to 100% fill your site with ads.

How Google AdSense works for advertisers is by checking the content that is on your site (in the same way that it does for its search engine) and then putting ads that seem to be related to each page. Endemic advertising (meaning advertising that matches the content of the site it is on – e.g. advertising books on book sites) like this generally creates good value for money for both advertiser and website owner.

Combined with the simple optimising technology AdSense uses to make sure the most successful ads are shown most on your site, it won’t take too long for your revenue from Google AdSense to be the best it can be.

For the website owner, how Google AdSense works is even simpler, and interactions with the service will be minimal after setup. A minimum threshold for payment is set up when you join (by default it is £60).

So whenever your AdSense account hits this amount in accrued revenue, they will put that money in your account. You can check in whenever you want to find out how much revenue you have made, and run reports, but you needn’t even do this if you don’t want to.


Putting Ad Code On Your Site

Putting ad code on your site is the final step to take once you have decided to join an Ad Network. Here is a step by step guide to setting up Google AdSense:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Sign Up Now” in the top right-hand corner of the page.
  3. Either use your existing Google account (from Gmail or YouTube predominantly) or create a new one. Don’t use your personal Google account if you can help it – if your company grows you may need to give out the password to employees!
  4. Put your site URL in the “I Will Show Ads On” box, choose your language and read the Google AdSense programme policies. Tick the box and click continue when you’re ready.
  5. Fill in your details on the next page. We would recommend you “Choose what emails Google AdSense sends me” and tick “Customised help and performance suggestions”. The others are your choice, but the first is very useful. Click “Submit My Application” when you are happy with this.
  6. Wait about a week for your application to be reviewed.
  7. After a week, if you are approved (you will receive an email telling you), log in to your Google AdSense account, and go to the “My Ads” Section.
  8. Click “+ New Ad Unit” in the top left of the page.
  9. Give your ad a name using where the ad will be placed, and its size (eg The Online Advertising Guide 728×90), and choose the appropriate ad size from the drop-down.
  10. In the “Ad Type” drop-down menu choose “Text & image/rich media ads” – this means you will get all the ads possible.
  11. Ignore “Backup Ads” and “Custom Channels” as these options are for publishers with multiple sites. Play with the “Ad Style” options if you want – the goal here should be to use the same colours you use on your site, but it will make little difference to your revenue.
  12. Click “Save and Get Code” and copy the ad code that comes up into a notepad file and save it.
  13. Add the ad code to your site within the <body> tags on your site. If you are unsure how to do this, see Google AdSense’s excellent guide here.
  14. It will take about 2 days once you’ve implemented the code in your site for ads to start appearing – Google uses this time to check that your site is appropriate to be advertised on.
  15. Now just wait for the money to roll in!

In reality, you shouldn’t just wait for the money to roll in – the emails you receive from AdSense due to ticking the “Customised help and performance suggestions” should be heeded.

They will include tips from the mundane to the massively complicated, but if you want to make the best out of your account with them then you should read them and see if you can action them.


Next: Advanced Setup