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How to Place 5 Adsense Ad Units on a Web Page (Legitimately)

Discover how you can legitimately place 5 Google Adsense ad units on a web page without violating the Google Adsense Terms of Service.

Time Square Loaded with Advertising

It’s common knowledge that Adsense has a rule limiting the number of ad units to 3 per web page.

The rule makes sense. Imagine if Adsense didn’t have any limitation.  The web would be a garbage heap of ads.

However, if you would like to place more than 3 Adsense ads on a web page, it’s now possible without violating Google Adsense Terms of Service.

How is this possible?

It’s possible by using a Google ad partner service that works with Google’s Ad Exchange instead of Google Adsense.

Don’t worry, the ads via Google Ad Exchange look exactly the same as the Adsense ads.  However, with Ad Exchange you have access to more advertisers.

I’ve never personally tried to be an Ad Exchange publisher; however, I do use the Ad Exchange ads by partnering with a Google ad management service.

To date, I’ve used 2 such services.  They are Ezoic (read my Ezoic review here) and Sortable.

Let me be clear.  If your website is accepted with Ezoic or Sortable, you will be able to place up to 5 Google ads (desktop display only) on a web page instead of 3.  I’m talking the big paying Google ad units (not counting the link units and custom Google search box).

As you can well imagine, being able to place more ads on a web page provides the potential to earn more money.

There is a cost though

The cost to using any service that places Ad Exchange ads on your site is that you cannot place other contextual ad networks on your site.  For example, you cannot place Media.net ads in addition to the 5 Ad Exchange ads.

Nevertheless, in my limited experience using these services (I’m currently using Sortable), because Google ads pay more, having 5 Google ads vs. 6 ads (3 Adsense and 3 Media.net ads) results in higher revenue.

Acceptance is not guaranteed

Unfortunately not all sites will be accepted to work with Ezoic and Sortable.  You must apply. That said, the thresholds aren’t terribly high so if you have decent content and some traffic, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be accepted.

In other words you don’t need 500,000 monthly page views for acceptance.

Use 5 ads only if it makes sense

You don’t have to use all 5 ads with these services.  In fact, if you have a website with short content pieces, 5 ads may be too much.  I tend to publish websites with lengthy content so 5 ads makes sense.  Use your discretion.  More importantly, test to find out if your site generates more revenue with fewer ads (this can happen).

Maximum on Mobile is 4 Ads

I should also mention that for mobile devices, the maximum number of ads is 4.  This makes sense given mobile display of websites usually doesn’t have a sidebar.

The plus side with mobile is you can have a floating bottom ad (yes, Google offers a floating bottom ad for mobile devices).

From my experience monetizing my sites on mobile devices, I’ll take 4 ads with a floating bottom ad over 5 ads with no floating option.

Is it worth using ad management services like Ezoic or Sortable since they charge fees?

In my experience it is.  I’m currently working with Sortable and results are great even though their fee is 15% of my revenue.  I’ve also used Ezoic. Read more about ad testing services here.

Which service should you use?  Both are very good so I suggest testing both.  They are not identical services.  They offer different features so carefully read what they uniquely offer and choose the service that seems to make the most sense for you.

15 thoughts on “How to Place 5 Adsense Ad Units on a Web Page (Legitimately)”

  1. What are their payment terms (30 days or 60 days)?
    The only other issue that I can see is what happen if they don’t pay (you are dealing with small companies here) – you have a potential of losing 30 or 60 days worth of income. Looking at you current income – you may be risking 40k -80K if they suddenly close shop.


    • Hey Mark,
      Yeah, it’s a risk. But not using them is a risk too. Sortable is net 45 which isn’t ideal; net 30 would be much better but that’s what they offer. I work with it because their service is great.

    • I’m actually going to start split testing Ezoic and Sortable shortly to directly compare the 2. Sortable is doing great for me, but I know Ezoic does very well for many publishers (I speak with them).

  2. I’m using Sortable after your recommendation, it feel safe to have an ad management company instead of dealing with Adsense directly.

  3. Hi John,

    Great post!

    So with Ezoic you can still track your campaigns via Google Analytics but with Sortable they offer almost no detailed stats. How do you track campaigns with Sortable – especially when you run a mix of desktop and mobile (which have very different RPM’s) ?

    • Hey Deon, I didn’t know I could track Ezoic with Analytics. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip. Sortable can produce a rpm report for each ad unit. With that report I can calculate rpm for desktop and mobile. However, Sortable still doesn’t offer reports that can calculate revenue and rpm for individual URL’s.

      How do I run campaigns with limited info? I eyeball it. I know what desktop generally earns. Same with mobile. Therefore, I scale up campaigns that cost a certain amount or less per click and pause paid campaigns that clearly aren’t profitable. It’s not perfect, but it works.

      Even when I used Adsense which offers loads of tracking, I often made paid traffic campaign decisions based on eye-balling it instead of carefully crunching the numbers. I’m not one to dig as much into the numbers as I should.

  4. Thanks for the reply Jon.

    The big problem for me is to reconcile the Facebook clicks with Sortable’s RPM. Basically their RPM is “Revenue Per 1000 Page Views”. If your Facebook traffic averages 2.5 Page Views per session then you have to do the calculations manually ?

    My campaigns just seem so far away from being profitable 🙁

    I’m very experienced with Facebook so I’m getting my traffic costs quite low. I’m seeing 5c -7c clicks on desktop USA (broad targeting) but my RPM with Sortable is only around $12.

    If I calculate things correctly, a $12 RPM with 2.5 Page Views per FB click will need 3c clicks just to break even. Or I will need to get my RPM up to around $25-$30.

    Am I on the right track with this? I’m trying to see where I need to improve but I also want to know if I am eye-balling the right metrics

    • Hey Deon,

      You have it right. Whenever revenue is calculated by RPM and you want to see if paid traffic is profitable, you do need to do a manual calculation by multiplying the RPM by the average page views per visit.

      A $12 RPM at 2.5 page views per FB click means you will break even at $.03 per visitor. It’s not likely you’ll consistently get $.03 per click on FB so you’ll need to increase revenue RPM.

      However, be sure to know what your desktop RPM and mobile RPM is. My desktop traffic RPM is far higher than mobile meaning I can spend more per click for desktop traffic. Chances are, the $12 RPM is a combination of desktop and mobile. Sortable can provide a report that will show you earnings per ad unit broken down by desktop and mobile.

  5. Unfortunately that $12 RPM was for desktop traffic. What would you recommend as the best ways to increase RPM ? And also what do you consider a good RPM for desktop and mobile respectively?

    I know it varies greatly across different verticals and depends a lot on the traffic but for Facebook traffic where your click costs are in the 5-10c range it seems like a good RPM to aim for would be around $30 on desktop and around $15 for mobile…and then get the page views up around 3.

    • Best thing to do Sakshi is test different configurations. Above the fold is usually best but you don’t want all your ads above the fold.


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