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2016 in review: AdSense - Updated Account Interface, Better Communication, New Ad Types

AdSense had some solid updates in 2016. The AdSense account interface got a makeover and there were new ad formats. And there was much better communication, with the goal of "becoming more transparent and accessible to the online marketing community."

My top AdSense updates for 2016:

Fake News supported by AdSense

One of the big stories of 2016 was the proliferation of fake news sites. These are sites that exist only for the ad revenue - the "news" they publish is made up and optimized for clicks. They got a boost when credulous people  - including politicians - shared the articles as if they were real.  It was great for the enterprising Macedonian teenagers (and others) who created the sites, not so great for political discourse.

In response, AdSense policy was updated to prohibit fake news sites (and Facebook banned fake news sites from using its advertising network too).

Ad Blockers

2016 was also the year that advertising platforms fought back against ad blockers. AdSense has pretty much stayed out of the fray, but in August there was an amusing few weeks where Facebook made changes to prevent ads from being blocked, which made AdBlock Plus call out Facebook for being "anti-user".  Two days later,  Adblock Plus had found a way to beat Facebook's adblocker-blocker. Facebook then rolled out code to nullify the adblocker-blocker blocker. And back and forth it went - I'm not sure if either side turned out to be the winner.

Adblock Plus reportedly was going to begin selling its own ads, and implied Google was part of their network - a claim Google quickly refuted. And then Adblock clarified they were never selling ads, they just want publishers to use ads from one of their "Acceptable Ads" providers (which doesn't include AdSense). This doesn't seem like a win for publishers to me.

AdSense's take is that ad blockers are indeed a concern, and they want to work within the industry to develop standards "that allow sites and publishers to not have their ads blocked" while "investing in better ads experiences"

The war will likely rage on through 2017 and beyond.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping for some sort of resolution that allows Publishers like me to display ads without annoying my site's visitors to the point where they feel like all ads need block.


Read on for more details about AdSense updates in 2016 and my favorite AdSense tips. 

Getting answers to your AdSense questions

AdSense has been trying to better communicate with Publishers, with tips, updates and directly answering user questions. Here's how you can learn more about AdSense and get your questions answered:

Official updates, announcements and tips:
#AskAdSense Office Hours

Every Thursday morning at 9:30 AM (Pacific time) AdSense support has been answering questions posted on Google+ and Twitter with the #AskAdSense hashtag. They are off for the holidays, and it's possible the time may change, so confirm before posting your question next Thursday!


John Brown, head of Publisher Policy Communications, has been writing an #AskTheAdSenseGuy column for Search Engine Journal. Read all his articles.

You can tweet your questions to @sejournal with the #AskTheAdSenseGuy hashtag, or fill out this form.

2016 AdSense Updates

This year's AdSense updates.

Account updates
New and updated ad formats
Policy and preventing invalid activity

Top AdSense Tips

My favorite AdSense tips in 2016
Invalid activity and policy issues
Set up your ads
Updated March 2019 to remove Google+ links


  1. I am trying to add adsense to all of my sites and am having a very difficult time...if you have any advise I would appreciate top concerns at the moment are wordpress,blogger and youtube....thanks


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