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Replace AdSense Link Ad Units on your Site Before They Are Retired

AdSense will be retiring link ad units on March 10, 2021. Depending on how the link units on your site are configured, they will either be replaced automatically with display ad units, or will just be blank. 

The reason? 

This is to modernize our available ad formats, based on the feedback from users, publishers and advertisers. Going forward, we’ll be focussing on improving and developing other ad formats to help you grow.
Now is the time to review the ad units on your website or blog. 

If you have responsive link ad units, they will be converted to AdSense display ads. You don't need to do anything unless you want to change the ad format. 

If you have fixed size link ad units, the ads will stop displaying. That ad code needs to be removed or replaced with a different ad format. 

If you are only using Auto Ads or Display Ads on your site, nothing will change. 

What are Link Ads?

Link a units were introduced in 2005. They work differently than display ads, in that the initial click on the ad does not generate revenue.

A link ad displays a list of links related to the content of the page the ad appears on. 

When a user clicks a link, that opens a page of search results. There are ads on that search results page, and clicks on those ads generate revenue. 

As ads go, they are pretty unobtrusive. 

Link ads come in two different "flavors": 

  • Responsive link ad units adapt your web page layout. This is the current default.
  • Fixed link ad units are a specific set size. 
Fixed size link ad unit setup

Check Your Link Ad Units

The easiest way to see if you are using link ads on your site is to check the Ads list in your AdSense account.

1. Sign in to AdSense (adsense.google.com)

2. Click Ads on the left menu

3. On the Ads Overview page click the By ad unit tab

4. In the Existing ad units section Filter by Link 
  • Click the pencil icon to open the ad configuration page. This will show if it's fixed or responsive.
  • Click the graph icon to see how that ad unit has performed.
Note that if you have a Blogger blog you should check the AdSense gadgets in your blog's Layout tab to see how they are configured. While it is not currently possible to add a link ad unit to your blog's layout, older blogs may have them configured. 

What will happen when Link Ad Units are Retired?

When link ads are retired in March, here is what will happen: 

  • Responsive link ad units will begin to show display ads
  • Fixed link ad units will stop showing ads. AdSense will try to collapse the ad unit so there isn't a blank space, but this may affect your site's layout.
  • In your AdSense account the former link ad units will have "[previously link ad unit]" appended to their name.

You can create a new ad unit on your AdSense account's Ads > By Ad Unit page.

If you have a Blogger blog, you can update or ad new AdSense Gadgets to your blog's Layout.

Alternatively, you can enable Auto Ads for your site. That lets AdSense insert ads into your blog's layout automatically.

More information

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