How to rotate ads

Online advertisers use an ad rotation to display multiple ads in the same position on a website. You can use rotating ads to split-test the performance of different ad units, allowing you to measure the effectiveness of other ad creatives and optimize their campaigns accordingly. Another use case of rotating ads is showing several banners in a single ad spot based on a specific frequency or order.

Advanced Ads provides four methods to rotate ads:

Ad rotation on each page impressionShow a different ad each time the page is loaded using ad groups.Advanced Ads
Rotating banner ads with a sliderRotate ads as animated slides on the current page.Ad Slider
Ad refresh on the same spotLoads the next ad automatically after a specific time, without page reload.Advanced Ads Pro
Rotate ads in a given orderShow ad#1, then after a reload ad#2, then ad#3.Advanced Ads Pro

See more details below.

Ad rotation with random ads

You can rotate ads in the same position using an Ad Group.

Ad groups bundle different ads. You can use an ad group as flexibly as any singular ad—in widgets, with a shortcode, or through a placement. The advantage is that you can add new ads to this group on the fly without changing anything in the position.

Creating an Ad Group

You may find detailed instructions in the manual for ad groups. Here are the steps to create an ad rotation in a nutshell:

  • Go to any ad edit page and create the group in the Ad Groups box in the right sidebar.
  • Go to Advanced Ads > Groups & Rotation to set up the group options.
  • Select the Random ads group type.
  • Set the number of Visible ads to the number of ads that should show up simultaneously. This can be used to create ad blocks.
  • Set the weight of each ad to determine the chance of an ad appearing.
Options for ad rotations with Advanced Ads
Choose from different modes for ad rotations

You can also import a prepared setup with a generic ad rotation in random order into your WordPress site. Find this and other ad setups on the Ad Templates page.

Weighted ads

When rotating ads to test a new ad network, you might want to display them with fewer impressions than the default ads. Here is where the ad weight comes into play.

Each ad has a weight assigned to it, determining the probability of its appearance during ad rotation. Ads with equal weight are equally likely to appear in the ad rotation over time.

In the following example, Ad 1 and Ad 2 have the same weight. This configuration would result in a 50% probability for each ad to appear.

Ad #110
Ad #210

When you want to display Ad 2 only half as often as Ad 1, you could set up the weight like this:

Ad #110
Ad #25

Converted to percentages, this would result in Ad 1 appearing for 67% and Ad 2 for 33% of impressions.

Please refer to the ad groups manual if you have further questions regarding the ad rotation with random ads.

Ad rotation with a slider

If you’d like to rotate ads with a smooth gliding animation—a popular format that’s particularly impactful on mobile devices—, you may accomplish this style of ad rotation with a slider using the free Ad Slider add-on.

Utilized sparingly, this feature’s movement at the edge of their field of vision will surely spark the interest of your visitors. Just make sure to determine a delay value that allows the full content of your ads to be comfortably taken in.

You can find all the information on how to set it up on the Ad Slider add-on page.

  • Demo ad for the Ad Slider add-on, slide 1
  • Demo ad for the Ad Slider add-on, slide 2
  • Demo ad for the Ad Slider add-on, slide 3

Refreshing ads

For a non-animated variant of the slider rotation, you can also refresh the ad using the Refresh on the same spot feature in Advanced Ads Pro.

This works well with Sticky Ads that are visible on the visitor’s screen much longer and allows exposing readers to multiple ads during the same page view.

See this tutorial about ad refresh to learn more.

Rotate ads with a given order

If you or your client requires more control over the sequence of interchanging ads, use the advanced options of Advanced Ads Pro to create an ad rotation with a static ad order. Just follow this tutorial for more information.

Consider these tips to optimize your ad rotations

Some ad networks, including Google AdSense, don’t allow publishers to rotate their ads on the same spot or to embed them in a slider. Use the group ad rotation instead.

If you use caching on your website, please enable Advanced Ads’ cache busting feature to ensure that the ads rotate correctly.

Using rotations and limiting the appearance of ads to only one per page can break loops and cause ads not to show repeatedly or not to rotate as intended.

Please note that the Ad Slider might not work as anticipated after the AJAX-reload in dynamically loaded content like infinite scroll. Read more about infinite scrolling here.

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What does ad rotation mean?

Ad rotation refers to displaying multiple ads on a rotating basis, so that each ad has a chance to appear in front of the audience. This technique helps distribute the impressions and clicks among multiple ads evenly and can increase a campaign’s overall performance and effectiveness.

What is the benefit of ad rotation?

The benefit of ad rotation is that it allows you to evenly distribute your ad impressions among multiple ads evenly, thereby increasing the likelihood of your target audience seeing your ads. It also allows you to test different ad variations to see which ones perform best and adjust your ad strategy accordingly. Additionally, ad rotation can help prevent ad fatigue and banner blindness among your audience by showing them fresh ad content.

How many ads should I have in rotation?

The number of ads to have in rotation depends on various factors, such as the size of your audience and the frequency of ad displays. However, I recommend having at least 2 to 3 ads in rotation to avoid ad fatigue and ensure your audience sees various ads. Ultimately, the optimal number of banners in the ad rotation will depend on your specific advertising goals and strategy.

Can I use ad rotation for Google AdSense ads?

While Google Ad Exchange and several other networks support auto-refresh, Google Adsense does not allow embedding AdSense ads in sliders or displaying them with ad refresh. Google’s placement policies are clear: “Publishers are not permitted to refresh a page or an element of a page without the user requesting a refresh”.

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