I started getting emails from Google saying that my sites are eligible for “Matched content.”
According to Google, Matched content is “a free recommendation tool offering you a simple way to promote your content to your site visitors.”
By switching on the “Monetize with ads” feature you can also display targeted native-style ads.
Ah ha! Now, I understand what is going on.
New AdSense Ads Mimics Outbrain and Others
You have probably noticed at the bottom of many websites you visit there are some ads that are different than the others. Instead of advertising products, these ads suggest other stories or webpages you can read. Here is an example from the hyper-monetized Denver Post website.
I don’t know exactly how those ads work, or what kind of revenue they generate, but you can bet that Google, the king of all online advertising sees dollars that are getting away, and they aren’t going to stand for that. This new product offers a similar design and setup, but with a twist to make it more friendly for publishers.
How Google Matched Content Works
Unlike the Outbrain-type ads that send readers away from your page, the Matched content ads are pitched by AdSense as a way to keep readers on your site. The idea is that those “ad” spaces are filled up with links to other webpages on your own site. In fact, Google notes that it will ONLY match the same site, even if you have several websites on the same Google AdSense account.
Now, you can “opt-into” monetizing these matched content ads, in which case Google will replace one or more of your own site’s matches with an ad. The idea is that a particularly well-matched ad would draw more targeted visitors (Good for Google and advertisers), while a less well-matched ad would be ignored in favor of your own content (If they stick around maybe they’ll click a different ad later). Whether this is good or bad, depends on how you view your content.
Obviously, AdSense has no interest in people NOT clicking ads, so look for the whole don’t-monetize option to go away in favor of monetized, or nada.
How To Use Matched Content On Your Site
How to setup Matched content on your site is pretty much the same as for any ad. You create a new ad unit. You pick Matched content and then you name the ad and chose your options for how the ad is displayed. Then, you copy and paste the code onto your page where you want it to display.
Google recommends you insert the Matched content ad units directly below your content, or in the sidebar.
The matched content ads DO count as an ad slot toward your ad limit. After I pasted in the code on some pages, the last ad on pages that were at the maximum number of ads already the page went blank.
A Matched content example, or sample Matched content ad looks like this. The two things highlighted in yellow are the ads. The rest are links to my own articles, on that same site.
How Well Does Matched Content Work?
What you really want to know is can I make more money with Matched content ads?
I don’t know yet, this is the first day I have them set up, but I’ll keep an eye on them and then post back when I have some data.