Google today announced an update to its AdSense service for showing ads on websites: The “Show fewer ads” feature, which lowers the number of ads on a given website, is no longer tucked away in the “AdSense Labs” tab that’s accessible from the “Optimizations” tab. Now it’s visible to all publishers, under the “My ads” tab. And now the feature goes by a new name, “Ad balance.”
This marks the first time that Google is moving a feature out of AdSense Labs since it launched in June.
Cutting down on the number of ads on a given website might seem counter-intuitive, because, you know, ads generate revenue, for both publishers and Google. But it’s more complex than that. As Google software engineers Spandana Raj Babbula, Rikard Lundmark, and Dongcai Shen put it in a blog post:
By only showing your best-performing ads, you may see a minimal drop in your earnings. However, these changes may result in an overall earnings increase, since an improvement of the user experience often leads to users staying longer on your site and engaging with more of your content.
The feature lets customers figure out how changes in the number of ads will impact revenue, they wrote.
Ads still bring in the majority of revenue and profit at Google, and also its parent company, Alphabet. Presumably, Google has given much thought to the upside of allowing people to emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to web advertising. But then again, last year Google started showing as many as four paid ads at the top of search results for some queries.
AdSense customers who enabled “Show fewer ads” now have “Ad balance” turned on, Babbula, Lundmark, and Shen wrote.