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Google Publisher Toolbar—a Must-have for AdSense Publishers

This guest post is by Kevin Muldoon of WordPress Mods.

Google AdSense has been in the news a lot over the last month, for all the wrong reasons. Many top AdSense publishers such as Zac Johnson and Spencer Haws have had their accounts banned and their last month of earnings withheld. And Google won’t give a specific reason as to why any particular account—including either of these—has been banned.

Despite its critics, Google AdSense remains a reliable source of income for many bloggers and website owners across the world. Earlier this year, the developers released a tool that helps you check your earnings more easily and track the performance of your ad zones. The AdSense Publisher Toolbar is an official Google Chrome extension that adds a publisher toolbar to your Chrome browser. It also adds an overlay to your advertisements so that you can see exactly how they have been performing.

I’m surprised that Google hasn’t been promoting this extension more heavily as, in my opinion, it’s vital for anyone who makes money online using Google AdSense.

The Publisher Toolbar

Google publisher toolbar

Google publisher toolbar

Once you’ve installed the extension in your Chrome browser, you will see an AdSense icon at the top right-hand side of your browser (to the right of your address bar). Once you have authorised the extension to log in to your Google account on your behalf, clicking on the icon will display a menu that shows your AdSense earnings. (Note: I’m not 100% sure of Google’s policy of displaying earnings etc., so I’ve used its screenshot instead of taking one of my account.)

At the top of the box you can see today’s earnings, yesterday’s earnings, earnings this month, and earnings from last month. The bottom half of the box shows your top five performing custom channels and top Five performing URL channels. Your lifetime earnings via Google Adsense are also shown at the bottom of the box.

The Publisher Toolbar was obviously not developed as a replacement for checking your stats through the main Google AdSense website, however it’s perfect for anyone who wants to quickly check how their AdSense websites are performing without logging into the main site.

The in-site ad overlay

The second, and arguably its most useful, feature of the Google Publisher Toolbar is the in-site ad overlay. Once you’ve installed the toolbar and signed into your account, the extension will place an overlay over all Google Adsense and DoubleClick advertisements on your websites.

When you load one of your website pages, your Google Adsense advertisement will be displayed as it normally would.

The ad overlay

The ad overlay

Then, a second or so after the page has loaded, the ad overlay will be displayed. The overlay places a see-through black box over all of your AdSense advertisements. The name of the ad zone is displayed at the top of the overlay, and at the bottom you can see how much that particular zone has made today, yesterday, and over the last seven days.

Comparing performance between days

Comparing performance between days

What does this all mean?

In a nutshell, it means that when you are browsing your websites you can quickly see which ad zones are performing well today, yesterday, and over the last week. I’ve found this to be a really useful tool when optimizing the ad positions of my Google AdSense ads, as it highlights which zones are under-performing and which zones are making the most money.

The great thing about this feature is that you can see the performance of each ad zone while you are browsing your website—you don’t need to log in to some external location to view your performance.

If you make money online using Google Adsense, I encourage you to try Google Publisher Toolbar out as it makes checking stats a breeze. Unfortunately, the extension is currently only available for Google Chrome but hopefully in the future we will see this available for other browsers such as Opera, Fireox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

Kevin Muldoon is a Scottish webmaster and blogger who currently lives in South America. His labour of love is WordPress Mods; a blog which focuses on WordPress Themes, Plugins, Tutorials, News, Modifications.

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Comments

  1. MalikS. says:

    Great post, about time someone stood up for Adsense. But you stated: “Google won’t give a specific reason as to why any particular account…” Not exactly true…Google gave the exact reason as to why those accounts were banned. It was vague but a reason was given.

  2. Marius says:

    Thank you Kevin for sharing this tip.
    I really missed that Adsense toolbar like this one even exists.

  3. Larry Hales says:

    This is great Kevin, I did not know about the Google Adsense toolbar, so thank you for pointing this out.

    It is a wonder why they have not really promoted it.

  4. I had this installed for a while… but it is a ridiculous resource hog. It would sometimes double or triple the load time of pages on my own site. It’s a great extension, but it’s not worth the time (IMO) it adds to each additional pageview.

    • I haven’t noticed that myself though I would normally be happy to sacrifice speed when browsing my websites in order to use the overlay. Remember, you can always disable the overlay when you are not using it. :)

  5. That in-site overlay looks like it would be incredibly useful. Thanks for the heads up Kevin!
    Also, good thing you didn’t use your own adsense account for a screenshot, it’s against the rules and could get you banned. Whew! Dodged a bullet there!

  6. Michael says:

    Obviously this is a rather handy tool, but since not long ago I don’t trust such things. I have even removed Google Analytics code from all my blogs, because I’d read that it may negativly affect a blogger’s earnings. One of my friends got banned from Adsense the past winter, and he had Analytics code on all his sites. He was given no answer from Google Adsense support as of why his account had been banned.

    • I doubt Google is using Analytics to find out who should be banned. I suspect they can find out who is breaking their riles using their regular spider though everything regarding this is speculation as they don’t explain why an account is banned.

  7. David says:

    Thanks for the info on the toolbar! I didn’t know they were taking away Adsense accounts from people. I read some of the links and it looks like they’re targeting micro-niche bloggers? Could that be it?

    • Perhaps. I’m sure large websites that are making hundreds of thousands per month have someone full time monitoring earnings and tweaking ads etc.

  8. digitalfrog says:

    hey

    Thanks kevin and darren for giving us this valuable tool , i was just waiting for something like this.
    Makes it so much easier to just get a snapshot of your earnings
    Now lets just hope they come out with a similar app for smartphones as well ,so we can check it out on the move.

    Regards
    JJ – digitalgrog.com.au

    • There are a few apps that are available for the iphone (I assume for Android too). I downloaded a free one that wasn’t that good thought I’ve read the reviews of others and apparently two paid apps are worth buying (around $3). I’m home most days at the moment but when I’m on the move again I’ll probably buy an adsense site to make checking stats easier.

  9. Good post Kevin. Thanks for sharing, Google has been in the news a lot but this tool really will be handy.

    Cheers
    Lloyd

  10. Taline says:

    I have been reading posts from a lot of reputable bloggers that had their account banned from Adsense for no apparent reason.

    Several have recommended going with media.net instead. I have only recently added it to my site. Any advice?

    • I would keep using it if it is performing well. The reality is, no one knows for sure why they are banned. Some people are getting great results with media.net, others aren’t. I’m tempted to test it some of my websites to see how it performs.

  11. Sean Chang says:

    Hi Kevin. Thanks for the post. I’ve personally found the AdSense toolbar very convenient as well. It sure feeds the stats addict in me ;)

    Here’s another feature that I’ve found useful:
    With the ad overlay enabled, clicking an ad unit on your site actually brings you to the details page for that specific unit. This make it much easier to tweak the ads and improve the CTR. It comes in especially handy if you have quite a number of ad channels setup in your AdSense account.

  12. Google has been notorious to shut accounts down when it is deemed to violate their policy. However, they never tell you specifically which rule did you break and all they do is to direct you to their terms and conditions, which basically states that they can do whatever they want and they are the final judge. Adwords, Youtube, and Adsense all went through this…

    Though I am still having on Adsense Account, it is not my core business. My take on is to diverse it to and tap on other affiliate / CPA network so that we can mitigate the risk.

    Cheers,
    Ming

    • Yeah diversification is the key. There are other ad networks out there too so if you do get banned, it’s not the end of the world. I’m trying to build up 3 or 4 great content websites rather than do what many are doing and build hundreds of small websites that only make a dollar a day. Due to this, I don’t worry as much about being banned etc as I will be able to make money through other methods.

      More importantly, I don’t speed time building links. I just write content and it gets linked. I’d rather spend my time doing that than blasting links to my websites on lots of low pr websites (which is certainly how many got banned).

  13. I am familiar with this extension, but you are right it is awesome. I like to keep notice of my account pretty often and this extension lets me do that.

  14. Vi says:

    I was ignoring Chrome for awhile, but looks like I will need to install it at last. Thought I am not sure about adsense reliability any more, as it seems if your earning are much more then average your account will be disabled.

  15. Emma says:

    Not many are aware of this toolbar. Normally, we need to directly login to adsense account to check the stats. Thanks for letting us know.

  16. I have been giving Google Chrome some attention lately (Firefox being my favourite); checking out the AdSense Publisher Toolbar won’t be a bad idea at all. This in good information Kevin, thanks for the post.

  17. Great post, about time someone stood up for Adsense. But you stated: “Google won’t give a specific reason as to why any particular account…” Not exactly true…Google gave the exact reason as to why those accounts were banned. It was vague but a reason was given.

    • The email usually given says something about invalid activity but it’s not really explaining what had happened.

      Here’s the email they send (copied from nichepursuits):

      This message was sent from a notification-only email address that does not
      accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.
      —————————————————————

      Hello,

      After reviewing our records, we’ve determined that your AdSense account
      poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a
      responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due
      to invalid activity, we’ve found it necessary to disable your AdSense
      account. Your outstanding balance and Google’s share of the revenue will
      both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.

      Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the
      effectiveness of Google’s advertising system, particularly the
      advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that
      this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and
      cooperation.

      If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we’ve taken, how
      you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find
      more information by visiting
      http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153.

      Sincerely,

      The Google AdSense Team

      ———————————

  18. Dave says:

    Very informative information.. Will
    apply some of this… after all, I’m
    trying everything else…lol

  19. Mukesh says:

    You did not mention, Can be use it any browsers or just a extension of chrome??

    • Sean Chang says:

      Hi Mukesh.

      Actually, Kevin did mention it in the last paragraph of the post.

      In any case, it’s currently only available for Chrome. Not sure if Google will be developing it for other browsers in the future. I won’t bet on it though.

      Alternatively, you can also setup bookmarks to go to your AdSense account or the AdSense overview page in Google Analytics.

      One easy way to do this is to go to the specific page and press Ctrl+D.

      It’s not quite as convenient as the AdSense toolbar, but does a good enough job for me to quickly check my AdSense stats before the Chrome extension was released.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers!

      • Good tip Sean. I use the publisher extension but I also have adsense bookmarked so that I can see stats in more detail when necessary.

  20. Cool post my man.

    I guess this is a must for people who love adsense!

    Take care

    -Omar

  21. Trung Nguyen says:

    This add-on is great, I’ll use it when I starting make money with Google Adsense :)

  22. I had seen this before but dismissed it because I didn’t really need to keep checking my stats, but didn’t notice the overlay part, which is extremely useful, thanks so much for sharing Kevin, I’m going to check it out right now :)

  23. Paul says:

    surely google adsense is one of the best opportunty to get started to make money online with your website,blog or forum.
    Its free and worth results in revenue.
    Paul

  24. craig says:

    I recently Installed this and its an excellent little tool. It is a shame they do not do a firefox version though. I also like the fact that it stops me accidentally clicking on my ads when editing.