Why are blank ads showing and how to fix it

  • 02 / 12 / 2021
  • Agata Cnatalska
Why are blank ads showing and how to fix it

As we know, the monetization process basically consists of adding ad units to your website and filling those with ad creations that are displayed to the users. However, it may happen that some empty ad units (aka blank ads or unfilled impressions), mostly banners, will appear on your pages, making you earn less. So what’s causing it? And how to prevent it?

First things first, make sure that an ads.txt file is added to your website. Most advertising systems, including programmatic solutions, won’t work on websites lacking it. The file ensures better control over the quality of displayed ads, for it only permits the authorized entities to participate in your ad inventory sale. Ads.txt also prevents unapproved auctions for your ad space, thus protects your profits. You can see how to create, implement (both in WordPress and Blogger) and actualize the ads.txt file in our other articles.

What are blank ads?

Blank ads, also called unfilled impressions, might take the form of a spot with a broken image icon, a framed empty space, or for instance, an odd-looking “hole” in the content. It’s an indication that a particular ad has not been sold and inserted into an ad unit, meaning you’re not gaining desired profits. Blank ads also appear strange and unaesthetic to your website’s visitors. What’s more, it’s actually impossible to tell when it happens, since it’s a matter of the particular moment when a given user enters a web page. Well, that’s a hard nut to crack.

source: https://giphy.com/

The crucial step in each combat is to identify what you’re dealing with. So let’s take a closer look at the most common reasons why a blank ad may appear, dividing those into technical, programmatic, and policy-related, as well as user’s device-oriented issues.

Technical reasons for blank ads

In that context, there are two possible issues you can verify and fix if needed:

  • The ad tag was implemented incorrectly (for instance, it occurs pretty often when publishers are using implementing templates);
  • The ad tag is powered by an ad server with no active ads or ad campaigns.

To deal with those, you just have to pay close attention to taken actions and keep your hand on your ad space’s pulse. But unfortunately, there are also technical troubles you can do nothing about, like:

  • A break in the ad chain (and in the ad sale process);
  • None (or incorrect) ad server’s calls for ad creatives;
  • The website’s connection timeout;
  • An ad server crash during the loading of the website.

Programmatic operations’ reasons for blank ads

Just like many other things, monetization with ads can only bring wonderful results if done well. To fully exploit programmatic solutions, you have to ensure that every single step you, or your monetization partner (like an ad network), take is taken wisely. Two prominent causes may significantly affect the proper ad serving course:

  • Poor demand sources
    If you limit yourself to only local ad providers, you’ll be helpless when some foreigners visit your website. Many SSPs mean that your ad inventory will be offered to a larger group of advertisers, which in turn increases the chances of matching your users with the right ads. But quantity does not overcome quality. It’s not only about the number of ad supplying partners but also about adjusting them to your users’ geolocalization and supported languages. If you choose to collaborate with an ad network, opt for one that operates with a wide range of SSPs;
  • Wrong yield management execution
    You should carry out only actions tailored to the market’s demand and your website’s capacities. For example, if fixed floor prices on your website do not reflect real possibilities, a given ad unit will not be filled with any ad creation because there will be no auction offer high enough to win it. The higher or unrealistic the floor price, the fewer advertisers can pay for displaying their ads within your pages. And as a result, more blank ads may appear.

Policies driven reasons for blank ads

The following point regards your website’s content and how you deal with ad-related actions, meaning it’s the only one on this list that depends entirely on you. There are certain rules imposed on all the digital creators that you just have to comply with. If you don’t, this may happen:

  • The ads are blocked
    The website might be temporarily suspended or banned (in general by Google) for many reasons, like: some part of the content has been considered illegal or inappropriate, there’s a forbidden monetization-oriented behavior detected, or one’s copyright has been violated. See what you can do in case of your Google account suspension.

Device oriented reasons for blank ads

Certain situations can happen to anyone at any time. Some of these are a consequence of used programs, improper care of the user’s device, or a casual misfortune:

  • The internet connection or signal loss;
  • A poor internet connection;
  • A change in the device’s display resolution;
  • An ad blocker is on;
  • The viruses and malware impact the device or browser.
source: https://giphy.com/

How to prevent blank ads from appearing?

There is no need to panic! Remember that some solutions take time. For instance, when you add or edit an ad unit, it may take about 30 minutes for the ad code to start working, meaning you won’t see it right away. Sometimes all you have to do is wait 🙂 Pay close attention to details. Make sure that every element of your website is put in the right place, that every script is inserted correctly, following the instructions, and that there are no omissions, shortcuts, and rushed steps. Also, be careful about what you publish. Never create offensive, improper, and certainly not forbidden content. It’s just better not to mess with imposed policies.

But what about all the other reasons that leave your ad units empty and unprofitable? Well, since it’s impossible to react individually every time something goes wrong, the best option would be to apply a technology that detects and solves such troubles without you even knowing. Fortunately, there is a tool designated precisely for that ⎼ the Recovery Tool. It constantly analyzes your website in search for ad-related issues and resells affected units to protect your profits. What’s more, optAd360 collaborates with many SSPs worldwide, which increases the chances that there will always be an advertiser interested in your ad inventory, and a proper ad creative to be displayed to your users. You can also count on the support of our specialists, willing to provide help at every stage of the monetization process, from implementing solutions to diagnosing problems and finding the right ways out.

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