Top Ad Management Plugins For WordPress

Ad management plugins are just like any other plugins on WordPress. They are there to save you time and most importantly allows a non tech savvy user to enjoy functionality which would otherwise be impossible if it were not for the community of people that make this possible. Thing is, there are plugins all over the place and just like anything else, there are those which are good and those which are not so good. The hard part is how to find those plugins that are actually good and deliver the goods.

Benefits of Plugins

I think of plugins as some sort of a “mini-software”, that when added to my template/theme will enhance the looks, functionality, or perform certain actions that I would like to see happening. While installing plugins can hamper your sites speed, there is the matter of added practicality, and in this case I prefer to choose practicality or functionality over speed. Then again, there are also plugins, such as W3 Total Cache, whose objective is to increase WordPress performance through caching and minifying. Today however, we won’t be looking in to that yet.

Why Use Ad Management Plugins?

Ads that are always on the same place can cause what is called as “ad blindness”. In short, users see it so often that they have developed some sort of “defense” where they simply ignore what they see. One way to counter this is by regularly changing or rotating your ads in order to prevent such blindness. When users see something different, it is most likely that they will at the very least, look at it. When this happens, there is a possibility that an “action” in a form of a click, can be triggered and this is what we are looking for. It does not have to generate a sale, as some advertisers are looking first for performance and eventually conversion. Some advertisers could actually not be selling anything at all, but rather, only want to develop a brand awareness and their objective here is for their ad to get noticed.

Following my move from blogger to wordpress, I have provided the top SEO plugins for WordPress I use on this theme. Now its time to share with you the ad management plugins I am using, for which I obviously recommend. Note that all of these plugins are free to use and you decide whether you want to give credits for the developers or not. This post, in a way is doing just that. Thanks you guys for making our lives easier. For the plugins.

AdSense Optimizer
Made for AdSense publishers, this plugin will even avoid you from having to log in to your AdSense account and do all that setup. Just enter your publishers ID, choose the various types of format available and tell the plugin what to do. You define the plugin to show ads only on individual post, pages, bottom, middle or top of the posts content, right, left, center, show only when an article has xxx amount of characters, etc. If on a certain article you do not want to show ads at all, just add the “–noad–” string (needs the <> arrows, in there) and you are all set. Fantastic. Get AdSense Optimizer.

Ad Squares Widget
This plugin manages your 125X125 banner ads. It is widgetized so it is very easy to set up and has a drag and drop capability for positioning. You define how many rows and columns you want, copy and paste as much html ad codes you want in each box (for rotation purposes), select whether to “shuffle” or not and you are good to go. This plugin is particularly good to save valuable ad spaces and allows you to randomly show more ads in one ad zone. Helps to eliminates ad blindness. Get Ad Squares Widget.

This is a more advanced plugin and requires a little setup for it to work. Trust me, we are talking more about work than setup complexity. There is no need to call for support on this one 🙂 What I like most about this plugin is that you can use it for any ad format you want. You can use it to run different contextual ads (AdSense and Bidvertiser for example as they won’t show simultaneously). You can set dates for a campaign (good for promotions that expire or when yo have sold ad directly to advertisers), etc. It is also widgetized and once you have created your ad groups, just see the magic work. Get AdRotate.

There you have it. I use three out of more that probably hundreds that are out there. There is no point of suggesting the top 50 ad management plugins if I have not even used them. What I am providing here are plugins that work, easy to use and require little resources to provide good functionality. Now this might not work for you as they work for me, but I am using these plugins on several blogs that uses different themes, different versions of WordPress (including 3.0), and they all work like a charm. Give it a go and see if you like what they have to offer.

How about you? Do you use any of these plugins? Have you tried them before and didn’t work for you? Any free ad management plugins that you recommend for us to try? Let us know.


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone's main objective is to help startups and small business owners achieve success in their online ventures. | More About Me and my Digital Marketing Services in SP Brazil.

26 thoughts on “Top Ad Management Plugins For WordPress

  • Great post and thanks for sharing. I was just thinking the other day about add rotations and what would be the best way to do this….

    So with the two mentioned plugins Ad Squares Widget and AdRotate do I need to use both or does one or both do the same thing?

    • HI James. Both plugins work differently. I use them both on my blog right now as Ad Squares is for 125X125 ads only, whereas ad rotate can be used for any kind of format. Basically, I use Ad Rotate for any ads that are not 125X125. For example, I have the MBA banner and AdSense running on the same ad zone but on a rotation basis. Thanks for dropping by.

  • I’m not familiar with any of these. I tried out OIO Publisher for a bit, but because of some site issues, I had to trim down the number of plugins I was using to do some troubleshooting, and that was one that I haven’t put back in the lineup again. Of course, with our MBA easy script, I almost don’t need to now. 🙂

    • I was seriously thinking of using OIO but I found that these plugins served perfectly what I was looking for. Plus, you are right, hopefully in no time I won’t be needing them no longer 😉

  • Hey Francisco this is really interesting stuff. I will have to play around with the different plug ins on some of my sites. I agree with your point about ad blindness and know that I tend to block most things that look like an ad on websites. The prevalence of AdSense everywhere has made this much worse. My suggestion is to consider scaling back on the number of ads as well. To me the worst offender are ads right at the beggining of a post as it makes the post almost unreadable.
    Would you care to share how much ad revenue you are generating by using these plug ins instead of not using them?

    • Hi there. Sharing my ad revenue. I can, but then I have to “kill” you, lol. Actually it is not by using these pligins that incrases my revenues, they do help because if allows me to use varied options to see which ones work best.

      Anyway, I agree that scaling back on ads is equally important and this is why I use these plugins, specially AdSense optimizer, because it allows you to show ads only on specific places and even not displaying any ads at all depending for example on the “size” of your article. If a post is very short, I tend to eliminate any ads to avoid being intrusive.

  • Thanks for sharing the list. I was looking for a way to manage 125×125 ad banners and Ad Square Widget perfectly fits the requirements. I want to know if there is a widget that can manage any standard IBN size banner. That will be grat

    • Don’t know if there is an IBN Ad manger out there. Never had to use it. If I find one, I’ll let you know.

  • Thanks for sharing the plugins you use DiTesco. I installed Max Banner Ads some time ago, although haven’t activated it yet. Will definitely check out the ones you mentioned.

    As for W3 Total Cache, that is definitely a great plugin. Unfortunately I had to uninstall it because it was conflicting with my htaccess file and I wasn’t able to direct my non-www version of my site to my www version when it was activated. Haven’t been able to find an alternative solution as of yet.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Michele. That sucks, lol. Not sure why you are having some conflicts with W3 by doing a 301 redirect through your htaccess file, but this things happens. Anyway, W3 has recently updated their plugin with many bug fixes that among other things may have already addressed this issue. Give it another go, make sure it is the latest update, and see if it still conflicts with you .htaccess. This is one of those plugins that a blog can not live without 🙂 As for the ad management plugins here, they all work fine and I have not encountered any conflicts with any versions of WP or a variety of themes that I use throughout my network.

  • Hi DiTesco, I haven’t started using ads on my new blog yet because I wanted to settle in first. Sorting through all the list of “top rated” plugins is taking me awhile to decide which ones are really beneficial for me. Once I saw you mention that I would not need to login to my AdSense account anymore I’m sold on AdSense Optimizer. This will be great for me because I have two Google accounts and it’s always a pain to sign in and out of them for AdSense and FeedBurner. This will help resolve the issue for me. Thanks for sharing these plugins.

    • Hi Ileane. I found the AdSense Optimizer a real tie saver and an excellent option when deciding for “ad placements”. I can play around with it and see which placements work best and all this within the settings area. No need to create or setup new formats. The one thing that does not work well is the “stats” part of the plugin. You will still have to track performance in your AdSense account. Create some channels and put it in the Optimizer’s option so can track each campaign individually. Let me know how it works for you and good luck. Hope this brings more Adsense revenue for you 🙂

  • I’m using WP 125 for sidebars, it seems ok, outside of some Thesis CSS conflicts.

    For other ads, I just wrote my own plugin. Much easier to control what’s going on.

    • Hi Dave. If only I had your skills, I would most definitely write my own plugins and maybe even make them available to everyone to obtain some “links” 😉 One thing I forgot to mention, is that I also use Thesis and have not encountered any problems with them.

  • I set up WP blog a couple of months ago and I haven’t tried installing any plug-ins yet. I guess it’s time to explore. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hey Ditesco,

    Great Post. All plugins are new to me.
    I’m currently not using any ad plugin for my blog.
    But now i’m thinking to use one. Thanks for sharing this great post.


  • Ad rotate is one of the best ad management plugin for me so far.. One thing which it helps me the most is to manage ads with one click and avoid ad blindness….

    • Hi Harsh. Always good to see you here. I ditto your opinion on Ad Rotate, it not only prevents ad blindness it also has some real cool features to manage ads.

  • Thanks ditesco. This is my first time visit and i really got your blog helpful. Thanks for your post on ads plugin. I will surely try those

  • I have a few plugins installed on mine, but I’ll be honest with you, I’ve done some searching for pugins but I have been a little leery about using any unless I have seen them recommended by someone. I’m anxious to try the add rotating plugins.

    Thanks for the info!

    • Hi there. Plugins are scattered all over the place and your concern about using them is wise as not all of them deliver and there are actually many that serves nothing but providing credits for their developers solely for the purpose of getting juice. Ad rotate is probably one of my favorites and I use it in all of my sites. The guy who did this ask nothing and you can even turn off the credit if you want to. I found that recommending the plugin in a post gives the developer the proper credit for his work as it really works like a charm.

  • Solid advice on the plugins. I like it. It might also help to mention that some of the newer WordPress themes (even free ones) are geared toward providing some of these ad management options for you. When it comes to Adsense, I think it is important to analyze whether the post has any real commercial value or not. If not, why bother showing Adsense. You will have really low CTR and the few clicks you do get will pay very little.

    • You are spot on about AdSense. AdSense is no longer as it used to be and high payouts only “appear” when there is some commercial value or it won’t be showing anything worth a click. At the very least, it will just tick off your readers. Appreciate your input on this, thanks.

  • Thanks for that list Di, Iv’e been building some self-hosted blogs from scratch and wanted to find some good ad managers, and since you use them who could ask for anything else?

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