If you are doing business online or monetizing your WordPress site via ad spaces, ad management plugins are a great way to make use of your sites virtual real estate more effectively. Whether you chose to display affiliate banners, sell advertising space, run Google AdSense, etc., you should know that, some WordPress themes do not offer that much flexibility for displaying ads, and depending on your level of technical knowledge in coding, you may just find that ad managers are an absolute necessity.

Anyway, unless you are an “ad hunter” like me, ads that are always on the same place and repetitive ones, can cause what is called as “ad blindness”. If there are too many of them, they may even cause a negative impact on your site, where users simply hit the back button and never to return (that’s bad for business).

If you have many repeat visitors, it is likely that they have developed some sort of “defense” where they simply ignore what they see. One way to counter this is by regularly changing placements or rotating your ads in order to prevent such blindness. When your repeat visitors see something different, there is always the possibility that they will get a glimpse at an ad, thus increasing the chances for them to take action, something that we are all hoping for.

So, if you have chosen ad placements as one of your business models, here are some ad managers that can help you use those “spaces” wisely and more effectively. Once again, please use caution when using WordPress plugins. While they can save us time, and help those who are not tech savvy, they do hamper your sites overall performance and may cause unnecessary complications.

Ad Managers For WordPress

CrankyAds: If you feel that you are good to go on selling ad spaces directly from your site, this plugin (actually more than that) by Yaro Starack, is one definite choice to consider. Once installed, it creates automatically an “advertise here” page on your site. You can also take advantage of being able to sell ads via “Cranky Ads” network, where at this point you will share your revenue with them. If someone purchases an ad directly from you, you get to keep 100% of your revenue, cool!

Some of its features include:

  • Rotate banners on your blog
  • Create unlimited zones and ad campaigns, meaning you can place multiple banners of any size anywhere in your blog layout
  • Set price and duration for campaigns (payments via PayPal)
  • Allow sponsors to purchase ad campaigns directly from your site, without wasting time through negotiations or manual uploading of banners
  • Easily review, approve and cancel campaigns through an online management system

[note]UPDATE: January 19, 2013 – The developer of AdRotate has very recently released an update of the plugin. Sadly, some of the real good features have been removed from the free version (e.g. scheduling). Nonetheless, the available features on the free version is still good enough to warrant for a positive recommendation.[/note]

AdRotate: This is an advanced plugin and requires a little setup for it to work. Trust me, I am talking about work rather than setup complexity. 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. It can be widgetized or installed (via php) on any location you want. You can use it to run different contextual ads, track clicks, define periods (good for direct sales), configure weight, the whole shebang. Manage and display your ads individually, in groups (rotation) or in blocks. Create reports for advertisers, and much more. Truly a wonderful ad manager, and best of all 100% free (mind boggling).

Ad Squares Widget: This ad manager plugin manages primarily your 125X125 banner ads, or any other format, provided there are exactly of the same size. It is widgetized so it is very easy to set up and has a drag and drop capability for positioning. You can use as many widgets as you want, and define how many rows and columns you want (in even slots), 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 eliminate ad blindness.

AdSense Optimizer: As the name suggest, this is an Ad Manager that is tailored for Google AdSense publishers. A time saver, this 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, define what and where you want the ads to show. There is also an option to attribute a % of your revenue to the developer, but only if you want. Configure the plugin to show ads only on individual post, pages, bottom, middle or top of the posts content, right, left, center, random or not, show only when an article has xxx amount of characters, etc. You can even turn it off 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.

A good alternative for AdSense Optimizer is Quick AdSense, another fantastic and very similar plugin. There are those who feel more comfortable with this ad manager because you actually have to create your ad unit in your AdSense account and then paste the code individually (no option for revenue share with developer). One advantage that Quick AdSense has over Optimizer is that you can use it for any type of ad, despite the name.

Komoona: A bit similar to that of Cranky Ads, Komoona allows you to manage your own ads to sell ad spaces. It enables anyone visiting your site to create or upload ads and pay for them in an instant (they don’t even need their own banners). The potential advertiser performs all the action required without leaving your site. The twist about this ad manager is that you can display “AdSense” ads while your ad space is still available. This way, you can take advantage of that empty space for the time being. If you choose this option, it will “discretely” show a tab saying “advertise here”. Find out more about Komoona ad manager.

Dynamic Widgets: While this is not really an ad manager plugin, I decided to let you know about it because it might be of great interest as well. What this plugin does it that it gives you full control on which pages your widgets will appear on your sidebar. It lets you dynamically show or hide widgets on any WordPress pages. For example, you may choose to show ads only on a specific page and now include it on your home page. It is highly flexible and works on any widget you want. Note that this plugin may use a bit more of your average resources.

There you have it. I only use these plugins to manage my ads, out of more that probably hundreds that are out there, free or paid. There is no point of suggesting the top 50 ad management plugins if I have not even used them. The ad managers I am suggesting here works, are easy to use and require little resources to provide good functionality. Now, as with anything else, this might not work for you as they work for me, but I am using these Ad Managers  on several sites that uses different themes, 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? Do you know of any other Ad Manager that I may missed out on this short list? Please let me know so I can include it here.

[note]UPDATE May 2012 – While this is not a plugin, I would also like to let you know about Google Google DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) Small Business service. It is a free hosted ad serving solution that helps you manage your advertising business. It is for more advanced users, but there are great tutorials that will teach you how to use the service properly.[/note]


DiTesco is a Business and Inbound Marketing Consultant, and founder of iBlogzone.com. 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.

30 thoughts on “Best Ad Management Plugins For WordPress 2012

  • I find it very useful DiTesco, your post is contains great information. I’m renewing the face of my site and this article is very useful to me. Try to check or visit my site sooner or later. Thanks for allowing me and your post are very useful to me because it gives me additional inputs about my Ads.

    • You are welcome Farrel. Hope your redesign improves your usability and site structure

  • I have used OIOpublisher in the past and found it to have a lot of options for selling ad spaces on your blog. I haven’t used it for some time since I switched to BuySellAds, which is what I use now.

    • Hi Paul. BSA is great and I use it too. Obviously by using them, you get more exposure and chances of getting advertisers are higher. Problem there is that you have to share your revenue with them, and if there is a way to be able to sell ads directly, it will be a bit better 🙂 I use them both.

      • I guess the more exposure with BSA is a trade-off to sharing your revenue. BSA is good for blogs that are starting out, and once you reach a good number of visitors, switching to selling ads directly is probably the better route.

        • I agree Paul, although BSA would generally not accept sites with very little page views. I am not sure right now if they have the same stance but they used to be very strict in accepting sites on their network. I use both methods 🙂

  • Thanks for the info. I recently just added advertising on a WordPress website. The theme had built in Ad widgets which I’m not totally satisfied with. I will use this list to find one that works right. Thanks again!

    • Built in widgets are great but you have very little control of it. Perhaps with the help of dynamic widgets (option to display only on selected pages), it can help. Still that won’t allow you to control, where, when and how you want your ads to display. The other plugins will give yo greater control for sure. Try them and see which works best, and then let me know how it works for you.

  • The only ad manager I’ve used since the first day of my blog is Quick Adsense plugin. I also gave AdRotate a try but it is really complicated and I don’t have much needs for displaying ads. Quick Adsense is a simple one and I can place ads whenever I want easily, that’s all I ask for. 🙂

    • Hi Tuan. I agree with you about the simplicity of Quick AdSense and perhaps that is the reason why I included it here. Ad Rotate is really a powerful ad manager and it can come very handy, specially if you have direct paying advertisers. You can tack their impressions, amount of clicks, CTR and send them reports with charts and all. So good to be free 🙂

  • Ad Squares Widget is very handy to use. Great plugin.

    • It is very good for 125X125 or ads of the same size that will fit in two columns.

  • cranky ads is new and when i tried it, it almost crashed my blog. I hope Yaro has fixed all those bugs.

    • Hi Eddie. I am not sure if you have tried it again, but I think Yaro just updated it some weeks ago. It is a very interesting plugin, I must admit 🙂

  • I’ve been thinking about trying crankyads for my niche sites. I didn’t know that if you sell an ad off your site all the revenue goes to the site owner…very nice 🙂

    • Yep, if you sell the ad directly from your site, there is no revenue to share. You get to keep it all, cool!

  • Great post you got there. I had fun reading it and it gave me Ideas. Thanks so much for the share

    • Welcome. Hope you find good use for it… Thanks for stopping by

  • Hi Ditesco, I like your second and third paragraphs 😉

    And as for running ads, the best option for me would be to handle the ads with a plugin and keep 100% of the earnings. I’m going to take a closer look at Komoona.

    • Thanks! Komoona is quite interesting, although I have noticed that it works better on certain type of niches. Good thing is that it now has AdSense integration so, the “test” you may want to undertake is not totally wasted :). Thanks for stopping by

      • Thanks for that insight. I’m really still undecided about what to use but will surely try out a couple of plugins including these you have listed here. I’ll be very much interested in what gives me statistics on impressions and clicks.

  • I havent use any AdManager Pluging. After appling For Google Ads. I would like to try these crankyads Plugins. Thanks Ditesco.

  • Hi,
    I am using Adrotator plugin in sidebar for ads. I want to know which plugin you are using to show random rotating 768×90 banners in Thesis Feature Box? Or is you are using any code for this? I would love to hear from you

    • I am using Ad Rotate Plugin (as recommended above) for the header and instead of a widget, Ad Rotate also provides you with a shortcode. Just put the php code in the feature box and you are good to go.

  • I’ll try to use Ad Rotate Plug in so that I can shuffle my ads on my sidebar. Pretty good list of plug ins. Will keep them in mind. Thanks!

  • Some of them are great ad management plugin but as you sad in last Google DFP can be used yes its great way to manage your ads but little complex.

  • can u help me, i’m using crankyads but there are several problem. Crankyads seem using only widget area. What about 728×90 ads that are not widget. This 728×90 ads normally place at header and the header are not widget. So there is a needed for javascript, so is there any way to solve this problem

    • Hi there, Juan.

      If you wish to put Ads in your header, you should have the option in your theme to do so…(depending on which theme you have…)

      Many themes offer a widget area for most locations on a website, though, not all areas…so you sometimes need to create(register ) a new widget area(then add a hook)…..

      The good news is, most(could be every) websites also include a ” Header ” and ” Footer” box in your Theme settings where you can insert code(s)…or standard text…eg: (copyright info..etc)

      If that does not work (I do not know all the details about crank ads)

      You could add(create/register) a widget area to the header section, then add the cranky ads code into the widget…so it performs as it would if placed in your sidebar (like your other widgets)….

      Option two. Add the Cranky ads code directly into your theme header section in your theme editor…

      The main issue is that you are working with a plugin (cranky ads) that is designed to create a high quality Advertisers page, and an Ad management facility….

      Adsense is just either copy and paste or go with an Adsense plugin…and most site areas are accessible for your ads(with a few exceptions depending on theme)…

      If you have access to the code for Cranky ads, or the actual ads code you can just copy and paste the code into the ” Header” section of your theme settings…(header box)….

      I have ads in my Header section, and it only took a few minutes to just add the code….(it’s a simple copy and paste…) though this is not from an ad management plugin….

      • hi Danny, thanks for your long clarification for me. Really helps… 🙂

        • No problem, Juan…

          I just went to see your site, and check out your theme to see how the Crank ads placement is coming along..

          Upon clicking onto your site, my browser froze up waiting for your site to load…so you may have some faulty code(or faulty widget) issues, or something a little more serious…

          Just my opinion, it would be a good Idea to clean that up, if it is still occurring..

          Your regular visitors may or may not have encountered this problem, depending on a number of factors….

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