How Does Google AdSense Link Unit Ad Works And It’s Formats

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Google AdSense allows you to make differing types of ad units to display on your website. Link ads display a set of text links relevant to the content in a single ad unit. Google offers both horizontal and vertical link units to optimize the space usage of a webpage, especially if you want to display more content in a single page along with ads. Image and text ads occupy considerable space whereas you’ll place the link ad unit in a very small space. A vertical link unit (120 x 90 or 200 x 90) consists of two or three links together and a horizontal unit (728 x 15) consists of 3 to 4 units together in a single ad unit.

How to Create Link Unit Ad in AdSense?

Google changing the AdSense interface frequently. With the latest updated interface, you can login to your account and navigate to “Ads > Ad units”. You will see all possible ad units like below and click on the “Link ad”.

Link Unit Ad

On the next screen, you can do the following customizations for your link ad unit.

  • Provide a unique name for your ad unit.
  • Select Square or Horizontal style and check the preview.
  • Choose the “Ad size” as responsive or fixed.
  • Select text color and background styles.
Link Ad Preview

After setting all required options, click on “Create” button to create a new link ad unit in your AdSense account.

How Does Link Unit Ad Work?

Link ad unit is different from other AdSense ads since link unit itself isn’t considered as an ad. And, clicking on it will take you to the real advertiser’s page showing the ads. the image below explains how does a link ad work.

Link Ad units

Due to the fact it’s not an ad by itself, Google permits AdSense publishers to click on their own link ad units. However, publishers aren’t permitted to click the ads in the resulting page.

Formats of Link Ad Units

You have two options in the “Ad size” dropdown – Responsive and Fixed.

Fixed Link Ads

Select the “Fixed” ad size to open additional options. Google offers the following fixed link ad formats:

  • 728  x 15 – Displays four links in horizontal
  • 468 x 15 – Displays four links in horizontal
  • 200 x 90 – Displays four links in vertical
  • 180 x 90 – Displays four links in vertical
  • 160 x 90 – Displays four links in vertical
  • 120 x 90 –  Displays four links in vertical

Choose the size and create fixed horizontal or vertical link unit ad. Horizontal format link units will have few keywords in a line and contains three or more lines. and the vertical link unit ads are similar to horizontal format with the keywords are showing in vertical column format.

Responsive Link Unit Ads

Generally the problem in using horizontal link unit is that it’ll not fit on mobile devices. in order to overcome this issue, Google introduced responsive link units so that the ad display will be automatically adjusted according to the viewing device. when you create a link unit, select “Responsive” ad size and generate the ad code for creating responsive link unit ad.

Note that link ad unit is also part of matched content and display ads. you’ll see the link unit ad showing as keyword blocks in matched content and display ads.

Quick Facts about AdSense Link Unit Ads

  • Link units themselves are not ads, the resulting page from the link unit only will display Google AdSense ads and you will be paid if the user clicks on these ads.
  • AdSense publishers are allowed to click on link unit ads on their own webpages.
  • Publishers are not allowed to click on any Google ads on the resulting page showing ads.
  • Clicking on own link unit ads has the potential to inaccurately inflate impressions and affect your reporting metrics.
  • Earlier, Google was showing your backup ads if there are no relevant link units available. However, this option has been removed and you will see a blank white space or no ads or an empty search box labeled “View ads about.”
  • Users can enter their own search terms into this box to view ads related to their query. You will be paid for valid clicks on the ads displayed on the search results similar to Google Search box.
  • Currently there is no way to filter out the topics that appear in link units. However, you can filter out specific ads that might appear after your users click on a topic.
  • You can create and view the report for link units similar to any other ad units.

Google Retired Link Unit Ads

It was a confusion among AdSense publishers that link units aren’t a part of AdSense accounts created during past few years (see comments below). However, it continues to exist with old AdSense accounts. Finally, Google communicated to all publishers that they retire link unit ads from 10 Mar 2021. Below is the excerpt from the email communication we’ve received:

  • You will no longer be able to create link ad units.
  • Your link ad units will be renamed with [previously link ad unit] added to the end of the ad unit name. This will apply to both responsive and fixed-size link ad units.
  • Responsive link ads will begin to serve display ad units on your site(s).
  • Fixed-size link ads will stop serving on your site(s).We will collapse each ad unit where possible. In other cases we will show a blank ad.

If you already serve responsive link unit, they will start showing display ads after the retirement. In case if you are using fixed link unit ads, you have to remove it from your site or replace with another display ad unit code.

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