Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Showing ads is one of the easiest methods for bloggers to make money from a website. And when it comes to functionality, AdRotate and Advanced Ads are among my favorite free plugins. But, with one is better to use?
Unfortunately, it’s incredibly hard to tell. In the end, it really depends on what you’re trying to promote.
Today, I’m going to dive a bit into each of these platforms and why it’s difficult for me to pick a cut-and-dried winner. Both are excellent free plugins with strong points.
AdRotate vs Advanced Ads
If I would create the best free ad plugin for WordPress, it would probably be a combination of both. But, I can see why certain options are left out. After all, the developers want to make money for their efforts.
So, depending on what you want to set up on your blog, either of these platforms are strong in their own right.
|Visual Editor Button||Reporting||Click/Impression Control||Scheduling||Adsense||Widget|
Now, there’s a lot more to AdRotate and Advanced Ads than just what’s on this table. But, these are things I am more attracted to in terms of functionality.
You might have different needs and wants.
Visual Editor Button
Personally, I like ease-of-use and quick functionality in my tools. When I’m editing and getting ready to publish, having a button to quickly add a single advertisement or group is ideal.
Advanced Ads has an editor button available. Which means I can just click, choose the ad, and publish.
Unfortunately, AdRotate doesn’t have a button to use in the WordPress Visual Editor. In fact, it doesn’t have a Gutenberg Block to use, either. This means I have to go to the plugin settings, copy the shortcode, and then go back to add it to the post or page.
To streamline this, I created a Notepad document of shortcodes to use. And while this works, I shouldn’t have to use an external method to include advertisements.
In the free versions of either plugin, AdRotate is the one with reporting functionality. I can see what ads are showing, which ones have clicks, and what the click-through rate is for each.
In fact, this reporting is helping me identify which YouTube banners I’ve created to keep around. Some just simply perform better than others.
Advanced Ads only has reporting available in the premium version. So, I can’t track advertisement data per client or brand unless I upgrade.
One of the reasons why I am adding an advertisement management system is to sell ad space directly to clients and private businesses. So, being able to control impressions and clicks is a priority.
AdRotate offers this ability right off the bat for free. This means I can start selling ad space right away based on how many impressions or clicks I’ll offer.
So, if I wanted to charge $0.001 per click, I can easily manage that aspect.
Advanced Ads only offers this in the premium version. And since this is such a priority for me, I’m not sure I want to spend nearly $90 to find out it’s not what I had in mind.
However, Advanced Ads Pro does have the integrated ability to sell ads from WordPress. So, it might still be worth the money.
Another aspect of selling ad space or running specific ads is being able to adjust schedules. For instance, what if I wanted to use AdRotate or Advanced Ads for Black Friday sales this year?
I wouldn’t want those specials to continue past the end of November.
AdRotate lets you schedule ads all the way down to the minute in the free version. This way, I can charge a client a certain amount of money to show his or her ad for exact lengths of time.
Advanced Ads let’s you set up the expiration date of the ad as well, but I missed it the first time around (thank you, Joachim). When creating an ad, you can change how long it shows on the far right near the “Publish” button.
This also lets you specify the exact minute the ad no longer runs according to your time set in WordPress.
I, as well as many other bloggers, use Google Adsense in WordPress to make a few extra dollars each month. Integration is important, and I want to make sure the ads are shown properly.
Although you can still add the Adsense code to AdRotate, it just doesn’t have a lot of settings specifically for Google’s network.
However, the free version of Advanced Ads has a variety of settings to use. For example, I can:
- Track how much money my site has made directly from Adsense reporting.
- Enable the verification code and Auto Ads.
- Enable transparent backgrounds to help with Adsense visual appearance on the site.
- Create the ads.txt file Adsense uses.
This is one of those priorities that might not matter to you. After all, you might not even care about using Adsense on your blog. But in case you do, Advanced Ads has a few integration settings you might like.
Not only is a visual button important to me, but so is a sidebar widget. Remember, I like being able to quickly create what I need and move on.
Both AdRotate and Advanced Ads offers sidebar widgets for WordPress.
However, you’ll still need to know the ad or group ID if you use AdRotate. Which still makes it a bit more of an inconvenience. If I don’t know it offhand or have too many to remember, I need to go back to the plugin settings or open my Notepad notes.
Advanced Ads gives you a drop-down selection of your ads and groups so you can quickly choose which to add in the sidebar.
What AdRotate and Advanced Ads Have in Common
As I said above, it’s really difficult to choose between these two free plugins. And it’s really going to center around what you want out of an ad management platform.
However, they both have a few things in common you may want to consider.
Great Ad Management
AdRotate and Advanced Ads have excellent ad management capabilities. It’s incredibly easy to upload images, add text, input code, and more.
The interface for both systems is relatively straight forward and easy to understand.
Managing Groups of Ads
Both free ad management plugins provide the ability to organize ads into groups. This is especially useful if you want specific ads to show on certain content.
For instance, I can arrange all of my WordPress-related ads to show only on WordPress-related articles by combining them into a group and using it to show advertisements.
A Slew of Customization Options
While a lot of the customization in AdRotate and Advanced Ads differs a bit, you have access to a huge variety of options. It’s fairly easy to streamline either one for what you’re trying to create on the site.
For instance, AdRotate lets you optimize for using W3 Total Cache while Advanced Ads gives you options for fixing broken sites due to ad blocking.
In either plugin, you have a lot of settings you can use to create a great setup.
Drawbacks to the Free Versions of AdRotate and Advanced Ads
Not every tool is going to perfectly fit your needs. You’ll have to decide if the drawbacks are worth using it or not. While these two free ad plugins work great, there are a few things that might turn you off.
What is the most prominent reason why I wouldn’t choose one or the other?
Perhaps the biggest drawback for me when using AdRotate is the lack of having a Visual Editor button or drop-down selection tool in the widget. Having to go back and forth between the plugin’s settings or my Notepad notes is very inconvenient.
In reality, this is perhaps the only reason why I would consider using another plugin.
As I’m trying to sell ad space to clients, not being able to set up specific numbers of clicks or a publishing schedule for the ads is a drawback. Of course, I can always pay for the premium version.
But, I want to know something is going to work before tossing money at a plugin.
I like being able to track what ads are performing. Without even the most basic of tracking data, I don’t know if one banner design is doing better than the other. Advanced Ads does not supply this.
So, Which is Better, AdRotate or Advanced Ads?
I’ve considered this long and hard, and I still don’t have a good answer for you. I love the impression control of AdRotate, but Advanced Ads is far more convenient to use.
But in the end, I suppose it’s really up to what you want to show on your website.
If you have no interest in selling private ad space or tracking which advertisements are getting the most clicks, then Advanced Ads is an incredible option. It’s easy to use, quick, and does its job very well.
But if you want to design your own banners, monitor performance, and make more money with private publishing, AdRotate is probably the better free plugin.
Perhaps the best way to tell for yourself is to try each one. Since they’re both free through the WordPress repository, you really have nothing to lose. And, they both work well when using them at the same time.
The hard part is going through and removing the old shortcodes of one when I decide to buy or stick with another.
Do You Prefer AdRotate or Advanced Ads?
Out of all the comparisons of tools I’ve done in the past, this is perhaps one of the more difficult. Both free versions of AdRotate and Advanced Ads have some awesome capabilities.
But at this moment, I am kind of leaning towards AdRotate, even though it’s more inconvenient. It simply has more capacity for what I’m trying to do with the advertisements on my site.
Not to mention the premium version is close to half the price of Advanced Ads.
But as I said, Advanced Ads is quite the attractive free advertisement management system, especially for new bloggers.
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