How to Create a Matched content unit

Matched content unit is a free recommendation tool that offers you a simple way to promote your content to your site visitors. By offering your readers more content that’s relevant to them, you can increase your site’s page views, the time spent on your site, reader loyalty, ad impressions and ultimately ad revenue.

Matched content recommendations are based on topic similarity and are personalised for the reader. Our experiments show that on average Matched Content recommendations increase the number of pages viewed by 9% and the time spent on site by 10%. See this Inside AdSense blog post for more information: Matched content: designed to engage your users and increase visitor duration.

With Matched content units, you choose the pages on which you’d like the recommendations to appear, then AdSense promotes the articles on your site that are most relevant to the readers of those pages.

Some important things to know about Matched content units:

  • They bring relevant content to the attention of your users, which can help to increase page views and time spent on your website.
  • You can place Matched content units on any of the pages on your eligible sites.
  • Recommendations are within the website, for example, if you have two websites abc.co.uk and xyz.co.uk, then the recommendations that Google generates for each site will be internal to that site. Note that Google only generates recommendations from pages that have Google ads or Matched content units on them.
  • These units work on mobile, tablet and desktop.
  • For sites where the majority of articles don’t have an image, Matched content units will display in a text-only format.
  • The AdSense programme policies still apply to pages containing Matched content units.
  • They are not eligible for use in experiments.

Eligibility to use Matched content

Matched content is available to select publishers. To use Matched content, you must have a site that meets our minimum requirements for traffic volume and number of unique pages. We’ve put these requirements in place to ensure that Matched content provides a great experience for your visitors. Check the My ads page in your AdSense account to see if you’re able to create Matched content units.

Depending on your site, your eligibility will be one of the following:

Not currently eligible to use Matched content

Your site doesn’t yet meet our minimum requirements for traffic volume and number of unique pages.

Eligible to use Matched content

Your site meets our minimum requirements for traffic volume and number of unique pages.

In addition, Google will show ads in between your Matched content recommendations. The ‘Monetise with ads’ option is switched on by default, but you can switch it off (when you create or edit a Matched content unit) if you don’t want to show ads. Note that if your site can’t be well monetised, Google won’t show ads in your Matched content units, even if you have ‘Monetise with ads’ switched on.

Note that if your site can’t be well monetised, Google won’t show ads in your Matched content units, even if you have ‘Monetise with ads’ switched on.

Showing ads in Matched content units

Showing ads in your Matched content units can help further monetise your site. Here’s an example of a Matched content unit showing ads and recommendations. The ads have the ‘Ad’ label.

When monetising your Matched content units, be aware that:

  • Ads will show only when appropriate ads are available.
  • Ads will replace some of the recommendations in your Matched content unit.
  • Smaller Matched content units with only one recommendation slot will not show ads.
  • Ads will be styled to complement the look and feel of your content recommendations.
  • You can track the revenue generated by the ads in your Matched content unit by viewing the Ad units report on your Performance reports tab.

Note: you can’t create a Matched content unit by editing the ad type of an existing ad unit. To create a Matched content unit, follow the steps below.

To create a new Matched content unit:

  1. Sign in to your AdSense account.
  2. In the left navigation panel, click My ads.
  3. Click +New ad unit.
  4. Select Matched Content.
  5. Use the drop-down in the top corner of the preview area to see which of your sites are eligible for Matched content.
  6. Give your Matched content unit a name.
  7. In the “Style” section, change the style of your Matched content unit to match your site.
  8. In the “Size” section, choose an ad size that fits your layout.
    • We recommend using a responsive layout. A responsive layout is different based on the width of the container and the screen size (e.g. on mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.). You can see how your Matched content unit may change in different containers by using the drag handle in the preview area.
    • When using a custom size, we recommend choosing an ad size with a width: height ratio of around 2:1 for a horizontal layout, or 1:2 for a vertical layout. We don’t recommend that you use traditional banner ad sizes like the 728×90 for Matched content. Note that neither the height nor the width of your custom size can exceed 1200 pixels, and only one dimension can be greater than 600 pixels.
  9. In the ‘Ad options’ section, leave Monetise with ads switched on unless you’d prefer not to show ads in your Matched content unit.
    • Note that by using this feature, you agree to let Google try out different ad types and optimise the number, format and size of the ads in your Matched content unit.
  10. Click Save and get a code.
  11. Copy and paste the ad code into the HTML source code of any of the pages on your approved site. We recommend that you place your Matched content unit directly below your article (below the fold), and either above or below an ad unit.
    • While your Matched content settings are propagating across our systems, standard ads may serve in your Matched content unit. To avoid this, please wait 15 minutes before putting this code on your site.

Requirements and best practices

Placement of Matched content units

Matched content units work best for sites with longer content pages, such as in-depth articles, which have an associated image. For best results, we recommend placing your Matched content unit directly below the article (below the fold) or in the sidebar.

Note that you can boost the performance of your ads by placing them close to your Matched content unit.

How you can help us to find better articles to recommend:

  • Add a unique image to each of your content pages.
  • Use popular meta-tag protocols such as the Open Graph on your pages. You can find other useful meta-tags on Snippet tool page on the Google Developers site.
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