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Issue With AdSense is Causing Huge Blank Space Instead of Ads

There is a problem with Google AdSense that cause huge blank areas in pages instead of ads.


Edited: 2020-02-10 19:39

AdSense suffers from an issue that causes space for AdSense advertisements to be allocated in pages, even when there appears to be no ad to fill the space. This results in huge blank areas, which often breaks the layout, and is extremely bad for the user experience.

A related issue that also happens due to space being incorrectly reserved, is that elements immediately below an empty AdSense unit in a div will become unclickable. Or, if the ad unit is located in the body text of an article, part of the text will become unselectable. This is why it is extremely important that Google pull themselves together and fix this issue on their side.

I have tried searching for a solution online, and it looks like this is a problem that many AdSense publishers are having.. Here is a few discussions about the issue:

  1. blank space showing instead of ads in blog posts
  2. Hide Google Adsense banner when there's no advertisments on Website

The problem can be easily solved if Google simply stops allocating the space if ads can not be shown. They could also change the behavior of their ad units so that height is set to auto instead of a fixed height. It does not seem like it is possible for us to do this on our part. Overwriting Google's styles with height:auto !important; appears to just "cut off" part of the ad. This suggest to me that the problem needs to be fixed in Google's code.

Another way to fix the problem, is to allow the provision of a URL where AdSense code can fetch placeholder ads.

I can not imagine why ads will not show up, and it is a unacceptable situation to me. Even after a friendly help from Twitter, I still seem to have issues with blank ads. I even switched out my responsive unit at the top with a non-ad matched-content unit, and even that sometimes shows up blank!

Clearly, this can not be because Google has no ad to show, since even matched content units appears to be broken on occasion.

Please, someone at Google.. Fix your broken ad code!

I have been dealing with various smaller issues with AdSense for more than a year now (probably longer), and I have still not found a solution to any of them. The responsive units are also mislabeled, an issue I have complained about before, and something that is still not fixed in 2020.

What causes the issue?

This is pure speculation on my part, since there is no debugging information in console.

For example, if an ad is not showing up (blank space), then it is important that we are served with information as to why the ad is not showing up. Currently we have no such information! It would probably be trivial to provide this in the browser console for developers to take a look at!

Currently, I am considering the following possibilities:

  1. Perhaps the blank-ads issue is just a bug that "occasionally" happens, and therefor Google has not noticed it yet?
  2. Empty areas could also be caused by lack of page-content, though I find this very unlikely. Ad units should not just be placed based on page content, but also based on targeting. If no data is available, Google could just place less-targeted ads instead.
  3. Not enough visitors/traffic to the effected page. I also find this reason to be unlikely though, as traffic should not really influence ad placement.
  4. A bug in our own website coding. Very unlikely in my own case.
  5. A consent mechanism that is not working properly. If I remember correctly, the Safari browser has some sort of issue that causes it to reject my consent cookie so users are constantly prompted.

I will continue to investigate this problem, and maybe get back and update this article if I find out why it is happening.