If you like making money from your WordPress site, you probably display some type of ads. And if you display ads on your WordPress site, an ad management plugin can make your life a lot simpler (and give you extra functionality that you wouldn’t be able to do manually).

When it comes to ad management plugins, Ad Inserter is, by the numbers, the most popular option at WordPress.org with over 100,000 active installs and 542 5-star reviews.

There’s a reason for that popularity…

I’ve used this plugin on a number of personal sites at this point and always enjoy the simple one-page interface and flexible ad placement options.

In my Ad Inserter review, I’ll share a bit more about some of the features that can make your life easier. Then, I’ll show you how the interface actually works in both the free and Pro versions of the plugin.

Ad Inserter Review: A Look At What The Plugin Does

In the free version, Ad Inserter gives you a simple interface to manage ads on your site and, if desired, automatically inject those ads into your content.

You manage your ads through something called blocks. Blocks can include:

  • HTML, CSS, JS
  • Shortcodes
  • PHP
  • Data from custom fields

Which means that, while the plugin’s focus is on ads, you can actually use Ad Inserter to insert anything into your content. Beyond ads, I find Ad Inserter helpful to manage:

Once you have a code block, you can either:

  • Manually insert it into your content via a shortcode, widget or PHP function
  • Automatically inject it into your content using a variety of predefined placement options

Ad Inserter gives you a ton of options for where to automatically insert your ads, which is another reason I like it. Here’s a partial list of the locations:

  • Before/after post content
  • Before/after a specific paragraph in your post (or you can also choose a random paragraph)
  • Sidebar widget
  • Before/after comments
  • In between individual comments
  • Before/after specific HTML elements using CSS selectors (super flexible)
  • At theme/plugin hooks (this lets you take advantage of the hooks that themes like Genesis and GeneratePress offer)

And if you purchase Ad Inserter Pro (which I’ll show you in this review), you get:

  • More code blocks to work with
  • Ad impression and click tracking
  • A/B testing
  • Adblock detection statistics
  • Geotargeting for your ad blocks
  • Ad scheduling start/end dates

How The Free Ad Inserter Plugin Works

One thing that I really like about Ad Inserter is that everything is contained in a single screen. While it can get a little tricky to find some advanced options, on a day-to-day basis, I find Ad Inserter’s approach to be more user friendly than any of the alternatives that I’ve used.

You can access this screen by going to Settings → Ad Inserter.

At the top of the screen, you can switch between your different code/ad blocks:

In the free version, you can use up to 16 different code blocks (the Pro version expands that to 64).

Once you put the code snippet that you want to inject into the code editor, you can configure placement and targeting options underneath the editor.

First, you can choose whether or not to use Automatic Insertion. This is the feature that lets you automatically inject your ads at specific spots on your site:

ad insertion options

If you’re unsure where an ad spot applies to, Ad Inserter includes this cool frontend debug tool that lets you see the exact location of each automatic insertion option:

frontend debug tool

Below the automatic insertion, you can choose what content to insert your ads into:

targeting options

You can also manually enable/disable ads on specific posts via the drop-downs.

Other helpful targeting options include:

  • Creating targeting whitelists/blacklists by category, tag, taxonomy, post ID, URL, URL parameter, or referer in the Lists section
  • Targeting your ads to specific devices in the Devices tab
  • Choosing styling in the Alignment and Style drop-down

And the Misc area lets you:

  • Target specific users (e.g. logged in vs not)
  • Show ads on AMP pages
  • Show ads in your RSS feed
  • Configure lots of other smaller settings

other helpful interface options

Even in the free version, the functionality is surprisingly deep, which is one of the reasons this plugin is so popular.

Let’s take a peek at a couple other helpful features…

Easy Ad Rotation

If needed, Ad Inserter gives you access to ad rotation via the [ADINSERTER ROTATE] separator.

Basically, you place this separator between two different ads in the same code block like so:

rotate ads

You’re not limited to two variants, either. You can use the separator multiple times to test 3+ different ads against one another.

Then, Ad Inserter will rotate between the different ads on the frontend.

You can also do this via a more graphic interface by using the Rotation Editor interface:

rotation editor interface

Dedicated AdSense Integration

If you connect Ad Inserter to your Google AdSense account, you’ll be able to generate new AdSense ad codes directly from the Ad Inserter interface:

Live Preview And Code Editor

To preview how your ad will look on the frontend, you can hit the Preview button.

What’s nice is that, in addition to giving you a live preview, it also gives you a code editor so that you can easily adjust the margins and padding on your ad using a visual interface:

This gives you a lot more control over your ad’s positioning without forcing you to dig into custom CSS.

An Example Of How It Works

For a quick example, let’s say that you configure the plugin like below. While the functionality can get a lot deeper, something like this basic configuration is how I personally use the plugin most often:

example configuration

Then, Ad Inserter will inject this exact ad after the second paragraph on every single post at your site.

You can see this below:

frontend example

All in all, it’s super easy to quickly spin up ads like this and push them out across your site.

4 Helpful Features That You Get With Ad Inserter Pro

Ok, so everything that I showed you above is available in the free version of Ad Inserter at WordPress.org.

Now, I’m going to swap in the Pro version and show you some of the reasons to consider it.

First off, the Pro version increases the number of allowed blocks to 64. Beyond that increase, though, here are some other helpful features:

1. Ad Impression, Click, And CTR Stats

Ad Inserter Pro lets you enable impression and click tracking for individual code blocks. When enabled, you’ll be able to view impressions, clicks, and CTR rate for various time periods:

stats tracking

This helps you understand how your different code blocks are performing. And it also lets you A/B test ads to find the ones that perform the best.

2. Ad Scheduling

Ad Inserter Pro lets you give your individual code blocks specific start/end dates, which is helpful for time-sensitive ads:

You can even choose a fallback ad to display when the ad is disabled because of scheduling.

3. Adblocker Detection

Ad Inserter Pro gives you a few different ways to handle ads for users with ad blockers. You can:

  • Do nothing
  • Replace the code block with another one (for example, you could display a special message about ad blockers)
  • Hide the code block

You can also use shortcodes to perform even more advanced actions.

Some of these features are available in the free version, but the more detailed options are only available in Pro.

4. Target Ads By Country/IP Address

In the Pro version, you get access to new targeting options for IP Address and Country:

This is helpful if you need to promote offers that only apply to specific geographic areas. By combining whitelists and blacklists, you can create some ads for specific countries, while also creating one generic fallback ad to display everywhere else.

How Much Does Ad Inserter Cost?

The free version of Ad Inserter is available at WordPress.org and offers pretty deep functionality for a free plugin. For many sites, the free version might be enough.

If you want access to Ad Inserter Pro, pricing starts at just $20 for use on two sites, which is pretty dang affordable.

Final Thoughts On Ad Inserter

Like I said, I’ve used Ad Inserter on a number of personal sites, so I have no problem recommending this plugin if you need to manage ads on your sites. The 542 other 5-star reviews at WordPress.org say I’m not the only fan.

For most uses, the one-page interface is great. I will say that, for some of the more advanced functionality, it can be a little tricky to learn where everything is located in the interface.

To write this review, I dug into some more advanced features that I haven’t personally used on my own sites and I sometimes struggled a bit to find where everything was located in the interface. And the documentation, while plentiful, could do with some screenshots to help make that a bit easier.

With that being said, for how most people will use Ad Inserter on a daily basis, I think the interface is perfectly set up. Until I tried to find these more advanced features, I never even noticed this and always loved that everything was on one page.

All in all, Ad Inserter is the most popular ad management plugin for a reason. The placement options are flexible and it’s simple enough for non-developers to use.

Give it a look for a much better way to manage ads on your WordPress site.

About Colin Newcomer

Colin is a freelance blogger for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing, WordPress, and B2B topics.