Reality of Google PageSpeed Insights Scores with Ads – What can you do?

Is it possible to have 90+ Google PageSpeed Insights scores if you use ads? Can you do anything to improve your scores with ads? Luckily yes but there are some caveats.

Monetizing your site with Google AdSense and other ad networks does have a performance cost.

When we optimize ad loading we use an approach similar to Mediavine where we only show ads as the user gets close to actually seeing them.

This can reduce ad revenue so most clients shy away because their bottom line could be affected, however if your Google rankings fall due to PageSpeed scores and the core web vitals – your site's livelihood is on the line – a very tough decision!

We currently do not know if things balance out. For example, imagine you improve your Google PageSpeed score significantly from 16 to 93 (see case study).

Will that give you enough extra traffic to outweigh the relative reduction in ad revenue from optimizing your ad delivery for performance?

Read this case study on a lifestyle news site which jumped 90 points on Google PageSpeed even with ads!

We are going to show you how much ads can affect your Google PageSpeed scores by running a few benchmark tests on the homepage and a single post with ads compared to optimized ads.

You will also see that your site can score in the orange ‘moderate' PageSpeed range even with ads enabled – as long as your site is optimized for Google PageSpeed.

Google PageSpeed Scores – Homepage

In this section we have the scores for the homepage with and without ads.

Homepage Scores with Ads

The homepage is pretty well-optimized running at a 76 with ads. There are only 2 sidebar ads on the homepage though so if there were more ads the scores could be worse.

You can see the main metrics affected are Speed Index, Total Blocking Time and Time to Interactive.

The Speed Index and Total Blocking Time are considered moderate (orange) whereas the Time to Interactive is in the poor (red) zone at 11.4 seconds.

Homepage Scores with Optimized Ads

Here is the homepage score with ads still loading, just in an optimized way for performance so the score is now 100!

Ad revenue is still generated but may be affected depending on how far your users scroll through your latest posts.

The Speed Index, Total Blocking Time and Time to Interactive are all green 😀


Here is a summary table comparing the homepage PageSpeed scores with regular ads and optimized ads.

Performance MetricRegular AdsOptimized Ads
Speed Index4000 ms1400 ms
Total Blocking Time500 ms50 ms
Time to Interactive11400 ms2800 ms

Google PageSpeed Scores – Post

On the single post page we have 3 ads throughout the post content. We also have 2 ads in the sidebar which also appear on the homepage.

Post Scores with Ads

The additional 3 ads make the score 54 which is 22 points lower than the homepage!

You can see the main metrics affected are Speed Index, Time to Interactive and Total Blocking Time which are all way too high in the poor red range.

The extra ads have now pushed the moderate scores from Speed Index and Total Blocking Time on the homepage to the poor red zone.

Post Scores with Optimized Ads

Here we are optimizing the ad delivery so ads are only loaded as the user gets closer to the ad which is very performance-friendly.

Now the score is 99 because the site is otherwise optimized by us 🙂

Notice that the Speed Index, Time to Interactive and Total Blocking Time are all in the good green range now!

Here is a summary table comparing the PageSpeed scores on a post with regular ads and optimized ads.

Performance MetricRegular AdsOptimized Ads
Speed Index7000 ms2300 ms
Total Blocking Time1130 ms80 ms
Time to Interactive16100 ms3100 ms

If you primarily care about ad revenue as many site owners do, then optimizing the ads may not be a good fit for you since it could affect revenue.

If you are willing to take a chance and see if your SEO rankings improve after optimizing the ads, you may be pleasantly surprised from the SEO rankings increase!

If you are curious about our Google PageSpeed optimization process see this post.

If you would like help speeding up your WordPress site or WooCommerce store please reach out here.

Work with Us!

One more side note, it is very common got get wildly different Google PageSpeed score results when ads are involved. To help maintain sanity, make sure to run your tests several times throughout the day and note the results down so you can take an average.