The Automattic’s WordAds Network which can only be used on free WordPress blogs (i.e. blogs on WordPress.com) is now open to self-hosted WordPress blogs. This means, as a WordPress blog owner, you can display the WordAds Network banner on your blogs through the new WordAds. WordAds is Automattic’s version of Google AdWords. If you know AdWords, then you already have an idea of how WordAds works. In case you don't. Advertisers use WordAds (like Google AdWords) for display advertising. So, in other to make use of the WordAds network, you will need to join the network, have a minimum traffic required (thousands) and install JetPack plugin and AdControl plugin to make the ads work on your blog.
Self-hosted WordPress blog owners who want to earn money with WordAds must first apply to join the network and are required to meet a minimum traffic requirement. Automattic doesn’t publish the exact minimum necessary for eligibility but the WordAds FAQ page says "a site generally needs thousands of page views each month." The site will also need to have both Jetpack and the AdControl plugin installed.
In 2013, Automattic paid out around $1 million to WordAds publishers whose sites delivered 1 billion ad impressions per month. Published numbers are not yet available for 2015. With the release of AdControl for self-hosted sites, the number of publishers available on the network has the potential to increase significantly. WordAds is deeply tied into WordPress.com’s infrastructure and as such requires authentication for tracking and rewarding participating sites. Jetpack provides the connecting link and is now key to opening up the world of independently hosted WordPress blogs to Automattic’s advertising network.
How to Join WordAds Network
First, you need to completely install JetPack plugin and AdControl plugin unto your self-hosted WordPress blog. After which you need to apply by requesting an invitation. Go to "Apply for WordAds" and start the application process. You will see the list of your blogs that can be used to apply for WordAds. If not, you would need to log into your WordPress.com account (the one you created while installling JetPack).
Select your "country of residence", type in your PayPal account e-mail address and submit for approval. Your blog(s) will be reviewed to make sure it complies to publisher standards. After which the ads will start displaying on your blog and you will get a response from as soon as your blog is approved. Please note, at the time of writing this post, PayPal is the only means for receiving payments from the WordAds network.
WordAds currently has two placement options:
1. Simple Ad which appears both at the bottom of the first post on the homepage and at the bottom of the article/post pages. The ad size is called a Middle Rectangle, which can be a 300x250 ads banner or video ads.
2. Optimized Ad layout which has one or both of the following ad units: a Leaderboard horizontal unit (728x90) in the header and a Skyscraper vertical unit in one of the sidebars (300x600).
Theses ads tend to be broad national campaigns, and not targeted local or topical campaigns. WordAds have found that the broad campaigns pay better. That said, visitors from countries outside the US and Europe will often see targeted local ads.
Earnings and Payments
After your first month with WordAds, you'll be able to see your earnings via the Earnings tab at Settings -> WordAds in your blog’s Dashboard. The earnings are paid for impressions, not for clicks. That means the more visits you get, and the more each visitor uses your site (pageviews), the more you will earn. What you earn can vary depending on the amount of traffic, where the majority of the traffic is coming from (North American ad placements currently pay-out at a greater level than international ads.) and the actual ads that are displayed. Your earnings from WordAds network are paid once per month via Paypal. Payments are sent around the last day of the following month. If you did not earn at least $100 in the month, your earnings will carry over to the next month instead.