Giving Adsense a Try

I’m giving Adsense another try on my Blog.

I gave Adsense a chance on my Blog a few years back, and ended up giving up on it after finding other monetization strategies more useful for my Blog audience.

However, the online landscape is always evolving and I’m giving Adsense another chance based on some recent research I’ve done on the subject.

Here is reason #1 why I’m giving AdSense another chance:
Secret Ninja Learnings From My PPC Affiliate Marketing Days

In 2009 I spent tens of thousands of dollars with Google AdWords, targeting the content network – in other words Adsense publishers. While I was learning the ins and outs of the AdWords platform as a way to buy and drive traffic for affiliate sites, I made a couple very important observations.

First of all, I realized that the AdWords landscape is very competitive and things are just getting more and more competitive. Affiliate margins are shrinking and CPC costs are going up. As CPC costs go up, margins for affiliates are shrinking while margins for AdSense publishers (and Google) are increasing.

Let’s use this example.

Imagine if I was paying $1.50/click on a PPC campaign running on the AdSense network.

Let’s say that this $1.50/click put me at the 2nd position in an AdSense box. If I tried to lower my CPC down to $1.45/click for example, I might fall to the 3rd position or the 4th position and may not even be seen at all. That’s how competitive things are on AdWords right now. You can’t just go out there and buy $0.10/clicks anymore.

Of course, there are exceptions to this, but for the majority of the campaigns I ran as an affiliate, there was a lot of competition.

Now, on that $1.50/click CPC I may have only been earning about $1.65/click. Meaning, I may only be making a margin of $0.15/click on that as an affiliate.

On a few occasions, I remember thinking… “Man, I’m working so hard to make a $0.15/click spread on this and taking all the risk of trying to convert this traffic and make it work. However, the AdSense publisher is getting free traffic from SEO optimization efforts and look at their margins!”

Meaning, in the example above, with my margin of $0.15 I would be making $15 in profit for every 100 clicks.

However, how much is Google and the AdSense publisher making on those same clicks?

Well, here’s what we know.

We know that the clicks are costing $1.50/click so that means that Google and the AdSense publisher are splitting $150 from 100 clicks.

Last month, Google announced that they pay AdSense publishers 68% of the revenue share, so out of $150 that the AdWords affiliate spent to get 100 clicks the AdSense publisher makes $102.

That’s a lot more than the $15 I was making on the spread as an affiliate.

Once again, I want to stress that these numbers are just examples and each niche market and each campaign is different. I understand that some affiliates are making 100% ROI or even higher on their AdWords costs, but that wasn’t me and most of the people I talk to in the industry have reported the same thing – shrinking of the profit margin for affiliates.

Of course this makes sense in the grand scheme of things because PPC affiliates are really just brokering traffic. They are buying traffic from one place and selling it to another, while trying to make a profit in the middle.

There is nothing wrong with that, but it makes sense that those kinds of margins will always erode as more competition shows up to play the affiliate game.

Anyway, while I was bidding on these keywords on the Content Network, I remember having the distinct feeling that I was on the wrong side of the fence. Google values and wants to reward content producers (like Bloggers), and not traffic brokers (ie. Affiliates).

Years ago, on that same $1.65 earning per click, the distribution might look like this:

Affiliate Earnings Per Click: $1.65/click
Affiliate Profit Per Click: $1.40/click
AdWords Cost Per Click : $0.25/click
AdSense Publisher Keeps: $0.17/click
Google Keeps: $0.08/click

Today that same campaign might look more like this:

Affiliate Earnings Per Click: $1.65/click
Affiliate Profit Per Click: $0.15/click
AdWords Cost Per Click : $1.50/click
AdSense Publisher Keeps: $1.02/click
Google Keeps: $0.48/click

These are not super accurate numbers from all across the board in all niche markets.

These are simply some observations I made from some of my previous campaigns. I could be totally off on the specific numbers but I do believe I am right about the trend – being that it is becoming way more lucrative being an Adsense Publisher / Content Producer than an AdWords affiliate.

Once again, I will re-iterate that to me this move to reward the content producers makes total sense.

The content publisher, (ie. Blogger) has to spend a lot of time producing good quality content so he should make a big chunk of that pie in my opinion.

It’s important to note here that the $1.65/click earnings I’m talking about here in the example is what the affiliate might get paid out from an affiliate network. Of course the affiliate network makes some money on top of that as well, and of course the original advertiser must be making more than $1.65/click if they are paying out that much as well.