View Full Version : Review: Google Adsense

06-24-2003, 12:47 PM
A few months ago Google started distributing their AdWords advertisements that are normally found at the right side of their search results (for more on AdWords see http://adwords.google.com (http://www.websitepublisher.net/scripts/out.php?LinkID=73) or our AdWords Review (http://www.websitepublisher.net/article/3-ppc-programs/2)). This distribution was based on CPM rates and was limited to sites serving more than 20 million impressions a month or to ad networks like Burst!Media, TribalFusion, and Fastclick. Last week Google launched a new service called AdSense (http://www.websitepublisher.net/scripts/out.php?LinkID=74) that expanded on this distribution program and made it more accessible to smaller publishers.

This new program differs from what is now "AdSense Premium" in that it is CPC based and for the time being there is less flexibility offered as far as creative sizes go with only banners and skyscrapers being offered currently. Publishers can apply for an account, or if you have an AdWords account already you can simply apply using that account, and you will be notified, usually within a day, if you have been accepted or not. They don't have any really strict criteria for site acceptance, unlike other ad networks they do not have minimum traffic requirements. The only real requirements are standard acceptable content requirements you'll find just about everywhere. They also of course want quality content sites. They will only allow you to serve one ad per page, so you can't use Google for both banners and skyscrapers.

Once you have been accepted you will be able to run AdSense advertisements on any site you own using the same ad code, so long as you obey the guidelines. Reporting is not done in real time, but is updated regularly throughout the day. You also cannot currently view reports based on domain or site if you're running ads on more than one site. Google included a very length and detailed FAQ on their AdSense site, if you're thinking about signing up I suggest you read it.

How Does the Targeting Work?

Google uses their search engine ranking technology to decide what ads to show on your site, and on specific pages on your site. For instance on a webmaster site an article about Flash might show ads for Macromedia products and an article about web hosting might show ads from different web hosting companies. This type of targeting is very effective and results in good click-through rates in most circumstances.

This targeting isn't perfect though. One issue is that Google seems to be doing very little in the way of ad rotation. If a certain ad is highly targeted to your content it might be shown every time. This means that if you have a lot of return visitors or a high number of page views per visitor you may experience declining click-through rates.

Another issue is that Google targets ads based on your site's content, not based on your visitor's desires. The difference between the two might not be readily apparently, but it can be very significant. For instance one of the site's I run is a literature site with information classic books and their authors. Google will analyze my content and serve appropriate advertisements. For instance on my Shakespeare page you may see ads for Shakespeare audio books or limited edition prints. The problem with this is that while those ads fit my content they do not fit my visitors. Most of my visitors are students doing research and they simply aren't interested in buying those types of things. In contrast advertisements for essay sites or other homework helping services do very well on that site. However, unless an essay site owner specifically selects a keyword like "Shakespeare" in their AdWords account then visitors to my site will not see any essay advertisements.

In pondering this situation I was reminded of a company called TeknoSurf Adwave, you might remember them - they eventually turned into Advertising.com. Their original claim to fame was that they were a CPC only ad network yet what they would do is they would analyze what banners performed well on your site and then optimize what ads they were serving in such a way that even though you were serving CPC ads your CTR would be high enough that you would make an effective CPM comparable or better than CPM rates offered by other ad networks.

If Google could implement such a system as TeknoSurf had they could greatly increase the effectiveness of their AdSense program. One glaring problem though is that currently AdWords advertisers specifically select which keywords they want to be served under. For Google to do this they would have to provide an option to AdWords advertisers which would allow them to opt into a program where Google would try to place your ad on the most effective keywords.

So going back to my literature site example, if one advertiser tries serving essay advertisements on the "Shakespeare" keyword and the ads did very well on my site Google would remember this and compare the text of the ad to the text of other AdWords ads and would run similar ads on my site and see how they did. In this way Google would be constantly learning what performs well on your site and what does not. After you have been with them for a while they would be serving ads that should be tailored to your visitors, and not your content. Thus CTR rates would improve, both Google and the publisher would make more money, and the advertiser would get more targeted traffic.

Google is as of yet doing none of this, but the program is still very new. I can only hope someone from Google reads this and takes my suggestions to heart.

How Much Can You Make?

How much you can make with Google Adsense depends entirely upon the niche of your website. For instance a site about men's sexual health can make a killing on Adsense because of the high level of competition for related keywords. AdWords CPC rates on competitive keywords can exceed $1 or more, which translates directly to how much you can earn with the program. In contrast if you're in a less competitive niche you'll make less money. Still, I haven't seen anyone report earnings less than an effective $1 CPM, and the average seems to be more along the lines of $4-$5 CPM. Some people are making an effective CPM of $15 or more with this program. All of these earnings figures are after Google has already taken commission.

Commission is definitely one thing is that is up in the air. Google does not publish how large their cut is, and only display the publisher's cut in their reporting functions. So far commission estimates by people comparing AdWords rates and AdSense earnings have been between 40-60%. Why Google does not publish their commission rates is unknown. It could be for legal reasons based on contracts they have with their premium distribution partners, it could also be that they want the ability to change rates without having to explicitly announce it.

So far most people are noticing a steady decline in earnings each day. This could be a result of the issues I mentioned above where Google does not seem to be rotating ads and so return visitors are much less likely to click since the ads are not new. However Google will likely implement changes to increase effectiveness in the future so this phenomenon is likely to be temporary.

Looking to the Future

Currently the online ad market is in a fairly dismal state, though it has recovered somewhat from lows experienced after the collapse in 1999, it is still very much a buyer's market. It is not because online advertising doesn't work, it is because people either do not understand how it works, or they simply do not know how to make it work.

One other reason is that advertising has traditionally been for big publishers and big companies. Ad networks changed this and allowed small publishers to get ads from big companies. However due to large minimum buys at ad networks most small companies have been limited to PPC search engine advertising. Google AdSense takes the PPC search engine model and allows small publishers to benefit from it. So for the first time small companies can easily advertise with small publishers.

The implications of this are far reaching. Currently many advertisers will design low-CTR banners and pay CPC rates on them, or design high-CTR banners and pay low CPM rates on them. The end result is that the advertiser gets either cheap branding or cheap visitors, and the publisher earns much less than they should. With AdSense many publishers will likely end up ditching low paying ad networks, since AdSense ads are both more lucrative and less annoying to visitors. This means that ad networks may end up with less available inventory and they will either fail, or end up having to charge more in order to compete with AdSense. Eventually it is likely that advertisers will be forced to pay a premium to run graphical advertisements that are more intrusive than the simple text ads that Google offers.

Also Google generally has the public's goodwill, and since these ads are provided by Google (and are clearly marked as such), the public will likely be more accepting of the advertisements. The current anti-ad attitude that pervades many aspects of society may be lessened by running these types of ads.

Review originally posted: http://www.websitepublisher.net/article/adsense-review/

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09-20-2003, 04:11 AM

I made just under $200 in the first month. However, they terminated my account before sending the money.

Google accused me of generating invalid clicks by using deceptive devices such as robots and automated clicks. AS IF! For one I dont even know HOW to use them! 2ndly...automated clicks?? We got way more visitors than clicks!

They refuse to admit that somethings wrong...no matter how much proof I provided!

A similar thing happened to my friend who also had no idea why they were terminated. We have both read all the terms, policies and whatever else - the terminations were unjustified!

This program sucks!

09-24-2003, 01:31 PM
I've not had any problems.

Is it possible someone did this without your knowledge?

09-24-2003, 01:33 PM
There's been a few people having problems like this I think, they usually get it sorted if they email google with some evidence.

11-11-2003, 09:27 AM
I wonder what his click thoguh percantage was? "We got way more visitors than clicks!"

Mine is about 4% which I think is pretty good...

11-20-2003, 09:02 PM
Google has payed me on time, every time. People DO NOT click on any ads on your own pages, you will make far more money in the long run by staying in the program. A lot of sites have been kicked out because of this. This message is not directed at trakka, because I don't know what happened with his site.

04-28-2005, 06:24 AM

I made just under $200 in the first month. However, they terminated my account before sending the money.

Google accused me of generating invalid clicks by using deceptive devices such as robots and automated clicks. AS IF! For one I dont even know HOW to use them! 2ndly...automated clicks?? We got way more visitors than clicks!

They refuse to admit that somethings wrong...no matter how much proof I provided!

A similar thing happened to my friend who also had no idea why they were terminated. We have both read all the terms, policies and whatever else - the terminations were unjustified!

This program sucks!
Welcome to the club! They terminated me for the same reason. I don't know how to program invalid clicking and wouldn't engage in it even if I did. I've e-mailed them twice asking for proof of the invalid clicking and they have completely ignored my e-mails. Google's monitoring of their own program is arbitrary, capricious and, worst of all, highly inaccurate.

04-28-2005, 12:37 PM
well, not to get into how to do business, you do have to approach them in a different way then "Where is money, Where is your proof?". I have found google to be a very responsive company to their adsense partners.

Todd W
05-18-2005, 04:51 PM
Google has been well for me over the past 1.5yrs, and I`ve attempted other text ads and none seem to work or payout as well as google. (even with their decrease) ;)

05-29-2005, 03:01 PM
Hi there,

Google has kicked me off too (with no real/proven reason), just when I finally get to make around $150 and the time has come for me to get my first check after 3 MONTHS.

Does anyone know if there's any way to work this out, or any other program similar to adsense?


05-29-2005, 03:55 PM
I think Fastclick also introduced another thing like this.

11-05-2005, 07:21 PM
Thank you, Chris, for a detailed account on AdSence!

I am an AdSence publisher since December 2004 and my case is an extreme example of how inefficient AdSence can be, for a particular niche. You wrote that you haven't seen anyone reporting below $1 CPM, well, I have $0.43 CPM for the whole time, and the average CTR is only 0.5%. Lately I've changed the way the ads are served and made it much more aggressive. Now I have $0.70 CPM and 0.8% CTR. That's all. And the site serves currently about 2000 ad units daily.

The reason for such inefficiency is that the site offers free downloads of classical music (about 1 GB daily bandwidth!). The usership is very bad: People with high inellectual ambitions, anticommercial attitudes, who are not going to buy anything or to support the content provider in any other way. On the other hand, AdSence serves content sensitive ads on classical music that my visitors are not interested in whatsoever.

Of course there are too little money in the classical music, and I would like to see general-purpose ads on my web site such as cars, mortgages, beer, etc. But it does not fit into the AdSence concept.

I was looking for other advertising networks but, unfortunately, they all do not accept personal web sites like mine.

Anyone has an idea what advertising network would work for my site?

Thank you for your suggestions,


Recently I

03-18-2006, 09:30 AM
trye TradeDoubler, http://tradedoubler.com

Have you tryed Yahoo Search Marketing ?

03-18-2006, 11:11 PM

Try the Amazon or eBay affiliate program. Link to items that would be of interest to your visitors, such as classical music CDs, concert tickets to classical music concerts, etc.

07-12-2006, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the detailed info on Adsense :)

03-12-2017, 11:46 PM
It is an nice article thank you for your valuable information about the google adsense....

12-02-2017, 02:32 AM
It is an advertising placement service by Google.AdSense is generated on a per-click or per-impression basis. It is free to become a verified website publisher in the Google AdSense program.AdSense programs are also available to qualified publishers and developers. Qualified publishers may use AdSense to drive revenues for iPhone applications, video or Web browser games.