Is Google AdSense A Poor Second Cousin To Affiliate Programs?

I just got off a Skype call with a new affiliate who was just told by their affiliate manager that "there's no money in Google AdSense".

I guess it's not surprising because Google's AdSense program does compete directly with affiliate programs.

It also seems many feel that Google AdSense is the poor second cousin to affiliate programs. I would say that's true for many but for others the Google AdSense program is much more like a rich old uncle.

It's also true that many do NOT making any money with Google AdSense, but the same is also true with affiliate programs. In either case it is all in the execution.

Affiliate programs are great. I have been a full-time affiliate since 1999. I love affiliate programs, but Google AdSense too!

The thing I have found about AdSense is that if you want to make real money with them you need to be "all in" so to speak. And by "all in" I mean the page design needs to be very AdSense friendly. Turn off all the distractions. Eliminate 90% of what you have displaying in the column of a typical site. Turn-off the comments. In other words eliminate all of the distractions and unnecessary links on the page.

You also need to pay attention to your analtyics. You need to know which pages on your site are earning you a $1 or $2 for each click ...and then work hard to get those pages ranking in the natural results, especially Google.

A page that has a 20% click-thru rate that has a hundred visitors a day = $20 a day or about $600 a month and that's just from one page. Put 4 pages like that together and you would be earning $2400 a month!

Google recently reported that they pay a whopping 68% of the revenue collected from advertisers to publishers for ads that appear on their sites ..and rumor has it that Google does collect a fair bit of revenue from their advertisers.

I love affiliate programs and Google AdSense too!

PS - What's been your experience with Google AdSense?


  1. Mark Harris says:

    I have personally been earning my income from Google Adsense since mid 2006. It's much better suited to my personality.

    I found affiliate programs to be rather labor intensive. I also didn't like having to rely on the advertiser to have to convert a sale so I could make money and I hated always having to update my ads.

    I like Adsense because all I need to do is develop content and let Google serve up the ads. It's very simple and even if I could make more money with an affiliate program I like Adsense because it's hands off.


    • James Martell says:

      Google does a great job of serving the ads. It's a great feature. I know managing advertisers ads is a little labor intensive, but way better than banging the nails I did formally as a carpenter.

  2. Geno Prussakov says:

    Good post, James. As pointed out elsewhere, I believe AdSense and affiliate links to be beautifully complimentary.

    I have a question about your example of 100 clicks/day on an ad unit with a 20% CTR. Is a CTR rate like that realistic with AdSense?

    • James Martell says:

      Hi Geno, thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, it is possible to get a 20% CTR. I have one page that consistently does over 30%. It is a very clean page. A couple hundred words with nothing but a banner ad in the right-hand column, my menu across the top of the page and a small footer menu. Other than that the only place they can click is on the AdSense ad.

      The challenge for many I have found is turning off everything. My click through rate on this site is way down only because I have too much turned on. If I was to strip my columns, remove the comments, etc. it would of course convert better but I have other things going on for this site.


  3. Peter Markovic says:

    There was a time not long ago where I wasnt seeing much income from Adsense and I didn't pay much attention too it.

    By using some optimization, it has stared to produce some income every day for just a hand full of pages nothing very exciting given I don't even have Adsense for over half of my site.

    With a little work and traffic, I believe that Adsense could give me an income that would sustain me.


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