Can You Get Rich With AdSense?

You’ve possibly toyed with the idea of using Adsense or one of the other contextual advertisements to your site. Hasn’t everyone? Maybe you’re thinking of building a site around AdSense and dreaming of quitting your day job and of all those millions you’re going to make. But can you make millions? Can you really get rich with AdSense.

A recent thread by markus007 over at the WebmasterWorld AdSense forums, How I made a million in 3 months would clearly argue that you can make million. markus007 seems to have made his. The thread has been pretty active in the two weeks since it opened and has lots of interesting tips about improving your revenue from AdSense.

As a counterpoint to that thread ronburk started his own thread at the same forum entitled, You too can make $5.35/hour with AdSense in which he breaks AdSense down by the numbers and compares it to minimum wage or something close to the U.S. federal minimum wage anyway. ronburk’s thread has been just as active and maybe more so. It also has some interesting thoughts about the pros and cons of using AdSense even if the original post may shatter a few dreams.

Unfortunately the latter thread is probably closer to the truth for most people. The good news is it can be done and there’s no reason why you can’t be one of the success stories. And even if you don’t get rich there’s no reason why AdSense can’t provide another revenue stream for you or your business. So let’s talk a little about some of the things you can do to raise your AdSense revenue.

At it’s basic level the formula for making money is pretty simple.

revenue = clicks x price per click

Not really much too it, but it shows there are two ways to increase revenue, more clicks and a greater price per each click. Let’s talk first about the price per click.

Increasing Price Per Click

There’s only so much control you have over how much revenue you can get from the average click. In fact there’s nothing you can actually do to raise the revenue you’ll get from any given ad. However there are a few things you might do to raise the overall average of the revenue of the clicks. Google allows you to block up to 200 URLs from serving ads on your site so one thing you can do is block the lower paying ads. I’m not sure how effective this can be, but it’s something you can try.

Chances are you’ll either find the topic of your site provides a good payout per each click or it won’t. It all depends on the bids on the keywords for your topic. The keyword phrase ‘digital cameras’ gets high bids, the keyword phrase ‘custom fencing’ doesn’t. If you already have a site and want to incorporate AdSense you’ll just have to live with the bids on your keywords, but if you’re looking to build a site for the purpose of AdSense your first task should be finding a niche serving ads that pay well.

Even if you can’t build a site around the keyword bids you still have some control over what AdSense will send you. Google provides two tags that allow you to tell AdSense when to start looking at your content for ads and when to stop. It’s called section targeting and the two tags are:

<!--google_ad_section_start-->
<!--google_ad_section_end-->

You can use these tags to target sections of your page where the keyword do return higher paying ads and exclude portions of your page that don’t. At the very least you can use section targeting to make sure AdSense is paying attention to your content and ignoring a lot of the surrounding code for your page.

Increasing the Clicks

You’ve probably heard the term click through rate (CTR). CTR can be expressed as:

CTR = Clicks / Impressions

or expressed another way:

Clicks = CTR x Impressions

So to increase the number of clicks you get you either need to increase your overall page impressions or increase your CTR. Increasing page impressions is really about getting more traffic to your site and your pages displaying AdSense. It’s a matter for SEO and for general marketing and I won’t discuss it here. I’ve written about it elsewhere and will continue to do so. Just not here. Let’s talk here about increasing CTR.

Increasing CTR

There are things you can do to increase your CTR and increasing your CTR is probably the best way to increase your AdSense revenue. The key is to experiment with the type of ads you use and where you place those ads. Experiment and set in place a way to measure the results. By measuring which ads in which locations bring in the most clicks and the most money you can remove the under performing ads on your site and increase the ads that perform better.

Google offers a variety of ad formats you can use. Some may not fit in your site, but most probably will. Use a variety of ad formats on your pages and make sure you set up channels at AdSense so you can determine which of the ads are performing better. You can set up a channel to measure your banner ads and another for your skyscraper ads. In time you might notice that the banner ads are doing well while not a single person had clicked on the skyscraper. If so then it’s time to remove that skyscraper.

Then again maybe not. the location of your ads also has a great affect on whether or not they get clicked. Ads above the fold tend to get clicked more. Ads closer to your content also seem to perform better. Google has created a heat map to show where they have found ads typically performing better. Their results may not be the same as yours, but it’s a good place to start. After looking at the heat map it may turn out that your skyscraper ads weren’t really the problem. They just needed to be on the left instead of the right side of the page.

Another way you can increase your CTR is by customizing the colors in your ad. Many sites have found that by using colors in the ads that make them blend into the site it increases CTR. Then again there are those sites that swear by making the ads stand out. The best thing you can do is try both and see which works best for your particular site. You might even find that the banner ads at the top of your page work best when they blend in with the background and the banner ads at the bottom of your page work best when you make them stand out. You need to experiment and measure to find out what works best for you.

Channels For Measuring Results

As I mentioned to above you can set up channels for your ads. Google allows you to set up to 200 different channels to measure which ads are working better. You can set up url channels on certain pages and sections to see if specific content on your site generates more clicks and revenue than other pages and sections. You can also set up custom channels to see which ads might be performing better on a given page. You might set up a channel to measure all of your 250×250 ads in the top right corner of your site and another to measure all the banner ads with a blue background on the bottom of your pages.

200 channels is a lot and certainly enough to measure most anything you want. And by the time you might want to create your 201st channel you will probably have determined that certain ads aren’t working and you’ve taken them off your site. You won’t need those channels anymore so you can add new ones to test out new ad placements and formats.

You may not get rich using AdSense though there are a variety of things you can do to improve your revenue. Choosing a niche topic that naturally uses keyword phrases with higher bids is one possible way, but the key for most sites will be to experiment with everything. Experiment with you ad format, ad placement, and ad colors and measure the results of each. And once you’ve determined which ads perform the best use more of those ads. Then try experimenting again and measuring again. If you experiment and measure enough maybe you will be one of the lucky ones who does get rich with AdSense.

Resources

AdSense Help Center
AdSense Forum

Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.

10 comments

  1. Great post. It’s amazing how much some people can make online in such a short period of time. Of course that’s not the norm and probably takes a bit a luck as well as know-how.

  2. I’ve been using Adsense for a couple of months, and I’ve only made about eighty cents. But maybe with time it will go up some. All I’m really looking for is to pay my hosting bill and domain name with it. Is $180 a year too much to ask? I also suspect that a lot of people simply block the ads, which makes them useless.

  3. It’s definitely possibly. I know there are sites making $180 and more daily. Not me unfortunately.

    Some of it will be in experimenting and measuring how well different ads perform on your site in order to increase the CTR and the average price per click. And a lot will depend on how well you can drive traffic to the site. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s certainly possible and your goals are very reasonable. You’re only asking for $0.50 a day to pay the hosting.

    First try building more traffic to the ads. Then as you have more data you’ll be better able to see what is and isn’t working. And remember to use channels to measure as much as you can.

  4. Yes you can get rich from it…but you should have money to invest in cheap labor countries to write unique content for your site(s)

    On the long run this wil be return on investment..

    • No question you can make money with AdSense. For most people though I think there will be better ways to monetize a website.

      AdSense is the first and easy step. Some people will find a way to make AdSense work well and others will move on to other forms of monetization.

  5. Don’t expect to much in the begin, but concentrate how you can drive traffic to your website, that’s how you get clicks on your ads, and than you can start working out the ads better. O, a little tip: most webmasters are working verry hard every day to keep the income of their ads high, for some it’s verry hard work. But some of them get lucky. It’s the same as working in a company, many costum people working a hole day long for a few pennys and only a few managers are earning the big deal.

  6. Thats very true. I think anyone that is making good money with adsense is working very hard everyday on researching niches with high CPC and implementing good backlinking strategies to drive traffic.

  7. Excellent advice. Thank you for sharing. I did not know much about using channels, but I will consider that now that I have not spent much time trying different ad sizes.

  8. Yes we can surely get rich with
    Google Adsense. But this theory highly works for the publishers from Developing countries like INDIA, Pakistan, SL and BD etc. But if they got 10$ daily, it would be a good potential. But for European and American people tgis 10$ might be nothing.

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