Does AdSense Make Sense?

The following guest post was written by Kristine Shreve.

I recently saw an article in USA Today about the wonders of Adsense and how senior citizens, and others, were using it to make tons of money. The article was brought to my attention by someone who knew that we were looking for ways to generate additional revenue from one of our websites. He thought AdSense might be the perfect fit for our needs.

At first, I scoffed. AdSense, to me, has always been about tacky text ads that look low rent. The people who use AdSense, I would say to my colleagues in a regrettably superior tone, are people who are too lazy to do the real work of finding advertisers. Granted, I hadn’t looked at the AdSense program in a while, but I did read marketing blogs and visited marketing forums. In those places, AdSense is not universally beloved. Sure, some people, according to USA Today at least, were extolling the wonders of AdSense, but even the article praising the program admitted that for every person who made a hundred thousand dollars there were probably several hundred, if not several thousand, who were making just a few dollars a month.

Still, to be honest, I had to acknowledge I hadn’t looked at AdSense for a while. In the interest of fairness, I thought I ought to at least go look at the program, so I did. One of the first things I found was that what I think of as the traditional AdSense advertisement, a text ad with the words “Ads by Google” underneath, was not the only sort of AdSense ad there was. There are now many more options for the look of AdSense ads. You can now have image ads, video ads and referral ads, all of which look like normal banner type ads, and which would blend well with almost any site. Suddenly, the advertising method I’d scorned as being “low rent” wasn’t looking so low rent after all.

For me, rightly or wrongly, the perception of an advertising method matters almost as much as the effectiveness of that method. Ultimately, advertising is about making money, no one disputes that, but I’ve always been of the opinion that how people perceive the method you use to advertise is as important as the effectiveness of the advertisement. Given that thought process, I always try to examine every potential advertising method from every angle. How will potential customers think of our company if we use a particular advertising method? What does that marketing community say about this method? What other companies, competitors or not, use this method, and would I want to be lumped in a group with those companies? If the answers to those questions were positive, I generally elected to use that advertising method.

The main question that I have now is whether my method of evaluating advertising venues is the right one. Do other people’s perception of the advertising methods I use really matter? Is it possible that only those who are involved in marketing or monetizing web sites even think about these things? In the end, doesn’t the advertising revenue matter more than the method used to generate the revenue, provided that method is an honest one? Could I be neglecting a viable money making method because of a personal prejudice? If I am, what is a better way to make a choice about the advertising methods I use?

To be honest, I’m still not entirely sure what I think about AdSense. I suppose, regardless of whether the ad is a text ad or an image or video ad, it is still, after all, an AdSense ad. Despite that fact, after seeing the different ad options available, I’m probably more willing to give this advertising method a try. I still won’t be putting up the text ads, but I may give a few of the image, video or referral ads a spin, just to see what happens.

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