The first step any publisher that wants to monetize takes is often signing up with Adsense. It’s the ubiquitous starting point, but that doesn’t mean it’s exactly straightforward. We’re going to explain where Google Adsense fits in the monetization landscape, how to sign up, and the advantages and disadvantages of using Google Adsense to monetize your publication.
What is Google Adsense?
Adsense is one of Google’s Advertising products. It’s marketed as a fast and easy way to monetize your website—blogs, forums, and online services. Adsense will implement ad delivery, optimize ad inventory for you, maximize your revenue, and generate accessible performance reports.
In Google’s own words Adsense is for you if you need:
- A place to monetize your website—blogs, forums, and online services
- A fast and easy way to implement ad delivery
- Google to optimize your ad inventory for you and maximize your revenue through Auto Ads
- Easily accessible performance reports
AdSense is so ubiquitous because, well it’s Google. It has the biggest bank of users and the longest reach. But, it also gives advertisers an easy way to access a variety of ad formats, advertisers can choose text, images, HTML ads, video ads, and in multiple different sizes.
This means publishers can also experiment with different ad types and figure out which ones drive the most revenue for their page. The simplicity, the reach, and tools, and the Google name make Adsense basically a synonym for online monetization.
But, it’s not the only monetization horse in the Google stable. In addition to Adsense, there is Google Ad Manager, Google Marketing Platform, and Google AdMob.
Each platform gives access to a different level of the Google advertising matrix, but they all are somewhat connected.
The main difference is that Google Ad Manager is an ad server. This means you can use it to sell inventories to both Google advertisers and third-party, non-Google, advertisers. Adsense is an ad network. This means you can just connect to the Google advertisers looking to buy inventory on this network. You can learn more about Google Ad Manager here
Despite all of the different options, for publishers starting to monetize, it all starts with Adsense. You may need more functionality than Adsense offers, or exceed the traffic limits, but the whole suite of Google’s advertising products requires an Adsense account to get started.
How to use Google Adsense
Once you have your Google account and have signed up for an Adsense account you need to verify it to start running ads. There are some requirements like verifying your phone number, payment details, and address as there are some location restrictions.
It takes between 2 days and 2 weeks to be verified, and to give yourself the best chance of success, your website should be at least 3 months old and you should have at least published 30 articles.
Adsense can show relevant ads by using its Mediabot "crawler" to determine the most relevant keywords from your content. Keywords can be cached so relevant ads are served for higher revenue. Write about sports and it will make advertisers bid higher amounts to advertise sports-related goods on your content.
Advertisers can also choose to target your website directly. The advertiser chooses the page to display their ads, and pays on a cost per thousand impressions. In order to prevent ad fraud, publishers have to specify the pages that this code can show ads on to prevent other website owners from copying any Adsense code into their own sites. Adsense will ignore clicks on any non-specified sites.
The advantages of using Adsense
There is a reason why Adsense is the first monetization option publishers look to. The main advantages are that Adsense is simple to use and contains everything publishers need, out of the box.
It connects publishers to a huge network of advertisers and there is only one piece of code for your website. It also works across multiple websites so publishers can manage multiple pages from a single account.
There is a variety of ad formats so publishers have a level of control over how the ads will affect their design and overall page experience. It is possible to change the color of text, backgrounds, and border as well as text size and the shape of advertising boxes to fit your page design. Google also offers better transparency and security than a lot of smaller ad networks so you’re more likely to show high-quality ads.
Finally, Google’s Auto Ads feature also automatically optimizes every possible variable, providing the A/B testing and improving the performance of your adverts.
The low barrier to entry and the sheer scope of the Google network make Adsense a no-brainer for publishers’ first step into monetization.
Disadvantages of using Adsense
But, like any product, Adsense is not without its flaws. Adsense is only many ad networks for a reason, there are limitations and downsides which mean publishers often have to add other ad networks.
Some disadvantages of using Adsense include:
- Limited language support
- Some countries are not permitted at all
- All sites have to exist for at least 3 months and have to be verified
- You have to abide by all Google’s terms
- Errors can result in lifetime bans
- Adsense doesn’t value social media traffic highly, with lower CPMs
- There is no possibility to change payee name and country AdSense ads can impact page speed
- Privacy factor and tracking
- Ads can reduce the design appeal of the site.
- Garish colors and large, unattractive advertisements can put off visitors and reduce website traffic
Despite these issues, AdSense is a great place to start any monetization project as it gives the tools and knowledge to develop a valuable ad stack.
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to learn more.