At the Berlin WP Camp, Germany in November, I presented a session on the subject of optimizing website advertising. I paid particular attention to increasing Google AdSense revenue. However, the numerous participant questions have revealed to me that many website owners are initially more focused on the issue of whether they can earn anything with AdSense and Co. instead of further optimizing them down the road. The issue of whether and how you can make money with Google AdSense will therefore be covered in this article.

When do I make money with AdSense?

I must register first to use AdSense in any capacity at all. Since Google provides AdSense as a service and only requires one login to access all of its offerings, having access to Gmail or Google+ is all that is required to use AdSense. Otherwise, just create a Google account.

The biggest ad network to date is AdSense. This is most likely a result of how simple it is to use. I created an advertisement with a few clicks, and then I got the code I needed to paste into my website. Although the final step is undoubtedly the most challenging for less tech-savvy users, the requirements are quite simple when compared to other networks' requirements.


When is AdSense worth it?

It is very simple to set up AdSense. Once the website has received several hundred or several thousand page views, the first revenue begins to flow in. But the amount of revenue in this sector is still very low. As a result, I advise against most publishers including ads until their monthly page views reach 10,000. They ought to concentrate on developing a readership and producing content during this period. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but they are typically very clear and are only present on monetization-focused websites. Even further than I do, my colleague Ronny Siegel suggests avoiding placing advertisements on websites with less than 1,000,000 monthly page views.

CPC, CPM, and CPE—the basics of AdSense earnings

You can practically start making money as soon as the banners are put up on your website. However, some fundamental knowledge is needed to figure out where the money comes from and why it might be trickling rather than gushing. The most frequent inquiries I receive from customers and in workshops are addressed below.

Where are the banners from?

Google offers a similar service to AdSense with Google Ads. Here, advertisers can create ads for their goods and services and have them displayed both in the display network and in the Google search results (i.e., the AdSense publishers). It is now possible to place ads with Google Ads on particular pages.

How much does AdSense payout?

Google AdSense pays 68% of the revenue to publishers, or us website operators, regardless of the compensation model (see below). That is a pretty high proportion in this market.

Google uses an auction-style model to decide the revenue, in which each eligible banner competes with the others. The winner is, however, increasingly determined by quality rather than just price.

Google is ultimately interested in a banner's performance, which is determined by the click price and click rate. Therefore, a less expensive banner with a higher click-through rate can bring in more money than an expensive banner with a lower click-through rate. There are numerous variables that Google withholds from us, but which are likely in the area of conflict between the theme of the website, the content of the banner, and the visitor's interests.

What is CPM?

With the CPM (cost-per-mille) model, advertisers are compensated at a flat rate for every 1000 page views. We have no control over this bid type because the Google Ads advertiser can select it. When applied properly, the CPM model has the benefit of allowing for the monetization of advertising spaces where the CPC model is ineffective.

What is CPE?

The documentation for AdSense doesn't yet include the cost-per-engagement bid type because it is so new. What is intended is compensation for actions that the advertiser will define, and the visitor will perform. This could involve watching a video ad, clicking on an expanding banner, or completing a form on the landing page. For this bid type, the first AdSense earnings I noticed were incredibly alluring. The acceptance of these forms of advertising will depend on the audience because they are so much more intrusive than other types. At worst, CPE advertisements might encourage even more people to block ads.

Examples of AdSense earnings

In German-speaking nations, there is now a sort of AdSense benchmark that everyone can use to measure their performance, thanks to Peer Wander. The websites and data from his October report, however, make one thing abundantly clear: if you want to make money with your website, you use AdSense either at the start or later only as a supplement. Other, specialized advertising campaigns or the marketing of your services and goods both have extremely high-income potential.

I examined a few English pages in greater detail in the English version of this article. The conclusion is a little more favorable in this case because, in my opinion, the pages are even more heavily optimized for advertising than Peer Wanders examples for the German-speaking region. The English sites listed are also larger, and my impression is that US sites in particular are much more forthcoming about their income than the German sites. The fundamental premise regarding AdSense's relationship to other programs, however, remains the same.