Affiliate Marketing vs Google Adsense: Which is more profitable?
Continuing our comparison of Affiliate Marketing to other viable online business methods, in this article we look at Affiliate Marketing vs Google Adsense: Which is better, how they can be used and which is more profitable. No in-depth look at these business models would be complete without a simple definition of what they are and how they can make you money, so let’s start with that.
Affiliate Marketing – what is it?
Ok so this entire blog is about different elements of affiliate marketing, and if you’ve found this post I’m guessing you already know something about it so I’ll keep this brief. Affiliate Marketing in an online format is driving traffic to content you have, getting that traffic to click on your affiliate link and go to a vendor’s website, ie amazon.com. If they then purchase a product, the vendor pays you a commission, rates which vary from affiliate program to affiliate program. It’s a fairly simple concept to keep in mind, getting it to work in practice however increases the complexity.
What is Google Adsense?
So you’ve gone from site to site and felt like someone is following you because the ads are for something you were looking at on a site maybe an hour ago? Good chance that’s Google Adsense. It’s basically an ad platform that serves customers ads based on what Google knows as their tastes and preferences and recent browsing habits. Sometimes it’s quite scary to find out how much google knows about you; this is why targeted ads served up by Google Adsense can be so effective.
So how on earth do you profit from Google Adsense? Simple. If you’re the owner of a website, you can create spots for Adsense to serve ads on your site. If someone clicks on these ads, Google will pay you a small fee for that traffic. In small volumes this may not add up to much but if you have a high traffic volume website, this can really add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars of passive income each month.
Most certainly not. There are many pay per click advertisers available, with varying rates of payment and different features. I’ve made a bonus section below in this article that lists some of the alternatives to Google Adsense.
Yes! Not only this, they pay you! Of course, someone needs to click on the ads for you to make any money.
You definitely can and this is something that Google addresses in their policies. Be cautious, however; it’s not just a free for all. There are policies around being able to differentiate between the Google Ads and Affiliate offers, user experience and the niches that you are targeting. It’s definitely worth checking out Google’s policies.
Which is more profitable – Affiliate Marketing or Google Adsense?
Both models have the potential to be profitable, typically you will find that Affiliate Marketing accounts for less sales, but a much higher commission or fee per sale, while adsense might have more transactions but a much lower fee per click. It’s a little apples to oranges as well, as normally Affiliate Marketing is a commission on a sale, whereas Adsense involves a fee for each click.
As such it’s hard to say one is more profitable than the other but in my own experience and also doing my research around other bloggers on the internet I would say that typically Affiliate Marketing will bring in more money per month however.
So why would I use Google Adsense when I can do Affiliate Marketing on my website?
The beauty of these two business models is that they can work well together. Obviously you don’t want to go overboard with your ad and affiliate placements on each page (ironically Google will most likely rank you lower with SEO if your user experience is poor, ie too many ads) but it is possible to use both Affiliate Marketing and Google Adsense on the one site.
This can help optimize your profits; think about it. You don’t want to miss out on your bigger ticket affiliate sales but at the same time, you may have a customer that doesn’t want to buy a product you’re affiliating, but is interested in clicking on an Adsense ad that has been carefully curated by Google. So in a case like this you make a small amount rather than nothing at all if you only offered an Affiliate product.
Another big positive of Google Adsense is that it is EASY once you have set it up. There’s no need to do any more once it’s implemented on your website; as long as you are getting decent traffic to your site, a fairly consistent number of customers are going to click on the ads and hence make Adsense revenue for you. Getting traffic is the hard part, for a blog or a website, see my articles under SEO tools for using SEO as a method for generating traffic. SEO has the great feature of traffic being targeted – if they search ‘weight loss tips’ and get to your article on weight loss, they’re also more likely to be interested in any affiliate links to a weight loss program, and likewise any Adsense ad on the same subject.
Do I need a website for Affiliate Marketing and/or Adsense?
With Affiliate Marketing, you can definitely do it without a website. It is possible to post affiliate links on facebook and some other social sites. Check each social network’s terms and conditions on this but for example Facebook is happy for you to post affiliate links in organic posts on your feed or page feed, but does not accept them in advertising or paid posts.
Adsense, yes you will need a website to place the ads for people to click on.
How do I get an Adsense account?
It’s a fairly simple signup through Google, but it does require Google to approve your site for the program. You’ll need a google account and to activate Adsense on your site. There is no minimum traffic requirements to have Adsense on your website, but if your traffic volume is very low, you’ll struggle to make a lot of money. Take into account a good click through rate (CTR) for adsense on a blog is around 0.5 to 3%, and that the amount you might get paid for each click ranges from approximately 0.20 c to $15. Do the maths on that with respect to your own site’s traffic and you’ll get a good indication of what you may expect to earn.
How do I start Affiliate Marketing?
Apart from creating your own content, you need to register yourself with one or many Affiliate Programs in order to get your Affiliate Links to promote products and receive commissions. You could try an Affiliate Marketplace such as Clickbank (which incidentally has it’s own course, see Clickbank University) or a stand alone Affiliate Program such as that offered by Aweber (email marketing software, see here for my view) or Amazon. Some programs are tricky to get registered for but others are very easy. Once you have your link, you are now able to start, choosing whatever content creation method you want.
Other factors affecting your choice between Affiliate Marketing and Adsense
Credibility. It’s a big word when it comes to websites, and in converting sometime visitors into regular readers of you blog. What’s something that most readers hate? Advertising. Though both Affiliate Marketing and Google Adsense are advertising, I would argue that Adsense display ads, which are the most common format, are definitely more intrusive when it comes to real estate space on your blog page. They’re made by advertisers to stand out like the proverbial, so can detract from your blog or website’s user experience significantly.
Affiliate marketing links are completely under your control as to how they manifest on your site; you can create text links within your content, link an image or many other far less invasive methods that flows well with the remainder of your site.
Adsense and other ad network programs normally require a script to run in order to place ads on your site. This might sound trivial but it can slow down the page load time of your site, causing a drop in both user experience and also have a detrimental effect on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Though Adsense and Google’s ad placement algorithms are surprisingly efficient and relevant, there’s nobody better placed to know which sort of products will be most attractive to a blog reader than the person who wrote the article. Here is where control comes into effect: you have complete control over what Affiliate Links and products you place on your page but next to no control of what Google Adsense serves up in the image box you have set aside for its use.
Both Google Adsense and also most if not all Affiliate Programs have standards and policy requirements you must meet in order to utilize them as a money making platform. Google Adsense does not have a minimum traffic requirement but does have many other policies and guidelines that must be met in order to get approved to run ads. Affiliate Programs vary greatly in their requirements to begin advertising, but there are definitely some accessible programs out there that are easily applied to and registered for.
I’m sure you’ve already gathered my thoughts on this one, Affiliate Marketing in general is a better way to make money online than Adsense. There is, however, absolutely no reason why you can’t run both programs at the same time as long as you respect your audience as too many ads just doesn’t work on a blog page, be it for SEO reasons or for plain old user experience.
I’m a strong advocate for Affiliate Marketing as you would surely realise from the title and content of this blog website. I believe it’s a great and challenging way to make money online, it’s by no means a get rich quick scheme and it does require you to add genuine value to your customers, not simply churn them for a quick buck.
In this blog series, I have looked at Affiliate Marketing compared to a few other well-known and respected business models for making money online. These articles can be found here for Amazon FBA, Dropshipping and MLM (Multi Level Marketing). I hope you can find some value in each of them and maybe it will influence you in deciding which of these you will use for your own online business.
If you’re looking at Affiliate Marketing itself, I suggest you check out this article on Beginner Affiliate Marketing Courses. Learning from a course is a great way to short circuit some of the hard work required to become successful in this field.
Bonus: Alternatives to Google Adsense
Media.net – run by Yahoo and Bing, media.net is a leader in contextual advertising, and earnings reflect similar to Adsense. Media.net has monthly payouts with a minimum threshold of $100 USD via paypal.
PropellerAds – offers many different types of ads, such as pop-unders, and native advertising as well as Adsense-like banners and display ads. There is no minimum traffic requirement for propellerAds, and minimum payout threshold is $5 monthly.
InfoLinks – specializing in in-text ads, Infolinks associates ads with keywords in your content. This works particularly well on blogs. Infolinks pays out every 45 days with a threshold of $50.
Amazon Native Shopping Ads – particularly useful if you’re in a shopping niche, Amazon Native Shopping Ads allows you to place Amazon product listings amongst your blog pages.
Affiliate Disclaimer: In case you were in any sort of doubt, yes, I’m an Affiliate in some manner for some of these programs and products. I like to practice what I preach. If you are intending to utilise any of these offers I’d love if you went through one of these links to support my site.