AdSense or Amazon Associates – Which is better?

I’ve been hearing a lot of people abandoning Google AdSense and switching to Amazon Associates as a way to make money from their websites. Since I love optimizing my sites (and their revenue), I decided to run a test to see which would work best for my websites. I swapped out the ads using AmpedSense for a week, and then looked at the stats. Can you guess which one earned more for me?

The test between Amazon Adsense

I ran this test for a full week to make sure timing of the week didn’t have any effect. I ran it on 3 separate sites (2 niche sites, and 1 tool/reference site). I used 3 different types of Amazon links – native ads, product ads, and direct links. So which was better AdSense or Amazon ads? It probably depends on a whole bunch of factors… but here’s what I found.

Case Study 1 – AdSense Results

The first site is a site for musicians. Here’s how it looks with AdSense ads:

amazon adsense
 

Case Study 1 – Amazon Results

And here’s the Amazon ads I put on instead. I opted for the native ads, which allows you to specify a search term and automatically generates links for you. I picked a term that matched what my visitors are looking for, and Amazon did a great job filling the listings with relevant products:

 

amazon vs adsense
 

After a week, let’s look at the amazon stats:

 

amazon ads
 

Uh oh, tons of clicks but no sales. Ouch! How much does this site normally make in AdSense? About $20/week.

Winner: AdSense.

Case Study 2 – Adsense Results

The second site is a niche site focused on jewelry. Here’s how it looks with AdSense ads:

 

adsense ads
 

Case Study 2 – Amazon Results

And here’s the Amazon ads I put on instead. I opted for a few specific product ads this time. The products I picked are relatively expensive, so I didn’t have much hope for this, but it’s what my visitors are looking for:

 

amazon vs adsense
 

After a week, let’s look at the amazon stats:

 

amazon and adsense which is better
 

Less clicks, and again no sales. Bummer. How much does this site normally make in AdSense? About $5/week.

Winner: AdSense.

Case Study 3 – Adsense results

The last site is a niche site focused on men’s health. Here’s how it looks with AdSense ads:

 

google adsense amazon
 

Case Study 3 – Amazon results

And here’s the Amazon ads I put on instead. I have a lot of users of this site emailing me asking for more info, so a book about this topic is exactly what these people are looking for. I didn’t like any of the images Amazon had, so I created my own, and added my own callouts to it. Here’s how it looks:

 

keg-azon
 

After a week, let’s look at the amazon stats:

 

keg-azon-earn
Yay, finally a sale! But 4% of a $9.99 sale is only $0.40. Darn. This site normally makes about $5/week with AdSense.

Winner: AdSense.

Conclusion on my Adsense vs. Amazon ads study

For these three sites, AdSense is the clear winner. Normally between all of these I would have made about $30 for the week, yet with Amazon I made a measly $0.40.

That doesn’t mean that AdSense is superior for all sites – you must test! Every niche, website, and set of visitors is different, and you’ll never know what the best way to earn from your site is until you split test it.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGupTYFQJcE

What Google Contributor means to AdSense Publishers

Are you a website owner that has AdSense ads up on their site? If so, you may have been concerned when you heard about Google’s new service ‘Google Contributor’, which aims to eliminate the AdSense ads that visitors see on your website.

Google Contributor has been around since the summer, but just last month was graduated from ‘beta’ and opened up to anyone. Here’s how it works:

1) A google user signs up for the Contributor service with Google. They choose to pay $2 – $10 per month, in exchange for seeing less ads on the internet.
2) When the user goes to a website that contains AdSense ads, they are instead seen an image of their choice.
3) The website publisher gets a portion of the monthly fee that the visitor paid Google.

GoogleContributorHome

How does this affect my AdSense revenue?

If my AdSense ads are not being shown, does that mean I’m going to lose revenue? Google says no, and explains “their monthly contribution is used to bid on their behalf in the ad auction—so they end up buying the ad slot rather than a traditional advertiser.”

This means that you should still be seeing the same revenue coming from your website, regardless of how many of your visitors have signed up for Google Contributor. The publisher is still getting paid the same amount for the ad, it’s just coming from the visitor’s pocket instead of the advertiser’s spend.

What do AdSense publishers need to do?

In short? Nothing. If you already run Google ads on your site, your website is currently taking advantage of Contributor.

Google urges you to link to the program and let your users know about it if they want to see less ads on your site. But other than that, there’s no opt-in process, no terms agreement, no nothing that you have to do to start getting the benefit from users of the Contributor service.

Can Publishers opt-out?

If you feel like you’re receiving less income due to the Contributor program, Google allows you to opt out of it. If you do this, then even Contributor users who visit your site will still see your AdSense ads, allowing you to reap the benefit of things the way they used to be.

To turn off Contributor for your site, login to your AdSense admin and click the “Allow and Block Ads” menu link. From that screen choose the ‘Ad Networks’ tab. Search for ‘Contributor’, and then click the toggle button to turn off that ad network:

GoogleContributorOptOut

Would you like to see less ads on the internet?

Are you interested in becoming a Google Contributor user?

It sounds like a service with trying out, but you should note that even if you opt for the most expensive $10/month plan, you’ll still see 50-75% of all AdSense ads – plus all ads that aren’t on the AdSense network.

GoogleContributorSignup
If you’re interested in Google Contributor, Learn more and signup here

 

What is the average earnings for a niche site?

Everyone knows that niche sites can be fairly profitable. But how much can you expect to earn from a niche site in 2015? The answer, of course, depends on a few things.

Niche sites

Niche sites are simple informational sites (usually created in WordPress) that have been carefully crafted to fulfill search demand. Here’s the steps a niche site creator typically follows:

  1. Do some researching finding topics that people are searching for yet don’t have a lot of content. Pay special attention to the keywords that are in demand.
  2. Buy a domain and hosting for a new site. Typically pick a domain that has those keywords in it
  3. Create content for that site. Use a standard wordpress theme, and make 5-10 pages about your topic.
  4. Once traffic starts coming in from search, place some ads (usually Google AdSense) and let the money roll in!

What makes them so attractive is the amount of work required to run them. Usually there’s 20-30 hours of upfront work, but after that they typically run themselves and require very little maintenance.

How much do niche sites earn?

There are three factor’s I’ve found to majorly affect how much revenue these niche sites bring in.

Factor 1: Traffic

Hopefully you did your keyword research right, were able to obtain some backlinks, and your site rose to the top of the search engine results. If you get a lot of traffic, you’re going to get a lot of ad clicks, meaning more money.

Look at the difference in revenue based on traffic (using average RPM of $2)

Monthly Visitors Monthly Revenue
100 $0.20
500 $1.00
2,000 $4.00
10,000 $20.00
50,000 $100.00

Factor 2: Ad cost

If you picked a niche that has a lot of advertisers, they’re going to be paying a lot to advertise. That equates to a higher RPM (revenue per thousand impressions). Niches like insurance and real estate can have click prices of up to $100, yet niches with little advertisers like pencils or rubber bands are going to be in the pennies.

RPM Monthly Revenue (10,000 Visitors)
$0.50 $5.00
$1.00 $10.00
$2.00 $20.00
$5.00 $50.00
$10.00 $100.00
$20.00 $200.00

Factor 3: Ad optimization

One of the biggest mistakes I see on niche sites is putting your ads where your theme designed them to me. Don’t do it! Designers want their themes to look pretty, not bring you income. From my experience some of the best places to put your ads is inside the content.

It’s also important to not use default Google AdSense settings. Changing the ad type, color, size, etc can make huge differences as well.

The key takeaway here is that you need to be testing different AdSense configurations to make sure you have the most profitable combination of placement, size, color, etc. If you’re not split testing, you’re essentially losing money!

Take a look at how running tests to optimize your ad config will give niche site owners increased RPM, and thus more earnings.

Optimization RPM Monthly Revenue (10,000 Visitors)
Default settings $1.00 $10.00
Optimized placement $4.00 $40.00
Optimized placement + size $8.00 $80.00
Optimized placement + size + ad type $10.00 $100.00
Optimized placement + size + ad type + color $12.00 $120.00

Summary

These three main factors can influence how much you earn on your niche site. Traffic aside, it’s probably a safe bet to say you’ll get around $1-2 RPM out of the gate, which can be optimized up to $5-10 RPM on average.

Would love to hear your experiences – do your numbers match up with this?

AmpedSense 4.0 Released!

I’m happy to announce a brand new major update to AmpedSense, version 4.0!

You all wanted more ad sizes, better mobile support, and an easy way to duplicate recipes. And now you’ve got it. Check out all the new features:

  • Clone recipe (into other segments as well)
  • Shortcode without additional shortcode plugin
  • Both Padding and Margin can be specified (previously just padding)
  • 6 new ad sizes (including responsive!)
  • Better mobile detection (phone vs tablet), plus more mobile segments
  • Hide segments not being used
  • Various bug and security fixes

All previous customers can get a free upgrade by contacting me.

I know you’re going to love it!

Godspeed,

Ampedsense

How to split test Responsive AdSense ads

One of the newest ad sizes Google has provided is the ‘responsive’ ad size. Ads with this size will automatically choose the best size based on the visitor’s device and browser.

For example, instead of setting up a 320 x 50 Mobile Banner ad for your mobile phone traffic and a 728 x 90 Leaderboard ad for your desktop traffic, simply choose a responsive size and the ad will adjust to the best width of your user’s screen.

AmpedSense makes it super easy to test the effectiveness of responsive ads on your visitors. For your first recipe, follow the standard instructions for creating an ad recipe of a fixed size. For your second recipe, be sure to select the ‘Responsive’ ad type when creating your recipe:

responsiveselection

Since Google does not allow responsive ads to be made via their API, you’ll have to follow the instructions on the screen to generate and paste your responsive code.

  1. Create a new ad unit in AdSense with the ‘Responsive’ size.
  2. Assign the custom channel named at the bottom of this page (must name recipe first) to that ad.
  3. Paste the code from Google into the code snippet box

Here’s what the AdSense screen should look like when you’re creating your responsive ad. Make sure you don’t forget to create the custom channel (it will automatically be assigned to the ad when you create it). You’ll already have had to name the ad back in AmpedSense to know the name of the custom channel.

responsivechannel

If you are using more than 1 responsive ad on the same recipe, you can copy/paste the same ad snippet code. But you’ll need to make a specific ad for each different recipe.

Responsive ads fill up the container they are inside, so it doesn’t make sense to have an ad justified to the left or to the right. For your ad location on a responsive ad, be sure to choose ‘center’ if you’re placing it within the content.

Finally, you can preview the placement of your responsive ads with the Preview button at the bottom of the recipe creation page. You won’t be able to see the actual ad yet, but should see a black placeholder where the responsive ad will be shown.

Happy split testing!

How to copy an ad recipe

After you’ve created a few recipes, you might want the ability to duplicate them to other segments, or create copies of them with slightly different settings. To do so, simply make use of the ‘Duplicate’ recipe feature.

How to duplicate a recipe

On the main AmpedSense screen, locate the ad recipe you’d like to clone. The icon looks like 2 pages (between the edit and the pause buttons):

duplicate
A popup will ask you what segment you’d like to copy this recipe into. If you’d like to keep it in the same segment, simply hit ‘Duplicate recipe’, otherwise choose the desired segment from the drop down first.

duplicateinto
Once you continue, you’ll see a new recipe creation page with the same settings of the cloned recipe. Note that this recipe has not been saved yet! You still have to confirm the settings, create a new channel, and hit save before it becomes actively part of the split testing rotation.

Cloning recipes can be especially useful if you’re just changing one thing between your ad recipes. For example, to test ad size, simply create a recipe, then clone it many times with different sizes for each copy.

Happy split testing!

How to place ads specifically with a short code

One of the most common questions I get is whether you can specify exactly where you want ads served via AmpedSense to be placed. Good news – the newest versions of AmpedSense can now do this with built-in shortcodes!

Within your content

If the standard options of placing your ads above/below your content or inside at specific intervals is not adequate, and you would like your ads positioned very specifically within your content, follow these steps:

1) Set up your split tests to use one of the shortcode locations (ie, Shortcode position A, B, or C).

shortcode

2) While editing your post/page within wordpress, type one of the following shortcodes into your content, exactly where you want the ad to be placed. This can be in either Visual or Text mode editing:

  • [AmpedSenseShortcodeA]
  • [AmpedSenseShortcodeB]
  • [AmpedSenseShortcodeC]

3) You’re done! Go back and preview your ad recipe to ensure it’s where you want it. Keep in mind that the shortcode will need to be placed on all pages/posts in the segment it applies to. Ie, if this recipe is shown on all pages, be sure to insert the shortcode on all pages (nothing will break if you don’t, you just will have less ad views).

Within your theme

If you would instead want the ads to appear in a part of your theme, ie your header or footer, and that can’t be accomplished through the use of the AmpedSense Sidebar Widget, then feel free to edit your theme files to specify exactly where you want the ads to appear.

Disclaimer: the following requires editing PHP files of your theme. If you are not comfortable doing this, please consult with a developer. Always backup your files before editing so you can revert if needed.

1) Follow instruction 1 above.

2) Find the place in your theme file where you want the ads to be placed (in Appearance -> Theme Editor). Add the following code. Modify to B or C if needed:

<?php echo do_shortcode('[AmpedSenseShortcodeA]'); ?>

3) You’re done! Go back and preview your ad recipe to ensure it’s where you want it.

6 Ways to Optimize Earnings Using AdSense

If you spend time and energy keeping your blog updated, relevant, and engaging, you should also implement methods to generate at least modest income. There are several ways to monetize a blog or feed, such as affiliate marketing, selling information products or services, and advertising. Even if you’re using other monetization methods, AdSense is an excellent way to optimize your earnings. Here are six ways to increase your revenue with AdSense.

Create Custom Targeted Channels and Sections

AdSense allows bloggers and publishers to select specific sections of their websites to use for ad targeting. This results in relevant ads that drive a higher click-through rate (CTR). You can group ad units together into custom channels and make them targetable, which means allowing advertisers to bid for spots on specific areas of your website. These more precise targeting options are often appealing to advertisers. More competition means higher bids, resulting in more AdSense revenue. Custom channels are also useful for determining how different ad layouts and ad units are performing on different areas of your site.

Use AdSense to Fill in Monetization Gaps

If you’re a strong affiliate marketer, you’re probably using a good portion of the potential ad space on your blog to promote affiliate products. AdSense is a straightforward way to both fill up that extra space and monetize it. With the custom channel options provided by AdSense, you can easily make specific sections of your blog available for display advertising and reserve other locations for affiliate ads. A little testing determines where different types of ads perform best, to fully maximize your earnings.

Place Ads Strategically

Strategic ad placement can increase your earnings substantially. By placing ads above the fold, visitors don’t have to scroll in order to see the ads. This increases the likelihood that you’ll earn a few clicks, even from casual visitors. A visitor may click through to your blog but then scan your content and decide it’s not what he’s looking for. If you’ve placed your ad strategically, though, it will capture his eye right before he clicks away. In this case, you’ve earned revenue, even though your content wasn’t a precise match for the visitor’s needs.

Place Ads Within Articles

Another strategic location for ad placement is within your articles, which makes visitors who do read your content less likely to overlook the ads. If your ad is above the fold and within an article, you capture both visitors ready to bounce and those reading your content. Placing your ads within articles and experimenting with colors and fonts can also result in a blended experience, where your ads appear as a natural extension of your content. This can lead to increased clicks as readers perceive this type of ad less as an advertisement and more as an enhancement. This is especially effective when you’re using custom channels, resulting in highly relevant ads that offer value to your readers.

Monetize Smaller and Low-Traffic Blogs and RSS Feeds

AdSense is a viable option for monetizing smaller and low-traffic blogs, especially if you run several websites and focus most of your attention and effort on your larger properties. Implementing AdSense is easy, and on smaller, lower-traffic blogs, you can often place ads more aggressively and get results.

Additionally, AdSense for Feeds provides another option for monetizing your loyal readership. If you have a decent subscriber base, placing ads below your feed can produce some additional revenue.

Integrate Google AdSense and Google Analytics

Google Analytics offers a number of reports and metrics that can help you optimize your AdSense earnings, such as AdSense Exit Reports, AdSense Revenue as an experiment objective, AdSense eCPM, ads clicked, AdSense CTR, and others. Integrating the two accounts enables you to capitalize on this data.

Simply log in to your Google Analytics account, and from your Admin dashboard, select AdSense Linking and then Link Accounts. Monitoring your Analytics and AdSense metrics from a single dashboard tells you what’s working and provides key indicators of areas for improvement, so you can better your blog content, layout, and SEO to boost your revenue.

Running a blog is a major time investment, so the more return you get on your investment, the better. AdSense is a viable means for monetizing your blog or feed, with a multitude of tactics, customizations, and targeting options to fully optimize your earnings.

Try different AdSense settings

There are tons of positions, sizes, colors, etc that you can choose to use on your AdSense ads. Try changing it up from the default. If your site is in WordPress, you can use a plugin like AmpedSense to automate the split testing.

8 Tricks to Boost Your AdSense Earnings

Monetizing a WordPress website with AdSense isn’t difficult, and the key is generating enough traffic to earn a substantial income from your efforts. Adopting a few important AdSense tricks and best practices can help boost earnings while you focus on ramping up your website traffic. These eight tricks will help you secure ads that are highly relevant to your content and will readily engage website visitors through clicks and conversions.

Use Colors Wisely

Colors play a big role in AdSense earnings. Many experts recommend using a color palette that blends in or complements your website design, because website visitors may avoid clicking on links or images that are obviously advertisements. That said, what works for one may not work for another, so the key is to experiment until you find the right combination of colors and contrast that produces the most revenue.

Use A/B or Multivariate Testing

As with colors, testing multiple variations on your ad unit sizes, keywords, layout, and other elements is an incredibly useful exercise that can boost AdSense earnings quickly. Optimize AdSense performance through A/B and multivariate testing, such as placing ads above or below your content. Then compare the performance of text ads versus display ads in different placements to identify which variations will earn you the most revenue.

Place Ad Units Within Page Content

Having high quality, relevant content on your website is essential for earning more money with AdSense. When you have high-quality content that attracts readers, placing ad units strategically within the content can encourage clicks and boost your earnings. Relevant AdSense ads further engage readers and can generate more clicks than ad units placed in sidebars, above, or below content, which some visitors may ignore.

Use Section Targeting for Highly Relevant Ads

Section targeting tells Google’s web crawlers specifically which areas of your website content to explore, and it’s this content that determines ad placements based on relevance. Section targeting helps reduce issues such as ads for vacuum cleaners appearing alongside an article about the joys of kayaking. Instead, this helps to show ads for things like backpacking gear, swimwear, guided kayaking and whitewater rafting trips, and other relevant products and services that are far more likely to be of interest to your readers.

Increase Ad Unit Sizes

Even if you’re not yet generating tons of traffic to your blog or website, you can make your ads perform better by making them more visible to the visitors you do receive. One of the most effective methods for increasing the visibility, and thus, clicks, on AdSense ads is to increase your ad unit sizes. This gives ads a more prominent presence on the page, making them more difficult for visitors to ignore. Additionally, use as many ad units on each page as your page layout permits.

Evaluate Your Website with Heat Maps

A/B and multivariate testing are not the only tests that can help boost AdSense earnings. Heat maps show you where visitors’ eyes are drawn immediately upon landing on your website and where they typically travel next. A heat map test reveals the best locations for placing ad units, based on where your visitors look first and spend the most time on your web pages.

Use Custom Channels to Group Related Content

If your website has several content sections or categories, using custom channels is an excellent tactic for increasing the relevance of AdSense ads and making your website more visible and attractive to advertisers. Additionally, custom channels are often used to evaluate the performance of different content sections or ad units, allowing you to identify the content, ad positions, and other variables that produce the greatest returns.

Keep Your Content Fresh

Ultimately, more visitors often translates to more AdSense earnings. Publishing and promoting new content attracts readers, giving loyal followers a reason to return to your website and increasing your visibility with new audiences. Publish new blog posts or static content pages regularly, but don’t stop there. Distribute your content and promote it across your social networks to establish a larger audience and attract more visitors.

Making more money with AdSense doesn’t have to be a marathon. There are many ways to experiment with AdSense, implement different variations of ad types, placements, and colors, and even off-site strategies that can boost your AdSense revenue. These simple tricks and tips can boost your AdSense earnings substantially in a short time.

5 Reasons Your Visitors Aren’t Clicking on Your AdSense Ads

The reasons your visitors aren’t clicking on your AdSense ads could be many and varied. Here are five common factors that can cause searchers to ignore advertisements and your site’s content altogether.

Ads Don’t Target Blog Audience

Having a website dedicated to online gaming that serves AdSense ads for women’s shoes isn’t well targeted to its audience. Your visitors simply have no interest in those products, so they don’t click on the ads for them. Google automatically uses contextual detection tools to gauge your site’s potential audience based on its content. Adding content every week that’s consistent with your site’s niche can help Google serve ads with greater potential for clicks. 

Change Your Ad Settings: Google allows AdSense advertisers to use interest-based options for serving ads. Interest-based advertising gives you a more effective targeting option to serve ads that are more relevant to your site’s visitors.

Aggressive Keyword Targeting

This issue isn’t your fault, but you can still do something about it. Overzealous keyword targeting at the start of an advertiser’s campaign can also cause ineffective ad placement. The company thought adding as many keywords as possible would lead to more conversions, but it polluted your site with irrelevant ads, causing anemic click-through rates (CTR).

Trim Your Keywords: During the first 90 days of your campaign, trim your keywords through your Adsense Dashboard to block the keywords and advertisers that don’t match your visitor interests. As more relevant ads show on your website, you should begin to see improving impressions and click-through rates.

AdSense Blocked for Your Website

If you’re a first-time webmaster, you or your hosting team could have blocked the Google AdSense bot and not realized it. Because the bot can’t crawl your site, it can’t serve any ads, which is why no one can click on them. Check if you did this by accident by typing “www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt” into a web browser window. If you see “Disallow: Mediapartners-Google” on the page, you need to fix this issue to allow Google ads to run on your website.

How to Fix Robots.txt: You need file transfer protocol (FTP) access to your site to adjust or create a robots.txt file. Once you’re logged into the FTP, remove the offending lines from the robots.txt file and add “User-agent: Mediapartners-Google” to the file. Leave the “Disallow:” line right underneath the User-agent line blank, like this:

User-agent: Mediapartners-Google

Disallow:

Ads Show Below the Fold

Content displaying below the fold has dramatically lower interaction rates than what visitors see when your site first loads in their browser window. Once visitors start to scroll down your homepage, their engagement diminishes. If you have AdSense ads displaying below the fold, they’ll probably suffer from similar drag.

Re-position Your Ads: Move your ads so that they appear higher on your homepage, which should help improve the number of clicks they receive. If optimizing placement doesn’t result in higher CTR, you may want to cut the total number of ads displayed on your site or check ad targeting as mentioned earlier.

Low Organic Traffic to Your Website

A site with low monthly organic traffic likely doesn’t rank on the first page of Google results for key terms with strong search volume behind them. Without steady search engine traffic to fuel impressions, your AdSense ads won’t have enough opportunities to generate clicks. Improving Google rankings and increasing organic traffic won’t happen overnight, but it’s necessary to drive qualified searchers to your website and ads.

Create High-Quality Content: Set up a weekly blogging schedule to talk about emerging topics in your industry, business promotions, and advice leveraging your expertise. Produce content that doesn’t exist anywhere else, and promote that content through your social media channels. As your site begins to acquire authority in your industry, through organic links to your content, social mentions, and a variety of other factors, you should begin to see improvement in traffic and placement in organic search results.

Improving search engine traffic and optimizing ad placement on your site is part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Address these ad concerns with a multi-pronged approach, and you could see more clicks and added website revenue sooner than later.

You’re not split testing

Split testing allows you to find the best position and settings for your ads that get the most clicks. Try a wordpress plugin like AmpedSense and watch your earnings grow.