When you are building a website and want to make money from it, one of the first questions you are likely to ask is "How much money can you make with Google AdSense?" It is a fair question because honestly, that number can change based on a lot of factors.
How much traffic does your site have? What type of ads will Google run on your site? How much money are advertisers willing to pay per click?
It is important that you ask those questions. A lot of people just hear about the success stories of other people making money on the internet and think that it is easy and anybody can do it. The reality is you can make as much money with Google AdSense as you are willing to put effort in. It's not easy money, it takes work and skill, just like anything else in life.
The Key Factors In Making Money With Google AdSense
There are many factors you need to consider when trying to estimate how much money you can make with AdSense. The most obvious factors people look at are traffic and estimated cost per click. What you might not consider is ad placement and ad design/type. Also, you now have to consider your audience's device in your AdSense ad strategy. If you aren't looking at all the factors, you are leaving money on the table.
Website Traffic and Pageviews
The only way you are going to make money with advertising on the internet is if you have an audience. You need people to visit your website and in the case of Google AdSense, some small portion of those people need to click on your ads. If nobody clicks your ads, then you aren't going to make money. That's just the way it is.
On average anywhere from 1-10% of your visitors might click on an ad, so just to be safe assume some low number like 1%. To calculate how much your ads are worth, you can take the cost per click and multiply it by the number of clicks you can expect to get based on your traffic. So, if you have 100 page views and a click through rate of 1%, you will get 1 click on average. If your CPC (cost per click) is $1, then you might make $1 per 100 page views. The same formula is used to determine CPM, which is the cost per 1,000 ad views. In the case of the above estimate, you are looking at a CPM of $10.
Now, given an average CPM, it becomes pretty obvious how traffic impacts how much money you can make with Google AdSense. At $10 CPM, you need 10,000 pageviews to make $100. Next time you see a picture of someone holding up an AdSense check, think about how much traffic they needed to make that money. For many people, it is not possible to get that much traffic.
The question for you is, how much traffic do you think you can get to your website? How much are you already getting? Traffic is going to play a big role in how much money you can make from Google AdSense.
How Much Will Advertisers Pay?
You have to look at the cost per click, or CPC, numbers to get an idea of how much advertisers are willing to pay. It is as simple as that. If you are writing about a topic that advertisers aren't buying ads for, you aren't going to get paid much. For example, say you write a lot about something without a lot of advertisers like "white snow in the north pole". There are no advertisers trying to sell products or services in the north pole really. If there are advertisers, they aren't paying much because there is no competition. That means the CPC will be very low for your ads.
Imagine instead you write a lot about "diamond engagement rings". Guess what? There are a lot of businesses that want to sell diamond engagement rings because they sell for a lot of money and have a good markup. Think about every mall you go shop in or when you watch television for a while. There are tons of jewelry stores that want to sell diamond engagement rings. They all pay a fortune in advertising to get people to buy their products. On the internet, that high level of advertising spend and competition means you are going to see a higher CPC for the ads you run on your site. That means each click is worth more and you will make more.
Ad Placement Is Paramount
How often do you click on ads on the internet?
If you are like most people, it isn't often. Now, second question.
How often do you click small ads at the bottom of a long webpage?
I'm guessing never.
This is common sense right? People don't click on ads often to begin with. Putting ads in places where people aren't likely to click on them doesn't make a whole lot of sense as a publisher or an advertiser. That is why ad placement is so important to Google AdSense. If you have bad ad placement, you will have a low click through rate (also called CTR). If you click through rate is low, you will get fewer clicks and make less money.
So what does a good ad placement look like? Well, it usually boils down to one rule. Ads that are close to the content get clicked.
If you put ads closer to the content, they are more likely to be seen and clicked on. It's a pretty simple idea, but it's one that a lot of websites mess up over and over again. So, you have to have a good ad placement near the content. Some sites will put their main ad block inside the first paragraph of an article and that can work really well if it makes sense for your design. Also a large leaderboard ad at the top of the page can work well.
Also, Google AdSense limits you to three ads. If you want to maximize your earnings you are going to have the most success focusing on having just one ad unit and getting the best placement for that ad on your site. Then, consider a second, but many times you'll make more by having just one or two ads, than if you try and put ads all over your site.
Ad Design and Mobile Devices
A lot of times people slap ads on their site with no thought to the design and how it will impact click through rates or overall user experience. Also, with mobile devices, you can assume everybody is going to be visiting your website on a laptop of desktop computer. Mobile traffic can be as high as 50% on many websites. If your ad design is solely based on traditional computers, you are missing out on a lot of opportunity.
Google now provides a responsive ad block which works well with mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets. However, if your site isn't built for responsive design, this is not going to make sense for you. If you want to make the most money possible from Google AdSense, your site is going to need to be responsive. Otherwise you will be creating a bad user experience for more and more people who come to your site. More than that, people will leave your site without ever clicking on an ad.
So how much money can you make with Google AdSense?
If you can do well with all the things above, you can make a lot of money with Google AdSense. Some people make thousands of dollars a month with AdSense. Other people make $10 a month with AdSense. It boils down to how much traffic you can get, your ad placement, your niche, and your site design. If you get good at those things, you can make a lot. If you are bad at any of those things, you will be leaving money on the table. In some cases, you might be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Article posted on February 14, 2014
Top image by: charles_chan