Would you take $740 if I gave it to you? Most people would say Yes. My Google AdSense check came today. It’s for 548.65 euros, about $740 dollars. I get this check every month; payments range from $700 (low) to $1200 (highest). But, I’ve decided to stop using Google Adsense. Here’s why.
I’ve decided to phase out Adsense for different reasons. Here’s the background:
- When I started my online business, I had no products. Google Adsense was the simplest option. It acted as an interim solution until I had my own products.
- But it does work. I took this course from this guy and learnt how to really use Google Adsense. It paid for itself many times over.
- Earnings rose from $3 per month to over $1200 at its peak.
So, why stop? Here’s the problem.
What is Google Adsense? Well, it is not a Business Strategy. It’s a deluxe affiliate program. And a very good one but…
- Strategy – My long-term aim is to develop my own suite of digital products and earn from these. I want greater control.
- Ownership – I have no control of Adsense. If it disappears tomorrow (unlikely, but I’ve been bitten before) all my efforts is wasted. In the meantime, I could have developed or explored other options.
- Competition – While Adsense does very well, split testing with other products has shown that some of these earn as much, if not more.
- Customers – they have little interest in the ads and do their best to ignore them. Many complain that it’s irritating and/or visual pollution.
- Traffic – strangely enough, split testing pages with and without ads made little difference traffic wise. BUT, it reduced the number of comments on the site. When I removed the ads, the interaction improved, resulting in visitors staying longer. Banner Ads and other in-page adverts irritate users; I’ve never met a customer who asked me to put ads on a site.
Criteria for phasing out affiliate products
This creates a small dilemma. Do I phase out and/or remove Google Ads?
- At what point do I phase out an affiliate products?
- How long do I give an under-performing product before reviewing, pausing and/or removing it from the site?
- What criteria do I use to judge the performance of a product? Sales is the simplest/crudest indicator but, and this is my concern, if I switch the position of Adsense (i.e. place on the website) with another product, its sales numbers are negatively impacted. And the replacement product often performs better.
How To Use Google Adsense For Maximum Effect
Let’s not thrown out the baby with the bath-water. My current solution has been to:
- Placement – Move the ads to the lower left navigation. This space allows ‘skyscraper’ ads to appear there. These have high clickthru rates, i.e. higher payments. Position = rates.
- Video – This position also allows video ads to appear. Again, these have high click-thru rates.
- User Behavior – Articles that discuss high end products, such as digital cameras benefit from these skyscraper ads. These are rather eye-catching and, it seems, when people scroll to the end of the page, they click on the largest (i.e. easiest) option available. In this case, the skyscraper video ads work very well.
So, for now, we have reached a happy medium. I still use Google Adsense, even if it’s less prominent than previously.
Adsense Highest Performing Ad Sizes
Update: Google published a list of the highest performing ad sizes:
- 336×280 large rectangle
- 300×250 inline rectangle
- 160×600 wide skyscraper
I’d recommend the 160×600 wide skyscraper as it doesn’t distract the reader from your main content and sits nicely in the side of the page.
Which brings us back to Business Strategy…
Defining a strategy means choosing the most effective way to run your business. Google Adsense is ideal for those starting an online business – but you need to (and can) aim higher. Ultimately, you want to wean yourself off from low-performing affiliate programs and develop your own products, which of course, you can then market to your own army of affiliates!
See the difference?
Next week, I’ll show you how I’ve started to develop a strategy for a new small business site. It has no Google Adsense and no advertising – 100% digital products. If you’re interested, please bookmark this site and see how it works.
Do you agree with what I’ve done? Would you have done it different? Let me know below.