| This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43 (  2 ) > > || |
|Affiliate links vs Adsense|
I'm still not 100% certain that my experiences are exclusive, a trend, temporary or what. It's still possible that technical type issues or smart pricing are affecting my income. I'm not sure how many would agree that Google has tightened the belt on clicks that count or click that count and pay well. It's that "quality traffic" buzzword they keep talking about.
I bring this up because for me, Adsense is and always has been the lowest paying. In my situation there is pretty much an affiliate program which would/could replace my Adsense units. Yes I've had both Adsense and affiliate codes on the same site.
It really comes down to this. If getting decent click payouts from Adsense continues it suddenly becomes a situation where you make a choice. Lots of low paying clicks vs big payouts which occur more rarely. The conundrum is that IF you need glorious traffic sent to Adsense advertisers to pay well, then why wouldn't you look at sending those converting glorious peeps to an affiliate where you can get paid a big chunk of cash?
There is a threshold to this and I'm approaching it on a few of my sites. I can look at relatively pathetic click payouts or just bite the bullet and get conversions via affiliate links which make it worth more my while. If my traffic is so good or has to be so good and valuable, then the best solution is getting the best payout which would be affiliate links.
So it's really this or is becoming this. Get paid pennies on a weekly basis or get a chunk of cash once a week or once every couple weeks. The question is whether that affiliate chunk is going to out perform all those Adsense clicks.
So in summary, if you need great traffic to get juicy or good paying Adsense clicks, then ultimately you're passing up on making bigger money by sending those people directly to the affiliate links. So do you think that by having Adsense you are eating your other arm?
I know everyone is doing excellent with their Adsense incomes lately so this may be a niche discussion. If I'm required to have "gold star" traffic clicking ads who convert well, then I'm sending those people to an affiliate program instead. I just can't decide quite yet whether I wait this out of just pick a site and do it. It's a tough call.
In closing, if it's true that you need better and better converting Adsense clicks, then this crossroad is inevitable. It really comes down to if 1 affiliate conversion is worth 10, 100, or 500 Adsense clicks. The dilemma is that you won't know how this plays out until you remove Adsense entirely and just put some affiliate links. Otherwise you might be sending those converting clicks to Adsense and not your affiliate link. Sounds strange saying it that way.
Is anyone jumping ship as an experiment?
[edited by: MrSavage at 4:53 pm (utc) on Jul 14, 2012]
The only issue is that AdSense is my primary income. Now if I believe what you say; and by all means I'm game; is there a definitive set of steps which can coerce me to believe that I should remove AdSense and go for another means of income (what would that be) ?
Affiliate and AdSense aren't mutually exclusive. You can have them both. How much of a distraction one is to the other is up to you.
AdSense doesn't require much effort on your part - you just set it and forget it. You are prohibited from encouraging anyone to look at it, much less click on it.
But with Affiliate offers, you get to do your own selling. In fact, it pretty much won't work unless you do. Very few people just whip out their credit cards because they saw a link or banner on your site; you have to warm them up first.
I use AdSense where I have a lot of traffic, but it's not entirely targeted enough (other than maybe by location) to the point that I could promote the proper affiliate offers. I've tried them, and they don't work as well here. Direct ads are also a good choice for this type of site, and I'm doing more of that now.
I use Affiliate on smaller sites, where there is less traffic, but it's more focused on a single theme or issue, and the people who come there want to find solutions for that issue. I might tuck an AdSense ad in a corner here or there, but for the most part, I only want the users to concentrate on the Aff offers.
For me it's kind of a whole different set of user behaviors that determine what I use where.
Netmeg I'm just curious if you're of the mindset that the "gold star" adsense traffic provides you the best paying clicks, but if those people are indeed "gold star" and will buy something, isn't it better to get the big payout via affiliate links? I suppose it depends whether you believe that when you get a good Adsense click it means you've sent away a converting affiliate click. I'm just not convinced yet where the line is on this. This whole "quality traffic" says to me yeah, obviously converting clicks is the nirvana and if it is, then I'm going for the big kahuna clicks via affiliate links and not the Adsense clicks.
Anyways, I'm going out to enjoy the summer with my tent and laptop.
|I'm just not convinced yet where the line is on this. |
And that's exactly what you have to find out for *your* site. I can say that AdSense and affiliate programs happily coexist on some sites and on some sites one works better than the other. You have to test to find the sweet spot.
> I know everyone is doing excellent with their Adsense incomes lately so this may be a niche discussion.
Not me. Worst AdSense year so far.
Each time I've tried affiliate links in place of AdSense it turns out to be a big disappointment for me. The only way you'll know for sure is to try it on your site or certain pages and see the results you can get for yourself.
|Each time I've tried affiliate links in place of AdSense it turns out to be a big disappointment for me |
Affiliate links alone rarely work.
I've always done reasonably well with Amazon BUT that is with products [mainly books] wholly relevant to the topic under discussion.
Banner links don't work and random affiliate links only marginally better.
You have to SELL if you want affiliate marketing to work; the set-it-and-forget-it method you use with AdSense just won't work. And it's not appropriate for many of my sites. That traffic is too untargeted to match up to specific affiliate offers. So for those sites, I'll use AdSense and direct ads.
My AdSense EPC is very high this year, almost three times what it was last year, so that works for me. YMMV.
Can you stop "skiting" [an Australian expression] when I go -20%/+100% around a nebulous, krap, [NOT ADSENSE] Goggle Animal Farm traffic scenario?
I can live with those CTR variations [GRRRR!], I can live with those [minor] EPC variations...
Mr. Google keeps promoting garbage results in all my searches...
Matt might not wake up yet but, the average punter will.
Um, I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you are asking, but I think you are asking about Google organic search results and traffic.
Most of my niches (but not all) get a lot of Google traffic. But they don't *only* get Google traffic.
Organic Google traffic isn't the answer for every niche. Even if it used to be the answer, it might not be the answer in 2012. Things change. Google changes. Google screws up. Competitors rise (both legitimate and scum).
If you want more control, then you have to TAKE control. I do a ton of Facebook promotion, because a lot of my users are there. I don't do ads, I do it via my Facebook Fan pages, where I can interact with my thousands and thousands of users just like it was a mailing list (plus they pass my stuff around for me, bringing in new fans - how cool is that?). I do some email list building; I'm trying to figure out how to do a lot more. Some of my clients are actually still doing most of their business via print catalogs and direct mail. Another client is trying to figure out if his B2B business can do something similar on LinkedIn to what I'm doing on Facebook.
If Google is screwing with the search results in your niche, you have three choices:
- Wait for Google to get it right - zzzz
- Find a niche where you can do better
- Reduce dependency on Google, and take control of your users yourself
#2 and 3 require a lot more work. Whether or not you want to bother is up to you. I seem to remember that you (IanCP) have mentioned that you haven't really added much to your site in some time, as your information is evergreen. That's great, but everything else around you has changed drastically. And we're probably not going back (and specially Google isn't going back).
Trust me, I know it all sounds exhausting; it IS exhausting, and I ain't no spring chicken, either. But it's also kind of fun, specially when it works.
|The question is whether that affiliate chunk is going to out perform all those Adsense clicks. |
For me at least, lately my AdSense clicks are getting fatter than many of my affiliate leads/sales, and I've been thinking going the other way round. Besides, affiliates are just too much work for the return.
Also, I'm beginning to think that AdSense is now becoming a kind of 'smart' lead/CPA network too that rewards more for various cleverly detected CPAs... by beginning with a smallish 'base' CPC, and if a good quality interaction/CPA follows that click on the landing page, it increases the CPC and rewards more. But that's just me thinking. :)
When I have an article on a specific product or service, I typically use an affiliate link. This is because most of the visitors to that specific article are there after searching for more info on that product or service and are thus in "buying mode" for it.
If my article is more general or about a free event, etc. I'll place Adsense code, as those visitors are not typically in buying mode, but an ad may be displayed that catches their interest anyway (maybe interest based from a previous search).
The above works well for me.
nutmeg, in terms of the OP question, I am guessing from your reply above that you are going the affiliate route, rather than Adsense route? List building and social media traffic, to me, is more about in-bound marketing of specific services/products than generating traffic to information content monetized by ads.
Or did I miss something?
Adsense is the lazy man's way to monetize traffic. Itís truly a: copy it, paste it, and forget it.
Google take the lion share of the risk, and work, so publishers get pennies.
I say, if you make $1,000 a month from Adsense, your traffic is really worth around 10 xs or $10,000 if you took the time to monetize it yourself.
There are a few ways to monetize:
Email List for follow up Affiliate Offers
You Own Comparable Product
Selling of Targeted Leads Direct to Suppliers
Cross Branding Sites/Products
And much more.
Adsense give you easy lazy access to cash, and pays immediate per click. Adsense also take risk of showing an ad, and finding the advertisers. If you are willing to delay payments, find offers, and wait for Affiliate Offers, Brand, Build Email List, Wait on the Sale Funnel with longer conversion time, and pick up the phone call sellers, you can increase your earning 10X easy.
|Google take the lion share of the risk, and work, so publishers get pennies. |
I thought we got 68% which, to me, is just over double what Google receives?
It's also very easy to say there are alternatives when one has a reasonably large site and one is in the USA ... Try doing it with smaller sites outside of the USA, you'll soon find there is no alternative.
|I say, if you make $1,000 a month from Adsense, your traffic is really worth around 10 xs or $10,000 if you took the time to monetize it yourself. |
I'd say it all depends on the site's niche. 10X sounds great and if someone actually does that I'm happy for them. Also, maybe there are companies that provide the service but if 10X is the number I'd be willing to split it with whoever could do it for me...cause then I'd be at 5X and retired 5X sooner. Just saying 10X sounds great but I doubt it would happen for many people.
|...if you make $1,000 a month from Adsense, your traffic is really worth around 10 xs or $10,000 if you took the time to monetize it yourself. |
Not necessarily. As previously stated by others, affiliate won't work as well unless it's in a contextually relevant spot with an audience that's vising your site with a credit card more or less nearby. In other words, they are close to clicking the buy now button on a purchase and they just need a reason to do it. One of the affiliate marketing scenarios is to cultivate site visitors who want to buy a specific product and then provide them with the reason to make the purchase, to give them the OK to go ahead and buy it.
The affiliate model calls for a page created specifically for attracting a specific visitor (on the review cycle for a specific product or a newb trying to do better in their hobby for example) via search (think keyword ranking) or inbound links from a specific context. It is amazing how high the conversion rate can go with an exact match URL and an exact match content added to an affiliate link that exactly matches the context. A specific visitor is cultivated. Next the landing page is created, which can be a funnel with a hard or soft marketing message, depending on the product etc. That's a lot of work.
AdSense allows web publishers to monetize space that hasn't been cultivated to such a degree. It's the context and cultivation that determines how well AdSense or Affiliate works. A $1,000 AdSense check may be exactly what that traffic is worth because it won't necessarily earn that much with affiliate links.
As I posted in the post about How to Earn More With AdSense [webmasterworld.com] that's stickied to the top of this forum, if you want to be a success with AdSense, do yourself a favor and research the Affiliate Forum [webmasterworld.com] to get your mind around how site visitors can be cultivated to convert. Failure to understand how site visitors convert, failure to understand what contexts are conducive to conversions is often what is to blame with an underperforming AdSense ad unit. This might be a "new reality" for the OP but it has been the actual reality since before AdSense existed.
|nutmeg, in terms of the OP question, I am guessing from your reply above that you are going the affiliate route, rather than Adsense route? List building and social media traffic, to me, is more about in-bound marketing of specific services/products than generating traffic to information content monetized by ads. |
Sorry, I didn't see this before. I am going both routes. My heavy traffic sites are suitable mostly only for AdSense; the audiences are very generalized, and they're not coming to me to buy, they're coming for information.
My smaller and more niche-y sites are created to promote specific affiliate offers. There, I'm only going after people who are likely to want what I offer.
(As an aside, I and my developer are also putting together a couple apps and maybe some plugins to fill needs that don't seem to exist yet)
Diversify. Diversify. Diversify. It's the new black.
Some lowly paid person at Google can look at your site later today, decide that (in his/her opinion) it isn't good enough quality or you've optimised your CTR too well and your adsense income comes to a full stop with very little chance of you ever getting it back again. It happened to me a couple of years ago and it's one of the best things that could have happened.
I did some deals with merchants that used to benefit from the ads on my sites and now I get a much better EPC, much more control over how I do my marketing, far more security since I'm dealing with several companies instead of one so if any of them mess me about I can switch the business elsewhere within minutes. Adsense? No thanks. I'd rather deal with Beelzebub himself than Google.
I'm surprised you're still interested in it enough to hang out in the AdSense forum.
Google doesn't often lower the rankings of a page just because it has adsense, unless it's an obvious MFA site of course, but sprinkle a few affiliate links into a site and they very well may be treated as poison by search.
I have added adsense to a page and watched as it maintained its rankings/traffic from search and then replaced the adsense with a single affiliate offer and watched it be removed from its top rankings(-200) and receive no traffic. Removing the affiliate offer in favor of adsense resulted in the rankings returning, 5 spots lower and 5 months later, and some Google traffic returning as well.
Google treats pages with affiliate offers much more strictly, apparently. If all of your traffic comes from search engines, especially Google, be very light handed with affiliate offers.
|I'm surprised you're still interested in it enough to hang out in the AdSense forum. |
What she said.
I have tried various things to monetise my websites, I usually rely on a variety of means. Adsense, direct banner ads, affiliate - and affiliate pays by far the least. I think it is very website and topic dependent.
|sprinkle a few affiliate links into a site and they very well may be treated as poison by search |
Then you're just not doing it quite right. It takes much more than "sprinkling" some links into a site to be successful at affiliate sales.
The only place Iíve found affiliate links out performing Adsense is where I replaced a 728x15 Adsense link bar.
I primarily use CPM ads and although they (and Adsense) rates continue to drop (now averaging about $0.50 CPM) they still pay 5-10 times the rates I recieve when trying affiliate links in the same spots.
Iíd suggest that anyone with 100 or more uniques a day apply to Valueclick & Burst Media as another option. Capping their ads at 3 or 4 and defaulting the remainder to Adsense & affiliate links should increase the value of each space.
As the OP of this, I've since had a bit of time to think a bit more on the subject.
People are suggesting affiliate links are only suitable in some situation. I would think it affiliate links don't fit with what you're doing, then you're not building towards the future. I'm sure some will thrive in the future but to be reliant on Adsense and have a site that can't also incorporate affiliate links? I personally would much rather look at my sites and ask myself could these survive with affiliate links only. If the answer is yes, then I would be more inclined to invest time in working on that site.
I will say somebody made a good point about not being in the USA or not having enough traffic that can utilize affiliate links because of where their traffic resides. Fair enough. I go back to my own preference. If Adsense is my sole or next to only source of revenue, I'm moving on in most cases. I've had enough of a reality check in 2012 to know the future is far from stable regarding Adsense.
I will agree with kickaxe. I only wish I could put up what I felt would be a reasonable number but the reality is that I can't put what I want.
Overall my feeling is the same. My sites are better without having large ad units. Less ads is better for the user right? That's a fact. I'm willing to sacrifice some real estate if that pays off. With that said when I can make in one affiliate sale that would take a month worth of ad clicks or worse? It's whatever floats your boat. It's all about a tipping point. Most people can't wait for that one payday from an affiliate sale and would rather see a steady and daily stream of nickels. It's either or. I'm just saying that in my situation and analysis, Adsense is not what is was even in 2011 and I don't think it's just me or my sites or content or rankings.
The main point is that the better Adsense gets for the advertiser, the worse it gets for the publisher. If you're getting get paying clicks then in todays world, that would say you're missing out on great converting traffic that wants to buy something now. In a sense you might just know when it's time to float affiliate links and reduce an ad unit or two. Perhaps it's the wrong thing to say here, I'm not sure. We're publishers talking to other publishers so why can't we talk about strategy and what might be the future?
This forum is filled with strategy, in a general sense. Nobody's advocating putting all eggs in the Google basket but everyone isn't cut out for affiliate marketing, just as everyone isn't cut out for making money with AdSense. If you're lucky, you can figure out how to make both work (along with other things) to the point where the loss of any one won't put you out of business.
I have no problem with sites that are monetized totally with AdSense, and I have some. The difference is, while I believe they'll continue to grow and earn, I also know they might not, so I'm not dependent on them. I'd miss the income if it went away, but I'd still be able to pay the bills.
|People are suggesting affiliate links are only suitable in some situation. I would think it affiliate links don't fit with what you're doing, then you're not building towards the future. |
No, not really. Not all sites can be monetized by affiliate marketing.
Unlike a passive program like AdSense an affiliate marketing pages have to be set up to actively sell. You have to point out the link to visitors. You have to tell visitors the benefit of clicking the link. You have to urge them to take a certain action when they get to the sponsor's page. And, most importantly, you have to make them reach for a credit card.
Again, it's not AdSense. You can't just slap up some links and let them ride.
I don't think I summarized my point clearly enough.
In my opinion, clicks are getting more and more scrutinized by Adsense. The increased click competition may cause Google to set the bar a bit higher so that advertisers don't have to pay nearly as much for traffic that clicks, but doesn't really result in an action.
Ironically, I see this as a good thing. If I'm getting big clicks or good Adsense results, then obviously my traffic is gold. I can use my Adsense to judge whether my traffic is converting high, medium or low. The point is that if I am seeing big clicks etc, then the reality is that I'm resorting for the lowest possible return on those clicks (Adsense). If the traffic is so good that I'm sending, then frankly a smart person would start looking at the best paying options for that gold star traffic. Get it? If clicks are cashing out well in Adsense in 2012 and beyond that should be telling you that those same clicks would be butter for converting via affiliate links instead.
I see this more as a trend rather than so much today. I'm talking about the trend of getting better Adsesne cheques and bigger higher paying clicks. If I get a huge click now, I can't help but think that I missed a chance at making 10x or greater via an affiliate link instead. The better Google makes it for the advertisers they are going to be slowly adding to that often heard sediment about what happened to those big payouts.
Obviously affiliate links pay out much less often than a click. It's life. The better something is, the harder it is to acquire. I would suggest that most people reading this haven't had the courage to even experiment outside of the comfort of Adsense or at least a experiment with offering a greater mix of affiliate links and Adsense on the same page.
Oh yes I forgot. It's so much work having to add those affiliate links and get people to convert. Really? If you're not passionate enough about the subject of your site then yeah you won't convince anyone about anything. I suppose I could think of a site that couldn't utilize affiliate links but that's time wasted. I'm just thinking I would really ahve to struggle to come up with a website/topic in which I couldn't use both Adsense and affiliate links together.
| This 43 message thread spans 2 pages: 43 (  2 ) > > |