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Google AdSense Forum

Using AdSense Versus Selling Advertising Direct

 10:44 pm on Feb 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why are you still using adsense?

Lemme give you a real comparison. I know you're not supposed to disclose adsense numbers. Like that's not absurd to start with. Nevertheless, I know publishers in my niche make about $4/1000 impressions.

Let's compare what I do as a sideline, using a current ad campaign.

2.3MM impressions if running adsense:
$9200 to the publisher from adsense

However, I drummed up some direct advertisers and here's my numbers:
2.3MM impressions not running adsense:
$21600 to publishers
$14400 to me

Here's the tough question. would you rather earn $9200 or $21600?

I'm guessing it's $9200?



 11:24 pm on Feb 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

It depends on a number of things.

- finding direct advertisers is a lot of work,
- how's the long term situation with those direct advertisers ?
- following up complaints, payments, invoices, etc., gettign timely payments, dealign with international issues (most of my potential advertisers would live in a different continent) is all non-trivial and time consuming.
- I find a lot of direct advertisers not all that eager to pay - they want barter deals (pointless in most cases), charity etc. convincing them to pay is a lot of work and might not work at all as they might not have a budget to start with.
- quality of those advertisers that contact me themselves is usually of the level of "no way".

To me Google adsense is far from ideal. But it's little work, little follow-up, and brings in a steady and so far reliable long term stream enough to sustain the sites. Is it enough to live off: no, but I don't need it to be.
I can make more by running e.g. amazon banners for specific products in certain areas (mostly to promote on subject books once the users has clicked deep enough to be interested), and do so. This also removes some advertising blindness and I use those amazon ads also on a chance elsewhere on the site, in order not to use up the niche's decent ads over at google (although I'm slowly lowering that ratio due to the interest based stuff It's too hard to check it all and/or to even find the bottom feeders).

I think the bottom line is
9200 with little to no work or
21600 with a lot of work

I think some go for the 9200 on "auto pilot" and would rather put their effort in creating another 9200 auto pilot by having another successful site (and a next one after that etc.).
In the long run and if you can manage to get into many niches: you might gain more with less effort.


 11:48 pm on Feb 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why can't you do both? I do.


 11:56 pm on Feb 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Those look like a lot of excuses.

First, the publisher got paid $21600 with no work - they got it with LESS work than with adsense because I'm doing any work involved. The publishers simply cash the checks.And when they have questions, they can call my toll free number and speak to me (or email me) - not deal with the nonsense support problems I see people posting here with adsense questions - questions posted that don't get answered for days on end.

What work do I do for my $14K cut? Precious little. I bet I do less than 2 hours a month on average, for that money.

think some go for the 9200 on "auto pilot" and would rather put their effort in creating another 9200 auto pilot by having another successful site (and a next one after that etc.).

Really man, do the math. Person A makes $21600, while adsense person B makes $9200 and is doing the work to make another $9200 - and IF they're lucky, they've done twice the work and STILL aren't making as much money. That's the argument for adsense here?

If you want to throw in the work dealing with the advertisers, then you need to compare the $9200 with adsense with $36,000, not $21600.

I get the answer to my rhetorical question. The answer is, "I'm getting paid $9200 instead of $21,600 because I'm lazy". Perhaps seeing the numbers in black and white makes some folks a little less lazy. When people say you can make more money not using adsense, it's not a little bit more money - it's a lot more money.


 12:04 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

>>>Why can't you do both? I do.
Fair enough. The publishers I work with use adsense as low end backfill. Occassionally the ads aren't 100% sold out, or we geotarget countries nobody wants to advertise in, they get the adsense.


 12:05 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

>>>- how's the long term situation with those direct advertisers ?

3 years and counting.


 12:14 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

I also do both and am working to get more direct advertising. But as swa66 said, finding direct advertisers and working with them is a lot of work. Adsense in just easier. I do like having a life outside of work.


 12:19 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not working is easiest of all, and grosses out at $0.

Are people going to argue that going from $9200 to $21600 over a handful of weeks isn't worth doing some work? In many places that's a full time income right there - and it's not a full time job. (never mind that I already adressed the amount of work involved. 2 hours a month isn't 'work').

So we're still at the only arguement for adsense being "it pays s*** but I don't have to do any work'? That's what adsense boils down to?

People, give your head a shake. If you're willing to put in some work, there's a lot more money out there just waiting to be had.


 12:38 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

All very easily written wheel however when a site has a very big international audience selling ads direct is a nightmare ... even the magazines in my widget industry have big problems and they've been doing for years.


 12:43 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

So your direct advertisers are paying you $9.39/1000 impressions. They are paying $5.88/1000 on AdSense ($13,530 x 0.68% = $9200)

Couple of questions:

Why would they pay $3.51 (60%) more/1000 impressions to advertise with you when they could have paid less to advertise with AdSense (On a competitors site or a site outside your niche)?

What if some of us are making more than $9.39/1000 with AdSense. Let's say I'm making $10/1000 with AdSense. Is it reasonable to believe a direct advertiser is going to pay me $16 which would be 60% more?


 1:41 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Why can't you do both? I do.

Right, there's no reason a publisher can't do both. DoubleClick for Publishers (including DFP for Small Business) allows publishers to sell ads in-house and have those same ads compete against AdSense for the highest price or simply run in different spots, so you can have both or either/or.


 2:04 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

>>>>So your direct advertisers are paying you $9.39/1000 impressions. They are paying $5.88/1000 on AdSense ($13,530 x 0.68% = $9200)

No, my direct advertisers are paying $20-$25/1000. Yeah, that's right - 5-6 times what the payout is through adsense.

Is that reasonable? Apparently so, because it's happening every month.

Instead of defending adsense, how about taking a hard look at how much this laziness is costing you. Everyone knows that adsense pays less than the alternative - I just publicly put some actual hard numbers to that.

Don't you find it offensive that adsense is paying you 1/5 of what you can get on the retail market? Or is it just too much work :).


 2:09 am on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Not everyone can sell direct advertising. Not everyone wants to. Some people just want to write. Some just want to run their businesses. Some just care about recouping their hosting costs.

More to the point, why are you in here trolling for a fight? We've got tons of posts in here that talk about how there's more money (and a heck of a lot more control) in direct ads. This is not new information. Some people just choose not to go down that route. That doesn't necessarily make them lazy.


 8:01 pm on Feb 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Having done both I can easily comment on this topic.

While it's easy to say you're losing so much money there's a pretty decent amount of infrastructure and knowledge involved to deal directly with advertisers. Most webmasters probably don't know what a media kit is, a flight, or many of the terms just to discuss the topic, let alone implement an ad rotation system, nor do they even have a merchant account to process ad payments.

Also, not all sites have the traffic volume to even warrant attracting advertisers on their own, nor are they staffed to handle advertisers, nor to they have the ad handling technology to manage the advertisers.

I happen to have the technology, the media kits, and self-service automated advertising signups to customers can spend as much or as little as they like buying ads 24/7.

Way back when I used to sell to really big companies (fortune 500) and had them running ads directly on my site sending me checks of $30K per campaign or doing $1 per click, etc. The problem was I quickly ended up working for big companies because every single day is was some new request about this or that, demographic, geoIP delivery, etc. It's more than a one-man show can deliver unless you no longer want to work on your site and do nothing but service the advertisers.

Eventually I let those big advertisers fall off my radar and switch to the self-serve smaller advertiser model, made less money but had a lot less headaches.

Then AdSense came alone and started giving me big fat checks for no extra work whatsoever.

Yes, I still sell directly to advertisers simply because I have the infrastructure in place and it doesn't take much effort to keep it going but I'm not sure if I started today that I would even attempt to sell direct again simply because it was a pain to set up.

However, if I were going to set up a direct ad system today to test the waters I'd probably use Paypal to sell ads and OpenX to deliver them.

Then of couse AdSense would be used to fill all the unsold inventory.

The simple truth is AdSense brings many advertisers and many publishers together in such an easy way for both the advertiser and publisher that it's really hard to break out of that model for either

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