What is Google AdSense & Why Use It to Monetize?

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What is Google AdSense?

We’ve all read the stories of uber-bloggers making a killing from their blogs. Many of the stories are inspirational. Many of them have persuaded us to dip our toes into the blogging waters to try to earn a little (or a lot) extra side-income. However, it takes a long time to carve out substantial financial rewards from blogging. The trick is to start small and work your way up. Google AdSense is a great way to start monetizing your blog, in particular if you’re a blogging newbie. But what IS Google AdSense and why is it particularly suited to new bloggers?

In this post I’ll explain:

  • Precisely what Google AdSense is.
  • How it works.
  • Why AdSense is particularly good for new bloggers.

This last point is especially pertinent if you’re a new blogger, because AdSense provides one of the simplest way to monetize your blog.

Overview: What is AdSense?

Founded in 2003, Google AdSense is a system that distributes advertisements from the Google Ads advertising platform to sites in Google’s content network. To join the content network, sites must apply to the AdSense program and Google must approve you. Successful applicants become “publishers” in the content network and therefore eligible to display AdSense ads.

Once approved publishers must have small pieces of code placed on their site, which the AdSense system uses to deploy context relevant ads automatically. AdSense is smart enough to understand the topic of pages and it delivers ads likely to interest those visiting them.

As with all forms of advertising, the more targeted the ad the more likely the audience will engage with it. This is great for publishers because AdSense pays you based upon engagement.

How Does Google AdSense Pay Publishers?

I mentioned above that Google Ads is the system that delivers content ads to the AdSense publisher network. Advertisers pay Google to show their ads in Google’s various advertising platforms. For ads shown in the content network, Google shares some of the revenue paid by advertisers with AdSense publishers… here’s where the monetization happens!

However, in order for publishers to receive a revenue share, there has to be engagement with any ads displayed. Google measures these engagements by monitoring either:

  • Clicks.
  • or Impressions.

Clicks on ads (also known as CPC) generate a revenue share for each ad clicked. Impressions (known as CPM) generate a revenue share for every 1,000 times ads are shown.

By far the most popular ads on the content network are CPC, since these drive a far more attractive engagement to most advertisers who want to drive traffic to their sites. CPC also requires less visitors for a publisher to earn a revenue share from AdSense. You can see that if your blog receives less than a thousand visitors a month, you stand more of a chance of earning money from AdSense with clicks rather than with impressions.

The amount of revenue generated for CPC and CPM varies according to advertiser bids on the Google Ads platform. This largely relates to the competitiveness of the advertiser niche and the value each advertiser attributes to the engagement they seek.

Google Adsense Ad Types

AdSense publishers can choose to display a number of different ad formats:

  • Text.
  • Images.
  • Animations.
  • Video.

Within these formats publishers may choose to display a variety of different ad sizes, according to the layout of their sites: ad blocks can have specific dimensions or be responsive. This means that publishers can integrate ads into their pages and posts in the most seamless way for their blogs so as not to interrupt visitor experience. Of course for ads to get clicks, visitors need to see them, so there is a balance to strike between seamless integration, visitor experience and engagement.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that some ad formats tend to perform better for publishers than others, driving more engagement and earning more money in the process.

The Steps to Setting Up AdSense

Before you apply to the AdSense program you’ll need to create a Google Account).

  1. Visit the Google Adsense sign up page and provide the required information about your blog.
  2. Add the AdSense code to you pages.
  3. Submit your blog for approval.
  4. Wait for Google to feedback.

It’s a pretty straightforward process though you should bear in mind your blog will need to reach certain requirements for approval and not every application is successful. These requirements include:

  • Publishers should be 18 years of age and older.
  • You must observe Google Webmaster Guidelines.
  • Your blog must not include content prohibited by Google, such as illegal content, intellectual property abuse and sexually explicit content. There is a full list of prohibited content here: Google Publisher Policies.
  • You do not link to websites or blogs that have a dubious reputation or include content prohibited by Google.
  • Your blog must contain original and high quality content.

You must be able to show that you’re serious about your blog and unlikely to abuse the system (as spammers try to do). So I would add the following to the above list:

  • Don’t apply to become an AdSense publisher on a brand new domain (less than 3-4 months old).
  • Make sure you have a good number of posts under your belt (i.e. more than 30).
  • Show that you publish posts regularly.
  • Don’t apply until your blog is receiving visitors. I have heard some people recommend no less than 100 unique visitors per day but I’ve had AdSense approved with less traffic.

Once approved you must ensure you do not break Google’s policies since you can be suspended… and if that happens you won’t receive any payments owed.

Why is Google AdSense Good for New Bloggers?

AdSense is a great way for new bloggers to monetize a blog for several reasons.

  • It’s relatively straightforward to get up and running. You need to hit the requirements I’ve listed above, but there aren’t the stringent visitor number requirements (and high numbers at that) demanded by some other ad platforms.
  • The only technical requirement is adding the AdSense code to your blog. You can handle this with specific plugins (WordPress, Drupal, etc.) if you’re uncomfortable adding code to your page templates.
  • AdSense a widely used platform (perhaps the most widely used on the Web) and it’s easy to customize ad blocks to make them suit the look and feel of your blog.
  • It’s reliable… as long as you play by the rules. You needn’t worry about suspension and losing owed revenues unless you’re a spammer abusing the AdSense system.
  • It takes less time to set up AdSense than it does to build other more complex and involved monetization strategies, so it’s a solid solution while you’re building out your blog traffic.

That’s it for now. Thanks for visiting!


Do you have experience with Google AdSense? Let me know about it in the comments section below.

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4 Comments on "What is Google AdSense & Why Use It to Monetize?"

  1. A detailed impressive guide for newbies who wanna start earning through blogging. Thank you for tips!

  2. Great post Paul. I wish that I had this much information on AdSense when I first started because I had no clue what I was doing!

    AdSense is an excellent way to dip your toes into the way ads work and how ads can generate income. It takes a while to paid from AdSense if your blog has little traffic.

    This is a good time to experiment with different traffic sources to see if any of them improve ad income.

    When the pin scheduling tool BoardBooster was still around, it brought me a lot of traffic and boosted my ad income quickly. I was halfway to that $100 pay out in no time.

    After the app shut down, I watched my AdSense income stall, which was a great learning experience. I immediately set out to find a new source of traffic and when I did, I started generating more income again.

    I encourage all new bloggers to try AdSense, because some bloggers love ads and some do not. It is good to figure out which you are early on so you can either learn more or discard the idea. Blogging is so educational! lol

    • Great comment Irma… thanks for taking the time to add value to the post!

      I don’t advocate spammy “made for AdSense” sites, but I think some people are snooty about ads, period. In my view, as long as you are selective in how many you display, why not try to make a little extra with them.

      Thanks again for your considered comment.

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