What can you learn about Google AdSense from 80’s rap group Public Enemy? One simple fundamental truth: don’t believe the hype!
Public Enemy wasn’t talking about Adsense, of course.
Their message was aimed at the hype in 80’s media like TV and radio. But as the internet has eclipsed these media forms, the hype has only increased.
This is especially true on a subject like making money through AdSense.
Who exactly can you trust? The site claiming that anyone can make $10,000 per day on AdSense in less than a month? That’s an exciting thought.
But Public Enemy would probably warn you again, “don’t believe the hype!”
In an effort to cut through the hype surrounding AdSense, let’s examine how much it really pays.
Our goal is to give you, the aspiring online entrepreneur, a clear picture of how much money you might actually make on Google AdSense. Our discussion here will be useful to you, whether you’ve just heard of AdSense or are actively planning to get started in it.
For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to assume that you already have a basic idea of what AdSense is. If not, we’d encourage you to visit this post explaining what AdSense is all about.
When Does Google AdSense Pay You?
Generally, you can expect a payment on the 21st of the following month. Meaning your payment for January would be issued February 21st.
This doesn't mean that you'll receive it on that day and it depends on the form of payment you chose initially. You can get paid via EFT's, wire transfers, checks, and Western Union.
Your payment only goes through if you have exceeded the payment threshold and don't have any payment holds. The payment threshold for US Dollars is $100.
To begin our discussion of what AdSense really pays, let’s look internally. Human Proof Designs’ founder Bryon has posted his monthly income online in the past. A report from September, for example, shows he made $26 on AdSense in that month alone.
This AdSense income is impressive because of the relatively minimal effort expended. Bryon earns $26, relatively passively each month. In real world terms, that $26 is enough for a nice dinner at a restaurant or perhaps a few days of groceries. But we could do better…
At this point we've found better advertising partnerships to work with for our portfolio sites.
What About Big Money From Adsense?
There are people who build and profit from sites completely monetized via Adsense.
As proof, check out the marketplace section of Empire Flippers or this post from John Dykstra on how he's built up an AdSense business.
For those that aren't familiar with Empire Flippers, it's an online marketplace for buying and selling income-producing websites. In their marketplace, you can see all the sites for sale and how each site is making money. Look in the “monetization” column.
There, you’ll see Adsense as the income source for a number of the sites on sale. Each of the sites on sale also lists their net profit.
See the financial website with earnings of $388.59 per month? Depending on when you’re reading this, the financial website may or may not still be up for sale. Regardless, though, it’s a great example of the kind of earnings that come with just a bit more attention to AdSense.
Moving up the ladder from the financial website, you can see other websites that are earning substantially greater net profits. A beauty and cosmetics website, for example, easily cracks the $1K threshold. This site’s earnings come in at a tidy $1,496.51 net profit per month.
In real-world terms, that’s enough to pay your rent on a reasonably sized apartment and perhaps make a nice dent in your other monthly expenses too (groceries, transportation, a few nights out).
The beauty and cosmetics website is noteworthy as well because of its age. As of this writing, the site is less than two years old. Let that be an inspiration to you, the potential Adsenser.
Naturally, your AdSense “empire” will take time to build.
You can’t exactly launch the site before going to bed and then wake up to a $1,496.51 paycheck.
But on the other hand, you don’t have to wait decades either to reap Adsense rewards. The beauty and cosmetics website reached a respectable, lifestyle-supporting income in under two years.
While we can’t speak for the site’s founders, we’d imagine they are working less than 40 hours each week on the site. So you can succeed just by committing to a consistent workload over an extended time, say 2 years.
Now, if you’re really ambitious and will do the work; the sky’s the limit on your potential Adsense earnings.
Returning again to the Empire Flippers marketplace, you can see a News website with $16,231.08 in monthly profit. That’s nearly $200,000 per year.
In the real world terms we’ve been using, imagine the impact this kind of profit would have in your life. Rent payments on an apartment would suddenly become a non-issue. You might also begin saving for a house too. At the very least, your daily expenses like food and transportation would cease to be concerns.
Still, before we get carried away, let’s remember the lesson of Public Enemy. Don’t believe the hype.
Is AdSense Still The Way To go?
You can dream about AdSense riches, but make sure to look at the facts too.
We’ve examined some of the facts in this post, but the times have also changed quite a bit. AdSense is great to start with, but at the end of the day, there are premium ad networks available.
These networks pay per impression or click and generally have higher rates, which means more money for your traffic.
The reason why these networks pay more is because of the qualifications needed to get on them.
Sometimes it's a matter of having enough traffic, content quality and even the niche your in may matter.
Before leaving you, let's hear some advice from folks who know their way around monetizing with ads:
“Adsense is in my ad stack but it is not the first choice. I am currently using Ezoic since they are not as picky about the countries your traffic comes from or the religious nature of the content as some of the other premium ad networks. Honestly, I wouldn't start out monetizing with ads. I see them as a secondary income source. Build your website on a topic that has a lot of products and demand for information. If you have those 2 things in place, then you will have a good niche that will monetize well with ads. Research to see if the niche has niche specific ad networks. Do not try to build your revenue on Adsense. It is no longer the premium ad network it once was.”
– Duke, EasyChurchTech.com
“It's important to monitor the quality of the ad networks that a publisher is working with. Too many ads, intrusive ad formats, and low quality ads reduce the authority and appearance of a website. A site needs to find a balance between income and user experience. Looking for quick money often has a negative image on how users view a site and if they would link to or mention the site.”
– Chris, WhatIsMyIPAddress.com
As you can see, AdSense isn't the only choice and in most cases you can find other ways to monetize your site.
We, for one, like to monetize our sites with Amazon Associates first and then add in a premium ad network afterward. Bypassing AdSense because we have enough traffic that these networks will let us in based on the relationships we've created.
If you're interested in learning more about that, check out our course here.
Thanks for dropping by and we've added some additional resources below to lead you to the next stage: