90% of the bloggers start a website to make money online from their content. However, most of them will drop off eventually due to lack of proper planning. There are many ways to make money from your website and the most prominent ways are pay per click advertising and affiliate marketing. We are running websites for more than a decade and here are the basics to understand between pay per click and affiliate marketing.
Pay Per Click Advertising
As the name indicates pay per click (PPC) means, the advertiser will pay money for each click. Publishers need to display advertisements on their site and get paid when visitors click the advertisements. Though there are many PPC programs available, AdSense is one of the popular and reliable from Google. Therefore, we will take AdSense as a reference in this article. Check out the larger number of articles we have on AdSense to help publishers understanding the application procedure, policies and terms.
In addition to paying for a click, most of the advertisers also pay for impressions. CPM (Cost Per Mille) is a popular term that advertisers pay for each 1000 ad impressions. In AdSense and many other pay per click advertising programs, publishers make money from clicks and impressions.
Affiliate marketing is similar to PPC with a difference that the visitor should purchase a product from the click originated from your site. For example, you have written an Amazon product review and link the product page. You will get commission of the sales, when a user clicks on the product link and purchase that product. Remember, you will not get commission if the user simply clicked without any purchase.
Google AdSense Vs Affiliate Marketing
This is a big confusion among bloggers to focus on Google AdSense or affiliate marketing. With the above explanation, you can get the basic difference of these two earnings area. Let us dive more which can suit for you.
1. Cost for Impressions
As mentioned, the biggest advantage of AdSense is that Google will pay for each impression (CPM) of the ads on your blog. This will make big difference when there are plenty of visitor to your site. Let’s say you have a blog with 100 articles and each article contains 3 ads. You will get 3 ad impressions when a visitor views a page. In this way, getting 300+ visitors a day can generate 1000 ad impressions. Depending upon the niche you can get 2 to 6 dollars per thousand impressions.
Therefore, you can make more money with AdSense when you have more traffic to your blog. However, this is not true with affiliate marketing. No matter how much traffic you get or how many people click on your affiliate links – you will only get paid for the purchase (that is conversion from the advertiser’s perspective).
2. Different Guidelines
Google has very strict guidelines for AdSense.
- Approval needs verification of content on your blog.
- PIN verification for your address is necessary.
- Changing the country is not possible which means your payment needs to be with single country from the time of approval.
- Ad placement has many rules.
- Payment follows monthly guidelines that you can only get payment on specific date to your bank account.
However, affiliate programs have simple guidelines like disclosure and good blog. Generally, everyone can get register for most of the affiliate programs regardless of the traffic level.
3. Social and Offline Promotions
Big problem with AdSense is an invalid traffic. Unfortunately, Google will not explain the details of the invalid traffic. They simply deduct the amount from your final earnings quoting the invalid traffic as a reason. When you get lots of traffic from Facebook or any other social platform then AdSense is not suitable. Because those social followers could be your own friends and intentionally click the ads on your blog to increase the revenue.
In addition, you cannot promote your AdSense blog using traffic exchanges and emails. In summary, you should rely on organic search traffic to earn from AdSense. Though this is easy for popular blogs, you need to spend huge effort at the beginning to drive lots of organic traffic. This is the important reason most bloggers quit as getting traffic needs more time and quality content.
In contrast, you can do affiliate marketing using social promotions and email marketing. In fact, this is a very easy way to impress people and get their trust compared to organic traffic.
4. Community Vs Niche Blog
Many bloggers fail to understand building a community is completely different from creating a content for blog. Having a niche blog is sufficient to earn money from AdSense. In addition, you can write reviews and earn affiliate commission from a niche blog. However, this way of earning affiliate commission is not sustainable as most of the time no one may purchase from your affiliate links.
If you want to create affiliate blog, most important part is to start creating a trusted community. When the community grows, you have more opportunity to get huge affiliate commissions.
5. Price Difference with Affiliate Commission
Do you know a single purchase from an affiliate webhosting link like Bluehost can earn as much as $65 to $95? This can be even more when you have more number of referrals. Below is a referral commission payment from the popular SiteGround hosting company. Imagine the situation; you can get $100 per purchase when you could get 11 people to buy their products in a month.
On other hand, you need to have approximately 15000 visitors on daily basis to earn $50 to $100 a day from AdSense.
6. Blog Speed
This is another aspect many bloggers never realize at the beginning. Though Google pushes every webmaster for improving the speed of their blog, in reality AdSense will kill your site’s speed. Due to the third-party involvement, your site speed will be plummeted with AdSense ads.
Affiliate links are simple text links blend seamlessly with your content. Even you can show affiliate banners with your own images without affecting the speed.
7. Reviews Vs Content Article
Do you ever wonder why people write a free review on their blog? Many people even spend money; test the product for writing a review. The reason is that they will expect return on their time on money investments in terms of affiliate commissions. Frankly, you may not see a single review on the web without affiliate links. Reviews are good target for affiliate marketers to get the trust of readers and recommend them to buy.
On other hand, Google loves content and you can display more ads on articles with lengthy content. There are no good reasons for AdSense publishers to reply on writing reviews.
8. Writing Vs Lying
Honesty is a best policy – however you cannot expect it from all people. 99% of the product reviewers on the web never know the product well, they simply write based on affiliate material they get from the company. Also, there are many bloggers simply rewrite other’s review to include their affiliate links. For example, it is not possible for an individual blogger to buy and test different webhosting plans from many companies. This will cost thousands of dollars with huge time. Ultimately, this will force the affiliate bloggers to write and lie about something which they never used or know about. This is a good reason you will always see the bloggers promoting the product without mentioning the problems.
On other hand, you can express honest opinions on your blog with AdSense ads. Readers may love especially when there are no affiliate links on your article.
Comparison of AdSense Vs Affiliate Marketing
|Traffic||Need high traffic||Small traffic can make big money|
|Impression based earning||Yes||No|
|Earning potential||Stable growth with traffic||High depending on your niche|
|Community based sites||Generally have low CPC / CPM on community based sites||High possibility to earn more due to trust from known people|
|Offline promotions||Limited||No limits|
|Site speed||High impact||No impact|
|Writing Reviews||No big impact||Big impact|
Now you know pros and cons of Google AdSense Vs. affiliate marketing. It is easy to choose one and start building your blog. However, it is a hard task to change the track after many years of working in one direction. Let us say you display AdSense for few years and wanted to include affiliate-marketing links. Now, that you need modify the content of each article to include appropriate links. In addition, you may also end up in writing topics for money out of your knowledge.
On other hand, AdSense can make you money from each ad impression. Though the amount is low, it can improve when your site grows. You can also strict to your own opinions and write the topics which you know or interested.
So, what is the final verdict? On this website, we rely on the below ratio which suits our philosophy:
- 80% income from AdSense
- 10% from affiliate
- 10% from product sales
The reason is simple that one affiliate article needs one week time to write about a product / service with additional investment needed sometime. We can publish five how-to content articles in that time. We also warn NOT to admire articles written by so-called blog scientists, nerds, and geeks whose whole intention is to make affiliate commission.
Ask a simple question yourself – what is your focal point of your blog – writing or marketing? Choose AdSense or any other PPC programs for writing and choose affiliate commissions if you are skilled at marketing. This is the answer to choose AdSense or affiliate marketing. You can focus 80% of your effort in that direction and play around with the remaining 20% space.