How to Use Google AdSense

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Google AdSense[4] is an ad monetization platform that was initially developed by a startup company from Santa Monica, California. In 2003, Google acquired the AdSense platform, using it to enable digital publishers from all over to monetize their website by means of targeted ads.

Now, it’s probably the most recognized monetization product globally.

Essentially, Google AdSense is an ad network[5]. Ad networks were designed to collect the remnant[15] ad inventory[16][6] from various publishers to sell via real-time bidding[1], but at a much lower price compared to direct sales.

In this article, we’re going to answer all of your burning questions about Google AdSense, including viable alternatives to the platform.

How Does Google AdSense Work?

AdSense works using two simple codes — a header code[7] and an ad tag[17].

The header code is placed on the publisher[18]’s website and is used to monitor their website for things like page type, availability of ad tags, and other information related to ad inventory.

Ad tags are customizable ad units. They’re another piece of coding responsible for gathering the specific type of ads customized by the publisher.

AdSense was primarily designed to be user-friendly. However, it’s much easier to set up if you’re already familiar with HTML and CSS basics.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Using AdSense?

While Google AdSense has become a popular product among many publishers, it has just as many disadvantages as it does advantages.

Advantages:

  • It’s completely free to use as it’s based on a revenue share business model. That means if publishers don’t make any money, neither does the platform.
  • It’s user-friendly.
  • Its eligibility standards are easy to meet. All you have to do is make sure your content is original, has a polished design, and isn’t considered “unsafe” by Google’s standards.
  • It supports virtually all web ad formats, including text, display, video, native, rich media[8], and more.
  • Google automatically scans all ad creatives for malware and offensive content.

Disadvantages:

  • Google is very strict when it comes to violating its policies. Depending on the violation, your account may get suspended for months or terminated indefinitely.
  • The platform isn’t exactly straightforward in regards to its revenue-sharing agreement, which essentially keeps publishers from realizing their full earning potential on the platform.
  • The platform is overly simplified, meaning that it doesn’t provide newer features that would allow for better ad optimization[9] and revenue earning. In a sense, AdSense keeps publishers right where they are.
  • Publishers don’t receive the actual CPM[2] offered by advertisers. Instead, AdSense replaces this option with the second-highest bid option plus one cent — which is significantly less than what could be made.

How Does the AdSense Payment Work?

When it comes to payments, the AdSense platform takes a 68% commission from the established earnings. Whatever the amount being paid by the advertiser[10] per click or impression[11] is what determines the weight of Google’s commission.

To calculate the weight of its commission, Google uses a specific algorithm to determine what the highest rate per thousand impressions or mille (RPM) would be for both the publisher and advertiser.

There’s also a specific timeline that Google uses to pay its AdSense publishers. For starters, Google takes the time to conduct a full review to catch any invalid clicks. This review gets started on the 20th day of each month and takes up to two weeks to complete.

Essentially, each publisher’s entire monthly income is taken into account, therefore payments are sent out a month later. That means your earnings for April will be sent out at the end of May.

There’s also a payment threshold that publishers must meet in order[19] to receive their payouts. These thresholds vary depending on the country, but they’re mostly set at around $100, give or take.

What Are the Google AdSense Policies?

The Google AdSense policies for signing up and maintaining your account are pretty straightforward.

To get started as a publisher, here are the criteria you need to meet:

  • Your content is original and of high-quality.
  • You’re the sole owner of your website (domain and hosting).
  • You’re 18 or older.
  • The content you publish is safe, meaning it’s not obscene, abusive, violent, etc.

To remain in good standing with AdSense, the best practices are as follows:

  • You don’t garner any invalid clicks or click on your own ads to inflate your click-through-rate[3] (CTR).
  • You use ads.txt[20] to show the partner networks that are permitted to sell inventory.
  • You do not allow any bot or paid traffic sources to generator click activity.

Alternatives to AdSense

Whether you’ve gotten rejected by Google AdSense or it’s simply not working for you anymore, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not your only ad monetization solution.

This is especially good news considering that AdSense is still stuck on a secondary business model that keeps publishers from expanding on their earning potential. Not to mention, there’s a lack of transparency[12].

Many publishers are also branching out to the following alternatives:

  • PopAds
  • Media.net
  • Infolinks
  • Bidvertiser
  • RevenueHits

They’re also opting to work with experienced Ad Ops[13] teams that are certified Google partners.

AdSense Best Practices

Of course, if you’re not looking to branch out just yet, there are ways to optimize your content on the AdSense platform for the best results.

Here are AdSense’s best practices in a nutshell:

  • Don’t display many ad units at once. This can interfere with the user experience and will work against you by decreasing your overall page RPM[21].
  • Ensure that you’re placing all 320×100 ads above the fold[14] for mobile sites. This is where they’re most visible.
  • Use vertical ad units for desktop sites as they’re the most visible even while visitors are scrolling up and down the page.
  • Change up your ad layout frequently to prevent ad fatigue or banner blindness.
  • For mobile sites, keep your ad load time below three seconds.
  • Make sure your mobile site and desktop sites are as similar as possible to avoid confusion.
  • NEVER click on your own ads!
  • Make sure you’re following Google’s policies at all times to avoid violations and demarcations.

While Google AdSense was designed to be user-friendly, there’s a lot to learn about the platform if you want it to work for you.

When it comes to ad optimization for better monetization, as well as remaining aligned with certain policies, we’ve got you covered.

Terms
1. real-time bidding. Real-time bidding is a technology-driven auction process where ad impressions are bought and sold almost instantaneously. Once an advertiser wins a bid for an ad impression, their ad is shown on a website. Real-time bidding plays a crucial part in the digital advertising ecosystem together with other players such as ad exchanges and supply side platforms.
2. Cost Per Mille/Thousand [CPM] ( CPM ) Cost per mille, or thousand (mille = thousand in Latin). A pricing model in which advertisers pay for every 1000 impressions of their advertisement served. This is the standard basic pricing model for online advertising. See also CPC and CPA.
3. click-through-rate. CTR relates to how many times users clicked on an ad divided by the number of times that ad was displayed to users.
4. Google AdSense. Google AdSense is an ad network that allows web publishers to monetize their website traffic with text, image, video, and native ads.
5. ad network. A company that serves as a broker between a group of publishers and a group of advertisers by aggregating inventory and audiences from numerous sources in a single buy. Ad networks traditionally aggregate unsold inventory from publishers in order to offer advertisers a consolidated and generally less expensive pool of impressions, but they can have a wide variety of business models and clients. In the context of ad trafficking and ad tech, the term "network" is generally taken to mean an ad network.

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