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What is Google AdSense and how does it work?

Masroor Alam
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Google AdSense

Google AdSense is one of the best, effective, and most popular online advertising media (Ledford, 2008). Companies and Organisations can advertise their products and services on the millions of publishers’ blogs or websites using Google AdSense.

AdSense is a free, simple way to make money by placing ads on your site. Google's ad network connects advertisers looking to run their ads on the web with publishers like you, looking to monetize your website, making it simple for everyone to succeed.


Google AdSense is a program run by Google through which website publishers in the Google Network of content sites serve text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted to the site content and audience. These advertisements are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google.


Blog or website-based advertising using Google AdSense involves payment in some way or the other to the blogger or website owner. Owners of popular blogs will typically capitalize on their readership numbers via a combination of ad formats and Google AdSense ads. 


Thus, Google AdSense provides excellent enterprising opportunities for individual bloggers. If a blog or website is of mobiles, Google AdSense will show ads related to mobiles phones i.e. Google AdSense will show targeted Ads related to the website or blog. Hence, Google AdSense is also called contextual advertising.


It is important to understand two important terms i.e. Click Through Rate (CTR) and Cost Per Click (CPC) for further understanding of Google AdSense. 


Click-Through Rate (CTR)


The Click-through rate is the number of times AdSense ads were clicked divided by the number of times AdSense ads were displayed. For example, if 300 visitors visit a blog and view an average of 2 pages and click 20 times on AdSense Ads then CTR will be


The Click-through rate is the number of times AdSense ads were clicked divided by the number of times AdSense ads were displayed

Thus, higher the CTR more number of visitors are interested in the Ads of the product and services. 


Cost Per Click (CPC)


Cost per click is the amount earned by the individual blogger when the user clicks on AdSense Ads on his blog or website. CPC is dependent on the advertisers and how much they are willing to pay per click. Thus, more number of clicks indicates that users are interested in a particular product and service. 


Organizations can capitalize on this by the increased sale of their products and services, improved brand image, increased online customer base, etc. 


Individual bloggers can also augment their entrepreneurship capabilities with more number of clicks resulting in more revenue generation Publisher needs blog or website unique content for the blog or website, good visitors’ traffic to the website or blog and Google AdSense account to start advertising for organizations (advertisers) using Google AdSense. Bloggers need to install the AdSense plugin in the blog to start advertising using Google AdSense.


What are the Prerequisites for starting Google AdSense Account?


Before starting a Google AdSense account, it is necessary that 

i. Blog or website should be ready with the AdSense plugin. In computing, a plugin (or plug-in) is a set of software constituents that adds specific capabilities to a major software application e.g. Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime, etc. 


ii. The First post in the blog should be at least 1 month old.

 

iii. Blogger should have posted 4-6 unique content articles on his blog. 


iv. Blog should have all the basic plugins with an XML sitemap. Extensible Markup Language (XML) defines rules for encoding documents in a format to make them readable by both machines and humans.



Sign-up for Google AdSense Account


Bloggers can follow the procedure given below to sign-up for a Google AdSense account. 

  • Visit http://www.google.com/adsense. 
  • Click ‘Create An Account. 
  • After clicking Create An Account, a new webpage opens. It is better to sign up with an existing Gmail account. For this, click ‘Yes, proceeds to Google Account sign in’ and then login with your existing Gmail account. If the Gmail account is not there, the blogger has to create a Gmail account before proceeding further. 
  • After clicking as indicated above, it asks the information like the name of the blog, and content language. It also highlights Google AdSense program policies. Bloggers should read Google AdSense program policies carefully and thoroughly so that their accounts should not be deactivated by Google Inc. for breach of these policies. After this, click continue. 
  • After clicking continue, it takes the user to the next step where it asks the personal information like country or territory, account type, payee name, address, city, phone, etc.


After filling in all the details, click on Submit My Application and the application will be submitted. Google goes through all the details and sends the reply to the blogger about approval status through email. If bloggers don’t receive any reply within seven days, either they can check their Spam folder or try to log in to their AdSense account to know the status.


Logging on to Google AdSense Account


After logging on to the Google AdSense account, a screen appears as shown in Figure 3. If the account is new, no report will be available. After clicking on ‘My Ads’ as shown in Figure 3, it shows different types of AdSense ads as given below.


Logging on to Google AdSense Account

 

1. AdSense for Content:

AdSense for content is a way for website publishers to display Google ads on their website’s or blog’s content pages. The ads are related to what users of the blogs are looking for on bloggers' sites. AdSense for Contents is widely used for advertising. Hence, it is advised that bloggers should focus more on this type. 


They can be in the form of text ads, link ads, and display ads. Text ads do not have graphics, just text, and a link. Link Ads are not the ads but they are linked to the ads. Display ads show image ads, video ads, and flash ads. These ads can be shown in different sizes on the blog or website. 


2. AdSense for Search: 

Bloggers can use this functionality to provide Google-powered customized searches to their incoming visitors. With a Google search box, visitors can search the web from bloggers' sites. Through AdSense, ads targeted to search terms are shown next to results. When visitors find these ads useful, they click on them and this gives revenue to bloggers. 


3. AdSense for Feeds: 

AdSense for feeds allows publishers to generate revenue by positioning targeted Google AdSense ads in their feeds e.g. RSS (Rich Site Summary) Feed. AdSense for feeds works the way the rest of the AdSense program works i.e. by delivering ads that are relevant to bloggers’ content and their readers. More the number of subscribers for the blog, more opportunity for publishers to capitalize on AdSense for Feeds. 


4. AdSense for Mobile: 

There is a new trend which is rising very rapidly and that is the ability to consume online content on mobile phones. Users of smartphones with a big screen like iPhones, Samsung Galaxy, etc. can operate the Internet with convenience, and with this new revolution, there is a very big increase in mobile Internet users. AdSense for Mobile Content now places an AdSense unit optimized for mobile phones on web pages viewed on high-end devices like iPhones. All the text, links, and graphic Ads can be used in mobiles. 


5. AdSense for Games: 

AdSense for Games are games creators. With the new feature, game creators can show video ads, image ads, or text ads within games to generate revenue.

 

6. AdSense for Video: 

AdSense for video allows publishers to generate revenue from their video. AdSense for video utilizes Google Interactive Media Ads.


Insert AdSense Ads on the Blog


To place AdSense Ads on the blog, Google provides a JavaScript Code to the blogger. Blogger has to use this code with the AdSense plugin. Blogger has to log in to AdSense account, then click My Ads and then click on New Ad Unit as shown in above fig. After clicking on New Ad Units, it asks different options for Ads settings like Ad size, Ad type, and Ad style. After filling in all these details, the blogger has to click “Save and get code” to get content through some plugins or in the sidebar so that visitors can see the AdSense ads.


Blogs and Its Promotion


The blog is an abbreviation of ‘weblog’. A blog is a website or its part on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on regular intervals (Gardner and Birley, 2012). Entries called ‘Posts’ are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order i.e. the most recent post appears first. Most of the blogs are interactive in nature and allow visitors to submit comments on the posts. 


Visitors can even message each other on the blogs and thus can act as word-of-mouth spread about marketers which can influence buying decisions of consumers (Padmanabhan, 2008). This interactivity differentiates blogs from other static websites. Hence, blogs can be regarded as a type of social networking.


Bloggers do not only create content to post on their blogs but also construct social relations with their visitors and other bloggers and blogs (Evans and McKee, 2010). Hence, blogs are very popular. Blogs can be used as important marketing communications tools for online entrepreneurs and corporations. 


To generate revenue from blogs using Google AdSense, blogs should have good traffic of visitors so that they click on Google AdSense Ads. Hence, it is very important to promote blogs to increase visitors’ traffic for revenue generation (Barker et al., 2012). Some of the effective methods of blogs promotion are discussed below:


1. Post-Unique Contents: on Blogs and respond to feedback to initiate interaction with visitors and instill trust in them. 

2. Bloggers can promote blogs using Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc.

 

3. Bloggers should e-mail subscribers to follow up and get in touch with the subscribers.

 

4. Social Bookmarking: Social bookmarking entails saving bookmarks (web addresses) to public Social bookmarking websites like Digg.com or Delicious. com so any blogger can access these social bookmarks from the Internet. Bloggers’ favorite bookmarks are also available for other people to view and follow. This may go viral provided the links are very useful so that people can bookmark and share the same.

 

5. Image and Video Sharing Sites: Blogs can be promoted on Image and Video Sharing sites like YouTube, Flickr, SlideShare, etc. If contents have creative images or videos, these sites have the potential to make content viral.


6. Free classified sites: Blogs can be advertised on free classified sites like Craigslist, Quickr, OLX, Sulekha, etc.


7. Blog promotion by Paid Methods: More traffic can be generated for the blogs using paid methods like Google Adwords, direct advertising on popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc., placing paid advertisements in popular blogs, and using newsletters like Abewer Auto Responder.


Bloggers can multiply their Google AdSense with more visitors on their blog and also by increasing their CTR or by increasing CPC or both even with the same number of visitors, People will click the ads on the blogger’s site either if they think Google AdSense ads don’t look like the typical ads or if there is something they are highly interested in. 


They will click the ads if they think this is part of the blogger’s site and will provide more info on the topic they are searching for. They will also click the ads if they think the blogger’s site is not able to provide the info they are looking for and Google AdSense ads on the blogger’s site are filling that gap. Hence, bloggers have to take care of these aspects while putting Google AdSense Ads on their blogs to increase their CTR or CPC, or both.


4. Success Stories 


4.1 Amit Agrawal Amit:  Agarwal is a Computer Science Engineer from IIT and earlier worked at ADP Inc. In 2004, Amit quit ADP Inc. to start his own blogging and started his blog http://www.labnol.org/ Amit’s Digital Inspiration blog (http://www.labnol.org) is now very popular. 


He writes about computer software, consumer gadgets, and web applications on his blog. Digital Inspiration (Agrawal, 2004) has more than 3 million average monthly page views. His blogs have been referred to in most popular publications like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, etc. The site has been suggested in India Today, Business World, Outlook Magazine, and CNN Go. It has also been marked as a success story on the official Google AdSense blog and also on the YouTube India website. Amit Agrawal earned around INR 2 Crores last year with his blog and the chief source of his income was Google AdSense. 


4.2 Amit Bhawani: Amit Bhawani holds an MBA degree from Hyderabad and is a full-time blogger since 2006. He started his own blog (Bhawani, 2006) amitbhawani.com in 2006 which is mainly a technology blog. Amit now owns a company Digital World Solutions with 40 sites and blogs registered under it covering mainly technology, health, automobiles, and education. Amit has witnessed 100 percent year-on-year growth in his blogging revenue and earned INR 1.2 Crores last year from his blogs with 70 percent revenue coming from Google Ad Sense.


5. Conclusions


Google is the most visited site in the world and Google AdSense is a simple advertising program to show targeted Ads in blogs or websites. Companies prefer Google AdSense for their online advertising to take advantage of the global widespread presence of Google which provides them instant online advertising presence. 


With Google AdSense, companies target to increase their website traffic and customer base, increasing sales and enhancing brand image. Hence, they are ready to pay Google for their online advertising program. This in turn provides business opportunities for online entrepreneurs to generate revenue by displaying targeted ads on their blogs or websites using Google AdSense. 

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