Google’s Adsense program has been around since the early part of this decade. In that time, Adsense has generated millions in revenue for advertisers and much, much more for Google. Adsense gave Google both money and branding. Every time a web publisher hosts an Adsense ad, Google shows the sign, “Ads by Google” and gets paid by the advertiser per click or impression. The publisher also gets paid so it’s a win-win situation.
But just how much of a win has it been for the publisher? As an advertiser, I have an accounting of how much I pay Google per click or per impression on their content network. It used to be that you could advertise on Google’s content network for a little as a penny per click. Now a days, those penny clicks are all but gone — much like the penny arcades. Expect to pay 50 cents to several dollars per click now in order to get impressions on their content network.
So if I pay Google $1 per click, how much do they pay their publishers for hosting that ad? Up until a few days ago, nobody knew this information outside of Google. It was one of those Adsense secrets along with a great many other secrets that Google held closely like how they do their search algorithm.
I tried to guess the Adsense payout percentage. I have a size-able network of websites with Adsense Ads. Evey time someone clicks on the ads, I noted the payout amount in my Adsense account. The numbers varied according to the competition for that keyword at that moment in time. The numbers that I saw swung widely, even on the same website. For example, a click may pay 3 cents one day, and $3 per click on another day.
I tried to compare what I paid on Google Adwords for similar keywords, but without having access to Google’s data, my guesstimate was that they paid about 50% per click to me as the publisher. Alas, in the spirit of greater “transparency” according to the big G, I now know the answer to one of Google’s Adsense secrets … They pay 68% to the publisher.
Wow. That number is much higher than my guesstimate of 50%. I’m not complaining. I’m just surprised.
So should we all rush to build more Adsense sites? Not so fast. It’s curious that Google would choose to share this information right after they updated their ranking algorithm. The new algorithm would no longer rank “thin” websites optimized for long tail keywords so highly. If you know anything about another Adsense secret, it was to try and rank for the long tail. Hmmm…
If you are an Adsense publisher, let me know your thoughts on why Google would reveal one of their Adsense secrets at this time.