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Alternatives to AdSense [from my experience]

Discussion in 'Google Adsense' started by Grant, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Grant

    Grant Active Member

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    I was checking out a recent post discussing the alternatives to AdSense and was quite surprised there were not more replies.

    So, I quickly checked out the Google results to see what the top listings recommended as alternatives to AdSense, and realised they are just slightly higher paying versions of AdSense. Well, that’s no good!

    I know off-hand many of these networks don’t accept smaller publishers. Many require at least 500,000 pageviews per month.

    You might have small amounts of traffic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make money.

    My current site at 1,000 uniques per month generates far more total revenue than my old site that got 30,000 uniques a month. Because, this time I actually thought about the niche I was getting involved with.

    For smaller publishers wanting the most hands-off approach possible, I’d do one thing.

    Don’t look for AdSense alternatives. Look for supplements. And they come in a simple form.

    Contextual affiliate links.

    My old (30k uniques pm) site earned £100-150 per month from AdSense. Shocking really.

    I felt robbed.

    I’d outranked Forbes, Inc.com and related sites for a competitive search term getting 18,000+ searches per month. And that’s all it was worth?

    It gets worse!

    It was actually less than this originally (around £80pm).

    To bump the £80pm revenue, I tested some AdSense formats.

    Eventually, I settled on the before, middle and after 728 banner format. If you have not tested this AdSense format (particularly on longer articles), try it.

    Then, I removed AdSense and I trialled a few contextual affiliate links. On the same traffic levels, they ended up making £100+ per month. With a bit of tweaking. This jumped to a £200-300 average.

    But, here is the most interesting thing. I trialled AdSense alongside the affiliate links.

    AdSense revenue returned to its £100-150 per month. And, affiliate commissions stayed at their £200-300 per month level.

    A site with that made £80pm was now making £300-450 per month. No additional traffic.

    If I'd used percentages rather than actual £. I'd probably look real cool right now.

    Messing about for a few hours tripled the revenue (OK, it’s not big bucks, agreed), but also tripled the value of the site.

    I mentioned I did a bit of tweaking. And, it’s really easy.

    ** Add no-follow attributes for affiliate links, so you don’t get a slap from Google.

    ** And if you use WordPress, you can use an affiliate link cloaking tool like this. Your two benefits will be the fact your affiliate links are not randomdomain.co.uk/aff/id-675765383637386 but, many of these cloaking tools will also allow you to track outbound clicks (so you can see CTR for each affiliate link you use).

    I started checking CTR for my contextual links and found the most natural looking links (whereby the linked product is an extension of the post, or it was at a crucial point of the post) was giving the highest CTR (well durr) and therefore revenue.

    Basically, the same way you should cite an external source throughout a blog post. It’s just natural.

    And that’s the key to contextual links. Link to them at the exact point in the article that makes sense. Not 100 times. Not 50 times. Just at the most important times and obvious times.

    And, it’s also the reason why Vig Link, Skim Links and the likes don’t perform as well as they could.

    You have a much better idea of where an affiliate link should be placed in comparison to their algorithm.

    A quick example might be this Telegraph article on garden gloves.

    I’d link each heading to an affiliate. But wouldn’t expect much. I’m not sure it would even match AdSense revenue.

    “1. Briers Advanced Grip & Protect Gloves: £15.99, Briers”

    But, if readers trust your opinion, the real money link, would be sitting in “The Verdict”.

    And, if this was my site, I’d definitely test a longer form “verdict” at the end. I mean, I didn’t read all of that for you not to give me more detail as to why this is the best product?

    But, I’d also test a short-form/summarised verdict at the start for those that don’t have the time to read.

    I’ve found announcing the “winner” first (in summary) can work really well. People will actually read the rest of the article to see the reasons why, rather than bouncing, just based on this.

    I appreciate that is just one example. And, there’s very few people getting rich from being affiliates of £10 garden gloves.

    So, let’s see what your niche or site is and see what affiliate programs are out there to test?

    Hope all the above helps :)
     
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  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    Fantastic advice, thanks for outlining in such detail. I agree completely with your analysis of the gardening gloves example - it looks pretty spammy (and therefore dismissable) with the 10 "Buy now" links embedded in it - I'm sure a lot of people will just hit the "Back" button and go and look for somebody who seems prepared to offer more solid information.

    And yes, in-context affiliate links are the bees knees if you can find the right programme and pair it with the right content. eFax used to have a great bounty program that paid for referring free trial customers - there were months back in the day when a single page about free fax services on one of my sites would make £1,000 from the eFax bounties alone. You can bet I was sad to see them move away from that side of the business.
     
  4. Grant

    Grant Active Member

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    Appreciate that Edwin.

    I actually overpaid on monthly (adsense) earnings multiples for 4 sites, to do exactly what I mentioned above, and then flipped them a year later to pay for University.

    2 were about chickens. Turns out people really like chickens. And, not just in a slow-cooker. Who knew?

    Garden gloves isn't the best example. But until someone puts forward a site/niche we can dig into (no pun intended), that's all I've got for now.

    "there were months back in the day when a single page about free fax services on one of my sites would make £1,000 from the eFax bounties alone"

    My picture would have a juicy grin on it too, if I had potential £1k per referral commissions :)
     
  5. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    That was £1k for all the referrals, not per referral. But it was still very nice to have!

    One of the best ways of making money is to really know a particular niche inside-out. That way, you can stroll in and buy any hobby sites or under-monetised sites knowing you'll get a solid ROI sharpish by slotting in the affiliate links from programmes you already have a productive relationship with.

    I suppose it doesn't even really matter what you choose to specialise in, so long as you can get it to work (though ideally it's something that others have largely failed to notice the potential of).

    In the "olden days" it was even easier - just look through Yahoo Directory and Dmoz at all the sites in the niche you're targetting, and spot the ones that weren't corporate and make them the proverbial "offer they can't refuse".
     
  6. Grant

    Grant Active Member

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    Still sounds like it's complimentary to AdSense and to overall CPM.

    I agree. If you are really involved in a niche other opportunities present themselves that might not be advertised.
     
  7. ausername United Kingdom

    ausername Member

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    Interesting thread.

    One of my best successes was an article on a content farm with a title which was something like "best place to sell your books", with about 300 words about some service which bought your entire collection of books if you entered all the ISBNs.... no backlinks.... two links in the article. Published that article just as the Kindle arrived on the scene, perfect timing.

    So it was a bit like Music Magpie, only it was American and for books.

    The company is now defunct, but they paid me 10% of whatever they paid the seller. So you'd have some old lady buying a kindle and then buying all her favourite books in digital version, deciding to get rid of the book case, and she'd sell her books for say $300 and I'd get $30.

    For about 18 months I was consistently making about a grand per month in sterling from that. I bloody loved that affiliate scheme... getting paid for getting people to SELL something, instead of BUY something, and its so much easier to do the former. Don't know why I didn't work harder on that one actually, perhaps that could have made me rich. I could have tried to sneak an affiliate link on money saving expert forums or something, god damn.... thought of that about 7 years too late :(

    As for alternative revenue streams to Adsense. I'm currently trialing Daily Motion Website Monetization. So.... not monetising videos that I upload to Daily Motion, but monetizing other peoples videos that I embed on my website as a publisher. Seen people achieve CPM's of $3, $4, $5. When I say "currently", I mean started about 3 hours ago.

    I wish that YouTube had a similar system. Basically where a video that I want to embed is available on both YouTube and DailyMotion, I shall be embedding from the latter for the chance to make some pennies from it. Wish I'd discovered it a year ago because I'd probably be about 300,000 video plays into the trial.
     
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  8. Grant

    Grant Active Member

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    Great post. Yup, the "make money" niche is always going to pay high. But, it gets very boring, very quickly.

    I hear what you are saying regarding embeds. If you drive a view, then you, the platform and the creator should have a share.

    I have stats for a niche site embedding videos. The majority seem to be YouTube, but like you say there are a lot of DM videos. They are achieving £3.84 CPM.
     
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  9. ausername United Kingdom

    ausername Member

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    I'm hopeful that YouTube are considering something similar for the future, Daily Motion is seeing impressive growth and that 'website monetization' system must be part of the reason. When I've run it for a month or two I'll try and remember to provide some data.

    Its a no-brainer really, because ads run on the videos irrespective of whether I'm getting a slice of it, and irrespective of whether I'm using Youtube or Daily Motion vids... if my users are going to be forced into watching an ad I should get a penny or two.

    I'm hoping it will help to make up for sometimes poor Adsense CPM's.... I could significantly improve my adsense earnings by moving one ad about 100 pixels up the sidebar, but it looks a bit ugly aesthetically and I like to take a bit of pride in the appearance of my sites, hoping I'm not forced into compromising on design and UX for dollars.
     
  10. ausername United Kingdom

    ausername Member

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    When you saying achieving £3.84 CPM, do you mean from all of their income sources?

    If you don't, you may be referring to Daily Motion monetisation where they both uploaded the video AND embedded it on their site? That CPM is more typical for video monetisation. If they are doing that then they get their video monetisation cut AND their website monetisation slice.

    What I'm doing is 'website monetisation', embedding other peoples Daily Motion videos, and my CPM is more like £0.40 to £0.70 on any given day (can't be bothered to calculate average).

    So I suspect what the publisher is getting is something in the region of 10% to 15% of the total ad revenue, with the uploader getting say 55% to 60% and Daily Motion getting 25-30% (consistent with youtube rates). But your client will be getting both so 65% to 70% ish total on their views driven from their website to their uploads.

    But just with my 10% after spending dozens of hours switching out as many YouTube embeds for Daily Motion embeds... I'm covering my monthly hosting cost with Daily Motion rev! This means that the entirety of my adsense revenue is mine to bank (and the odd sheckle from Amazon associates).

    Still looking for a minor ad network which offers responsive ads to place on content that I don't want to risk with Adsense (had a warning for violent video). I've got about 30 posts that I've taken adsense off, was going to stick Propeller Ads or something on it (probably less strict, if they aren't then I don't really care). These crappy little networks only pay something like $0.50 cpm.... but my entire site is responsive, optimised for mobile, all of my ads are responsive... don't want to ruin UX with non-responsive ads on some pages.

    If anybody knows of any ad networks which offer responsive ads then let me know, no matter how crap as they only have to outperform $0.00.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017 at 4:04 PM
  11. ausername United Kingdom

    ausername Member

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    I should add that 10% to 15% is more than fair for just embedding, seeing as the uploader has probably had to spend an hour or more waiting for a video to render and then upload, and DailyMotion is picking up the cost of serving the actual video... its a good deal.

    Would be nice if YouTube did similar, although that may be a case of "careful what you wish for" because then they'd be thousands jumping all over the bandwagon building sites which compete with mine for a slice of the ad roll dollars.... and most of those people probably don't know about Daily Motion, can't even remember how I found out about them paying publishers for embeds, not much info about it online to be honest!