Should you use Amazon, Adsense, or both?
The way you make money on your website depends on the niche you are in and the keywords you are targeting. I think its safe to say that it possible to make good money with Adsense and Amazon Associates. There are tons of ways to make money without using either of these programs!
I want to simply give you some insight into how much money is being made in these networks and whether you can get in on the action.
Below, we’re going to look at how much money is being spent on Adsense and on Amazon. Then I give you my personal thoughts on Adsense vs Amazon affiliate and some general advice.
Earning From Google Adsense
As discussed in an earlier post, Google Adsense is a beast of a program that spends approximately $8 Billion every year on its Adsense partners. I have been lucky enough to dip my toe in the Google money pool and the water feels just fine!
One thing I like about Google Adsense is that it’s growing: More and more money is being spent each year If you look at the same financial statement that I posted a couple of days ago, you will notice that in 2008 they spent $5.9 Billion. Now just a few years later they are expected to spent about $8 Billion. So Google Adsense is a growing and robust ad network with a solid future in my opinion.
Adsense is a program that’s very easy to earn from. You paste some code into your site and voila. You’re earning.
I like how Adsense allows you to monetize every page and every visitor. The ads change for each visitor depending on his or her interests, so it helps to have Adsense on pages that don’t earn from other sources.
It’s becoming easier to earn from Adsense than ever before. Programs like Ezoic (check out my employee Brady’s Ezoic review) work by testing your ad layouts for you. This year, I’ve been earning more than $17 per thousand visitors. That would be a massive RPM (or EPMV, depending on what terminology you want to use). And I haven’t had to do any work at all.Earn more from your ads with Ezoic
Earning From Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates (check out Brady’s Amazon Associates program review) is a great idea for your site if you’re in a physical product niche. There are a number of reasons for this.
First, you can make decent money by sending your traffic to a website that people already know and trust. Second, you make money no matter what they buy! If you send someone to Amazon through your affiliate link, you get a commission if the buy ANYTHING off of Amazon within 24 hours. Pretty sweet.
So, how much money is Amazon actually spending on their Associates program? Well, to be honest its difficult to pin an exact number on this, but with the numbers I dug up we can get a ballpark figure. Because Amazon is a publicly traded company (AMZN) they are required to disclose their financials. Here is a link to their most recent quarterly financials.
They don’t have a line item for the Associates program specifically, they have it lumped in with their “Marketing” expenses. For Quarter 1 of this year Amazon spent $327 Million on marketing. Here is what Amazon says about this marketing number:
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We direct customers to our websites primarily through a number of targeted online marketing channels, such as our Associates program, sponsored search, portal advertising, email marketing campaigns, and other initiatives. Our marketing expenses are largely variable, based on growth in sales and changes in rates. To the extent there is increased or decreased competition for these traffic sources, or to the extent our mix of these channels shifts, we would expect to see a corresponding change in our marketing expense.
The increase in marketing costs in absolute dollars in Q1 2011 compared to the comparable prior year period is primarily due to increased spending on online marketing channels, such as sponsored search programs and our Associates program, and on television advertising.
So, the $327 million also includes sponsored search, portal advertising, email marketing, TV advertising, and other marketing expenditures. So, we really don’t know if the Amazon Associates program is 10% of $327 million or 99% of that number. My guess is that its probably somewhere around 50%…just a guess.
But this number is more nerd fun than relevant to you. The real question is: can you make money off of Amazon Associates on your website?
If you’re in the physical products niche, I pretty much guarantee that Amazon is offering something you can sell. I’ve done well on the Amazon Associates program for years. I don’t monetize Niche Pursuits with it (not many physical products for website builders) but I do monetize my other sites with Associates.
My Niche Site Project 4 broke $1,000 per month in less than a year… much of that is due to Amazon Associates. I recommend that you try Amazon on your site and see if it works for you. My bet is that it will work just fine; Amazon can provide something for almost everyone.
Adsense Vs Amazon Affiliate… Or Both Together?
I don’t think that Adsense or Amazon Affiliate is better. I like to use them both.
On all of my sites, I have informational and commercial content. The commercial content is geared towards keywords with high buyer intent, where people have credit card in hand. “best pizza cutter”, “best dog carrier”, “X boat review”, etc.
I monetize these posts with Amazon affiliate links. Amazon converts well and everyone uses it, so it works for these physical products.
On an informational post, it can be difficult to include these types of affiliate products. Ads are your best bet.
There’s no reason to choose between Adsense and Amazon Affiliate. You can use both together to help diversify your income and earn from your entire site.
Remember To Test
You need to test. Just keep an open mind here. Test your site out, give both Adsense and Amazon or even Clickbank products the prime spot (one at a time) on your sites for a period of time and see which brings in the most money for YOU!
In fact, I think this is a downfall of many sites (maybe some of my own included?) – they do not test out different methods. If you get it stuck in your head that you are going to only sell Amazon products on your site for example – you could be missing out on giving yourself a serious raise if you never even test out how Adsense performs on your site. This could go the other way as well.
So what are your thoughts?