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Google Adsense vs. Amazon Associates – Show Me the Money!

By Spencer Haws |

Google Adsense vs. Amazon Affiliate: which monetization method comes out on tops for a website owner?

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.

In fact, 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, what you should consider when making a decision, and and whether you can get in on the action.

Amazon? Adsense?

Below, we’re going to take a look at some of the numbers. As well as first hand experiences making money with Adsense and on Amazon.

Then I give you my personal thoughts on Adsense vs Amazon affiliate and some general advice.

The truth is that there isn’t always a clear winner on whether to use one, the other, or both.

Earning From Google Adsense

As discussed in an earlier post (Adsense vs. Clickbank), Google Adsense is a beast of a program that spends billions 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 and Amazon is that both are strongly growing businesses that just keep on growing.

More and more money is being spent each year online. That trend isn’t going to reverse.  

While there are plenty of articles bemoaning “the end of the Adsense program” that’s just clickbait. They continue to pay out billions every year to members of the program. That doesn’t sound like dying to me.

Google Adsense is a growing and robust ad network with a solid future, in my opinion.

Just consider that even “Adsense replacement” programs like Ezoic or Mediavine require you to be approved for Adsense because they are Adsense partners.

Adsense is a program that’s very easy to earn from. In fact, Google Adsense ads are probably the easiest way to break into monetizing your website. 

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. 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.

Click here to try using Ezoic on your site to boost your Adsense income

Earn more from your ads with Ezoic

Google AdSense = Intro to Display Ads

Display ads are an easy way to break into making money online. The Google Adsense program is definitely the best to get started. And many display ad networks partner with Google, so even if you’re with Mediavine (check out the Mediavine Review) or Ezoic you’re still working with Google ads in a roundabout way.

Some ad networks even allow you to place Google Adsense and their ads at the same time.

One of the major benefits of display ads like Adsense over an affiliate program is the fact you can monetize every single visitor. Some articles have tons of traffic but nothing that makes sense to buy or sell.

Making revenue with an affiliate offer in that case is going to be difficult at best.

In that situation, Adsense still gets you money for visitors and any random traffic. With an affiliate offer you need to get the sale to make anything.

That’s one thing to potentially keep in mind with a direct Amazon vs. Adsense comparison.

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.

If you send someone to Amazon through your affiliate link, you get a commission if the buy ANYTHING off of Amazon within 24 hours. Whether it is actually related to your website or not.

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 since it’s grouped in with other expense areas like “marketing” or “outreach.” 

But payouts to Amazon affiliates are also in the billions.

Because Amazon is a publicly traded company (AMZN) they are required to disclose their financials. Here is a link to Amazon’s public reports page where they publish current and past quarterly reports.

The associate cut is priced in with “Marketing, advertising, outreach,” so you have an educated guess at that point. As opposed to exact affiliate sales numbers per quarter.

But whatever the real number is, 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.

Good Results as an Amazon Associate

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.

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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.

And the Amazon associate program is going to brag higher conversion rates than about any other affiliate network out there.

Adsense Vs Amazon Affiliate… Or Both Together?

I don’t think that Adsense or Amazon Affiliate is necessarily always better. I like to use them both.

Here’s how:

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.

You get advertising revenue from all the traffic with your Google ads. Especially on informational content where trying to sell anything would feel forced.

Then on product charts or comparison tables you use Amazon and get affiliate commissions.

These two programs actually work extremely well together.

It is important to keep in mind that there will always be outliers. There are going to be particular times where Google ads have no noticeable negative effect on the affiliate earnings of a website. In that case using both is just free money.

There are some instances (usually with more advanced ad networks) where the drop in affiliate earnings is more than the uptick in display ads. This is usually very rare, and only with heavy sales sites extremely optimized to affiliate sales

Still, for well over 90% or even 95% of cases, it actually makes sense to use both.

Google Adsense vs. Amazon Affiliate should actually be “Google Adsense AND Amazon affiliate links.”

FAQ

Here are answers to the most commonly asked questions around Adsense, Amazon Associates, and how a blogger should use them.

Can I use Amazon affiliate with Adsense?

Yes, absolutely. There’s nothing in the TOS of these programs that prevents this.

Many website owners have multiple affiliate programs going on the same site, or even the same post. With display ads on every page. 

With Google Adsense and other display ad networks you do need to pay attention to what is allowed, and what isn’t.

But when it comes to using Google ads and Amazon affiliate links together, that is 100% allowed.

How much does Adsense pay per 1000 views?

This varies immensely. It depends on your niche, how much advertisers are paying, average number of clicks, as well as what country your traffic is from.

You can get rough ideas ahead of time of what range adsense in your niche is likely to make you. However, you absolutely should track this once using it on your site.

What’s the difference between affiliate marketing and Google Adsense?

The Google Adsense program is what is referred to as a display ads program. You show basic ads that pay per visit or per click (usually some of both are showing).

Because of this Google AdSense helps you earn money just from traffics and visitors.

Affiliate marketing, like the famous Amazon Associate program, is all about making a sale. When someone clicks on your link and then buys that object (or any object in Amazon’s case) you get a cut or percentage (commission) from it. So you must make a sale to get paid via affiliate marketing.

Programs like Google Adsense tend to work best with informational sites while affiliate marketing works best with heavy product based sites.

Considering most really successful websites have both types of content, this is why using both Adsense and Amazon Associates together can be a winning strategy.

Is Amazon still profitable after affiliate rate changes?

Yes. While someone who was making 8% is understandably going to be upset if those rates fall to 3%, as long as Amazon has an affiliate program (which they’ve had for 25+ years) an Amazon affiliate will be able to make money.

Although after a rate cut that affects you, it’s always good to look at other monetization options, re-consider more display ads, or plan for other ways to make money. 

But yes, Amazon is still profitable.

What is the minimum payout for Google Adsense vs. Amazon affiliate

You must acquire at least $100 before receiving payout for Google Adsense. For Amazon the minimum payout can actually vary based on country, though $10 or $25 are the most common thresholds to hit depending on the country.

This might be slightly higher if you’re using OneLink to process international payments.

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?




Niche Business Ideas | 43 comments

By Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws is the founder of NichePursuits.com. After getting a degree in Business Finance from BYU (2002) and an MBA from ASU (2007) he worked for 8 years in Business Banking and Finance at both Merril Lynch and Wells Fargo Bank.

While consulting with other small business owners as a business banker, Spencer finally had the desire to start his own business. He successfully built a portfolio of niche sites using SEO and online marketing that allowed him to quit his job in 2011. Since then he's been involved in dozens of online business ventures including: creating and exiting Long Tail Pro, running an Amazon FBA business for over 3 years and selling that business, founding LinkWhisper.com, and co-founding MotionInvest.com. You can learn more about Spencer here.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

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43 Comments

Conversation

esteemedgirls.com

Amazon is good and great during certain seasons. I am hoping to really get into it this time. I love the fact that you can get a product and a lot to choose form and market. Like you say it is important to test and test.What I know is people are buying more and more physical products online and this means there is greater opportunity for Amazon. Adsense is still great-so great-if only I knew how to pin it down.
thanks

Spencer

Yes, more people are buying physical products during certain seasons. This also would mean that more companies are advertising on Adsense during those same seasons – just something to think about.

claudio

I have tried Amazon, ebay, clickbank and adsense.
I receive a biweekly check from clickbank and from adsense.

Absolutely no luck with amazon or ebay.

Clickbank is lucrative but requires way lot effort and strategy, the best way I found out is to do article marketing by doing a REAL review of a product you have tried and send the article to the top 10 directories. The main problem is tiresome… like 1 to 5 articles a day per niche to see real money and some tricks to bump the articles views, so your article is “featured”. If the product is good the returns are low. I promoted thuth about abs (great product) and registry fix (good product).

Adsense is just great, keep building sites, building links, get ranking and traffic, income increases bit by bit. I love it.

Thanks for the comparison, this will help other people to choose better 🙂

claudio

the check from adsense is at the end of the month

Genta

yeah… this payment is the latest than before… lol..

Spencer

Claudio – I’m in the same boat with you! Ive tried Amazon and ebay without much success. Obviously Adsense works well for me, but I still pull in a little with Clickbank each month as well. Thanks for sharing your strategy for doing clickbank reviews!

Kasi

It is a bummer about the “Amazon Tax” issue and that Amazon has cut ties with affiliates in at least 5 states at this point I believe. And more states are getting on board and have bills pending. It makes me a little hesitant to really get into Amazon Associates because what if my state is next? Someone on the WF is actually moving out of Illinois because of it. Moving would not really be an option for me, even if I hit the “big time” as an AA.

Spencer

Unfortunately, this may be a killer for the Amazon Associates program – not sure they can get around it. This may be why they are doing more TV advertising and other marketing venues. Perhaps they realize that the Associates program is dying a slow death and they are investing in other avenues. I really don’t know. But I certainly wouldn’t move to a different state – that’s just dumb! All you have to do is open a new business entity (less than $300) in a state where the Amazon Associates program is alive and well. You can open a business entity in any state you want – although you might have to use a registered agent in the state, etc. But really, there is no need to move.

Billy

As Kasi said, the “amazon tax” is killing it for me. As a resident of north Carolina I can’t sell amazon products. I’m thinking of opening up a mailbox across the border in SC because I feel like I’m missing a great opportunity. I have never tried Amazon and right now I can’t but I’ve heard some great success stories.

Great post again Spencer.

Spencer

Billy – unless you have significant traffic, I wouldn’t worry about it. If you have a site(s) making thousands of dollars a month with Adsense or some other way – only then should you consider go to the lengths of opening a PO box in a different state etc. Although I guess its probably not that expensive. Also, remember that Amazon pays a very low commission rate, so you really need a lot of traffic to make it worth it.

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I have had limited success with Amazon compared to Adsense but I would always stick an Amazon widget on my sites to try to counter the “made for adsense” charge if I get a human inspection.

Spencer

Interesting. Either way its probably good to test out both methods. I’m in the same boat though – Amazon just doesn’t do well on my sites (that I have tested).

Carl Pruitt

You often hear people complaining that Adsense is a risky way to monetize a site because a publisher might get cut from the program without knowing why, but Amazon drops whole states at a time.

Spencer

Excellent point Carl!

Reed

Amazon and clickbank are the hardest ones for me –clickbank even more so. I’ve found the highest earning months I’ve ever had with amazon, are always around christmas, which have always been phenominal. Ebay though, is climbing past my adsense, at above 15 cents a click. However, you gotta love the dollar clicks adsense can deliver.

Still looking for ways to make earning on amazon a year round thing, anyone have ideas? Heh.

Also, great info spencer –I always wondered how big AA was. I do rember reading somewhere on the associates forum that stated how much was paid out to affilliates in 08 or so. Can’t really remember the number, but it was in the hundreds of millions.

wai kei

I would like to see a Ebay EPN vs others comparison as well to round it up for the big companies.

Ear Force X41

Amazon Associates and Adsense are two very good monetization strategies for our websites. I guess it would depend on the type of niche we are in and the purpose of our website in choosing which would be the better match. When I start a website, aside from the usual things to research, like keywords, competition, etc. I also choose which monetization I will use. I also do some testing and refinement as I go along.

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I like using both. Adsense is more predictable in terms of earnings usually, while Amazon can vary wildly. I typically sell higher ticket items with Amazon, so when somebody bites, the commission for that day will often beat my adsense earnings for that day.

Always good to have eggs in different baskets. I used to live in NC, but now live abroad, so unless Amazon starts banning countries too, I should be fine.

Boris C.

Do you think if all states in America become excluded from Amazon Associates they will still keep their affiliate program for international affiliates?

paula mooney

Thanks for doing the follow up post… it helps to give me hope about the financial future of us online marketers.

Boris C.

Spencer, i would like to see EPN, Commission Junction and ShareASale analysis.

Thanks.

Lee

I too have had more success with Adsense in the longer term. However, like Reed, I have had great success around Christmas time with Amazon, but usually only by running PPC campaigns for the 2 months in the run up to Christmas.

After that it’s non-profitable! I have had some little successes with Amazon on organic listings here and there but nothing yet to write home about. I’m working on that one right now with little sites each looking at one specific product.

Lee

Edet

How can one protect his/her adsense account from invalid click.

Dave Starr

Pretty interesting topic indeed. I wonder that in all the years I have been dabbling with advertising and affiliate ventures, no one ever looked into the background to see just whhat is behind the companies we regularly work with.

Incidentally … my wife works for an old-line, established advertising agency. Print, radio and TV … they do no online advertising.

Recently her boss, one of the company directors, had a chat with me about “my little website hobby”. He was very condescending and “fatherly” with his advice, until he got a hint of what my CPM was. (only a hint, of course, can’t discuss that directly under Google TOS, remember).

Safe to say,. if he’s had false teeth, he would have dropped them right out of his mouth … his eyes really flew open wide. To those who think there’s no future in on-line advertising in general, and AdSense in particular … guess again, the wave is going to grow much larger than it is today … or so Dave opines.

Spencer

Agreed. Why do you think all the large newspapers are going out of business? More and more spending is going online…the trend will definitely continue – mobile advertising is also growing exponentially.

Steve Sherron

This post got me to thinking and a little research. Since I have some sites where I do both, Amazon and Adsense in the same articles, I checked some quick stats.

I have a site where over the same period of time I had 6x as many Amazon clicks as Adsense clicks.

However over this same time period I only made $15 on Amazon and $73 in Adsense.

It appears that my Amazon clicks are taking away from Adsense clicks and certainly not paying as well.

I can’t help but think that my adsense earnings would have been higher if the reader wasn’t distracted, so to speak, with my Amazon ads.

Spencer

Test it and see! Amazon converts very low; whereas all you need with Adsense is a click. It sounds like you should try maximizing your adsense earnings with the site. Try better placement (if possible) and perhaps using less amazon “distractions”.

mike

One of the big issues with Amazon is seperate sites/entities unlike Google where you can easily add their code and leave the GEO stuff to them, with Amazon you need to manually add your own solution/scripts to do this, without the GEO options a lot of sales are probably being missed.

Spencer

Good point.

Jen

Hi Spencer,
Always enjoy your posts, and I have been finally seeing my income grow, but I am doing far better with Amazon than Adsense. I would love to see a reversal of this, but one thing that concerns me is the personal targeted marketing. I know in one niche I am in, there are lots of ads.

So, those ads follow me to every page I am on. Not sure if you have done a post regarding that, but I have wondered if it is having an effect on income for adsense earners., although I see you are having no problems…

Take care, and thanks for all the great info!

Elena

Jen, do you have any tips on Amazon? I never kept their links long enough because it always seemed that nothing will happen. Perhaps I am wrong. What type of content you should have?

tim

Hi, i read all your comments and the post. This helped alot. As i am new to this so was confused what to go for. Can you please tell that can i go for Amazon and Adsense both on the same website or page? Does it blocks both of my account?
Once again great info..!

Spencer

You can use both.

Elena

No you didn’t bore us, at least not me. In fact I found these two posts very insightful. I first stumbled upon Clickbank vs Adsense post, then after few weeks came back and was glad to find something similar. Great job, your blog is the only blog I read as I run many websites and always suffer information overload.

Jessica

Just wanted to leave a quick thank you for the post — extremely helpful for a newbie!

Tony

Wow $100 in one month from adsence seems like a lot.. I def need to tweak the locations of my ads more, although I do get a lot of views, my click rate seems to be fairly low. Anyhow glad I read this post and the comments, I was thinking about signing up for Amazon, my search led me here and questions answered.

Mridul

i am using adsence and amazon in same time but i have one problum when i start using amazone i loost click rate before i used to get 1 to 2$ in one click now i am getting only 1 cent i dont no what to do please help me

Frank

I had almost forgot about the tax issues. Glad I’m going back into the archives to refresh

Maria

Is it possible and legal to use both on the same website?

peter saurus

i’ve been searching for a while whether you can have google and amazon ads in the same page and this is the only site which explains it well. congratulations!!!

Grant

Hi Spencer:

I love how original you do research: going straight to Google’s earning report!

Great work, I’m your newest fan.

Grant from San Francisco

Maria

Adsense is impossible! They delete every views / traffic I get. And I dont even have clicks on ads yet, or maybe I did but they deleted them too? Where to contact them? When my traffic increases it just falls on adsense and in the end of every day I have had according to them 0 visitors / views.. Please tell me what is wrong with them? There is no invalid activity going on on my site as I have red it can be an issue with Adsense. But I haven’t even given my website to friends! So what could the problem be?

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