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.
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.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.
- First, you can make decent money by sending your traffic to a website that people already know and trust. The Amazon Associate program works so well (and converts so well) because everyone knows and buys from Amazon.
- 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. Whether it is actually related to your website or not.
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.
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.
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.”
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?