There is a lot of debate surrounding the affiliate marketing vs Adsense question, especially among those just starting out with making money online.
Both affiliate marketing and Adsense have their own benefits and drawbacks when it comes to using them as a method of monetization for your blog or website.
There are a lot of different factors that come into play regarding which type of monetization is going to make you more money.
I want to let you know from the start that either display advertisements with a platform such as Adsense or selling affiliate products could be a great monetization technique for you – it just all depends.
Personally, I use both methods and I’m having a lot of luck with affiliate marketing but I really love the passive income style of Adsense and how it’s a lot more forgiving when it comes to content and traffic.
Anyways, let’s take a look at both the methods and hopefully by the end of the article you’ll be able to decide for yourself which is better.
Adsense vs Affiliate Marketing: What’s Better for Monetization?
Google Adsense (Display Advertising)
Adsense is Google’s own display advertising network.
The way this monetizations is simple.
You add display ads to your website and you can earn money whenever someone clicks on an ad.
The amount you can earn per click can range from just a few cents to hundreds of dollars depending on the topic and niche that your website is in.
There are millions of websites using Adsense every single day and they were likely the first form of blog monetization you ever came across when you started using the internet.
The ads that get displayed are usually relevant to the content of your site and also relevant to the interests of the person that’s visiting your page so it can be enticing for your visitor to click on the ad if it’s something that’s interesting to them.
I’ll get into the pros and cons of using Adsense after the following quick look at affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing as a Type of Monetization
Affiliate marketing is another one of the most popular methods of website monetization.
With aff-marketing, as it’s known, you basically promote products or services on your blog or website through an affiliate link.
When someone clicks on the link and purchases the product/service you earn a commission for the sale.
Commissions can range from anywhere between 1% and 90% (or even higher) depending on the product or service you’re promoting.
Physical products usually have a lower commission, between 1% and 15%, while digital products or services have a much higher commission, sometimes upwards of 80%.
There are an endless amount of affiliate programs to choose from.
Some of the most popular programs include:
Though there are hundreds to choose from and even private vendors will sometimes have their own program that you can join.
I really like aff-marketing myself because I use such a wide range of different products and services on a regular basis that it’s easy for me to review them and recommend them to my readers so that I can earn a small commission.
Adsense vs Affiliate Marketing: Which Method is More Profitable?
There are two schools of thought when it comes to comparing these two different methods of monetization.
Adsense is a much better choice if you’re looking for something passive where you can just write some quality content and forget about it.
Affiliate marketing is better if you’re willing to work hard on growing your site, building links, and pumping out quality content for products and services you love and personally recommend.
You also need to keep in mind that different niches will be better for one type or the other, with some being ok for both.
For example, if you want to create a straight informative website covering things like the news, entertainment stories, how-to articles, and anything else where you just provide helpful information then you’re going to be better off with Adsense.
When you’re promoting products, services, or you’re in a niche with a lot of physical products like weight loss, fishing, or travel, then affiliate marketing is probably going to be a better choice.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Google Adsense | Benefits vs Drawbacks
Benefits of Using Adsense
- Easy to set up ads and get them running on your website or blog
- A set-it-and-forget-it type of monetization
- Passive income so you don’t need to worry about creating email lists, dealing with customers, or posting fresh content on a regular basis
- Great for information style websites
- No long-term maintenance required
Drawbacks of Using Adsense
- You need a lot of traffic to make money with Adsense
- You need to focus on getting a good ranking (since better rankings = better traffic)
- Lots of content can be expensive unless you write it yourself
- High competition in the best paying niches
- Google is strict with their guidelines and it’s not that hard to get kicked out of Adsense
- Not really ideal for long-term business growth if you’re hoping to take blogging and making money online seriously
Affiliate Marketing | Benefits vs Drawbacks
Benefits of Affiliate Marketing
- You can create a blog or website around promoting products or services you actually use and personally recommend
- More suitable for long-term growth and sustainability as an online business model
- Lots of different products or services you can promote and earn a commission from
- You have the ability to build an email list and monetize your list with your own products or services
- You’ll earn more money from each visitor compared to display advertising
- You can use PPC to drive traffic to your landing/sales/money pages
- Countless affiliate marketing programs you can work with
- Less likely to get randomly banned or kicked from the program (as long as you’re following the rules)
Drawbacks of Affiliate Marketing
- Have to manage all of the different networks you’re part of
- Some networks have a low commission rate (for example, Amazon)
- Strict application process or requirements for things like traffic/social media followers
- Need to constantly focus on improving conversions
- Have to be regularly uploading high-quality content that provides value and also converts potential leads into sales
Apart from those drawbacks, there really aren’t too many other reasons why you wouldn’t want to use affiliate marketing to make money online whether you’re just a beginner or even if you have a lot of experience.
There is definitely a lot of hard work involved, but anything worth doing is going to involve hard work so your time and money can be better spent growing an authority site that promotes a wide range of affiliate products and services rather than something less reliable or spammy.
Both of the methods, when comparing Adsense and affiliate marketing, are going to be profitable for you and it depends on the work you’re putting in when it comes to determining how much you’re able to earn.
For building a long-term earning website I would of course recommend affiliate marketing because there are so many options and different ways you have to build out your site rather than focusing on constantly putting out content.
Yes, content is important, but you can also expand into podcasts, YouTube videos, and even promoting your own product or service in the future.
With Adsense you’re stuck pumping out content and having to focus a lot on getting high levels of traffic so you can earn decent money from your views and potential ad clicks.
Keep in mind that you can use both types of monetization on your site without any problems.
So you can have a website where you mostly promote different products and services and you could include informative articles where you throw some Adsense units on for some additional income.
In this case you want to avoid using both aff-marketing and Adsense on the same page because you will likely earn a lot more money per click with a marketing promotion compared to if someone clicks on an ad where you will probably just get a few dollars, if you’re lucky/
What’s the Best for You? Affiliate Marketing or Adsense?
In my opinion, I would always recommend starting out with an affiliate marketing site as something you can turn into a potential long-term online earner.
It does require some more work upfront, and there is long-term maintenance involved in running an aff site, but the earning potential is much higher and you can eventually develop it into an authority in your niche.
You don’t need that much traffic to start making money and you can collect emails from your traffic so that you can further earn from your visitors at a later date.
Adsense is a lot more passive, so it’s a good idea if you just want to blog or write about something general and forget about it.
The problem with display ads is that you likely won’t earn as much money with the same levels of traffic and if you really want big earnings then you need a lot of visitors to start making some good money.
It’s also not as easy to collect emails with an Adsense site and even harder to earn more money from your visitors once they’ve checked out your content.
The different niches for this type of monetization, especially the ones worth competing in, are going to have a lot of competition and it’s an upward climb right from the start.
If you still can’t decide then you can simply create a site and take advantage of both different forms of monetization.
This is something a lot of websites and blogs do and it can definitely work quite well in the long run!