The ad tech industry is becoming increasingly complex and competitive. With global digital ad spend predicted to reach $389 billion in 2021, digital publishers need to remain agile, staying informed of technical changes to ensure they can continue to monetize their websites.
In order to achieve this, publishers need to have a certain amount of traffic to increase ad impressions and click-through rates (CTR). While large, well-established websites can rely on organic traffic, smaller websites may need to look at alternative traffic sources, such as paid traffic, to create revenue through Google AdSense ads.
Paying to bring traffic to a website web page is called traffic or digital arbitrage. This article will discuss AdSense arbitrage, arbitrage strategies, and how marketers can use this business model for maximum return on investment.
What Is AdSense and How Does It Work?
Before looking at AdSense arbitrage, website owners must understand Google AdSense and how it works. Google AdSense is an advertising program that allows digital publishers to run ads on their website, blog, or YouTube videos.
With AdSense, trusted advertisers show their ads on a site. Then, when a user clicks on the ad, the publisher receives a certain portion of money from the advertiser. Website owners receive 68%, and Google gets 32%. So if an advertiser spends $1 per click, then web page owners receive $0.68, and Google will get $0.32.
AdSense is relatively easy to use and is free to join. The ads are generated from businesses that use Google's AdWords program and are placed on a web page through a piece of code inside the head section of a website HTML.
However, Google will only sign up publishers who have sufficient website traffic. This is where AdSense Arbitrage traffic becomes invaluable for small websites with low traffic.
What Is AdSense Arbitrage?
Before discussing AdSense Arbitrage, it is firstly important to understand the concept of arbitrage itself. Arbitrage is the process of buying and selling an asset simultaneously but in two different markets. Simply, arbitrage involves a vendor selling an asset for a higher amount than what they bought it for, thereby making a profit on their investments.
AdSense arbitrage works similarly, whereby publishers obtain traffic using paid means, place AdSense ads on their webpage, and, finally, compel visitors to click on the AdSense ads, in turn earning money via AdSense revenue.
The most important thing for publishers to understand about AdSense Arbitrage is they must earn higher revenue through AdSense ads than the initial expense of buying the website traffic.
How Does AdSense Arbitrage Work?
As mentioned above, traffic arbitrage is only effective if the following three steps are followed:
1) Website owners invest X amount to buy traffic for their website or blog
2) Publishers then place AdSense ads on that very website/web page by inserting a header code;
3) Finally, publishers work to turn the traffic into paid clicks by compelling visitors to click those ads, thereby monetizing via AdSense.
Getting started with AdSense Arbitrage ads involves the following steps:
- Firstly, publishers should determine the niche around which they want to base their website. Some examples of proven niches include: Celebrity News, Travel, Parenting, Food and Lifestyle, Health and Fitness, Cars
- Next, website owners should evaluate hosting options and create a site
- Publishers then need to sign up for an AdSense account
- Create and implement a content strategy that they plan to publish on their website
- Determine where traffic will be purchased from and the associated costs
- A/B testing to determine and eliminate low-yield traffic sources.
Is AdSense Arbitrage Illegal?
While there is still some contention in the digital advertising industry about the legality of using AdSense arbitrage traffic to monetize a site, traffic arbitrage is not considered illegal by Google. In fact, their monetization and ads policy clearly states that publishers are 'welcome to promote your site in any manner that complies with our program policies. However, AdSense publishers are ultimately responsible for the traffic to their ads.'
This is where things can get tricky, particularly for inexperienced publishers who may have purchased their visitors from untrustworthy traffic sources.
Some of these services send artificial traffic to websites, despite their appearance. To deliver the traffic levels that their customers expect, these services often generate clicks and impressions using click bots. For this reason, Google strongly urges its clients to use caution when partnering with third-party traffic services.
Google also provides a handy guide covering what to look for in a provider for people considering directing paid traffic to their site.
Large number of bot traffic
While receiving traffic using paid providers can lead to quality traffic, it also comes with inherent risks, which publishers are responsible for mitigating.
If an AdSense account sees a large amount of bot and fake traffic, leading to invalid clicks on ads, the account will be suspended.
Made for AdSense (MFA)
Similarly, sites deemed explicitly Made for AdSense (MFA) are likely to be rejected or have their account suspended relatively quickly.
MFA sites are apparent to spot. They are poorly made, offer little interest and value in terms of content, and generally provide a poor user experience.
How to Get Website Traffic for AdSense Arbitrage
There are two ways websites get visitors to their sites, organic traffic and paid traffic. As already covered, AdSense arbitrage involves purchasing that traffic. And while it does come with certain risks, it is a far quicker and simpler way to drive traffic to a site.
The following options are available to publishers looking to buy web traffic including from:
Facebook is one of the top choices when it comes to purchasing quality website traffic. However, as almost 75% of Facebook traffic comes from mobile devices, it is crucial to ensure the site is mobile optimized for maximum monetization.
With content advertising on the rise, content resources such as e-books, blogs, online courses, and case studies are increasing traffic sources. Sites such as Taboola can assist publishers looking to leverage AdSense Arbitrage. Taboola allows publishers to roll out their content to a targeted market, eventually leading to an increased CTR.
Similar to Taboola, RevContent is another excellent option for paid web traffic. It offers customized control over content promotion actions, device-based targeting, and partnerships with credible adjacent sites.
How Does AdSense Arbitrage Make Money?
Once paid traffic is directed to a site, it should convert to increased ad impressions, click-through rates (CTR), and ultimately revenue generated via the ad network.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
When it comes to AdSense arbitrage, most publishers will measure their investment in terms of Cost Per Click (CPC). For example, if AdSense is paying an average of 50 cents for an ad click coming from the US, then the publisher simply has to ensure that they are paying less for their traffic arbitrage, for example, 2 cents per click.
However, it is advisable to look not just at CPC but also page revenue per thousand impressions (RPM). Particularly with traffic arbitrage, this can give a clearer understanding of how much money is actually being made.
AdSense RPM will depend on CPC. According to Google, RPM 'is calculated by dividing your estimated earnings by the number of page views, impressions, or queries you received, then multiplying by 1000'.
By understanding their RPM, publishers are better equipped to understand exactly what they should be paying for traffic to monetize their website effectively. Furthermore, by teaming paid traffic with an affiliate marketing strategy, publishers can potentially start to see significant profits.
Best Practices for Publishers Using AdSense Arbitrage
There are several best practices for publishers to follow when using AdSense Arbitrage. Here is an overview of how to create a blog or website that utilizes AdSense arbitrage best practice for individuals who are just getting started with digital marketing.
#1 Commit To Quality Content
First and foremost, publishers using AdSense Arbitrage need to ensure they commit to quality content. Without great content, your application to AdSense may be rejected straight off the bat or suspended soon after.
Firstly, any article should be of a decent length (no less than 500 words) and should be original and engaging, offering the reader something of value. As with any site, the content mustn't be plagiarized, and any images should be royalty-free -sites such as Pexels and Unsplash provide a wide range of royalty-free images at no cost to the user.
Publishers should also make sure they have a wide range of quality, original articles before applying to the AdSense program. Around 30 is a good number to aim for.
Publishers who are using Facebook ads as part of their advertising strategy should ensure that when people click on the ad, the destination page contains the product or service that has been advertised.
Similarly, when utilizing content from sources such as Taboola/Outbrain/RevContent to drive traffic, ensure the destination page contains that content. When it comes to making money through ad networks, content truly is king.
#2 Create a Quality Landing Page
Publishers should never underestimate the importance of a quality landing page. A good landing page will be conversion friendly, have an easy interface and minimal page latency.
#3 Don't Overdo AdSense Ads
It is essential on any arbitrage website to combine a good mix of content and AdSense ads. While Google used to have a rule of 3 ads per page, they recently removed that, leading to people flooding their pages with ads. The problem with this is that if Google senses the percentage of content to ads is disproportionate, it will show blank spaces instead of ads.
To avoid this, 3-5 ads per page is more than enough. Publishers can include affiliate marketing, social media links and other offers to drive their advertising efforts further.
#4 Monitor Your Paid Traffic Sources
As previously mentioned, traffic from artificial sources is a surefire way to ensure an AdSense account will get suspended. The responsibility is on the website owner to monitor this, which is most easily achieved by setting up Google Analytics and tracking and monitoring all traffic sources.
While technically legal, AdSense Arbitrage comes with inherent hazards. However, when managed correctly, it can be a legitimate source of profit for website owners worldwide. To learn how to mitigate the risks and leverage digital arbitrage for maximum return on investment, contact the friendly team at Publift today.