The web has evolved into a complex "organism" which, to
some, appears to have a life of its own. As the Internet
has evolved, so too have online marketers and publishers.
The dot-com balloon is said to have burst but savvy
publishers have grabbed the coat tails of the Google search
monster and employ Google AdSense on content-rich websites.
Google AdSense, a pioneer for providing content-sensitive
advertisements, has been a boon to webmasters looking for
alternatives to amortize their web trafffic.
How Does Google AdSense Work?
The concept is simple: The publisher or webmaster inserts a
java script into a website. Each time the page is accessed,
the java script pulls advertisements from Google's AdSense
program. The ads are targeted and related to the content
contained on the web page serving the ad. If a web surfer
clicks on an advertisement served from Google, the
webmaster serving the ad earns a portion of the money that
the advertiser is paying Google for the click.
Google handles all the tracking and payments, ultimately
providing an easy way for webmasters to display
content-sensitive, targeted ads, without the headache of
having to solicit advertisers, collect funds, monitor
clicks or track statistics, any of which could easily
become a full-time job.
While Google AdSense, like many pay-per-click programs, is
plagued by claims of click-fraud, it is clearly an
effective revenue source for many reputable web businesses.
There seems to be no shortage of advertisers in the AdWords
program from which Google pulls the AdSense ads. Webmasters
seem less concerned by the lack of information provided by
Google and more interested in cashing their monthly checks
The Evolution of AdSense
While Google's initial system was fairly rudimentary, only
providing publishers the option of displaying a handful of
advertising formats, the technology behind even the first
ads was anything but simplistic. The technology used to
employ Google AdSense goes far beyond simple keyword or
category matching. A complex algorithm is used to determine
the content contained on the web page serving the ad. Once
the content is assessed, and appropriate ads that contain
related content are served.
Early on, Google implemented a system that allows
publishers to filter advertisements from competitors or
sites which they deemed inappropriate. Google also allows
vendors to specify an alternative advertisement, in the
unlikely event that Google is unable to provide related
The Progression of Google
Google has come a long way in understanding the needs of
publishers and webmasters. Google now offers a system that
allows full ad customization. Webmasters can choose from
twelve text ad formats and can customize Google
advertisements to complement their website and fit into
existing webpage layout. The options provided allow
webmasters to select and create custom color palettes that
match an existing website's color scheme, making the ads a
much more natural fit.
Many sites have been able to integrate ads into their site
design using different ad formats.
Sample sites with integrated ads:
Google recently took a huge step forward, providing
publishers the ability to track their earnings based on
webmaster-defined channels. Recent improvements to the
Google AdSense reporting have resulted in webmasters having
the capability to monitor an ad's performance with
customizable online reports that can detail page
impressions, clicks and click-through rates. Webmasters now
have the ability to track specific ad formats, colors and
pages within a website. Webmasters can quickly spot and
track trends. The new flexible reporting tools allows
webmasters to group web pages by URL, domain, ad type or
category, providing webmasters insight into what pages, ads
and domains are performing the best.
Reporting is real-time, allowing webmasters to quickly
assess the effectiveness of any changes. The new reporting
makes it significantly easier for webmasters to optimize
and increase click-through rates. Optional reporting allows
webmasters to monitor traffic, viewing both ad impressions
and page impressions.
Advertisers realize the benefits associated with having
their ads served on targeted websites, increasing the
likelihood that a prospective web surfer will have an
interest in their product or service.
Truth Still Not Revealed
Google still does not reveal what percentage of the
advertising revenue earned is paid to the webmaster serving
the ads, but they have made strides related to disclosure,
recently lifting the ban preventing webmasters from
disclosing the amount they earn through serving Google ads.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage a wireless text messaging software company.