Sunday, July 19, 2009

Making sense of AdSense

Those of us who got bitten by the personal website bug in the early part of this decade will remember Google’s AdSense with some trepidation. Many new webmasters tried to monetise their blogs or websites with a disastrous effect, thanks to their limited knowledge of HTML codes, which then was essential to incorporate Google ads on to you webpage.

But things have changed, and for the better; putting AdSense on a website in now as easy as making it using Google’s Blogger platform. The AdSense link, which will throw up ads relevant to your page, can now be posted on the webpage like a picture or any other element. The ads that appear are unobtrusive and always relevant, plus Google does not believe in pop-up ads that will put off readers.

So what is AdSense? Google says it is an ad-serving program where website owners can enroll to enable text and image advertisements on their sites—”a goldmine of opportunity for web publishers to monetise their online presence”.

In simple words, owners of websites and blogs will get paid if those coming to your site clicks on the ads appearing on it. Well, there is a catch. The payment process starts only once the revenue threshold has been crossed — the threshold now is $100. While breaching this limit will take a popular website or blog just a few days, for amateur bloggers this could mean a very long wait — my blog hasn’t crossed $1 in the three years it has been online.

“AdSense is a free programme which delivers advertisements based on keywords on a website combining Google technology with its vast pool of advertisements,” explains Atul Satija, Head of Wireless Business, Japan & Asia-Pacific, Google. In fact, the Google ad network is the largest organised ecosystem to globally target and distribute online ads.

So what are the benefits of the AdSense programme. “Firstly, the ads start showing the moment you activate AdSense on you website. It is also cost effective since no sales teams are required to sell the ads or find the target websites,” he adds.

Supplementing the AdSense programme is AdWords which is a simple way to purchase highly targeted cost-per-click or cost-per-impression advertising, with the flexibility to set and modify the budget level. Remember how advertisements of national parties used to show beside your email or on websites during the recent elections campaign? Well, that was AdWords at work. However, Satija clarifies that putting an AdSense link on you page does not mean there will be more visitors or clicks. It will be entirely up to you to generate the content that will draw in readers.

So how do those opting for AdSense get to make money? Once a website crosses the threshold limit owners can ask Google to start paying them. “We send cheques or transfer money directly to bank accounts as Paypal is still not an option in India,” says Satija.

Google already has thousands of users in India and hopes the numbers will increase as more Indians start realising the potential of online advertising. And the potential is huge, for as per a Lintas media report, online advertising in India could be worth over Rs 2,500 crore by 2011.

Google has taken AdSense a step further by enabling the services for mobile sites as well as RSS feeds. While Google’s ad services are already enabled for regional websites, Satija says it is working on making its programmes more effective for the India’s multilingual audience.

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