The world of advertising is complex for publishers. And even more are the practices they execute in an effort to get good ROI. AdSense arbitrage is one of the practices publishers use to create a profit margin.
Being from ad tech, I understand how every ad impression and every click counts for publishers. Besides that, the diligence it takes for them to sustain profitably while remaining compliant with network policies is admirable.
The risk with AdSense arbitrage is that it’s a see-saw (↖↘) for publishersーfor some it has proven to be a good way to generate revenue (↖), while others have found AdSense arbitrage to be the reason for momentary doom (↘).
In this read, we’ll discuss how AdSense arbitrage works; followed by everything a publisher may want to know about AdSense arbitrage..
What is AdSense Arbitrage?
If you understand how investments usually work, you know it takes some capital to start with, which will hopefully give you decent returns after a certain time and course of action being met.
Likewise, this is how AdSense arbitrage works. You, the publisher with intent to make good ROI ー1) invest X amount to derive traffic for your website; 2) have AdSense ads placed on that very website/web page; 3) compel visitors to click those ads to earn via AdSense.
Now in clear ad tech language, AdSense arbitrage (traffic arbitrage) means getting traffic using paid means (coming up), and converting that traffic into paid clicks by running AdSense ads.
While here, the catch is to earn higher revenue through AdSense ads than the initial expense made on buying the website traffic.
How to Get Website Traffic for AdSense Arbitrage
It is known that there are two of ways to bring traffic to a website: organic and paid. In case of AdSense arbitrage, where the intent is to make quick money, the usual way to get started is buying paid traffic, which is relatively quick and effortless than organic.
Because the AdSense arbitrage practice calls for buying traffic, it’s important to know that maintaining good SEO and getting organic traffic is what makes a website valuable over a long period of time.
Since here we’re talking how to buy website traffic, here are a handful of sources that can help you get traffic for AdSense arbitrage:
A. From Facebook > Time to go Mobile
First of all without a doubt, Facebook is one of the top choices when the aim is to buy quality traffic for a website. Of course, quality is a byproduct of right audience targeting.
Facebook ads can help generate traffic with a decent CPC if you, the buyer, can achieve decent CTRs on those ads.
Since almost 75% of the traffic that Facebook gets comes from mobile devices, it’s a good idea to target / prioritise mobile traffic over desktop.
So, if you consider Facebook mobile ads to get traffic, make sure your website is mobile optimized and monetized.
B. From Taboola > Put Your Content to Work
If you understand the power of content (like blog, ebooks, real-life case studies) to get traffic, you may agree it can be a goldmine. Hence, Native advertising platforms like Taboola can help you dig the goldmine if you’re planning for AdSense arbitrage.
The platform lets you roll out your content to a the audience who you know can fetch you some decent ad clicks; and then eventually some traffic to your AdSense ad web page.
C. From Revcontent > Earn More with Native
If you decide not to monetize with platforms like Taboola or Outbrain, RevContent is another contender that can help you get traffic with help of your content.
First of all, what’s great about RevContent is: It picked up really fast, offers more control over content promotion actions, location and device based targeting, and has credible partnerships.
Furthermore, RevContent gets a plus one is it allows you to make revenue alongside AdSense via its own ad widgets.
These above mentioned channels are the popular choices for arbitrage. They help you achieve the first and most crucial step; which is bringing in quality traffic to your website/web page.
But nevertheless, I wouldn’t want to miss out on mentioning more options to do justice. Here it goes: Yahoo Gemini, Bing ads, Quora, AdWords and probably some more if you look to find.
What Google Feels About AdSense Arbitrage
Voila! You have your traffic. But is that all? Is the money coming in easy? Well, this the ad world, so of course not! You’ve got to look around before the rubber hits the road.
But AdWords and AdSense arbitrage, can they go hand in hand?
If you noticed, I highlighted AdWords above. Why did I not mention it in the primary list? Because like others, AdWords may drive you traffic for AdSense arbitrage corresponding to cost-effective keywords, but will Google appreciate it?
Both AdWords and AdSense are products of Google. Had you been in Google’s place, would you let two of your own products game each other?
let’s try understanding how the AdWords to AdSense arbitrage cycle works.
- Bid for a cheap keyword to favor a low-budget AdWords (PPC search) ad.
- Set the destination landing page to your web page where AdSense ads reside.
- Take the visitor to that web page when the AdWords ad get clicks.
- Compel ad impressions/clicks on the destination page for higher revenue from AdSense ads. Here’s how the math looks like:
As a result, the AdWords’ guidelines suggest that users should not have destination pages with insufficient original content and/or designed with the primary purpose of displaying ads.
Likewise from AdSense’s point of view, the guidelines suggest that users should not have artificial traffic sources such as clickbots or incentivized clicks; the guidelines also recommend having proper monitoring of the traffic sources is recommended.
Simply put, AdWords hates suspicious destination web pages and AdSense hates traffic coming from suspicious sources.
In worst cases, AdSense accounts have been banned where Google felt the AdWords to AdSense arbitrage was in violation of their guidelines.
Finally, bad traffic sources = worst ad revenues.
AdSense Arbitrage: Facts Publishers Should Remember
Okay, AdSense arbitrage has both a dark and bright side. So here are a few things which publishers should keep in mind to stay in the safe zone.
Google simply expects both advertisers and publishers to take the leverage to the right extent and in the right direction. If you read the policies carefully, you’ll realize that Google doesn’t enjoy banning accounts. Above all, the policies simply stateーstay good and compliant, keep your tactics healthy, and earn money.
#1 Provide What You Promise
Instead of going for organic traffic, you, the publisher, is leveraging quickly acquired paid traffic. So it has got to be purposeful.
If you’re using any medium to buy traffic, make sure your destination page is not just AdSense optimized, but primarily true in terms of providing what the ad promised.
In case you use Facebook to show a product/service/consulting ad, your destination web page should HAVE IT. Or if you use content (Taboola/Outbrain/RevContent) to drive traffic, again make sure your destination web page HAS the content.
#2 Create High Quality Destination Page
Google loves quality, rewards good user experience, and despises non-contextual user journeys. The whole idea of AdSense arbitrage may be good or bad, but there’s simply no compromising with the landing page quality.
Your must ensure it’s a conversion-friendly landing page. Make sure your destination landing page supports: easy interface and experience, up-to-the-mark page load time, content richness, and alignment with the ad (which bought you the traffic initially).
The ultimate goal is to cope with factors determining your website/web page quality score.
#3 Monitor Your Traffic Sources
Let’s say you’re getting good traffic via the paid channels. Not to sound pessimistic, but you’ve still got to keep an eye on traffic sources.
Reason being, you need to make sure that no traffic source or third-party is sending you artificial traffic. Since AdSense closely monitors this data, not ensuring policy compliance can lead to your account being banned.
The simplest way of tracking and monitoring traffic sources is using a Google Analytics account.
#4 The Ideal AdSense Arbitrage Setup
So far, we’ve discussed all the revenue-and-risk-possibilities that go along with AdSense arbitrage. But are you wondering how to actually get started? Here’s what you will need:
- A niche, around which you can your website.
- An AdSense account, which you will set up on your website to run ads.
- Content, that you plan to publish on your website for user engagement.
- A strategy, that you need to source traffic for your website.
- A/B testing, so you can eliminate low-yield traffic sources.
Remember, AdSense arbitrage is an inherently risky business; which may generate a lot of money if managed carefully and return nothing if not.
Keeping all these facts about AdSense arbitrage in mind, try and get the execution right while remaining compliant.
AdPushup is an ad revenue optimization platform, we help publishers increase their ad revenue by using ad layout optimization, header bidding, ad mediation, adblock recovery, innovative ad formats, and AMP. We are a Microsoft Ventures funded startup, a Google NPM AdX Partner, and winner of NASSCOM Emerge 50 award for innovation. You can request a demo here.