When adsense isn’t worth it July 11, 2010 cliffski I was reading an article on a games blog recently, and noticed our ever-present strobing friend, the ‘evony’ ad.* Apart from the ubiquity of the ad, and my lack of interest in ‘saving my queen’, what I really noticed was the prescence of a google ad on such a low traffic blog. I can see how a lot of people would think it makes sense for people to stick small google adsense (or similar) ads on their blog, or maybe even their indie developers website to ‘bring in some cash’. I think it’s a bad idea. (I am selling stuff too, and need money, but ads on a site can be a step too far. My games are here, feel free to buy one to support my blog, I won’t mind :D) There is a tradeoff happening here. You are basically giving up a bit of your creation (in this case, screen-space on your website) in return for some revenue. I think a lot of people get the calculations dead wrong. Does your site get 10,000 page-views a month? That’s a ‘not bad’ amount of traffic for someone who is actively trying to build a web business (although positech gets more :D). If all of those 10k impressions result in an ad view, then that’s 10 CPM, as the hip-cats say online. How much is a CPM costing an advertiser? I actually pay about £0.20 for a thousand impressions when I buy ads. So assuming you get that, and google takes 70%, you get £1.40 a month in ad revenue, or not enough to buy a coffee. If you are not based in the US, currency conversion swallows the first 6 months income. Is it worth it? I reckon not. The point of my rant, is not to say that it isn’t worth it for people running those ads, it may well be worth it. You might get more than 70%, or a higher CPM, or way more traffic. But have you done the math? Is that banner ad on your website actually making any vague economic sense? The big name popular, succesful and much loved games studios don’t stick an adsense banner on their site, and it just reminds people that you aren’t in the same league when you do it. If you can make the numbers make sense, then fine, but it really is worth checking the numbers. * I know about adblock, but I tend to leave it off. Some websites really do run purely from ad revenue, and I’m happy to support that, unless it’s entirely overdone.