Google Adsense

Google Adsense is an advertising program launched by Google in 2003 that allows blog and website publishers to display ads, targeted text, video, or image advertisements on website pages, ad networks, and YouTube.

How does Adsense work?

Ads are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google, but are created and paid for by advertisers looking to promote their products or create monetization for their brand. Advertisement revenue is generated on either a per-click or per-impression basis, and the amount the website owner makes varies depending on what the advertiser paid for the ad unit to be placed.

Creating an Adsense account is free and provides opportunities for website owners to generate Adsense earnings from website traffic. Additionally, Adsense integrates with Google Ad Manager and Google Analytics to give site owners to aid in ad optimization through a comprehensive picture of how content is performing, and what ad campaigns lead to the most conversions, along with identifying low-performing or invalid traffic.

How do you use Adsense?

Site owners can use their accounts to place Adsense code into their web pages to make ad space available. They can choose which types of ads run and where on the page they will appear for maximum monetization. From there, advertisers bid to show ads in those spaces. The highest-paying ads will appear, and the site owner gets revenue of about 68 percent of the click amount.

Site owners use Adsense because of the security between advertiser and publisher, the variety of targeted ad formats, types and placement, ease of payment (Google pays monthly by direct deposit if the amount is over $100), and the ability to run ads on mobile devices and RSS feeds. While there are numerous benefits to using Adsense, there are also drawbacks. Google can terminate an Adsense publisher’s account at any moment, and it’s not very forgiving if rules are broken. In addition, site owners need substantial traffic in order to make money, and once an ad is clicked on, the visitor is redirected and leaves the publisher’s page.

Types of Google Adsense ads

Google currently offers a number of different ad formats, including:

  • Text: Text ads use words, numerals, and punctuation only, and come in a variety of sizes. The color of the box, text, and link is customizable.
  • Contextual: Relevant ads that appear beside a page’s content based on Google’s keyword analysis.
  • Native: Native ad units are designed to look like an integrated portion of a page’s content.
  • Image: Graphic ads that also come in a variety of sizes. Publishers can choose an ad feed option to mix both text and image ads.
  • Rich Media: Interactive ad that includes HTML, video, and flash.
  • Video: Video formats include linear video ads, overlay ads that display AdSense text, and display ads over the video content.
  • AdSense for Search: Allows site owners to have a Google search box on their website. When a user enters a term, a search result page displays AdSense ads. Site owners can customize the scheme of the page to correlate with website branding, as well as incorporate Google Adwords.

Is there an Adsense alternative?

While Google Adsense is the major player in the online advertising sector, it’s certainly not the only game in town. Vendors like Taboola, Amazon Native Shopping Ads, AdPushup, and OutBrain provide header bidding, paid placement across platforms, and more for website owners and content creators looking to advertise goods and services, or monetize their sites.


This article was reviewed and updated by Web Webster in March 2022.




Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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