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Supplementing AdSense with affiliate ads

AdSense Optimization Boot Camp Tip #10 

It doesn’t cease to amaze me how many publishers are so concerned about their AdSense revenue – especially when it is the most significant portion, if not all, of their income – that they don’t dare use anything else on the page in case “Google gets mad”.  Well, fortunately for publishers, as long as you are within the AdSense terms, you are welcome to supplement your AdSense advertisements with other advertising.

The most popular option that publishers seem to take is to either rotate affiliate ads with AdSense or use on the same page as AdSense are various affiliate ads.  Done correctly, affiliate ads running in conjunction with AdSense ads can increase a publishers per-page revenue.  You can also use an affiliate ad as an alternate ad, in case AdSense would show a public service ad (PSA) otherwise. 

If you are new to affiliate marketing, and AdSense is your first foray into placing advertising on your site, there are some things to do to supplement your AdSense revenue with affiliate ads.

How can you get the most affiliate revenue?  First and foremost, chose programs targeted to your audience.  Too often people look for whatever pays out the most and pops it on the page.  But if it is not targeted, you aren’t going to convert.  It is better to look for the best targeted ads for your audience and select from those… or better yet, rotate those best targeted affiliate ads and then select the one with the best ROI to run exclusively after that. 

 Don’t forget, a program that only pays out $3 a conversion can actually earn you a lot more money than a program worth $30 a conversion if that $3 conversion program converts a lot more.  True, you need 10 $3 sales to equal a single $30 sale, but you might find that if you give each program an equal number of ad views that you could end up with 100 conversions on the $3 one but only 4 on the $30 one… and it is a no brainer to see that the $3 is actually more profitable for you.

If you find a highly converting affiliate program for a site or even just for select pages within a site, you can actually make more money with that affiliate program than with AdSense.  If you don’t want the page to seem ad heavy, do a 50/50 rotation test running both AdSense and the affiliate program, and see what earns you the most at the end of a week.

Don’t forget that your non-AdSense advertisements also need to follow the AdSense terms/policies.  So showcasing a casino site or pushing phentermine would make your site non-compliant with the AdSense terms and policies.  As would pushing a program that installs adware/spyware.  So chose the affiliate programs  you promote carefully so it doesn’t cause any issues with your AdSense account.

You should also consider affiliate networks beyond the usual Commission Junction that is the well-known standby, and which was also one of the few available to publishers and affiliates for quite some time.  There are plenty of new and niche networks out there that have some smaller or more specific programs that might be better targeted to your site and audience than the ones CJ offers. 

What affiliate programs are you finding work best for supplementing with AdSense?  Thank you all the Twitterers who responded to this question earlier!  Feel free to comment on your personal favorites (whether networks or specific programs) or if you Twitter, send it as an @jenstar message :)   I am amassing a list of affiliate network options that are AdSense-friendly and/or work well in conjunction with AdSense, and will blog about some individual ones that are a good alternative to AdSense.  And yep, some are contextual, which means you will have less work to do when placing them on your site :)

Updated: Here are the affiliate programs I have looked at so far:

I will continue to update this list as I look at each one.

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