Affiliate Marketing or Google Adsense - What Makes More Money

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In our experience, one of the biggest reasons that bloggers struggle to make more money is due to a lack of focus when it comes to deciding how to monetize their blog or social channels.
We all read how there are loads of different ways to make online… but when push comes to shove there are really only two major sources of revenue that the majority of bloggers use.
  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Google AdSense
However, which is better? Affiliate Marketing or AdSense? AdSense vs Affiliate Marketing? Here at S.L.I.C.E. Digital we have summarised the key points to help give you clarity on how to monetise your website or social media profiles.
Affiliate Marketing or Google AdSense: Which is best?
5 Major Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Over AdSense.  Now, first off, full disclosure, we are an affiliate network for New Zealand so we have a vested interest in generating revenue for your website, blog or social channels through affiliate marketing and personally I have always liked affiliate marketing because it allows me to earn money whenever I want in specific niches or market sectors. All I need to do is create what is effectively a sales funnel through my blog, drive some targeted website visitors and then promote the right products to make myself some money.
So here are a few reasons why you should look at using affiliate marketing instead of AdSense to make money online… and vice versa.
Make Money online on an ONGOING basis
The number one reason to create blog posts around affiliate marketing rather than one off ‘pay for posts’ is that it’s the sure-fire way to make money on an ongoing basis… for months and years… even when you sleep.
Affiliate marketing is the greatest passive income source for majority of bloggers out there in the world. In the UK alone the industry generates in excess of $2 BILLION NZD of sales a year… WOW.
But how does it make that? Well it is a simple case of picking the right products to promote through your website or channels and then driving more targeted visitors to see, and click, on those ads. The adverts can be in the form of blog posts, content, display banners, reviews or comparisons and you will be making money every time someone clicks through and buys from the site you send traffic to.
It is as simple as that. You don’t have to beg people to buy products from you or spend money to increase your sales, just put the right advert in front of the right person at the right time.
Just create the right kind of attention and then put products that suit your target audience within your content. If you do it right they will find value in them and you will be making money even while you are sleeping.
Build trust and some traffic first… and make money next
One of the key elements to making more money from affiliate marketing is building trust with your audience. One great example of this is the website – Smart Passive Income – these guys have a blog that generates over $100,000 USD every single month… and do you know the number one source of income for this website?
It is affiliate marketing.
Around 80% of the revenue the site generates comes from affiliate marketing. The blog is able to generate significant money because readers trust the content from building trust over months and years. When the Smart Passive Income website recommends something, the audience listen and then they may well give it a try… and that generates the commission from the affiliate network. Bluehost is the biggest income earner and the site makes over $30,000 a month in commission from that one affiliate program alone.
Affiliate marketing also helps you keep your visitors on your blog whereas AdSense kills your readership because they direct the reader away to a new website. With affiliate marketing you can gain more loyalty before you direct the reader to the next site or page. This is one of the reasons why I prefer affiliate marketing ahead of AdSense.
You Don’t Need Huge Traffic
In New Zealand in particular there is another reason why I prefer affiliate marketing over AdSense or any other website monetisation tool… “I don’t need huge traffic on my sites”.
Even with a couple of thousand visitors coming to my site, I can make decent income from affiliate marketing as the traffic is more targeted and the earning per click when people leave the site is so much higher on affiliate marketing.
The best part is that I can get bigger commissions if I choose the products or companies that I am promoting carefully. Not only I can add value to my audience by recommending them the right products but I can make money in the process. So it’s a win win approach. AdSense won’t let me do that…
You Can Promote more Relevant Products
One of the main drawbacks for AdSense is that it won’t let you pick the ads for your target audience and that may mean that you end up irritating your blog audience with your adverts. We’ve all been hit with the retargeting adverts and unrelated promotions for things you have already bought or are no longer interested in. That doesn’t happen with affiliate marketing.
Do you want your blog or website to work with some of the biggest brands in New Zealand or the world? Affiliate marketing lets you do that. No more random AdSense adverts for pay day loans or dating sites (unless you want to run those of course!).
With affiliate marketing, you can promote relevant products that suit your audience and you don’t need to do it in a traditional banner advert or ad spot way. You can promote within articles, text links or any other way of driving traffic. This is far less intrusive for the reader and far more aesthetically pleasing on your website… after all, who really likes a 468 x 60 banner?!
You can increase your clicks (and in turn grow your commissions) by promoting the most relevant products to your blog audience. This can vary by category or article. So even with a limited amount of traffic, you can drive more relevant adverts and greater affiliate sales by showing the right adverts or products in the right place at the right time. That is another thing I like about affiliate marketing.
Your earning potential is in your own hands – you’re the Boss!
You don’t need anyone else to start making money from affiliate marketing on your website, blog or social media channels. To make money from AdSense, you need approval from Google and they decide what adverts to show and how… only when you agree to that will you be able to make money from it. Even after getting your AdSense account, you never know when Google bans you, changes the rules, adjusts the revenue pay out or serves unrelated adverts.
So here’s where affiliate marketing is again the clear winner. You decide who to promote. You decide which brands appear on your site. You set up the right products, build the right audience and promote it accordingly and you will increase your affiliate sales. No one else is involved.
Can I use AdSense AND affiliate marketing?
For 99% of bloggers, AdSense is how they first start making a little bit of money from their blogs. As we have said above, it is not that AdSense is the easiest way to make money blogging but it is undoubtedly the fastest way to earn money online… you can be up and running very quickly but in my opinion, chances are the earnings that AdSense generates you will be underwhelming… but some money is better than no money. Right?
Well, that leads us on to one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from most bloggers. “Can I use affiliate marketing and AdSense on my blog?”
The short answer is yes.
Personally we don’t recommend you use both affiliate marketing and AdSense ads on the same part of your blog or site. If you are running a niche site with high keyword values then AdSense may be an easy route to the cash. But if you are aiming to build a brand and loyal audience for your blog or social media channels that will be a profitable source of passive income for the long run then you really need to consider affiliate marketing as the best way of making significant money online.
Using both AdSense and affiliate marketing on the same site doesn’t really give you the best results… so what should you do?
Which makes more money – Affiliate marketing or AdSense?
The answer depends on the 3 main things.
  1. Your audience
  2. Your blog topic
  3. Your website traffic
If you have a website that gets huge traffic (and by huge we mean more than 100,000 visitors a month) from search engines, AdSense will be a very good choice for you. By finding and using the high CPC (Cost Per Click) keywords, you can generate decent AdSense earnings.
But, if you have smaller traffic volumes, are in a competitive niche, have a loyal and responsive audience/community and maybe have an email list of subscribers then affiliate marketing will be your best bet.
Tips for starting in affiliate marketing in NZ.
Choose a particular brand or product that you either personally use or love. Then you can write passionate, great reviews about them so you can increase your traffic and sales.
Join a New Zealand Affiliate Network – Sign up to S.L.I.C.E. Digital here.
Master the art of copywriting for your blog. Understand the basics of how SEO works because how you write your copy is what helps you increase your site traffic and in turn your affiliate product sales. So make sure to spend time in learning how to write compelling copy and generate organic web traffic.
While writing product reviews, don’t make it sound like you are a salesman. Don’t pitch your affiliate links too many times in your articles. Using just 2 or 3 links is plenty. If the copy is strong and compelling then you can boost sales by focusing on discussing the benefits instead of product features and SHOUTING to BUY!!
Test, test and test. The more you test your style of writing, subject lines, product types and advert placement the more clicks you will get and more clicks means more commission.
Before we sign off, the biggest thing to remember is that commission can only be generated by visitors to your blog or social channels. Once you have decent traffic, you can monetize your site in multiple ways. If you are just starting out, first off create good content and attract more traffic from Google. Share, share and share again on social media. Start building an email list and introduce affiliate products to your audience in a newsletter. Slowly increase the amount of affiliate activity on your website or channels but be sure to maintain the valuable, original and non ‘sponsored’ content that grew your audience in the first place.
Remember. Increasing your website traffic or social followers is the surest way to increase your chances of making money online. Do it well and with S.L.I.C.E Digital and affiliate marketing you will soon be making a reliable income while you sleep…