Adsense: Which Blogs Rock, Which Stink?

Scrivs recently asserted that Adsense is a beginner’s first option, but a professional’s last. I found his analysis to be overly simplistic (he later admitted that there are exceptions to this).

The question I’m interested in, is when is Adsense likely to be a site’s primary monetization vehicle? And when is the right time to “go direct” with your ad sales?

I don’t have it in me to write a long post today, so I’ll get right to it:

Blogs centered around topics with high CPC bids are usually going to do well with Adsense. For instance, take the target of yesterday’s Monetization Makeover: Tom Keating’s VoIP Blog. If you go to the Overture View Bid Tool, you’ll see that the top bid for the keyword “voip” is $7.54. That “turns me on” contextually, if you know what I mean. *cough*

Blogs centered around topics with low CPC bids are usually going to do poorly with Adsense. Take the Pope Watch. Fire up the Overture View Bid Tool, and what do you get? The top bid for “pope” is $0.21. Remember, that’s before Smart Pricing, and before Google gets their cut… which doesn’t leave much for you.

Blogs which don’t have a particular theme, or that are “personal” type blogs, are usually going to do poorly with Adsense. Take a site like BoingBoing. It doesn’t have a particular theme except for “funny, interesting stuff”. “Funny interesting stuff” related keywords are not going to get bid on by advertisers, so contextual advertising won’t yield much here, but that brings me to my next point…

Blogs with exceptionally large traffic and name recognition, or who are viewed as the authority in their niche, are more likely to sell direct sponsorships. A site like BoingBoing is famous enough (and delivers enough impressions) to interest ad buyers in advertising directly. This is a case where advertiser interest would justify going to the trouble of contacting advertisers, holding their hands, invoicing them, tracking impressions, etc. (managing advertisements can actually be quite a bit of work).