Hubpages Ad Program or Adsense, CPM or CPC - What Earns You Best?
This hub is intended to give you basic understanding of how Google AdSense and HubPages Ad Program work and earn for your hubs. Statistical data included.
by Y. Mladenov a.k.a. ItKnol
Table of contents
- What is the HubPages Earnings Program
- How Google AdSense Works
- What is a CPC advertising model
- How The HubPages Ad Program Works
- What is a CPM advertising model
- An Ad Revenue Experiment and Data
- Should You Choose CPC or CPM Ad Platform?
- Not a HubPages Member?
First off, what is the HubPages *Earnings* Program?
The Hubpages Earnings Program unites several affiliate and ad platforms into one mechanism for revenue tracking and payouts.
Please note that, the Earnings Program is not be confused with the Ad Program, nor Google Adsense.
As disclosed by Hubpages,
"Activating the HubPages Earnings Program alone simply means that you have enabled the payment mechanism, but it does not automatically enroll you in the revenue-generating programs."
Joining the Earnings Program is fairly easy. All you need to do is:
- Go to My Account > Earnings > Settings
(if you don't have an account you can sign up here)
- Click on the "Sign Up for the HubPages Earnings Program" link
- Enter your PayPal account
- and submit tax information
How Google AdSense Works
AdSense is the Publisher-oriented side of Google's ad platform. Shortly, this means that while they offer advertises a place for their ads, they also need content where to display those ads. This is where us, the publishers come. More detail on that below.
Let's round it up:
- AdSense - for publishers - displays ads around your content
- AdWords - for advertisers - platform for people to load their ads into
What is a CPC advertising model?
Please note that I am sharing the explanation below from experience, rather than research.
As a publisher your receive a non-disclosed (at least in my opinion) share of the earnings generated from an ad, next to your content, that has been clicked on.
For example, I the advertiser load an ad into AdWords and define a cost per click (CPC) of 0.30 dollars. My ad loads on your site via AdSense, one of your visitors clicks on it and I pay 30 cents for that. Depending on what action the user has taken after clicking the ad, Google decides how good your site is on returning investments to their advertisers and gives you a certain percentage of those 30 cents.
Some example scenarios of user behavior after clicking the ad:
- Signs up for a newsletter (bigger commission for you)
- Places and order (bigger commission for you)
- Reads-through several pages and navigates away from the site (minimum payout per click)
- Navigates away from the site immediately after clicking on the ad (minimum or no payout per click)
With this in mind all left to see here is that Google take the 30 cents for the click and you, the publisher, roughly receives from half to zero.
Before you decide Google are unfair, please read on.
This method for evaluating the value of your site is harsh, but just. Done with the purpose of "filtering" webmasters that trick visitors into clicking on ads, wasting Advertiser money.
After all, when you have informative, quality content with a contextual ad served next to it, the chance of driving a sale through that ad is way better. The advertiser receives a return of investment, Google keeps their good reputation and you earn a bigger share of the cost per click. It's just good, clean business.
And if you have ever heard of 30 or 100 dollar click payouts, know that there is no magic behind that, just a site that has made a sale for the person paying the click.
Please note that the price per click varies from niche to niche. If your site is raising a fund for saving cats worldwide the CPC that will seem affordable for you would be $0.50, however if you are into real estate and one sale makes you $100,000 then paying $50 per click would be OK, hence where the "30 dollar click payout" stories come from.
How The HubPages Ad Program Works
As a publisher with about 2,330,000 pages of content HubPages has its own advertisers, just as Google. The difference here is that their ad system charges for each 1000 displays of a certain banner ad. Also known as Cost Per Thousand Impressions, or CPM model.
What is a CPM advertising model
Although this model might not be the best for small-time businesses, it is great for larger retailers and organizations, since a well-known brand doesn't really need to drive a click to itself. All it needs to do is "show-off" in-front of the right audience.
For example, if see an ad by Yavor Mladenov it's more likely to turn your eyes away from it rather than an ad by Coca-Cola. And if I were Coca-Cola all I would want you to see is the text on my banner and read it. It's like seeing someone you've been into class on the street. You might not necessarily interact with him or her, but you will keep your eyes on much longer on that person than on a total stranger.
So, I the advertiser, publish an ad on your site and I pay, let's say, 7 dollars* for every 1000 impressions my banner receives. My goal is to have exposure (read 'be seen by visitors') and as a nice bonus to it I will also receive visits. It's always 'win-win' for the big guys.
* Please note that the price for 1000 banner displays (a.k.a. impressions) can vary on factors such as: banner position, ad campaign budget, advertising niche (ex. FOREX or used toilets).
Now that I have my budget and ads set up with the Hubpages' system all I need to do is see traffic levels raise for my site and every time one of my banners is displayed 1000 times I pay 7 dollars. And you, the hubber, receive a good percentage of those, in fact:
"Every time someone views one of your Hubs, we display ads. 60% of the time, these ads can generate revenue for you, and 40% of the time, the ads can generate revenue for HubPages."
Even better, Hubpages has made it possible for us, publishers, to generate income even easier as it is calculated for every 1000 impressions based on all of our hubs. Meaning 10 hubs, receiving 100 visits each, generate 1000 impressions and income for you 10 times faster than running your own site with a CPM-based ad system.
Ad Revenue Experiment and Data
Back in October, 2012, I decided to test out the potential of Hubpages. After all it's not a wise decision to start investing time and effort without knowing how those will pay-off.
To start I borrowed 15 articles from a fellow webmaster. The articles had a specific focus - SUV reviews. As a rule of thumb, the goal of this experiment was to see how much will I earn with minimum effort. You see, when you put a business model in a worst case scenario and it starts earning for you, then you know its worthy of you investing energy in it. Since it was a side project I decided to publish those articles on a random basis, minimum effort involved. Of course, formatting them as proper hubs.
Over 2 months I published 7 hubs, with average hub score of 70 and length of 900 words.
The hubs in question started generating revenue on the 3rd month of the experiment. Roughly, $3.50 per month.
In order to lower expectations even more, let's round those to 10 hubs, generating $3.00 per month.
In terms of advertising the content all I did was share each hub on my newly created Twitter account, which means did nearly nothing for those, but here is how traffic increased through time:
Naturally, at first those hubs generated minimum to zero revenue, but once they started ranking for long-tail keywords things changed. As for the Search Engine Optimization point-of-view all I did was use the Title Tuner in My Account area several times.
Here's how revenue was generated over time:
Now, knowing that 10 hubs make 3 dollars per month, following basic math you'd say that 100 hubs will generate 30 dollars per month, which is pretty much nothing if you plan to pay your bills with that.
Since 90% of hub visits come from search engines such as Google I would like to share some knowledge from the past 5 years of Search Engine Optimization experiments, research and projects.
To cut it short, if you have 5 hubs about 'ducks' available at the site 'yourname.hubpages.com' posting another 15 hubs about 'ducks' will allow you to rank even better for long-tail keywords in the niche 'ducks'.
That's because your website (read 'HubPages' account) is becoming more and more specific on the topic of 'ducks'. When you post a total of 90 hubs about 'ducks', which, say, would be about 90% of your account's content, you will be considered a duck expert by search engines, boosting ranking of all your hubs and creating a snowball effect in terms of visits and revenue.
Can you see the 'snowball' that will follow here?
Should You Choose CPC or CPM Ad Platform?
Perhaps you have already noticed that I didn't share any data on CPC earnings when I addressed Google AdSense. Well, that is because there isn't much to share. Click-through-rate on contextual ads averages at 0.08%, up to the amazing 0.21%.
In a low-success scenario this means that if you drive 10 000 visitors to your ads there will be only 800 clicks from them. Knowing that most of those clicks won't drive a sale for the advertiser, you will receive the usual amount of 0.01 dollar per click; to round it up - 10k visitors will make you 9.10 dollars, assuming 0.0125% chance of driving a sale through those ads, meaning 790 clicks will bring 0.01 cent and 10 clicks will drive an average of 1.20 dollars per click. Of course, if you write about Forex or another over-spammed topic you have nothing to do with you, there is a chance of earning much more, but trust me on that - you won't be able to rank even for the lamest of keywords in such a niche.
So, the conclusion here is that with the CPM (HubPages Ad Program) you will earn much more than AdSense, assuming you are an honest writer and write only about things that truly interest you. Otherwise motivation can be an issue, endangering the longevity of your account and passive income.
Not a HubPages member?
Write one article per day, rediscover your interests and start earning passively with HubPages.
Start living the life you want to live by signing up here.
if you think there is something I forgot to mention, would like to learn more or anything else, just drop me a comment. Thanks.
By the way...
...in case you have a Twitter account you can find daily posts and retweets on IT, UX, front-end development, tips for startups and occasional sarcastic comments in regards to world leaders and US politics. @itknol