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Hubpages Ad Program or Adsense, CPM or CPC - What Earns You Best?

Updated on May 21, 2014

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

Source

Table of contents

  1. What is the HubPages Earnings Program
  2. How Google AdSense Works
  3. What is a CPC advertising model
  4. How The HubPages Ad Program Works
  5. What is a CPM advertising model
  6. An Ad Revenue Experiment and Data
  7. Should You Choose CPC or CPM Ad Platform?
  8. Not a HubPages Member?
  9. References

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[1],

"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:

  1. Go to My Account > Earnings > Settings
    (if you don't have an account you can sign up here)
  2. Click on the "Sign Up for the HubPages Earnings Program" link
  3. Enter your PayPal account
  4. and submit tax information

How Google AdSense Works

Source

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

Source

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[2]:

"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:

Graph illustrating constant increase in traffic level on a Hubpages-hosted article over a period of 5 months. Data gathered through Google Analytics.
Graph illustrating constant increase in traffic level on a Hubpages-hosted article over a period of 5 months. Data gathered through Google Analytics. | Source

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:

Graph illustrating increase in ad revenue over a period of 5 months. Data via HubPages Reports.
Graph illustrating increase in ad revenue over a period of 5 months. Data via HubPages Reports. | Source

Conclusion

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?

Graphs of traffic versus revenue increase over period of 5 full months. Overlay for comparison.
Graphs of traffic versus revenue increase over period of 5 full months. Overlay for comparison. | Source
Source

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.

Dear Reader,

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

After reading this hub what ad program did you choose?

See results

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    • Mariasha profile image

      Mariam 18 months ago from Rotherham

      Thank you very much for this wonderful, information and easy to understand hub

    • Tabalipa profile image

      Dani Tabalipa 23 months ago from Germany

      Thank you! This is the best explanation about the earning program so far.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

      I didn't realize that AdSense is based on performance. That's interesting to know. Nevertheless, I use the HubPages Ad Program for my Hubs. CPM definitely works better here, as you explained. But I do use AdSense on my business site and always was curious why some clicks seemed to pay so much. Now I know.

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 2 years ago

      Always a pleasure, Doris and you.

    • doris and me profile image

      Mohammad Tanvir Ibne Amin 2 years ago from Dhaka

      In a word I must say, the hub is awesome. I learned thousand of factors from your content. Thanks

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 2 years ago

      writingmom,

      I'm most certain that is not the case - all you need to do is go to your earnings tab and enrol for the hubpages earnings program. Same for Amazon and Ebay, no need to enrol for adsense.

      Cheers,

      ItKnol

    • writingmom profile image

      Tracy 3 years ago from USA

      it looks like I don't have a choice, I have to choose Adsense in order to get the other earning programs on Hubpages.

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      You are most welcome, Adil Khan :)

    • adilkhanindia profile image

      Adil Khan 3 years ago from India

      Thanks for the good hub with useable information. I've been trying to figure out the AdSense CPC.

      Regards!

      Adil Khan

      SelfBlogging

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      Chinaimport , DealForALiving, MartieG, thank you! Glad to be of assistance!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 3 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Thanks for the first explanation of this that I actually understand! Nicely done :)

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 3 years ago from Earth

      Very helpful hub

    • Chinaimport profile image

      Kamal Mohta 3 years ago from Guangzhou

      I was looking for some information and clarity on HP Ads Vs Google Adsense. Your hub explains it in a very objective way. Thanks for sharing it.

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      You are most welcome, Michael. :)

    • Michael Kismet profile image

      Michael Kismet 3 years ago from Northern California

      OMG, I finally understand what CPM is..thank you so much for explaining it so concisely.

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      Hi Vlpkk!

      Hope you are doing well, here on HubPages (and in real life!). Sorry for the late response.

      Thank you for your comment and question. I wrote a hub with tips and guidance on choosing a niche. Hope it helps you out.

      If you have any further questions, feel free to ask me in the comments of the hub:

      https://hubpages.com/business/How-to-Find-a-Niche-...

      Best regards,

      ItKnol

    • vlpkk profile image

      Aditya 3 years ago from Hubli

      Nice Hub!

      Writing about the things we are good at is definitely a better way to drive traffic. Is it necessary that we should concentrate completely on a specific category to be considered by search engines?

      I have read in many hubs and blogs that it is important to select a topic that has good 'monthly searches'. But that is not possible if I am to write on Engineering/technical topics as they are not popular like 'Britney Spears', 'Current Fashion Trends' etc.

      Let me know your thoughts :-)

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      You are most welcome, Ken. Glad it is useful to you!

      Good luck in the new 2014 and have a blast on new year's eve.

      Think I am done writing for this year, but in January I will cover some interesting strategies for promoting your content and driving traffic to it. That's just what I love about HubPages Earnings Program - all you need to do is drive traffic.

      Once again, thanks for your comment and have a happy celebration.

      Cheers,

      ItKnol

    • KenDeanAgudo profile image

      Kenneth C Agudo 3 years ago from Tiwi, Philippines

      Thank you very much for this very helpful hub. We don't have any choice for in order to get an hubpages earning program you have to get adsense but as far my experience tell, hubpages program earns more . For now after my adsense got approved this december my earning had rise up. From $3 plus to $4-$5 a month which is quite slow. I hope i will earn more this coming 2014.

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      Thank you for the comment, Careermommy. Glad this hub was of help to you. Will do my best to post more hubs on monetization in the future.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      This was a very educational hub, with a lot of valuable information. Thank you for sharing it.

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      I agree with you. :)

    • isaacasante profile image

      Isaac Asante 3 years ago from Accra, Ghana

      Yeah well, it's good to try a bit of everything rather than being stuck with one monetizing technique. Thanks for the link... I read it however.

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      about ebay and, perhaps, amazon:

      I just read this topic:

      http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/118701

      And it makes me believe neither of those companies are a really safe bet. Perhaps the trully best model is to stick with hubpages program, drive as much traffic as you can to your hubs and stick with the blog concept we discussed above.

      p.s. just a note for yourself, Isaac, and future readers.

    • isaacasante profile image

      Isaac Asante 3 years ago from Accra, Ghana

      Thanks for the help!!

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      Most welcome! :)

      Well, since ppal won't work for you, you could try amazon. If it does not as well, then you can always stick to the hubpages program only.

      In order to make some additional profit, you can set up a blog at wordpress.com and write down some software reviews (or whatever is more close to your hub topics). Before you choose topics for your blog make sure to find an appropriate affiliate network to enroll in.

      onenetworkdirect.com and mycommerce.com look great for technology products.

      So...

      hubpages -> resource box each time with a different call to action link text leading to a related review or to your blog's home page -> visitor goes there -> chance to make a sell.

      Hubpages are looking to become a fancier wikipedia, so the only profit here is from contextual advertising (except for ebay and amazon who share profit with HB most likely).

      Good luck! :)

      p.s. make sure to Google/research 'resource box best practices', 'writing call to action' and 'copyblogger copywriting 101'.

    • isaacasante profile image

      Isaac Asante 3 years ago from Accra, Ghana

      Super explanation Itknol... This makes sense to me. And you're right, eBay listings would be nice, but I've never figured out how to add them or make use of the Hubpages program. This program requires Paypal, and Paypal services are not available in my country (Ghana). That's why I'm stuck with Adsense only. Am I missing something? Your advice would mean a lot!

      By the way, I'll send you a private message as well :) THANKS!

    • itknol profile image
      Author

      ItKnol 3 years ago

      isaacasante, thank you for your comment!

      Well, while Adsense is a Pay Per Click ad program in reality it really is Performance-based. While they do pay you for each click, in order to reach good payouts, every visitor you send through the ads must complete a goal set by the advertiser.

      Example:

      I visit your laptop buying guide (good job by the way) click on AdSense ad, advertising some laptop brand on Amazon. When I visit Amazon I navigate away, because they don't have delivery to my country. That will make you about 1 cent. However, if I purchase the laptop on Amazon, that will be much more beneficial for you, bringing you at least 10 cents. Or even 20 dollars.

      I hope this clears the mythical cases of "100 dollar AdSense clicks".

      Driving sales through AdSense has a good chance of working on a highly specific niche site. For example song lyrics in your native language.

      The site contains *only* song lyrics and therefore *only* music-related vendors appear on it. Even then the chance is, to say, mediocre.

      You'll be much better with the Hubpages program. And since you are writing buying guides, adding eBay listing at the end of the hub would also be good. Think about it - there is a bigger chance of me purchasing a second hand laptop with worldwide delivery instead of going to some random vendor displayed on your AdSense ads.

      p.s. BTW if you need any tips, just shoot your questions here, or as a personal message and I will gladly explain in detail. Honestly, I'm losing motivation to write..

    • isaacasante profile image

      Isaac Asante 4 years ago from Accra, Ghana

      Very informative hub Itknol! I'll try to write often and then analyze my revenue. At the moment, nothing with Adsense :P