It’s time for another earnings update on AdSense referrals.
It’s now been almost a year since they were introduced (I think it was 4 November 2005) and so we’ve all had plenty of opportunity to test them. Referrals are Google’s first venture into CPA (cost per action) advertising and I’m interested to get some discussion going over whether it’s been a good first year?
How have they gone for you?
I’ve concentrated largely upon using the AdSense referral system (and in more recently the AdWords one – coinciding with my own experimentation with AdWords) and link to them both at the base of each ProBlogger post.
I started using the AdSense referrals on the first day that they were released. I’m not sure I’m allowed to disclose actual numbers but in that time the AdSense ads have had several million impressions – several thousand clicks, several hundred sign ups and several (a handful) of conversions to the $100 payments. The total payments have just tipped into the ‘four figure’ range.
Now I could probably improve the CTR rate by positioning them more prominently – but I’m reluctant to do so knowing that the eventual conversion rate is so low.
My AdWords Referrals are on a similar track but really it’s too soon to tell (I’ve only been using it a month or so) as there are no actual conversions.
I also played around with the Picasa referral program for six or so months but the CTR and eventual conversion rate was so low (plus the earnings was just $1 per download) even when I linked to it prominently on my Digital Photography blogs that I gave up on it completely – it was wasted space really.
So all in all – my own experience with Google’s AdSense referrals is pretty poor.
I’ll hang in there with the AdSense and AdWords ones for a little while longer (at least they have a higher payout) but in comparison with other similar programs (like that of Text Link Ads and Chitika for example) I’d have to say that the conversion is simply too low to justify hanging in there much longer.
How have you found Google’s referrals program?
PS: Of course the advantage of systems like TLA and Chitika is that they are new systems – however their terms are also more generous and achievable in my humble opinion (ie the reality is that many (most?) new AdSense publishers don’t earn the $100 required to trigger a payment in their first 180 days and that most new AdWords advertisers don’t spend $100 in their first 90 days).