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Cats, Dogs and Adsense

Ted Rheingold has a good summary of the recent Adsense Publisher’s Forum (I’m still waiting for my invitation – with airline tickets – to the next one). Ted has a couple of sites (Dogster and Catster) that use Adsense. He writes that between the two sites they serve 6 million ads per month and that they earn around $850 per month (total). He gives his CTR (which I won’t publish here because I believe it to be against Google’s guidelines – even with the recent relaxation of the rules which now allow publishers to share total earnings but not other factors like CTR).

I’m a little surprised by his numbers – by my calculations his ads must not be paying too much per click to be earning that much with that many impressions and that sort of CTR.

Maybe there isn’t much money in Cats and Dogs but looking at my own stats I would expect 6,000,000 ad impressions to do significantly more than $850 in a month – in fact if I could get that kind of traffic in my direction I’d be bringing in as much as the team at Weblogs Inc with their $1000 per day!

I’m not quite sure where the issue is though – maybe its just really low ad value. None the less the information about the Adsense Publishers Forum is interesting.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Jarkko says:

    Tough market. I checked the overture prices for terms cat, dog and blog.

    Blog gets highest bids, but the market is very thin only ten or so bids and the price falls quickly.

    Dog places second highest bid being only about 50% of bids for Blog. Strong market though, nearly fifty bids for the term but most of the are very low priced.

    Keyword cat is otherwise similar to dog, but its value is lower.

    I would say that this expresses the market rather well. Blogging software or related services are highly centralized and there are some benefits of scale, therefore it is beneficial to pay for higher rankings.

    Pets are very local phenomenon and judging from the listings that Overture serves focused on local markets and low value business. More money is to be made in some mail deliverable accessories or distant services.

    I would say that with that kind of traffic it is more beneficial to go affiliate or start own business and remain as adsense partner.

  2. Fuzzy says:

    That does seem an extremly low rate of payout, I mean I average 500,000 servings and above per month with an earning not far off of Ted’s, and I have one of the worst paying subjects (Telecoms)

  3. John says:

    My “training wheels” blog is about cats. So far, a click-through appears to be worth either 4 cents or 8 cents. Right now I’m trying to figure out which of the ads are worth 8, and how to get more of those to appear on the page.

    But yes, there’s also a fairly limited selection of ads available. The variety I see is pretty narrow. Eh. This blog’s more about learning to build traffic than adsense. That’ll come next.

  4. Jon says:

    I agree 6,000,000 page impressions and 850$ seems a bit odd. I think Google pays the market price for those keywords, so if that is what he gets it is probably right. He could of course change to non relevant advertising. But slow dough is better than no dough.

  5. John says:

    If my cat blog was getting that many page impressions a month, with my average clickthrough rate and revenue per click, I’d be making about $1,200 a month, so yeah, I think his numbers are within the realm of reason..

    Basically, cats are a lousy topic if you want to make money off adsense. Mine’s still young and the numbers are too small to rise far above statistical noise, but my clickthrough rate is a fraction of what you guys keep talking about. And I doubt any of the few clicks I do get result in actual conversions. I figure it’s either people looking for more cat pictures, or people who like the site and want to throw me a nickel.
    Basically, people go to Darren’s digital camera blog because they want a digital camera and they want to figure out which one they should buy. Big clickthroughs – and thus more valuable bids. They go to a cat blog because they want to see cute cat pictures. They’re not looking to buy anything. Low clickthroughs, and equally low bids. Lesson learned on this end…

  6. WR says:

    $850 per month is very, very low. You would expect atleast $2000-$3000USD per month from that traffic (and that is a conservative estimate). But, yes, dogs and cats don’t seem like a “get rich” niche.

  7. Darren says:

    Thanks John – point taken. Take home advice – cats are evil. :-)

  8. John says:

    Well, no more so than dogs…

    And you can at least attract a lot of traffic with them. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get those cat people to click ads about mesothelioma! :-)

  9. Darren says:

    True True John.

    Seriously – if I had 6,000,000 on a very low paying Adsense keyword I’d probably keep using Adsense and work on optimising its positioning to maximise CTR, but I’d also probably concentrate more so upon impression based ads which would do ok at that traffic.

    I’d also be approaching vets, cat breeders etc to sell them text ads/classifieds.

  10. Yes, it’s the sad truth. Well, in March we saw $930 from AdSense. We’re going to be working on integrating the ads deeper into the content and mixing up the content so perhaps it’s nothing but ‘dog’ and ‘cat.’ We do find a great diversity in ads which is nice, but they can’t be worth much.

    One problem we have is that our users abhor unethical breeders (aka puppy mills) for good reasons and since most people advertising are subpar we have to block all breeder ads.

    We are going to begin working with an overture-associated text-ad company that chooses keywords based upon user profile, not text on page. Hopefully they will ahve decent ads and we can serve more than just pet ads.

    Woof and meow

  11. Lisa Verkley says:

    I have the same experience with my large dog site – it seems to have the lowest paying ads compared to other sites I run. I also had to block breeder’s ads due to negative feedback from my loyal site visitors. I have several revenue streams coming in from the site – Adsense isn’t the biggest stream, but it is the funnest to obsess about! haha

  12. Duncan says:

    I think the moral of these posts is that you’d have to be barking mad to get in pet blogging. :-)

  13. Darren says:

    LOL – unless you’re going to do it very seriously – and get lots of traffic which would make it

    HEAVY PETTING!

  14. aly8.com says:

    Thanks for the tips on the site for cats. What do you think about my site? Sorry to hear that there is not much revenue in the ads from cat and dog lovers. I enjoyed reading all the comments. Great site!

  15. Well, I guess the only reasonable answer is that he gets a terrible CTR.. 6,000,000 serves and only $850 to show for it is terrible. Does he even make enough to support the server costs?

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