Tom Watson has an interesting post titled Blogging Snow Job where he talks of his decision to pull out of AdSense and BlogAds – stating that ‘advertising does not work for the average blogger, even the above-average blogger.’
It’s an interesting post and one worth reading.
I don’t know Tom Watson or his blog, I don’t know what kind of traffic he gets (he gets a lot of comments so there must be some level of traffic) and can’t comment upon his ad positioning/design (as he’s taken it off) – but I would respond to his post briefly by remarking that in my experience political and general topic blogs (which I’m suspecting Tom’s blog is looking at his front page) do not traditionally do well out of AdSense. The reasons for this are numerous and include
Advertisers are not willing to pay big dollars for Political Ads on AdSense
AdSense struggles to provide relevant ads for political topics as it doesn’t know which side of politics you’re writing
I’ve found from personal experience that this is similar for blogs about spirituality and faith and other less tangible topics. Once again AdSense struggles with relevancy which will always lead to a low click through rate and quite a bit of frustration for bloggers both as a result of the low income but also the ads which at times can be completely opposite in topic to their content.
AdSense tends to work at it’s best when a blogger targets a narrower niche topic, especially when that topic has some sort of product or service associated with it.