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AdSense Referrals Program – 1 Year Review

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).

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. Daniele says:

    It’s more then one year that I’m using Adsense on my Italian blog with few but honest revenue, I’ve started one month ago with Picasa Referral: just one click and was mine!!

  2. My Hot Image says:

    I’m new to Adsense and the whole lot, but i didn’t make much conversions from referrals

    since i don’t own a webmastering site, i dodn’t put adsense and adwords referrals plus i don’ think i’ll get from them ( as you said Darren it’s hard for new adsensers to get 100$ in the first 6 months and in 90 days for adwords )

    but the FireFox and Picassa are doing few conversion but the payout isn’t that good for me

  3. Murdoc says:

    In a year I’ve had about ten referral conversions, all for the $1 Firefox or Picasa deals. Not much, but since I also run AdSense ads it’s not a big deal to run a button here or there.

  4. Kiltak says:

    Hey there,

    Results for all referrals ads were VERY dissapointing. for me, they’re just a waste of precious advertising space. I’m going to concentrate on adsense and performancing metrics from now on..

  5. Nothing new here .. zero conversions, zero earnings .. I’ve been leaving the button on my sites that aren’t yet eligible for text-link-ads though .. just in case .. despite that I think practically everybody in the world of blogging (even the newbies) already know about it by the time they ever get to reading my blogs.

  6. feral cat says:

    Like HART (1-800-HART) it’s zero conversions, zero earnings for me for Google’s referrals

  7. Josh says:

    Nothing much on Google’s referral program too. Earnings mostly from adsense revenue for some niche content sites. I usually try to supplement with other affiliate programs like Amazon or Clickbank accordingly.

  8. Caydel says:

    I haven’t made a thing with the referrals either. I am now testing a mix of Performancing Partners and Adbrite ads on my blog. We’ll see how they convert!

  9. sandossu says:

    I have been using adsense referrals for 2 months or so and had about 6-7 signups and no conversion yet. And i think none of them will.
    You should try Firefox, it should work better than Picasa

  10. Now that comments are working again…

    In a whole year I made precisely one $100 bonus from referring an AdSense user.

    But I get several Firefox and Google Pack referrals every day.

    Guess which one I don’t waste screen real estate on anymore?

  11. Terry says:

    I’ve had pretty bad luck with referrals too, while my site does not draw NEARLY as many visitors as yours, still, with only *1* click after over two weeks..no thank you.

    Terry

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Darren Rowse at problogger.net takes a look at the Google Adsense referrals program to see how it has performed in the last year. In his post he comes to the conclusion that his experience with Google’s AdSense referrals is pretty poor. [...]