What Performs the Best? Ads vs Affiliate Marketing
Whether you are a newbie or an established blogger, you must have used ads or affiliate marketing somewhere on your blog in your blogging career. Both Ads and affiliate marketing are wonderful and lucrative ways to make money from your blog. Both of them are considered as low risk and low income group if you look at the graph shared by renowned blogger and entrepreneur Ramit Sethi.
If you were to ask me: I use both of them. But I still love using Ads on my website as it works like a passive income. I don’t have to worry about making sales or convincing people to buy a product or a service. I love driving traffic to my site and ads on the site keep on generating revenue for me.
One question always comes to our mind when we start a new blog i.e. Should I monetize though ads or affiliate marketing. While Ads require good amount of pageviews (at-least half a million) per month to earn good amount of money from your blog, affiliate marketing, on the other hand, requires targeted users who are interested in the products or services that you recommend. None of them is easy. Both of them require you to work hard and move towards your goal. Both Ads and affiliate marketing have their own pros and cons. Lets take a look at each of them:
Pros of Using Ads on Your Blog
1. Easy to make your first dollar online
Placing Ads on the site, by far, is the easiest way to make income online. You just need few hundred visits to earn your first dollar online. Once you blog grows, your income too will grow up. Though most of the people dislike ads but for beginners it is easy to make few dollars every day.
2. Works with any niche
The best thing about using display ads is that it can be used with any topic. You need to worry even if there is no opportunity to promote products. Each niche has hundreds of low competition keywords that can be used to set up a site and start earning instantly.
3. Easily acceptable
Most of the ad networks accept applications easily unless you are in gambling, porn or related niche. There are lot of advertisers in the market who need to drive traffic to their blog or products, or service and for them using ads works very well.
4. Lot of Advertisers
There are lot of advertisers in the market apart from Just Google Adsense. Even if you are not accepted in Google Adsense program, you can apply to Media.Net, Ezoic, Medivine, Monumetric to name a few. Each of them serve quality ads to the users and have net 30 days payment policy.
5. Works like a passive income
Once your blog starts earning from ads, it become more like a passive income and runs on auto-pilot mode. You just need to spend few hours every week to update old or add new articles every month. As you add more content and grow your traffic, your income from blog will also grow.
6. Pays like a regular 9-5 job
Unless you do certain things that violates TOS of ad networks, your blog income from Ads works like a typical 9-5 job. However, the dark side is that publishers do get banned for using shortcut to earn extra penny. Most of the ad networks have net 30 payment policy and pay on time.
Cons of Using Ads on Your Blog
1. Ads can be annoying
No doubt. Ads can be annoying. When placing ads on your site you need to make sure that, you consider user experience as well. Placing too many ads on the site not only hampers user experience but also increases bounce rate as well.
I believe that if you post content around 1200 word per article, you should at most place 3 ads within the content (Top, middle, end) and 2 on the sidebar. Anything more that will hurt user experience.
2. Low RPM
Ads have low RPM unless you are in niche that pays well above $5 per thousand visitors. Niche like law, finance, insurance, health, real estate, technology always command high RPM’s.
3. Risk of losing your ad account
This is particularly try in case you use Google AdSense for display ads. Google has strict restrictions as to where and how much ads publishers can show to the users. Violating these terms means killing hard earned revenue stream from your blog.
4. Need lot of visitors to earn
Ads are okay to earn few dollars every day. But you need to have lot of visitors on your site if you dream to earn few hundred dollars every day. A decent income from ads would require you to have at least a million users on your site every month, which is not that easy as it sounds like. You need to grow your blog like your baby. Post awesome content, link to other sites, actively involve yourself in the groups, and keeps looking for ways to grow traffic.
5. Lose visitors for few cents
A user goes away from your site when he clicks on an ad. Which means that you are losing a user for just few cents or may be a dollar. A user that might have clicked on few other pages or bought a product or service from your affiliate link on your blog goes away when he clicks on the ad.
Pros of Using Affiliate Marketing
1. Require only targeted users
Affiliate income require only targeted users. Targeted users means users who believe in you and are willing to use products or services that you recommend. It is better to have 1000 targeted users on your email list rather than have 10,000 users not interested in your product or service.
2. Can grow income four fold
Affiliate products that give high or recurring commissions can result in four-fold income. With few thousand visitors on your email list and recommending great products to your users can help you earn good amount of $$$ every month.
3. Works like a charm in email, newsletters and social media
Cloaking links with your own affiliate links is powerful way of earning income. Most merchants allow their link to be used in emails ad newsletters. Amazon, for example, does not allow this. As they say, money is in your email list. People use this form of marketing to earn the most. Also, you can use your own links to recommend products on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
4. Yield high RPM
Affiliate income can result in higher RPM than ads. Most of the top-notch affiliate give great commission ranging from 20 to 30%, which can result in great passive income for bloggers. I have seen top bloggers earning more than 50K per month from the products and services.
5. Many products to promote
There are lot of products to promote no matter which niche you are in. Sites like Cj Affiliate, ClickBank, ShareASale and FlexOffers offer lot of products to promote. You can search for the products, apply for the becoming the affiliate and start promoting the products right away.
However, it is recommended to offer those products to your users that you have used it and you think your users will love it. Just offering something that have high commission will bring result in short run but in longer run you will face trouble earning income from the products that you recommend.
Cons of Using Affiliate Marketing
1. Not an easy way to make money
Is it easy to convince someone to buy a product or service? Not really. Affiliate income looks great but it is actually not easy to earn commission unless you have an audience that trust and believe in you and the products that you recommend. This is the reason why most of the small affiliates close their business within couple of years after failing to convince someone to buy a product or service they recommend.
2. Affiliates can reduce commissions any time
Affiliate income can be huge. But the biggest drawback of affiliate income is that merchants can reduce commission at any time and your earnings can be reduced to half or even one fourth. Amazon, recently reduced their commission rates on most of the products and affiliates depending on Amazon for their income went for a toss.
3. Few high quality keywords
As against Ads, you just can’t create a website and start selling affiliate products. There are fewer products where buyer intends to buy something. You cannot sell someone “Antidepressant cream” looking for “How to remove dark circles under eyes”. The keywords that are available are highly competitive and cannot be used to earn affiliate income overnight.
4. Merchant can terminate programs without any notice
Affiliate income doesn’t come with its own inherent risk. Merchants can terminate your account without sending any notice. Your links across your website can become penniless any moment. The income that merchant owes to you may end in jeopardy.