Is It Possible to Make Money off of Online Advertisements?

Time and moneyAccording to the spammers of the world, jobs that require people to work from home are a dime a dozen.  These imaginary jobs require little effort for large amounts of money and mostly revolve around data entry, filling out surveys, or running ads on your blog.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, while it is incredibly difficult to make money online through advertisements, it is possible.  It just takes two things: effort and time.

First of all, let’s talk about advertisements online.  We’ve all seen them on websites, usually in a bar to the right or left side of the main content (called a sidebar), or in a wide skinny space at the top or bottom of the screen (called a header banner ad or footer banner ad, respectively).  These advertisements are run through a couple of different companies, but the most popular, and the one we are going to discuss today, is AdSense.

AdSense is a Google-owned program in which advertisers use the Google display network to advertise their products on relevant websites, blogs, and videos.  Advertisers pay Google when people either view the ad (cost per impression) or click on the ad (cost per click).

Content publishers sign up with Google AdSense and decide what kind of ads they want to place on their website, and then copy an ad code that Google generates for them into various locations on their site.  When a user interacts with the ad, either by viewing it or—more commonly—clicking on it, the advertiser pays a fee to Google.  A small portion of that goes to the content publisher.

The problem that most content publishers run into is threefold: CTR, traffic, and relevancy.  CTR (click through rate) for most users is incredibly low.  According to Hubspot, the average Internet user is more likely to summit Mount Everest than click a banner ad.  This means that in order to make money on a site, it is necessary to have a lot of traffic; most sites starting out are lucky to have hundreds of visitors a day, let alone the thousands necessary to make good money on AdSense.

The third problem ties into the other two: relevancy.  Google serves ads based on how relevant the product is to the content on a website.   This means that in order to get a wide variety of high-quality ads, it is necessary to have a large variety of high-quality content on the website those ads are going to be placed on.  And this content has to be engaging enough to pull in viewers and build a community that is going to want to support the website enough to click on the advertisements.

See the problem?

It takes a long time for most websites to find their groove and an audience, and until that happens it will be difficult to generate revenue off of advertisements.   So while it is possible to make money off of online advertisements, it takes a great deal of work, a bunch of patience, and a little bit of luck.


Looking for a little more help?  Check out how Agile Impact can help you develop content online.

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Megan Durham is the CTO of Agile Impact, and is the company's Jill-of-all-trades and general problem-solver. She is hard at work at absorbing the internet into her brain in its entirety.

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