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How Much Traffic Do You Need To Make Money With AdSense?

Let’s say you want to make $100,000 a year from Google AdSense and/or Google AdSense alternatives.
$100,000 divided by 365 = $274 a day.
So, you have to create either: 274 pages that earn $1 a day OR 548 pages that earn 50 cents a day OR 1,096 pages that earn 25 cents a day (which sounds reasonable, right?). Let’s say you have 1,096 high quality blog posts and you earn $0.25 per click from AdSense.
I have analyzed the traffic and AdSense stats (using Google Image Search) of several websites including my own blogs and websites.
Google AdSense Earnings
From my analysis, I found that the average Page CTR is around 1% (or it’s something that we can achieve easily). But it really depends upon your niche, web site design and other factors.
In fact I have achieved a Page CTR of over 20% in 2007 for a niche website and was making $100+ a day from Google AdSense alone.

Let’s Do The Math To Make $100,000 A Year With Google AdSense

Let’s assume that you have a Page CTR of 1% and your average CPC is $0.25 (I believe it’s quite an achievable target unless your keywords have no advertiser competition – e.g. a recipe blog).
Some of the top paying AdSense niches are Finance, Internet Marketing, Technology, Web Hosting, Internet & Computers, Software, Health etc. and some of the lowest paying AdSense niches are Entertainment, Arts, Movies, Celebrity Gossips, News blog, Jokes, Wallpapers, Quotes, Recipes, Photo blogs etc.
As mentioned earlier $100,000 a year means you have to earn $274 a day. If your average CPC is $0.25 then you need 100,000/0.25 = 400,000 clicks a year (or approximately 1,000 clicks a day) to earn $100,000 a year from Google AdSense. Assuming that your Page CTR is 1% you need approximately 100,000 page views a day. Now, let’s say your “Bounce Rate” (it is the estimated percentage of visits to your website that consist of a single page view) is 100%. It means that you need 100,000 unique visitors a day itself to generate 100,000 page views a day.
In a nutshell, you need 100,000 visitors a day to make $100,000 a year from Google AdSense alone (with a CTR of 1% and CPC of $0.25).

Google AdSense Glossary

Page Views
A page view is what Google counts in your reports every time a user views a page displaying Google ads. We will count one page view regardless of the number of ads displayed on that page.
For example, if you have a page displaying three ad units and it is viewed twice, you will generate two page views.
Clicks
For standard content ads, Google counts a click when a user clicks on an ad.
For link units, Google counts a click when a user clicks on an ad on the page of ads, after selecting a link in the link unit.
Page Click Through Rate (Page CTR)
The Page Click Through Rate (CTR) is the number of ad clicks divided by the number of impressions or page views that you have received.
Page CTR = Clicks / Page Views
For example, if you received 5 Clicks from 100 Page Views, then your Page CTR would be 5%. (5/100*100=5%)
Cost Per Click (CPC)
The Cost Per Click (CPC) is the amount you earn each time a user clicks on your ad. The CPC for any ad is determined by the advertiser; some advertisers may be willing to pay more per click than others, depending on what they’re advertising.
Page Revenue Per Thousand Impressions (Page RPM)
Page Revenue Per Thousand Impressions (RPM) is calculated by dividing your estimated earnings by the number of page views you received, then multiplying by 1000.
Page RPM = (Estimated Earnings / Number of Page Views) * 1,000
For example, if you earned an estimated $0.15 from 25 page views, then your page RPM would equal ($0.15 / 25) * 1000, or $6.00.
Estimated Earnings
Your account balance (or earnings) for the time period selected.
But you are not using AdSense alone to monetize your website, right? You can make more money by selling direct banner ads, in-text ads, CPM ads, sponsored links, affiliate marketing, etc.

Cost Per Impression (CPM) Ads

So let’s say you’re selling direct banner ads and is also selling CPM advertising which is again an effective way to monetize your website.
What are CPM ads?
CPM (Cost Per Mille) stands for Cost Per 1,000 Impressions. CPM networks pays for every 1,000 impressions you generate. If a CPM ad network is paying you $1 CPM then it means that they’re paying you $1 for every 1,000 page views you generate.
Advertising.
CPM Network earnings totally depend upon your traffic quality but you can expect anywhere between $1 – $3 per 1,000 impressions. So, if you generate 100,000 page views a day then you can make $100 – $300 a day from CPM Networks. Again, you can earn $100 – $300 (or maybe even more) a day by selling banner ads directly to advertisers.
Now, you can split the traffic into three as you’re earning $300 each from 3 advertising networks. It means that you need 100,000/3=33,333 unique visitors a day (with a bounce rate of 100%) to make approximately $274/day.
Again, if you have an authority blog then your bounce rate will never be 100%. In that case you can expect an average page view of 1.5 per user. It means that 50% of your visitors exit from the landing page and others visit more than one page on your website.
All in all, you need approximately 20,000 visitors a day to generate 30,000+ page views and it can earn $274 a day which translates to $100,000 a year in advertising revenues. Need a little more help reaching that $100,000/year goal? Add commissions from Affiliate Programs as well into the equation and you can hit that $100,000 goal with much less traffic. In fact, in 2008 I was averaging $200+ a day from less than 200 daily unique visitors with affiliate marketing. It was possible because when it comes to affiliate marketing it’s all about traffic quality and not traffic quantity.

How To Optimize Google AdSense

Google AdSense A/B Testing
You can optimize your AdSense ads in several ways. For example, you can try text ads only, image ads only, text & image ads to find out which ad format is performing better. Google recommends wide ad formats like 728 x 90, 336 x 280, 300 x 250, and 160 x 600 as they’re more advertiser friendly.
When you use the recommended ad formats, your AdSense ads should perform well because of increased competition. How? The recommended ad formats by AdSense are the most popular ad formats and hence almost all advertisers must be targeting those ad formats. So it increases the competition naturally and Google will be showing the highest paying ads on your website.
But it’s also a good idea to try different ad formats as Google is now offering a variety of ad formats (including responsive ad units). I would recommend A/B testing on your website to find out the best performing ad formats. Like, you can do A/B testing by trying different ad types, ad formats, ad colors, and then by placing your ads at different sections on your website (above and below the fold) to find out which position is offering the best CTR).
But what if your AdSense earnings are low even though you have good a CTR? In that case, I would recommend ad controls though Google mentioned that blocking any ad will reduce our potential earnings.
Google says:
It’s a myth that filtering ads can prevent ‘low-paying ads’ from appearing, so as always, we recommend blocking only those ads that you feel are unsuitable for your users.

Finally, you can tweak the AdSense click-through-rate by using an AdSense friendly template for your website/blog. But make sure that your website is not ad heavy as it will impact the user experience in a negative way. And as always, you can focus on creating awesome content and driving more traffic so that it increases your Google AdSense earnings (and your advertising revenues) naturally.

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