Late last week, I asked you what area of topic you want me to cover. One reader asked,
I've been wanting to ask you about AdSense advertising on my website. One guru blogger I follow no longer run AdSense on his blog. I wonder why? Can you shed some light onto it?
For those who are uninitiated, AdSense is Google’s Internet advertisement network, which allows websites to serve automatic advertisements that are customised for the website’s audience. These ads are administered, sorted, and maintained by Google.
Obviously, I can’t answer for that undisclosed guru blogger. But I wouldn’t want to be running AdSense on my website too. Certainly, I wouldn’t advise my clients to use it, especially if they are starting out on a long-term plan for their business. Why do I think that using AdSense is a bad strategy?
Firstly, with AdSense, you lose editorial control over the advertisements on your website. Yes, you can tell Google to exclude certain ads, but this is hardly adequate. With Google’s automated system, accidents occur. Like this:
Backdoor entry by competitors
Next, by using AdSense, you are allowing your competitors to sneak in their advertisements on your website through a backdoor with a feature called SiteMatch. Their advertisements can be deliberately designed to undermine your business! For example, they can put a specific message on their advertisements that makes your business look bad and theirs look better.
Also, consumers on the Internet are wising up and developing what is commonly called ‘Ad Blindness’. They know how Internet advertisements (especially AdSense ads) look like and has developed the ability to automatically tune out. The result is that AdSense ads are becoming less and less lucrative because you are usually paid by the number of clicks on the ads. If you must show advertisements, you are better off selling ad space yourself, where it is much more profitable and you have much more editorial control. By the way, if you want to go along this route, you can talk to us.
Drives your customers away
Finally, the most important reason why I think AdSense is a bad strategy is that it drives away your customers and potential customers! When someone clicks on an AdSense ad, they are immediately sent to an external website. More often than not, they never come back. This is extremely detrimental for building a long-term brand. You want your visitors to spend as much time as possible on your website. You want them to browse, read, watch and get themselves engrossed in it. You wouldn’t want to drive them away—that is bad for business.
So, you may be tempted with the money of running AdSense ads on your website. But before you do, think of the long-term consequences.