Affiliate marketing vs Google Adsense: [With Earning Proofs]

We all want to make more money from our blogs. But majority of us fail to make a lot of money while few other bloggers are making millions of dollars every year.

Do you know why most bloggers are struggling to make more money? It’s because of one simple reason: they don’t know what monetization strategy to use on their blogs.

Yes, there are a gazillion number of ways to make money online but there are only two major income sources 90% of the bloggers use.

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Google AdSense

Now if you are wondering how to pick one among them to start making more money from your sites, this post is just for you.

Let’s first have a look at our earning report from Google AdSense

bloggers passion adsense report

As you can see above, we generated over $6000 from Google AdSense (although we’re not currently using AdSense on our blog, so the data is older when we were using it).

Here’s the data of our AdSense earnings (for the past years).

  • Total earnings: around $6200
  • Page views: over 1 million
  • Impressions on ads: over 1.7 million
  • Total clicks generated on our ads: around 30,000 clicks
  • Page RPM: $5.72
  • Impressions RPM: $3.56

Now, let’s have a look at our affiliate earning report

Semrush affiliate earningsSemrush affiliate earnings

As you can see we generated over $394,000 in commissions just from ONE single product which is Semrush affiliate program.

If you’re curious to join, here are the quick links.

Clearly, we made a lot more money from affiliate marketing. Just in case, here’s the short review;

  • From AdSense, we generated around $6000 from ~30,000 clicks
  • From affiliate marketing, we generate around $394,000 from ~97,000 clicks (just from one single affiliate product)

Now, you decide which works best for you.

If not, this detailed post is just for you.

So are you ready to discover which is better among affiliate marketing vs Google AdSense? Let’s dive into the details.

Affiliate Marketing vs Google AdSense: Which One is the Best?

Affiliate marketing is where you earn commission with every successful product sale you generate through your affiliate referral links whereas AdSense is a display advertising platform where you earn money by showing ads on your site and your earnings mostly depend on the CPC of your keywords.

Affiliate Marketing vs Google AdSenseAffiliate Marketing vs Google AdSense

5 Major Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Over Google Adsense

I personally like affiliate marketing because it allows me to earn money whenever I want. All I need to do is to set up a proper blog sales funnel, drive targeted visitors and promote the right products to make money. That being said, here are few of the biggest reasons why you should use affiliate marketing over AdSense.

benefits of affiliate marketingbenefits of affiliate marketing

1. Make Money While You Sleep

Make Money While You SleepMake Money While You Sleep

The #1 reason people go after affiliate marketing is it’s the surefire way to make money even when you sleep. It’s the greatest passive income source for majority of the bloggers and marketers.

Pick the right products to promote, drive targeted visitors to see those ads and you will be making money every time they buy from you. It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to beg people to buy products from you or spend money to increase your sales.

You just need the right kind of attention and products that suit your target audience and if they find value in them, you will be making money even while you are sleeping.

Sharing below screenshot for one of my affiliate account:

Affiliate Income ScreenAffiliate Income Screen

So you can see, I made over $67,000 while sending 23,527 clicks only to one of affiliate product I’m promoting. You cannot think of making such amount while showing Adsense ads on your blog.

READ  14 Best Affiliate Marketing Programs for Beginners in 2024

Take Away: Show affiliate products on pages where you are getting traffic on commercial intent keywords.

2. Build First, Make Money Next

Build TrustBuild Trust

Building trust is the key to making more money from affiliate marketing. The best example is Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income and his blog generates over 100,000 dollars every single month.

Do you know his #1 income sources for his blog? It’s affiliate marketing. Almost 80% of the money comes from affiliate marketing. He is able to generate so much money from it because of one simple reason and that is the trust he has built over the years.

When he recommends something, his audience give it a try and that way he makes commission. Bluehost is his biggest income source where he usually makes over $30,000 a month alone from it.

Affiliate marketing can help you keep your visitors stay on your blog whereas Google AdSense kills your readership. Check out this image below to understand better about it.

Google Adsense disadvantagesGoogle Adsense disadvantages
This is why I don’t prefer AdSense much!

3. You Don’t Need Huge Traffic

You Don’t Need Huge TrafficYou Don’t Need Huge Traffic

The reason why I always prefer affiliate marketing over AdSense or any other income source is this: “I don’t need huge traffic on my sites”. Even with a couple of thousands visitors seeing my site, I can make decent income from affiliate marketing.

The best part is I can get huge commissions if I choose the products carefully. Not only I can add value to my audience by recommending them the right products but I can make money in the process. So it’s a win win approach.

4. You Can Promote “Relevant Products”

Promote Relevant ProductsPromote Relevant Products

Google AdSense won’t let you pick the ads for your target audience that means you are irritating your blog audience with your ads. Whereas with affiliate marketing, you can promote relevant products that suit your audience.

You can increase your clicks by promoting the relevant products to your blog audience. So even with limited amount of traffic, you can drive more affiliate sales. That’s what I like about affiliate marketing.

5. You are Your Own Boss

You are Your Own BossYou are Your Own Boss

You don’t need anyone else’s promotion to start making money from affiliate marketing. To make money from AdSense, you need approval from Google Adsense Team. Only then you can make money from it. Even after getting your AdSense account, you never know when Google bans you (if you violate their rules).

So here’s where affiliate marketing clearly wins the race. Set up the right products, build the right audience and promote it accordingly to increase your affiliate sales.

5 Core Benefits of Google AdSense Over Affiliate Marketing

For 99% of the bloggers, Google AdSense is how they start making money from their blogs. Not that AdSense is the easiest way to make money blogging but it is undoubtedly the fastest way to earn money online.

Google AdSense is hands down the best money making source for majority of the people who run micro sites or blogs. Here are 5 of the major benefits of using AdSense over affiliate marketing.

1. Google AdSense is the Fastest Way to Make Money Online

Affiliate Marketing vs AdSense: Which Is Better for Bloggers [Our Earning Reports Inside!]Affiliate Marketing vs AdSense: Which Is Better for Bloggers [Our Earning Reports Inside!]

Making money from affiliate marketing takes a lot of time. You can’t make affiliate sales within a month or two especially when you have zero online marketing skills. This is where AdSense comes into play.

It is the quickest and reliable way to make money from your blogs. Drive enough visitors from search engines to your sites, use AdSense ads and you will be making decent money every month. That’s the beauty of Google AdSense.

READ  How to Start Affiliate Marketing with No Audience in 2024: 11 Easy Steps

2. You Don’t Need Any Online Expertise

Online ExpertiseOnline Expertise

Seriously, making money using AdSense doesn’t require you to become an expert in your field. Thousands of new bloggers without any expertise in their fields are launching new sites and making money from AdSense.

We all know building online expertise takes a lot of time (not months but it usually takes years). This is where most people give up and fail miserably to build profitable blogs like Mashable, Techcrunch etc. Luckily, AdSense allows you to quickly make money and all you need is decent amount of traffic coming from search engines to your sites.

3. You Don’t Need Any Products

Don’t Need Any ProductsDon’t Need Any Products

Seriously, you don’t need to find any “perfect products” to promote. Google AdSense takes care of everything. Once you apply for AdSense and get approved your account, you can find relevant ads to place on your sites to grow your AdSense earnings.

4. If Done Right, AdSense can be Your #1 Passive Income Source

Passive IncomePassive Income

Amit Agarwal, Darren Rowse and few other guys are making millions of dollars every single year just from Google Adsense. That means AdSense can be your #1 passive income source if you properly use it.

The only reason why most people can’t make enough AdSense earnings is they either don’t get enough traffic from Google or they try to get random visitors by using vague keywords while creating content. If you take care of your traffic and drive targeted visitors to your sites from search engines, your Google AdSense earnings can skyrocket easily.

5. You Don’t Need Any Special Skills


Seriously I’ve seen so many new bloggers launching new sites and making money from AdSense. Why would you need special skills when you can create some good content that gets you enough traffic and increase your AdSense earnings.

But make sure you are NOT creating content just for the sake of AdSense. Give importance to your audience, create good content around their needs, do proper on-page optimization and you can easily increase your AdSense income.

The tug of war: Affiliate marketing vs Google AdSense

which is better adsense or affiliate marketingwhich is better adsense or affiliate marketing

Now comes the most frequently asked question by most bloggers. “Can I use both affiliate marketing ads and Google AdSense ads on the same page?”.

Personally I don’t recommend you to use both affiliate marketing products and AdSense ads on the same site. If you are running a niche site, AdSense works really best for you. But if you are aiming to build a brand and want to build a profitable blog for the long run, you need to consider affiliate marketing.

Using both of them on the same site doesn’t give you best results. Yes, you can certainly use both affiliate marketing and AdSense ads on the same page as long as you are not showing up more than 3 ads on the same page (or you will be violating the Google AdSense rules as it only allows you to show 3 ads per page).

Now you may ask, “which one is the best among affiliate marketing or Google AdSense?”.

My answer is, it depends. It largely depends on the 3 things.

  • Your audience
  • Your blog’s topic and
  • Your website traffic

If you have a website that gets huge traffic (more than 100,000 visitors a month) from search engines, AdSense can be a good choice for you. By finding and using the high CPC (Cost Per Click) keywords, you can generate huge AdSense earnings.

But if you are in a competitive niche and have decent traffic (coming from Facebook, Google, Twitter etc) and have an email list of hungry buyers or if you are running a particular niche site, affiliate marketing can be your best bet.

READ  Elevate Your Network Marketing Game

Here are few tips for successful affiliate marketing.

  • Only choose a particular products that you either personally use or love. Only then you can write great reviews about them so you can increase your sales.
  • Master the art of copywriting. How you write your sales copy is what helps you increase your affiliate product sales. So make sure to spend time in learning how to write compelling copy.
  • While writing product reviews, don’t sound like a salesman. Don’t pitch your affiliate links too many times. Using just 2 or 3 links is enough and you can boost sales by focusing on discussing about the benefits instead of product features.

Here are few tips to become successful at Google AdSense.

  • Don’t go for shortcuts. There are many people who give you AdSense tricks and tips while most of them are vague and useless.
  • Don’t buy AdSense accounts from others. If someone is already making profits from their accounts why would they sell them to you for cheap prices?
  • Test, test and test. The more you test about your AdSense ad spaces, banners and placement the better earnings and clicks you can get.

Pro tip on affiliate marketing vs AdSense: If you are just starting out, create good content and attract more traffic from Google. Apply for AdSense and start using it to make the first few dollars. Once you are making decent income from AdSense, start building an email list and introduce affiliate products to your audience. Slowly go from using AdSense to affiliate marketing and you will be making a reliable income from your sites.

Browse more Adsense Related Resources:

FAQs | Affiliate Marketing vs AdSense

Can I use AdSense and affiliate?

Yes, you can place Google Ads and affiliates banners/links on the same page.

What are some best Google AdSense alternatives?

Which one is better between affiliate marketing and AdSense?

Without a second thought, Affiliate marketing is the best. Because you can earn a huge commission even if you have less traffic on your blog.

How do I start with Affiliate marketing?

Start a blog and start promoting the best affiliate programs based on your niche.

What is the best affiliate program?

It depends on the niche you blog on, for me web hosting and blogging tools affiliate programs are the best.

Read: Future of Affiliate Marketing: Is it growing rapidly or slowly dying?
Read: Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It in 2024?
Read: Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping: Which is Best in 2024?

Final Thoughts

Increasing your website traffic is the ONLY surest way to increase your chances of making money online. If you have decent traffic, you can monetize your site in multiple ways.

Affiliate marketing vs AdSense both are two highly used and widely popular income sources for majority of the bloggers. So if you are starting out, focus on increasing your search engine traffic and use AdSense to make some money.

Once you are making some money with AdSense, try to build your own readership by also recommending the products you personally use. That way you can use both affiliate marketing and AdSense to make more money from your sites.

So what are your thoughts on the post affiliate marketing vs Google AdSense? Did you find it useful? Which monetization strategy are you currently using? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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