Analysis of Adsense income thru Google Analytics

James Ryan Jonas

Are site traffic and pageviews directly related to income?

The formula, they say, to successfully make money from a website or blog is Quality Content + Traffic.

A lot of “make money online” experts — the true gurus and fakes alike — claim that fresh, unique, and high-quality content translates to traffic and traffic ultimately equals online income. By now, it probably is an accepted fact that a website with more visitors will earn more than another site with fewer visitors.

But how related exactly are site traffic and pageviews to the advertising income of a site?

There seems to be no definitive study yet regarding this issue but from what we are seeing in our site, there indeed is a relationship between traffic/pageviews and income but the relationship is not really direct.

We looked at our website’s visitors and pageviews stats in April 2008 taken from Google Analytics. The direct relationship is unmistakable. The more visitors there are on the site, the more pageviews are generated. Simply speaking, more people visiting our site means more pages are being read or viewed.

However, our Adsense income during the same period doesn’t necessarily follow the same trend. Our Adsense income fluctuates daily but is generally within a certain range. A drop in income usually occurs during weekends — which similarly happens in other websites — probably because visitors either are resting on weekends or they access the internet during weekdays in their office.

Interestingly, there appears no direct relationship between number of visitors/pageviews and our Adsense income.

During the first week of April, for example, the number of visitors to our site dwindled but our Adsense earnings experienced a spike before the end of that week. Also during the last two weeks, two major spikes occurred although traffic and pageviews were stable.

How do we explain this? We can’t but we can make a guess.

One factor to consider is the presence of new and recurring visitors of a site. Site publishers theorize that recurring visitors tend to get familiarized with the layout of a site, thus tending to ignore advertisements. This is called “ad blindness,” a phenomenon where site readers don’t click on the ads anymore because they are already “blind” to it.

In the days where our earnings spiked without a corresponding increase in traffic, we saw that the percentage of new visitors is higher compared to normal days. Perhaps the new ones got “click-happy” and clicked on several ads on the site, increasing our income.

The articles published on the days when earnings increased might also play a part. On April 27, the day with the highest Adsense earnings, we had an article about a Phishing email from fake UNICEF. Google ads shown include, among others, job opportunities in the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Many visitors probably got interested in the advertised jobs and clicked on the ads.

In another instance, on April 20 we published an article about Apple iPhones in the Philippines. Many of our site readers probably got curious with the iPhone-related ads. The increased ad clicks eventually led to an increase in income that day.

The inventory of ads in Google Adsense also affect the number of ad clicks. Many advertisements keep on appearing every time and visitors used to these ads don’t click on them anymore. However, when new ads come in, visitors probably get curious and they click on the new ads. Although traffic may be stable, income might increase because of more ad clicks.

We’ve come to accept the notion that more site traffic and pageviews translate to higher online income. But how directly related those factors are, we don’t know.

What we mentioned above are mere hunches and if you have your own take on this, we’d like to here from you so post a comment below.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.