Google AdSense can be a spectacular way for bloggers, website owners and other organizations with an online presence to earn additional, back-end money from their audiences, without having to solicit advertisers. Although these AdSense campaigns can be quite lucrative, in order to truly understand where the money is coming from and plugging those numbers into your various marketing and sales formulas can be difficult, especially for those who don't understand how to read and interpret the Google AdSense reports. The good news is that it's easier than it looks.
Choose Your Overview
The first stop for reading and interpreting results is the Reports tab. The first of the choices once the Reports section has been reached is "Overview". When you chose the overview, you are able to decide for what time period you want to see the information. There is a simple drop down menu bar that will allow you to choose between daily, weekly, monthly or other specified periods of time. For the rest of this article, we will base the example as though we are working with the "Today's Earnings" category. Next to the text "Today's Earnings" there is a green number, this is the total revenue that has been generated via Google Adsense in the last 24 hour period.
Revenue By Category (and Channel)
Below the "Today's Earnings" and the affiliated fine print and add-ons, there is a chart. This chart basically tells you everything you need to know about your AdSense Campaign. The first section to the far left is devoted to the various revenue categories. Most of the action will be happening under the heading "AdSense for Content". Next to this, you'll have the option to view multiple channels that are operating, either on the same website or on other websites that you own and manage. Below this you'll see "AdSense for Search" which will apply if you run a site search on your website. If not, you'll likely have "No data available." The final category is rather new and is Referrals. These come from other people that you attract or refer to Google Adsense, or those that you directly or indirectly encourage to download a special toolbar. To find out which (if any) you are participating in, click the hyper linked "Products" option to find out what you are referring folks to.
The next information block is designed to page impressions. This is not the same thing as page views because AdSense participants can have multiple (up to 3) AdSense "blocks" on a single page. Impressions are how to measure the number of times different AdSense ads appear on your site, overall. This number can be quite high, so don't be surprised by the numbers. This is why the next two components are so critical to your success.
While page impressions are important, it is even more important to know how many of those impressions translated into clicks. In the world of pay-per-click advertising, it's the clicks - not the impressions - that site owners get paid for. Ideally, you want as many impressions to translate into clicks as possible, which takes us into the next category.
Google AdSense reports help eliminate some math for users. But, if you were to take the number of impressions and divide that by the number of clicks, you would yield your click through rate, or CTR, for your channels or categories. Google already does that math for you. This is essentially your conversion rate. If you want to see more money, you have to test and find out new ways to get more clicks through your impressions. This may mean you need a more targeted strategy or more relevant ads on your page.
This figure is perhaps the most confusing and the least relevant. Essentially, CPM measures the cost per thousand of impressions. This figure matters the most to Google, but it looks nice on the report and provides additional data for those who are mine as much information as they can. This can be useful for those who are considering adding additional advertising revenue to their site through direct sales. This is what you would charge outside advertisers to keep the income the same. You could, of course, charge more or less, but it serves as a guideline for your ad value.
In the end, this is the category that AdSense participants care about the most. It takes all of the other data, divides, adds, multiplies and subtracts to let you know what you've been working for this whole time. Earnings will be totaled up by category, with a grand total at the very bottom of the page. This is where you see how things have been going and whether you can consider the day, week or month successful or not. It is also a way to track site activity, visitors and participation.
Ultimately, reading a Google AdSense report isn't rocket science, but it is a marketing tool based on math and science. This is just an introduction to reading and interpreting AdSense reports. The reality is that the total information that Google shares with AdSense participants is rich and can be overwhelming. This should be more than enough to get you started, though.
KarimToohalik writes for Brainloop, a company specializing in creating a highly secure workspace using your iPad through mobile document security from Brainloop, making it easy to share documents using your mobile device.