Google AdX vs AdSense: Which One Will Make You More Money?

Google AdSense vs AdX

I want to earn more from ads on my website but I’m not sure which monetization tool yields higher ad revenue – AdX or AdSense?

This is probably the question that we are asked the most, especially by medium-size publishers. And so, we decided to analyze more than 400 websites and settle the AdX vs. AdSense debate once and for all.

Our research showed that Google AdX earns higher ad revenue when compared with Google AdSense. But unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Here are some actionable tips for increasing ad revenue and making the decision – AdX or AdSense.

Sometimes AdSense Beats AdX…But There’s a Catch

In very few cases, we found that Google AdSense ad placements earned higher CPMs than Google AdX.

This primarily occurred within gallery pages, because when a post has numerous pages and a Google AdSense ad is placed close to the next button, users can mistake the ad’s arrow icon for the page’s next button and click on the ad by mistake.

The relatively high click-through rate (CTR) works well in the pay-per-click (PPC) environment of AdSense. And the bottom-line revenue per page-views (RPM) may be higher than the AdSense alternatives.

However, these higher earnings stem from a misleading placement, and eventually, advertisers will not receive the expected behavior from the clicking visitors. The high bounce rate will lead to lower bids and the RPM will decrease. So this example of AdSense beating AdX is only in the short term.

Another example is in specific niche websites. For some websites with narrowly focused content, AdSense can yield higher ad revenue than AdX. One explanation for this is due to the higher engagement of visitors and the contextually relevant ads.

However, even in these cases, AdSense will only generate better results if AdX is not proactively managed.

AdX vs. AdSense – The Differences

This would be a good time to explain the fundamental difference between Google AdSense and Google AdX.

AdSense is a self-service ad marketplace aimed for bloggers and smaller websites. Publishers place the AdSense tags on their page and hope for the best.

Working with AdSense, publishers are highly limited in their ability to manage the ads. In fact, the entire technology behind it seems to favor advertisers. The marketplace attempts to give advertisers the lowest priced impressions, which means publishers get the minimal price. It also focuses on click-based campaigns.

Google Ad Exchange, also known as Google AdX, is a much more sophisticated marketplace for high-end advertisers and large publishers. Within this premium marketplace there are much more CPM bids that pay for impressions even with lower CTR.

Moreover, AdX allows publishers to manage their programmatic ad sales with much more flexibility. The management tools empower publishers to increase the bids they receive. Instead of working in an environment that minimizes the price for advertisers, it’s an open marketplace.

When managed correctly, AdX will beat AdSense virtually every time, especially in the long term. Our AdSense vs. AdX analysis shows a clear advantage and higher ad revenue in managed AdX.

Managed AdX = Higher Ad Revenue

So…AdX or AdSense? The answer is unequivocally AdX, but only with proactive smart management.

It seems like the entire ad tech field works to get advertisers a lower price. An advertiser bids $10 yet can end up paying only $0.50. The job of the proactive management within AdX is to find that $10 bid and let the advertiser win much closer to the higher price.

When done correctly, both sides are still happy. The advertiser wins the bid at the price they set. And the publisher earns much higher programmatic ad revenue.

Such proactive management for AdX takes a lot of work on a daily basis and requires unique tools, expertise, and knowledge. One does not simply place AdX tags and hope for the best. It requires hard work, but it yields excellent results.

How to Get AdX?

There is no simple button to click and join Google AdX. In fact, only very large websites are accepted into AdX directly. For most medium and large websites, the only option to access AdX is through a Google-licensed partner.

Google granted a limited number of licenses to companies that help publishers manage their activity within the premium AdX marketplace.

Adnimation is a Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP) and a Google MCM Partner. We help publishers join Google AdX and proactively manage more than 1,000 websites using our own technology and team of experts. We also add competition against AdX, whether within Google Ad Manager or using proprietary hybrid header bidding technology.

All of our publishers earn higher ad revenue with AdX when compared to AdSense – no exception.

Get in touch with our team today and learn how you can start boosting your ad revenue.


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