Let’s draw back the curtain on trying to make a living as a blogger, shall we?
I mean, let’s face facts. The idea that people would actually pay to come to visit a blog is kind of ludicrous, right? There is just so much good, free content out there. Why would anyone actually spring for some money to read a particular blog?
But ads…that’s a whole different thing, right? People put up with ads all day long, in various formats. Billboards. TV and radio commercials. Heck, pop-up and click-bait ads on their favorite social media sites. They are just a fact of life. So, adding them to a blog…well, that isn’t too bad, right? And if a blogger gets just enough followers – maybe this can turn into something that allows them to do nothing but blog all the time!
The Grand (Failed) Experiment
So, once upon a time, I monetized my web page. I hoped to maybe pay some bills and keep the lights on. A secret part of me also hoped to provide a monetary motivation to keep providing content to the blog readers.
A few months back, I received my first disbursement check from Google AdSense. It worked! was my first thought. Here was $112 for writing blog posts. Hooray!
Then, this morning, I received an email from Google AdSense that made me re-evaluate the whole thing.
“Your revenue dropped by 16%.” was the lead on the email. Curious, I opened the email to check the numbers. Turns out I had 5,363 ads shown during last month. Over 5,000! Wow! And this led to a total revenue of…
Yup, no joke. 5,000 ads viewed by my readers turned into less than five dollars in revenue.
Now, AdSense doesn’t give me immediate access to that money. Of course not. Because that would be too easy. I might go buy a latte with it or something. Instead, AdSense makes me wait until I have over $100 in credit “banked” with them before they will release a disbursement.
So, doing a little back-of-the-envelope math, that means my next disbursement will come in…
So, yeah, in June of 2020, to celebrate my 50th birthday, I will have another $100 check from AdSense.
The Painful Crunch of Numbers
Intrigued, in the “can’t look away from a car accident” sense, I did a little more off the cuff math.
What would it take, I wondered, to come up with a meaningful amount of ad revenue? Obviously bringing in a full-time salary of 50 grand a year or so was astronomically improbable. But, what about, say, enough to get a $100 disbursement every month?
Let’s look at the numbers.
Between subscribers, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, Misdirected has roughly 30,000 followers. I still think this is an amazing number, and I love every single one of you and wish I could buy you all presents.
But, those 30K followers generated about 5,000 ad views last month. Which turned into (rounding up) about $5.00 in revenue. I am making roughly a tenth of a cent for each ad view.
So, if I want $100 in a month, I am going to need 20x more ad views. That is 100,000 ad views every month.
Let that number sink in a minute.
But the numbers get more impressive. In order to get 5,000 ad views, I have to have about 30,000 followers. So…to get 100,000 ad views, I am going to need…
Just for context, a Youtube channel with 600,000 followers is making BANK. Like, “doing stupid stunts involving setting cars on fire” kind of money.
Whereas a blogger using Google AdSense with 600,000 followers is apparently almost making enough to pay the light bill.
Frankly, I am not sure there are half a million people on the planet interested in bariatric surgery and epilepsy stories.
The Final Conclusion
Short version: Google Adsense sucks as a revenue stream.
And this is why sites like Patreon have to exist. Again, THANK YOU to my patrons. Without you, Misdirected would not have hosting, backups, name registration…it simply wouldn’t be viable. And now I understand why Patreon allows subscription rates as low as $1 a month. I could make the same amount from 100 Patreon supporters as I could from 600,000 followers being filtered through Google AdSense.
I’ve bought ad time from Google in the past. I guarantee you I did not get anywhere close to 5,000 views of my writing from spending $100.
Somebody somewhere is making bank off these ad rates.
Apparently, it just isn’t the creators of the content where the ads get embedded.
Considering Standing On a Corner With A “Will Blog For Food” Sign,