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June 28, 2016

Busting the 7 Most Common AdSense Myths

Image courtesy of ( David Castillo Dominici) /

From science to pop culture, myths are a part of everyday life. Even the large Google AdSense publisher community has created and suffers from myths regarding AdSense. We’re here to finally bust the most common of these myths.

Others defy the laws of biology, like the infamous “five-second rule” for dropped food. Others exist because they’re hard or impossible to disprove. As much as we may know it to be untrue, none of us will have the chance to prove that the Great Wall of China isn’t visible from space.

Just like there are myths in science and pop culture, there are plenty of myths about Google AdSense. From misguided beliefs about increasing RPM to theories that multiple accounts on one AdSense ID lower earnings, some AdSense publishers believe things that just aren’t true.

Below, we surveyed AdSense publishers to find the seven of the most common AdSense myths as well as simple reasoning for why they just aren’t true. If you’ve ever spent time on AdSense message boards, read on to find out how much of what you may have heard wasn’t fact, but myth.

1. The Five Senses Myth – by webmaster

Think you only have five senses? Not quite. While many people believe there are five senses — sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch — scientists believe we have far more. For example, there is a sense of bodily position (called proprioception), of balance, and even of acceleration.

As it relates to AdSense, the five senses myth is simple: that you’re allowed to have more than three AdSense units per page by adding empty DoubleClick for Publishers units, which call for AdSense as a backup automatically.

While this can work, at least temporarily, it rarely lasts. A simple manual review is all it takes for Google to detect what you’re doing and take swift action. If this tactic wasn’t approved by your account manager, it could result in you losing your AdSense account.

2. The Cracking Knuckles Myth – by Asi Cohen, Owner, EXPS

Myths based on fear are extremely common. One of the most common fear-based myths is that cracking your knuckles will give you arthritis. It isn’t true — instead, it exists to scare children into a normal type of behavior that encourages and discourages certain actions.

In the world of AdSense, the Cracking Knuckles myth is a little different. It states that using the same AdSense account for more than one domain results in a lower average RPM, and lower earnings for each website.

Just like the real Cracking Knuckles myth, it isn’t true. While adding an additional domain to your AdSense account might lower the overall RPM, this is a result of the average RPM of both sites combining to create the account average. There’s no impact on your average CPC or RPM on a site-by-site basis.

3. The Distance From the Sun Myth – by Tamir Oron, SEO Consultant 

Some myths exist not because they’re unique or scary, but because they make sense despite actually being wrong. One of these myths is that the summer is warmer than the winter due to the earth’s (or at least the specific hemisphere’s) closer proximity to the sun.

At first, this myth makes sense. After all, one hemisphere of the earth is closer to the sun during summer. But it’s not the distance that affects the temperature. The earth is 93 million miles from the sun — a slight tilt in one direction or doesn’t have a significant difference on its climate.

What does has a difference is the angle at which the sunlight hits — in this case, low and oblique versus straight on — that makes the difference, resulting in warmer weather during summer than during the winter.

When it comes to AdSense, this myth is a common one: that Google rewards websites that use AdSense with higher search engine rankings and more traffic. The logic behind this myth is that Google’s ultimate goal is to increase its own revenue, and that search traffic is essential to this.

In reality, Google doesn’t reward AdSense publishers with better rankings. This is a clear case of correlation being confused for causation. Websites with AdSense may have strong rankings in organic search, but it’s a result of good content and links, not the fact that they use AdSense.

4. The Car Tires and Lightning Myth – by Assaf Cohen, SEO Projects Manager, Hayde

The car tires and lightning myth is a common one — that rubber tires protect your car from the effects of being struck by lightning. In reality, rubber tires do nothing to protect you. By the time a lightning bolt reaches your car, it’s already traveled through miles of air, which is an order of magnitude more resistant to electricity than a few small inches of rubber.

Among webmasters, exists a myth that having several other ad networks on your page doesn’t affect your AdSense earnings.

Like other myths, it’s false. If you add another network to your page, you might increase your overall RPM. However, your AdSense RPM is likely to decline, since visitors that click on the new ad unit are less likely to click on your AdSense ad units as a result.

As a publisher, it’s never a bad idea to experiment with additional ad networks. However, don’t think that your AdSense RPM is always safe — adding a new network (or several networks) to your page will almost always have an impact on your AdSense earnings.

5. The 10 Percent of the Brain Myth – by Ron Levi

“We only use 10 percent of our brain. This means that our potential could be endless.”

This myth has a simple, positive message; that you’re always capable of achieving more. The only problem is that’s scientifically untrue — over the course of a day, 100 percent of your brain is put to work at one point or another.

Many publishers make the mistake of assuming that they’re only getting 10 percent of their website’s monetization potential from AdSense. As a result, they look to ad networks and options like AdX to increase their RPM.

AdX has the potential to increase your RPM, but simply switching isn’t enough to increase your website’s earnings. AdX and AdSense are extremely different. If AdSense is an automatic gear transmission, then AdX is a stick shift. Unless you know how to use it, you won’t get improved performance.

Ad exchanges and networks are useful tools for publishers interested in earning a higher RPM, but they’re not set-and-forget tools, and they won’t magically transport your site from 10 percent of its earnings potential to 100 percent.

6. The Albert Einstein Myth – By Sam Williamson, Digital Manager, Guardian Removals Edinburgh

One of the most popular myths about Albert Einstein was that he was a bad student. Like all of the myths we’ve listed above, it isn’t true. Einstein was actually a brilliant student who mastered differential and integral calculus before he even turned 15.

Like the 10 percent of the brain myth, which encourages people to work harder, the Einstein myth has positive intentions. It exists to give us hope — to encourage us that, since Einstein needed time to find his intellectual footing, we may be capable of great things later in life too.

A similar myth is the Napoleon myth, which describes Napoleon’s incredible rise to power as a small person. However, Napoleon wasn’t unusually short. At five-foot-seven, he was above average for his era.

Many bloggers believe that anyone can start a website at any time and make serious money by placing the AdSense tag on their pages. Ten years ago, when SEO was simpler, this was true. Even five years ago, before Google’s aggressive penalties against certain websites, it was still true.

Today, only a small percentage of websites will earn anything more than a few dollars from their AdSense ads. Making money requires generating traffic, and modern SEO makes the barrier to entry for new publishers tougher than it’s ever been.

7. The Image is Worth a 1,000 Words Myth – by David Gayson, Owner, Spindle Gaming

It’s a famous saying — that “an image is worth 1,000 words.” Advertisers around the world use it as a guiding principle for their campaigns, despite extensive proof that, in many cases, text is an even better medium for delivering a message.

AdSense publishers fall victim to this myth too, through the assumption that image ads result in better performance and higher earnings than text ads. 10 years ago, when banner ads ruled the web and banner blindness was unheard of, this might have been true.

In 2016, it isn’t. Over time, many web users have become blind to banner ads. Native ads, such as Outbrain and Taboola, which mimic content, have become more effective. Text ads, which all too many marketers wrote off just a few years ago, have started to show better performance in recent years, with higher CTRs and earnings.

The advertising industry is constantly changing. While image ads once dominated the world of digital advertising, they’re not always the top performer today. Experimenting with text ads and native advertising could reveal new ways to improve your website’s advertising performance.

Google AdSense myth busting is fun

So that was fun. And hopefully we put all those myths to bed. From now on we can look to the future with a clean slate and optimize our AdSense without fear. At least until the next myths are created.

Did we forget a Google AdSense myth? Please let us know in the comments.


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