Using AdSense for Content to Rent Ad Space to Google
Google is viewed as one of the pioneers of text-based advertisements. Through its AdWords program, advertisers can create an entire online advertising campaign in a matter of minutes with nothing more than a bit of creativity and a credit card.
Of course, creating a good advertising campaign is never easy, no matter what form the advertising takes. But Google certainly simplifies the process. Advertisers choose which keywords they're interested in targeting. Whenever someone uses Google to search the Web, Google displays some of those ads unobtrusively on the right side of the results page, clearly labeling them as "Sponsored Links." Google charges an advertiser only when someone clicks on one of the ads, which is why the system is usually referred to as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
Google was not the first to offer a PPC advertising service, but it managed to take it a step further than anyone else. Instead of limiting advertisers to bidding for spots on the Google results page—which, in itself, is not an insignificant target because Google is one of the premiere global Web search engines—Google made almost every website on the Internet a potential advertising target. How? Through its AdSense program, which is in some ways the flipside of AdWords.
The AdSense Programs
AdSense actually consists of three separate but related programs:
- AdSense for content, for displaying ads on third-party websites
- AdSense for search, for providing ad-driven search capabilities to third-party sites
- AdSense for feeds, for inserting ads into third-party content feeds
AdSense for content (note that only AdSense is capitalized in all program names) is the original AdSense program; it was simply referred to as "AdSense" until AdSense for search came along and a way was needed to distinguish the two programs. To this day, AdSense is often used as shorthand for AdSense for content. AdSense for feeds is a very recent addition to the AdSense family. This article concerns itself solely with AdSense for content; the other two programs are discussed later in this series.