Affiliate Marketing vs Adsense – A Detailed Look!

When you are running a blog with the intention of making money from it, and you start getting good traffic, the two main ways you can monetize that traffic are through affiliate marketing and Google Adsense.affiliate marketing vs adsense

These two methods have their own benefits and downsides and you can easily get torn between them and which one to go with for your specific blog.

If you are in this stage and you are asking yourself, which one, affiliate marketing vs AdSense, is better for you, then this post is going to shed some more light for you.

I will be exploring each method at length, how it works, and what to expect from it so that you make an informed decision on which one best fits you.

So let’s dig in together.


This is the process of earning commissions by promoting affiliate based products.

Affiliate-based products are those products that have an affiliate program that allows you to sign up as an affiliate marketer and be able to promote them which helps you make a commission from every sale you initiate.

An affiliate program is a system that gives people who want to promote products for a commission a place to manage their affiliate activities like getting affiliate links, seeing how their promotions are performing, and providing their payment details so that they get paid.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

For the process to work, there are three people involved, that is the seller who is the owner of the products you will be promoting, the affiliate marketer or the one promoting the products or services (which is you), and lastly, the buyer, who will be making a purchase of the products in question.

So, the owner of the products creates the products for a specific target audience to help them solve their needs.

And to help sell as many products as he can, he works with affiliate marketers and agrees on a certain percentage commission for every product the affiliate marketer helps to sell.

The affiliate marketer then gets affiliate links which they use to promote the products.

People who are interested in the products are given more details about the products by the affiliate marketer so that they understand how the products will help solve the problems they may be having.

Once they are fully convinced that the products will be of help, they use the affiliate links to go to the seller’s website to buy the products.

When they make a purchase, the seller earns money and shares it with the affiliate as per the agreed percentage commission.

This way, everyone is satisfied.

How to Become an Affiliate Marketer

Now, for you to become an affiliate, the first thing that you do is sign up with an affiliate program of the product you want to promote.

Since nowadays many sellers are working with affiliate marketers to increase their sales, you can get an affiliate program for almost all products you can think of.

You can also choose to join an affiliate network like Amazon, Clickbank, Commission Junction, and ShareASale, among others.

affiliate programs

The Amazon Affiliate Program

An affiliate network is essentially a platform that offers a wide variety of affiliate products you promote and make money with.

Unlike an affiliate program that is for a specific seller, an affiliate network has products from many sellers so you can promote many products there from different sellers without having to go to each one and sign up with them.

When you join an affiliate network or affiliate program, you fill out a form and then wait for them to approve your application

Once you are accepted, you will be given access to the affiliate management area, where you will get your affiliate links, promotional materials like banners and others, payment settings, and more that will help you manage everything related to your product promotions.

With that, you can now use the affiliate links on your blog or website to recommend the products.

From there, visitors on your site will read your content and they feel the products you are recommending will help meet their needs, they click on them and they are directed to the website of the seller of the product to make a purchase.

Now for the seller to know that it was you that referred a buyer to their site, the affiliate links you are given are usually linked to your account, and the activities of those links are tracked in such a way that when the links are clicked it shows the seller that the click came from your links.

Through this, the seller can tell how much traffic was generated by you, as the affiliate, and how many clicks converted into a sale, so that it is determined how much you are going to get paid.

To have a much better understanding of affiliate marketing and its other critical aspects, I recommend you check out this complete beginner’s guide to affiliate marketing.

Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing

The Pro’s

~ You can choose the kind of products that you want to promote on your site depending on where your interest lies or basically your preference. This means you can promote any product you like, you are not limited to a particular set of products.

~ You can get paid as much as you want. The more effort you put into your promotions the higher the chances of earning more money.

~ It can be a reliable source of income especially if you are determined to do it in the long term.

~ You are not restricted to one method of promotion. You can use as many techniques as you like including word of mouth, social media, your website, emails, and many others.

~ it is quite easy to get started with affiliate marketing since you don’t need a lot of things apart from your determination and readiness to promote the products.

The Con’s

~ You have to put in a lot of work so that your marketing efforts pay off.

For example, if you are doing affiliate marketing with a website, you have to write all the content that will be on your website, build the authority for your site by yourself so that you have high-quality traffic that can convert into buyers and this might require you to spend a lot of time on it so you might consider saying bye to most of the fun weekends every week.

~ There is high competition for most affiliate products because there are many affiliates promoting the same products.


This is a free, easy way through which you can earn money online by placing ads on your website content.

Through this method, you can show interesting and appropriate ads to those who visit your website and even better customize them so that they fit your site.

These ads will be seen in different locations of the website like within the body of the post they are reading, in the sidebar, and even at times in the header of the website.

How Google AdSense Works

Essentially, there are 3 players in this business, the advertiser, Google, and you, the website owner.

It starts with the advertiser who wants to reach a specific audience who are potential clients for his business through advertisements. So they create their advertisement well using Google.

And then Google matches their advertisements with website owners who have a good deal of traffic that would benefit the advertiser.

Google AdSense

Google AdSense

So what happens is, the website owners take the advertisers’ advertisements and place them in different places on their website.

When the advertisements get clicked by the visitors of the website, the website owner is paid a certain amount of money.

So the website owner is paid for every click that is made on the advertisements.

If you have a lot of content on your website and you are getting a lot of visitors to the website, using Google AdSense can earn you a really good amount of money.

How to Get Started With Google AdSense

These are the steps to take to get yourself into the advertisements game:

Step one: Create your Adsense account. While setting up your account, you will be asked to provide various personal details such as your website address, phone number, home address, email address, and location.

Step two: Add the AdSense code to your website. After creating your account, you will get a piece of code that you will have for your website code. In the HTML of your website, specifically in the head tags, you will add the code as it is. You just copy and paste it here.

If you have a WordPress website, you can use the Site Kit plugin provided by Google that will automatically add the code for you.

Step three: Wait for your account to be approved. When you finish creating your account and connecting it with your website, you will have to wait up to 2 weeks for Google to review your account and see if you are a good fit for their AdSense program.

Step four: Start earning money with ads on your website. If your account is approved, you will get an email notification telling you that your website is ready for monetization with AdSense.

A very important point to note as you use the platform is that you must adhere to its policies failure to which you might have your account disabled.

The platform constantly monitors if users are adhering to the policies set in place and I’m sure you don’t want to be on the wrong side that is if you want to continue making money through the platform.

It’s also key to remember that Google’s policies are subject to change anytime and so you must stay updated so that you keep up with any future revisions.

Pros And Cons of Google AdSense

The Pro’s

~ It’s free to use the platform

~ You don’t have to put in a lot of effort here to get returns (if you already have an established website) since all you be doing is placing ads on your site and getting paid for them.

~ Through the program, you can easily create multiple pages which in return can help you generate small amounts that can eventually grow into something quite substantial.

~ Since ads are screened before being displayed on sites this makes sure that you offer the right and high-quality ads to your audience.

~ Customizing ads using the platform is quite easy making it fast to fit the needs of your blog. You can choose the kind of color and font that you want them to have so that they easily sync with your site.

The Con’s

~ Your AdSense account might actually not be approved by the platform and hence you cannot use it for your marketing strategies. So you are not always assured that you can work with it for website monetization.

~ The amount that you earn for every click can be small and it can only add up if you have a lot of content on your website and adsplacing ads on your site placed in various places so that you can maximize your clicks.

~ There are strict policies that must be adhered to which in a way limit you in regard to how far you can go with the platform and marketing your products or services in general. Worse is that you could end up losing your account if not careful with the policies.

~ Unfortunately, people might see the ads on your site as annoying and distracting them from their main purpose on your website and end up not clicking them. Some people also leave a website because of having too many advertisements.

~ Not all niches can make use of Google AdSense due to various reasons. So you may want to make sure that the niche your website is in has not been banned by the platform.

~ You are limited on where to place your ads and how to increase your earning potential because, for example, you cannot carry out email marketing with this platform.

Affiliate Marketing vs Google AdSense: Which One is Better?

Judging from what we have observed here, I think we can all agree that you can use both methods to make money through your website, and quite frankly both can be profitable if used in the right ways.

Nonetheless, with affiliate marketing, you have a much better chance to make a lot more money especially if you plan on creating a long-term online business.

On the other hand, AdSense will be a great option for you if your intent is to use your site to make some extra cash as opposed to a full-time income, simply because it’s not a long term business model and Google could change it’s guidelines and might end up losing your account, and thus not exactly a great way to run your website.

In other words with Adsense, you will be restricted a lot by Google’s policies and I am sure when carrying out business you want as much freedom as you can possibly get.

Having said all that, I recommend affiliate marketing for your online money-making needs but also you have to be ready to put in work and with no time it will surely pay off.

And that’s pretty much it!

If you have worked with any of these methods before, please share with us your experience with them and what you have learned during the period you have used them.

If you also have any questions related to affiliate marketing or Google AdSense, feel free to drop them below and I will be more than happy to help you out. 🙂

Good luck with your website monetization endeavors.

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