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68% of 85% is really 57.8%

By - May 24, 2010

Google today announced that it gives publishers 68% of its take for AdSense advertisements, eliminating one of the longest guessing games in our industry. Everyone knew that AOL, Ask, and other large partners pre-negotiated their deals, but no one knew what “typical” AdSense players made. Now we do, apparently.

This 68% split is relatively new. How do I know that? Well, as recently as two years ago, sources I know to be extremely reliable were actively negotiating with Google to get a 65% cut – less than what was announced today. So….you do the math.

Also, what many don’t realize is that Google takes a 15% “serving” fee off the top, before splitting revenues with publishers. So if you do the math, 68% of 85% is really 57.8% – not nearly as generous as first it seemed.

UPDATE: Google disputes this, sending me this note: “For online publishers, the 68% revenue share is not new – it’s been that figure for all online publishers since AdSense for content was launched in 2003.

And there is no 15% serving, or any other, fee for those online publishers. “
I’m quite certain there was such a fee. I’ll look into this after a day of meetings.

Update: The 15% fee, also known as a “AFC Deduction”, was commonly used (and still is as far as I know) for negotiated contracts with larger publishers. Google maintains it was never used for those who signed up directly on the Google website.

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  • Mike D

    I think the standard is 80% of 85%, thus the 68% referenced in the AdSense blog post.

  • Antoine

    Mmm are you sure the 15% share is not bundled into the Google revenue share (the 32%) in the AdSense online program ? I really don’t think there’s an extra 15% on top.

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    You have piqued my curiosity but in the final analysis my AdSense revenue won’t be affected one way or the other regardless of who is right or what percentage is bestowed upon me.

    So what did the Italians do for me that my silence on the matter had not already done to begin with?

    As a publisher if I don’t like a network I can always leave it — and I have abandoned many affiliate and advertising networks through the years.

    At the end of the day, all that matters is how much money you put into my account. How you arrive at that number doesn’t really matter to me if you didn’t recruit me into your network on the basis of percentages in the first place.

  • http://www.adtaily.com Jakub Krzych

    @John: interesting information. Google’s rev. share is still below industry standard which is 70-75% for publishers.

    We just launched commission-free self service advertising network: AdTaily.com. however it is a bit different product than AdSense, because it enables publishers sell ads directly to visitors taking 100%.

  • http://andybeard.eu Andy Beard

    There must be another factor in there similar to a quality score.

    On a low quality site both Google and the publisher earn less for the same ad click, but it would keep advertisers happier as the chance of conversion would be different.

  • http://www.gtricks.com Abhishek

    You ae aboslutely right. 57.5% doent seem lucrative number.

    Nice math done here. Good analitical skill.

  • http://www.clubnetsearchmarketing.co.uk Geoff Jackson

    @Andy Are you saying there is likely another factor similar to quality score or there should be a factor such as this included?

    Either way, it would certainly make sense.

  • http://traffic.de.com Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

    @Geoff + @Andy: It might be interesting to go through the mental exercise of: “How could we tell the difference between high quality versus a preferred partner?” For example: I think it’s a no-brainer that YouTube videos show up near the top of Google SERPs because of the extremely close relationship between Google + YouTube (the other day, I actually referred to it as GooTube ;) ….

  • http://twitter.com/catalystpage The Catalyst

    i submited my adsense application in 2008 for the very first time and guess what? they disapproved it. however i created a new blog for technology, mobile phones, computers etc. etc and resubmitted it. google approved it within 3 days! i was amazed. but still my blog is in review so that i see no google ads in my blog. yet i am happy.

    but i just can’t understand what to blog about in my blog anymore. i appreciate if somebody with experience give me some adsense advice… :) :)