Google AdSense unveils major changes to how it pays publishers

Google AdSense is rolling out two new changes for publishers which will come into effect early next year:

  • Moving to pay publishers per impression. 
  • Splitting the AdSense revenue-share into separate rates for buying and selling.

The platform has said that these changes offer publishers a consistent way to compare fees across different monetization technologies and will enhance transparency in the media-buying process.

Publishers are unlikely to see a difference in their earnings following these updates, according to Google’s research.

Why we care. These changes will help publishers to better understand their earnings from Google products and third-party platforms, allowing them to make more informed data-driven decisions based on what works best.

What separate rates mean for publishers. Publishers using AdSense for content will receive 80% of the revenue after any fees are deducted, whether from Google or third-party platforms.

For instance, if Google Ads buys display ads on AdSense, they usually retain 15% of the advertiser’s spend, though it can vary since they charge based on user actions. In the end, publishers typically get about 68% of the revenue.

When advertisers use third-party platforms to buy display ads on AdSense, publishers still get 80% of the revenue after the third-party platform takes its fee. Google doesn’t control or see the third-party platform fees.

Paying per-impression. Google AdSense is switching from paying publishers based on clicks to paying them per-impression. This change makes it easier for publishers to compare earnings across Google’s products and other technology providers they use. It won’t affect the types or number of ads that publishers can show on their websites.

AdSense rules. Publishers must follow the AdSense policies and the Better Ads Standards, which prohibit things like pop-up ads or disruptive ads that cover most of the screen.

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What Google is saying. Dan Taylor, VP of Global Ads, Google, said:

  • “Advertising technology helps fund the creative and diverse content we all enjoy online.”
  • “That’s why we’ve spent years investing in AdSense to help publishers of all sizes easily make money and grow.”
  • “As the internet evolves, we will continue our work to contribute to the open web and the access to content that advertising supports, while continuing to simplify and provide transparency into the process.”

Deep dive. Visit the Google AdSense Help Center for more information.

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About the author

Nicola Agius

Nicola Agius is Paid Media Editor of Search Engine Land after joining in 2023. She covers paid search, paid social, retail media and more. Prior to this, she was SEO Director at Jungle Creations (2020-2023), overseeing the company’s editorial strategy for multiple websites. She has over 15 years of experience in journalism and has previously worked at OK! Magazine (2010-2014), Mail Online (2014-2015), Mirror (2015-2017), Digital Spy (2017-2018) and The Sun (2018-2020). She also previously teamed up with SEO agency Blue Array to co-author Amazon bestselling book ‘Mastering In-House SEO’.

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