Affiliate Marketing vs AdSense: Which Is Better for Bloggers [Our Earning Reports Inside!]

We all want to make more money from our blogs. But majority of us fail to make a lot of money while few other bloggers are making millions of dollars every year.

Do you know why most bloggers are struggling to make more money? It’s because of one simple reason: they don’t know what monetization strategy to use on their blogs.

Yes, there are a gazillion number of ways to make money online but there are only two major income sources 90% of the bloggers use.

  1. Affiliate marketing
  2. Google AdSense

Now if you are wondering how to pick one among them to start making more money from your sites, this post is just for you.

Let’s first have a look at our earning report from Google AdSense

bloggers passion adsense report

As you can see above, we generated over $6000 from Google AdSense (although we’re not currently using AdSense on our blog, so the data is older when we were using it).

Here’s the data of our AdSense earnings (for the past years).

  • Total earnings: around $6200
  • Page views: over 1 million
  • Impressions on ads: over 1.7 million
  • Total clicks generated on our ads: around 30,000 clicks
  • Page RPM: $5.72
  • Impressions RPM: $3.56

Now, let’s have a look at our affiliate earning report

Semrush affiliate earnings

As you can see we generated over $394,000 in commissions just from ONE single product which is Semrush affiliate program.

If you’re curious to join, here are the quick links.

Clearly, we made a lot more money from affiliate marketing. Just in case, here’s the short review;

  • From AdSense, we generated around $6000 from ~30,000 clicks
  • From affiliate marketing, we generate around $394,000 from ~97,000 clicks (just from one single affiliate product)

Now, you decide which works best for you.

If not, this detailed post is just for you.

So are you ready to discover which is better among affiliate marketing vs Google AdSense? Let’s dive into the details.

Affiliate Marketing vs Google AdSense: Which One is the Best?

Affiliate marketing is where you earn commission with every successful product sale you generate through your affiliate referral links whereas AdSense is a display advertising platform where you earn money by showing ads on your site and your earnings mostly depend on the CPC of your keywords.

Affiliate Marketing vs Google AdSense

5 Major Benefits of Affiliate Marketing Over Google Adsense

I personally like affiliate marketing because it allows me to earn money whenever I want. All I need to do is to set up a proper blog sales funnel, drive targeted visitors and promote the right products to make money. That being said, here are few of the biggest reasons why you should use affiliate marketing over AdSense.

benefits of affiliate marketing

1. Make Money While You Sleep

Make Money While You Sleep

The #1 reason people go after affiliate marketing is it’s the surefire way to make money even when you sleep. It’s the greatest passive income source for majority of the bloggers and marketers.

Pick the right products to promote, drive targeted visitors to see those ads and you will be making money every time they buy from you. It’s as simple as that. You don’t have to beg people to buy products from you or spend money to increase your sales.

You just need the right kind of attention and products that suit your target audience and if they find value in them, you will be making money even while you are sleeping.

Sharing below screenshot for one of my affiliate account:

Affiliate Income Screen

So you can see, I made over $67,000 while sending 23,527 clicks only to one of affiliate product I’m promoting. You cannot think of making such amount while showing Adsense ads on your blog.

Take Away: Show affiliate products on pages where you are getting traffic on commercial intent keywords.

2. Build First, Make Money Next

Build Trust

Building trust is the key to making more money from affiliate marketing. The best example is Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income and his blog generates over 100,000 dollars every single month.

Do you know his #1 income sources for his blog? It’s affiliate marketing. Almost 80% of the money comes from affiliate marketing. He is able to generate so much money from it because of one simple reason and that is the trust he has built over the years.

When he recommends something, his audience give it a try and that way he makes commission. Bluehost is his biggest income source where he usually makes over $30,000 a month alone from it.

Affiliate marketing can help you keep your visitors stay on your blog whereas Google AdSense kills your readership. Check out this image below to understand better about it.

Google Adsense disadvantages
This is why I don’t prefer AdSense much!

3. You Don’t Need Huge Traffic

You Don’t Need Huge Traffic

The reason why I always prefer affiliate marketing over AdSense or any other income source is this: “I don’t need huge traffic on my sites”. Even with a couple of thousands visitors seeing my site, I can make decent income from affiliate marketing.

The best part is I can get huge commissions if I choose the products carefully. Not only I can add value to my audience by recommending them the right products but I can make money in the process. So it’s a win win approach.

4. You Can Promote “Relevant Products”

Promote Relevant Products

Google AdSense won’t let you pick the ads for your target audience that means you are irritating your blog audience with your ads. Whereas with affiliate marketing, you can promote relevant products that suit your audience.

You can increase your clicks by promoting the relevant products to your blog audience. So even with limited amount of traffic, you can drive more affiliate sales. That’s what I like about affiliate marketing.

5. You are Your Own Boss

You are Your Own Boss

You don’t need anyone else’s promotion to start making money from affiliate marketing. To make money from AdSense, you need approval from Google Adsense Team. Only then you can make money from it. Even after getting your AdSense account, you never know when Google bans you (if you violate their rules).

So here’s where affiliate marketing clearly wins the race. Set up the right products, build the right audience and promote it accordingly to increase your affiliate sales.

affiliate marketing course
Learn How to grow your affiliate income from $0 to $1,000 in a month (Worth $197)

5 Core Benefits of Google AdSense Over Affiliate Marketing

For 99% of the bloggers, Google AdSense is how they start making money from their blogs. Not that AdSense is the easiest way to make money blogging but it is undoubtedly the fastest way to earn money online.

Google AdSense is hands down the best money making source for majority of the people who run micro sites or blogs. Here are 5 of the major benefits of using AdSense over affiliate marketing.

1. Google AdSense is the Fastest Way to Make Money Online

Affiliate Marketing vs AdSense: Which Is Better for Bloggers [Our Earning Reports Inside!]

Making money from affiliate marketing takes a lot of time. You can’t make affiliate sales within a month or two especially when you have zero online marketing skills. This is where AdSense comes into play.

It is the quickest and reliable way to make money from your blogs. Drive enough visitors from search engines to your sites, use AdSense ads and you will be making decent money every month. That’s the beauty of Google AdSense.

2. You Don’t Need Any Online Expertise

Online Expertise

Seriously, making money using AdSense doesn’t require you to become an expert in your field. Thousands of new bloggers without any expertise in their fields are launching new sites and making money from AdSense.

We all know building online expertise takes a lot of time (not months but it usually takes years). This is where most people give up and fail miserably to build profitable blogs like Mashable, Techcrunch etc. Luckily, AdSense allows you to quickly make money and all you need is decent amount of traffic coming from search engines to your sites.

3. You Don’t Need Any Products

Don’t Need Any Products

Seriously, you don’t need to find any “perfect products” to promote. Google AdSense takes care of everything. Once you apply for AdSense and get approved your account, you can find relevant ads to place on your sites to grow your AdSense earnings.

4. If Done Right, AdSense can be Your #1 Passive Income Source

Passive Income

Amit Agarwal, Darren Rowse and few other guys are making millions of dollars every single year just from Google Adsense. That means AdSense can be your #1 passive income source if you properly use it.

The only reason why most people can’t make enough AdSense earnings is they either don’t get enough traffic from Google or they try to get random visitors by using vague keywords while creating content. If you take care of your traffic and drive targeted visitors to your sites from search engines, your Google AdSense earnings can skyrocket easily.

5. You Don’t Need Any Special Skills


Seriously I’ve seen so many new bloggers launching new sites and making money from AdSense. Why would you need special skills when you can create some good content that gets you enough traffic and increase your AdSense earnings.

But make sure you are NOT creating content just for the sake of AdSense. Give importance to your audience, create good content around their needs, do proper on-page optimization and you can easily increase your AdSense income.

The tug of war: Affiliate marketing vs Google AdSense

which is better adsense or affiliate marketing

Now comes the most frequently asked question by most bloggers. “Can I use both affiliate marketing ads and Google AdSense ads on the same page?”.

Personally I don’t recommend you to use both affiliate marketing products and AdSense ads on the same site. If you are running a niche site, AdSense works really best for you. But if you are aiming to build a brand and want to build a profitable blog for the long run, you need to consider affiliate marketing.

Using both of them on the same site doesn’t give you best results. Yes, you can certainly use both affiliate marketing and AdSense ads on the same page as long as you are not showing up more than 3 ads on the same page (or you will be violating the Google AdSense rules as it only allows you to show 3 ads per page).

Now you may ask, “which one is the best among affiliate marketing or Google AdSense?”.

My answer is, it depends. It largely depends on the 3 things.

  • Your audience
  • Your blog’s topic and
  • Your website traffic

If you have a website that gets huge traffic (more than 100,000 visitors a month) from search engines, AdSense can be a good choice for you. By finding and using the high CPC (Cost Per Click) keywords, you can generate huge AdSense earnings.

But if you are in a competitive niche and have decent traffic (coming from Facebook, Google, Twitter etc) and have an email list of hungry buyers or if you are running a particular niche site, affiliate marketing can be your best bet.

Here are few tips for successful affiliate marketing.

  • Only choose a particular products that you either personally use or love. Only then you can write great reviews about them so you can increase your sales.
  • Master the art of copywriting. How you write your sales copy is what helps you increase your affiliate product sales. So make sure to spend time in learning how to write compelling copy.
  • While writing product reviews, don’t sound like a salesman. Don’t pitch your affiliate links too many times. Using just 2 or 3 links is enough and you can boost sales by focusing on discussing about the benefits instead of product features.

Here are few tips to become successful at Google AdSense.

  • Don’t go for shortcuts. There are many people who give you AdSense tricks and tips while most of them are vague and useless.
  • Don’t buy AdSense accounts from others. If someone is already making profits from their accounts why would they sell them to you for cheap prices?
  • Test, test and test. The more you test about your AdSense ad spaces, banners and placement the better earnings and clicks you can get.

Pro tip on affiliate marketing vs AdSense: If you are just starting out, create good content and attract more traffic from Google. Apply for AdSense and start using it to make the first few dollars. Once you are making decent income from AdSense, start building an email list and introduce affiliate products to your audience. Slowly go from using AdSense to affiliate marketing and you will be making a reliable income from your sites.

Browse more Adsense Related Resources:

FAQs | Affiliate Marketing vs AdSense

Can I use AdSense and affiliate?

Yes, you can place Google Ads and affiliates banners/links on the same page.

What are some best Google AdSense alternatives?

For me, Ezoic and Mediavine could be the best Google AdSense alternatives.

Which one is better between affiliate marketing and AdSense?

Without a second thought, Affiliate marketing is the best. Because you can earn a huge commission even if you have less traffic on your blog.

How do I start with Affiliate marketing?

Start a blog and start promoting the best affiliate programs based on your niche.

What is the best affiliate program?

It depends on the niche you blog on, for me web hosting and blogging tools affiliate programs are the best.

Read: Future of Affiliate Marketing: Is it growing rapidly or slowly dying?
Read: Is Affiliate Marketing Worth It in 2024?
Read: Affiliate Marketing vs Dropshipping: Which is Best in 2024?

Final Thoughts

Increasing your website traffic is the ONLY surest way to increase your chances of making money online. If you have decent traffic, you can monetize your site in multiple ways.

Affiliate marketing vs AdSense both are two highly used and widely popular income sources for majority of the bloggers. So if you are starting out, focus on increasing your search engine traffic and use AdSense to make some money.

Once you are making some money with AdSense, try to build your own readership by also recommending the products you personally use. That way you can use both affiliate marketing and AdSense to make more money from your sites.

So what are your thoughts on the post affiliate marketing vs Google AdSense? Did you find it useful? Which monetization strategy are you currently using? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Author
Anil Agarwal is the Founder of Bloggerspassion. He is a full-time blogger and SEO expert who has been helping people build profitable blogs for over a decade Now. He has been featured in Over 100 Publications including Forbes, The HuffPost, HubSpot, Shopify, Semrush, Kinsta, Bluehost, Hostinger and etc. Know more about Anil Agarwal from here.

Reader Comments (28)

  1. It is very good article because it clear my mind about affiliate and google adsense. I have read it completely. Very interesting.

  2. I reaaly love this post. You’ve mentioned both the merits and demerits of Adsense and affiliates. Personally, I believe that affiliate marketing is not for everyone. Without marketing skills, making a sale is a difficult job. On the other hand, Adsense works on all niches and doesn’t need any skills but traffic is very important.


  3. Hi Anil,
    Thank you for the eye opening article on Google Adsence vs Affiliate Marketing. It was very helpful. I am a beginner and learning about blogging. I have just started Amazon Affiliate in my Facebook page and learning.
    Thank you so much once again.

  4. Hey,
    Greetings Anil you have composed an incredible article among AdSense and associate marketing. It is genuine that affiliate promoting produces more money. Thanks for this excellent article.

  5. First time I read the difference between Affiliate marketing and Adsense. I use Adsense for earning from my blogs. I listen many times for affiliate marketing but read the first time today on Bloggers Passion.

  6. Hi Anil,
    You wrote an wonderful article. And thanks for it. Both AdSense and affiliate marketing are great ways for making money blogging. But somewhere affiliate marketing is a few steps ahead. This post clearly reflected that. Very nice.

  7. Highly contradictory sentences. At first you mentioned, for a niche site, AdSense works best. Then a while later, you have mentioned affiliate links work the best for niche sites. Would like to know a more reliable opinion.

  8. Hi Anil you have written a great article between AdSense and affiliate marketing.
    I want full detail about affiliate marketing can you please share some of the stegity how to start affiliate marketing as a beginner. Your post gifts so much value to the blogger like us.
    as a beginner currently I am using AdSense but I don’t have any idea about affiliate marketing so I request you to start a detail and step by step process of affiliate marketing.

  9. Very detailed article about Adsense and affiliate marketing difference. Adsense is paying less than affiliate. But it’s actually benefit for more traffic website. Why you are not using Adsense in bloggers passion?

    • We have been running since 2010. So we had tried lots of monetization methods including Google Adsense in the early stages of our blog. And after lots of analysis, we came to the conclusion, affiliate marketing is giving us much higher revenue than any other advertising program.

      • affiliate marketings earnings is depends upon the which ad of products you show and how many its cost…and not only clicks but also people need to buy…

  10. I once used AdSense and I loved it but the love stopped when I started using affiliate programs that has high commissions, affiliate marketing really paus

  11. Hi, Agarwal thanks for basic understanding about Google Adsense and affiliate marketing. Is that I can make reasonable money from the only affiliate marketing if i get 1k visitors per month

    • Mohamed, you can make more money with affiliate product selling if your content is matching with the product you are promoting. Product has a good quality and its solving the problems of your blog readers.

  12. I reaaly love this post. You’ve mentioned both the merits and demerits of Adsense and affiliates. Personally, I believe that affiliate marketing is not for everyone. Without marketing skills, making a sale is a difficult job. On the other hand, Adsense works on all niches and doesn’t need any skills but traffic is very important.


  13. It is true that affilaite marketing generates more money. But If you have a good traffic, your site can also works like a giant with AdSense.

  14. This is a very interesting post and I think that it is good to read other people’s views on matters such as these. I do think using adsense gives you less control on your site’s ads, and adsense can take time to generate income. I think using both can be helpful, but also learn to more creative in generating income.Thanks for sharing your view, I enjoyed it.

  15. Affiliate marketing is what I will be trying out this January 2018. I want to add its email list building link to my sale page, below every posts automatically see for a while. If it works, fine. Otherwise, it simply isn’t my way than Adsense.

  16. Nice post, with very brief comparison between affiliate marketing and Adsense. I always prefer Adsense over affiliate marketing as it is not as stable income source as Adsense. Personally I have tried both and for me, affiliate marketing is a day dream, because I lack patience and most probably I choose wrong products to do affiliation, I may have to start over and choose products wisely, by the way thanks for the post and keep writing great stuff.

  17. Thanks for this article . I really want to know the difference between in adsense and affiliate marketing and you describe the each and everything in a very good way . now I understand the both adsense and affiliate .Thanks for this beautiful article.

  18. Great Piece of information. I personally using both Adsense and Affiliate marketing to my blog and the result is very good and satisfactory.

  19. Hi, Anil

    Wonderful comparison about adsense and affiliate marketing. I think that it totally depends on your niche and I tried Google adsense on my niche sites and it works wonderfully without breaking my head as to which affiliate products to promote and how to convince my readers. It’s a very swift process just post quality content and make money.

    Whereas on my other blog which is affiliate marketing is what I am focusing more on and I don’t use google adsense at all since I know it will not work.

    What are your thoughts Anil?

    • That’s true Rohit. With blogging niche, affiliate marketing looks to be the most profitable when compared to other mode of making money including Google Adsense or any other CPC program.

  20. Hi Anil,

    I love affiliate marketing over Adsense but both streams are potentially lucrative. Go with what vibes with ya, or follow what feels fun. Or with both 😉 Affiliate stuff rocks because you get to try out products and sell what you heartily endorse and believe in. I see value in that channel. But Adsense works too if readers see benefits from content and opportunities on the other side of clicks. Both work when fully aligned with what you sell through your blog and what you offer, free content wise. Gotta align to make things shine.

    Thanks for sharing Anil 🙂



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