Key Points

  • Google AdSense is a simple and accessible ad monetization platform to use, even for the most inexperienced publisher.
  • There are three steps to using AdSense: listing your available ad units and inventory, waiting for buyers to bid on your inventory, and getting paid.
  • If you want to maximize your ad revenue potential, you’ll need to graduate from AdSense relatively quickly. This upgrade may include transitioning to a more advanced platform like Google Ad Manager or GAM 360 or it may be building your own solution. Or, you can work with a partner like Playwire and save yourself time, resources, and money.

In the futuristic world of ad tech, rarely are things simple. Then, there’s Google AdSense.

Easy to use, accessible, and free — it’s the perfect ad solution for beginner website owners and app developers. And even once you upgrade to more sophisticated tools, it will likely play a pivotal role in your overall monetization journey.

It’s important that you know how Google AdSense works, especially if you’re going it alone (instead of partnering with a trusty ad revenue partner).

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how Google AdSense works.

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Google AdSense Pillar

The Complete Guide to Google AdSense

Here’s How AdSense Works

Google AdSense is an ad monetization platform that provides millions of publishers with access to the largest demand network in the world. AdSense is also the simplest of Google’s ad monetization tools. It works by connecting publishers with available ad space to advertisers in a real-time auction. 



Here are the basics of how Google AdSense works —

  1. Publishers list their inventory.
  2. AdSense shows relevant, available ad inventory to advertisers.
  3. Advertisers bid on that inventory.
  4. The advertisement gets displayed on the publisher’s site.
  5. The publisher gets paid through Google.

AdSense ads are matched with relevant publishers through advertisers’ audience-targeted ads settings. This ensures that your site visitors will see both relevant ads and content synonymous with their interests. 

In AdSense, publishers are responsible for —

  • Listing their inventory
  • Submitting their payment information to Google
  • Maintaining quality content and minimum traffic requirements
  • Adhering to Google’s Publisher Policies

And, advertisers are responsible for —

  • Establishing their audience settings
  • Designing ad creatives
  • Bidding on ad units
  • Submitting payment to Google

Ultimately, Google AdSense is simple: you list available ad inventory, advertisers bid on it, and Google pays you. 

Let’s break it down a little further —

List Your Available Ad Inventory

To make your ad inventory available for bidding, you need to do two things —

  1. Add a bit of code to your website (automatically generated for you by AdSense).
  2. Select the spaces where you want to display ads.

You can start the process of hosting ads on your site by setting up auto ads or ad units. 

Auto ads are a simple, streamlined way to start monetizing your site. AdSense selects which ads will be displayed on your site and where. It also automatically optimizes them for mobile, desktop, or tablet. This is the least complicated way to list your inventory, so you can focus your energy on your actual job and business.

If you want more control over where ads are displayed on your site, opt for the alternative: ad units.

Ad units allow you to control the types, sizes, and placements of all ads that are displayed on your site. This is a manual option, so it requires a bit more work. But if you know your audience and understand how to create an ad unit properly, it will improve the visitor experience.

And when you prioritize visitor experience, more often than not, your bank account benefits.

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Google AdSense Resource Center

The Complete Google AdSense Resource Center

The Real-Time Auction

Once your ad units are listed, advertisers can bid on them in a real-time auction. Ads that get displayed on your site come from whichever buyer offers the highest bid.

You can place restrictions on which ads can and cannot be displayed on your site. When done correctly, this will improve your visitors’ ad viewing experience. But, more restrictions mean less competition.

The value of your ad space in the auction depends on competition. And more competition = more $$$... So, it’s best to execute a carefully crafted strategy and strike a balance. 

To optimize your auction, AdSense often experiments with various adjustments. This helps the system discover what works best for publishers and advertisers. These adjustments could alter your ad unit settings or the auction mechanics, but they will never change an advertiser’s targeting preferences.

Once an advertisement is live on your site, AdSense keeps track of key performance indicators like ad clicks and views to determine your payout. Each ad type pays differently. Even similar ads could pay differently depending on how much the buyer bids for the space. 

Getting Paid

Now comes the fun part: getting paid

Receiving payments from advertisers is managed entirely by AdSense, so you never have to worry about billing or keeping track of the details.

All you have to do is —

  1. Submit your tax information.
  2. Ensure your personal info, payment name, and address are correct in your AdSense account.
  3. Verify your identity.
  4. Complete the address verification process.
  5. Choose a payment method.

Once you’ve checked off everything on this list, all that’s left to do is rake in the paper. 

As soon as you meet the payment threshold, AdSense will initiate the payment process. For most U.S.-based publishers, the payment threshold is $100 USD.

AdSense payment is released at the end of every month between the 21st and the 26th. Certain account types could take longer to process payments than others, but you can typically expect payment between 4-15 days after this time. Check on your payment status and ensure you’ve met the threshold by visiting the “Transactions” page.

If you haven’t met the threshold for a certain month, don’t stress. AdSense will continue accumulating earnings in your account until you do, then it will issue your payment.

Go Beyond Google AdSense With Playwire

Pretty quickly after you’ve mastered Google AdSense, you’ll want to start upgrading your setup to maximize ad revenue. There are a lot of moving parts to consider — from diversifying your demand sources to adding new tools to your tech stack, which are simply not available through AdSense.

Managing and optimizing your ad tech stack is a lot of work for publishers of all sizes. The biggest publishers in the world have full in-house teams and outsourced professionals to manage each element and process. That’s why so many publishers choose to work with a revenue partner like Playwire.

If you like the sound of this —

  • Access to the most robust ad tech stack ever created
  • Full ad ops, yield ops, and tech support teams in your corner
  • The simplicity of AdSense with the control of a premium, self-managed solution
  • Tons of other perks that make growth and scale achievable

— Then you’ll want to chat with us. We can make it happen for you. 

Want to learn more? We thought you might. Get in touch online today to get started.

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