Adsense – Getting Paid Per Impression

There is a feature in Google Adsense where you can get paid by impressions instead of per click. This isnt something that you have to set up, it just happens automatically - though not everyone realizes you are getting paid per impression instead of per click on some ads that show on your site... or how to view the stats on these types of ads.

It's called Site Targeting. (And it sucks, if you ask me)

I first caught on to this when I noticed that instead of four ads showing in the Large Rectangle ad format... there was just one big ad. And this ad was showing up on several of my websites - namely my forum, blog and internet marketing related site.

I asked a friend about this, and he suggested that I make a note of them and then put those URLs in my Competitive Ad Filter - which means their ads are blocked on all of my sites. This sounded like solid advice, and it was coming from a trusted source, so that's what I did.

But as I was noticing another ad on my sites today that appeared to be site targeting me... I decided to look into it a bit. Honestly, I was clueless as to how all this 'site targeting stuff' worked.

Here's how Google explains Site Targeting:

Site-targeted ads allow an advertiser to select the specific sites they feel are most appropriate to their campaign, and run their ads only on those sites. This allows access to web pages that may not be keyword relevant, but that attract a highly relevant audience for their message.

Site-targeted ads are also pay-per-impression ads - each time an ad is served, the advertiser pays their preselected amount, and Google shares this payment with the publisher on whose page the ad was served. So, unlike the pay-per-click ads to which you've become accustomed, you'll be paid for simply displaying these ads on your pages.

We provide separate reporting for site-targeted ads and contextually-targeted ads, so you'll know whether site-targeted ads are appearing on your pages.


The separate reporting bit got my attention. I hadnt noticed that in my own Adsense account. But apparently I didnt dig deep enough. Here's the scoop:

Can I view separate reports for site-targeted and contextually-targeted ads?

Yes - you can view combined reports, or choose to separate out statistics by type of ad targeting. To view separate data by targeting type, visit your Advanced Reports page. Then choose AdSense for content as the product, select to show data by 'Individual Ad Unit,' and check the box marked Show data by targeting type - contextual or site. Generate a report as usual, and a new column will appear providing details about the type of ad targeting displayed on your pages.


So I logged into my Adsense account, followed those steps... and there were the stats, just like they said. Would you like to know how much I got paid per impression on these site targeted ads that were showing up on my sites?

Hmm. I dont think I'm supposed to tell you that. How about this:

Diddly Squat! 😐

(that means it was very little)

Think about it. Anybody can choose to advertise on your site and set their price. They bump relevant ads that Google would have chosen for your pages, and get exposure to all of your hard earned traffic.

What do YOU think? Is it happening to you? Did you even realize it?

I was reading the Adsense Site Targeting thread over at WebmasterWorld earlier today, and they suggested that you could disable this feature by un-checking the "OnSite Advertiser Sign up" section under My Account.

The thing is, I did that last month. And I am STILL getting stats for site targeted ads... So what gives??

Looking at my stats, I want those ads OFF of my pages. Unfortunately they dont give us the URLs of the advertisers that are site-targeting. You have to keep an eye on your pages and make a 'best guess' at which ads are the offenders. And obviously we arent all seeing the same ads - due to location and other factors.

To be fair, I can see how site targeting might be a good thing - in some cases. I mean, it sounds good doesnt it, to get paid per impression for displaying Adsense?

But in MY stats it is very obvious that it is doing neither of us (ANY of us - the advertiser, the visitors OR me) any good at all. Go check your stats at Adsense. I'd love to hear what you think...

Lynn Terry, who is keeping a close eye on her ads these days

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Paul Short says:

    Another thing to keep in mind is that if someone site targets your site with their ad, and the y are doing geotargeting to say, Canada, your Canadian visitors will see site targeted ads that you won't see.

    So you're only blocking advertisers you can see yourself and missing the ones from elsewhere. This goes for crappy ads that you simply don't want showing up on your sites as well.

    In order to manage it, you have to spend a LOT of time on it. But catching the ones you see yourself is a good start.

  2. Thanks, Paul. Like I said, it would SEEM that this is a good deal for publishers - getting paid by impression for displaying the ads - but I can tell a major difference in my earnings when I am being heavily site targeted. A negative difference, that is.

    I've been putting a lot of time into "optimizing my Adsense" lately, so little details like this are good to catch. I actually purchased two detailed courses on the subject last month (from Joel Comm) and so I dont want all of my time and energy on the 'tweaks' wasted with all this site targeting mess.

    It would be nice if we DID have the option to turn this off in our Adsense accounts... or if we could at least see WHO is targeting our sites.


  3. Henrik Flensborg says:

    It seems that I'm having a bit more luck than you in getting these ads off my site.

    I turned them off the day I read this, and when I checked my advanced reporting stats today I found out, that I haven't shown any "Site" ads after that - only "Contectual" ones 🙂

    I also saw a dramatic increase in revenue over the past 3 days from Google AdSense, but I guess it's too soon to attribute this exclusively to the absense of Site targeted ads.

  4. How did you turn them off? I read that you had to uncheck the “OnSite Advertiser Sign up” section under My Account - which I did over a month ago...

    But I still have site targeting.

  5. Henrik Flensborg says:

    This is exactly what I did - unchecked the "Onsite Advertiser Sign-Up"

    I did some additional calculations on just how bad Site targeted ads are for my sites compared to Contextual ads - which I obviously can't reveal here - and I definitely don't want to see Site targeted ads on my sites ever.

    Should one of my websites become so popular that advertisers are fighting over ad space on it, then I'll just set it up myself, and cut Google out of their share.

  6. Hmm. I wonder why that's not working for me?

  7. Jeff Stewart says:

    I don't know what to think.

    I turned off the “OnSite Advertiser Sign up” and now I am getting site targeting showing up.

    How can this be?

    Does the “OnSite Advertiser Sign up” have anything to do with Site targeting at all?

    The saddest part about it is I haven't made a red cent from site targeting at all.

    There's my $0.02 (yeah right, more like $0.00)


  8. I dont think they're related, but I am not 100% sure on that. I read that they were in that thread on WMW, but that sure didnt fix it on my end...

    I think I'll ask Joel Comm about it and see what he has to say.


  9. I thought the article was rubbish until I clicked on "Show data by targeting type - contextual or site " and your sadly right. Make sure you do click on an AdUnit that is site targeted and not include those LinkAd units.

  10. This what Google says "you should see a revenue benefit from new advertisers signing up to display ads on your site, as greater competition for your ad space will lead to higher potential earnings for you."

  11. Yes, this may be beneficial to websites with insane amounts of traffic... but not to the everday webmaster where competition is not so high "on site"...


  12. I was wrong...

    Just checked again today, and Site targeted ads are back 🙁

    So I left a ticket with AdSense Support - will keep you posted...

  13. Thanks, Henrik - it will be interesting to hear what they have to say on the topic. I am guessing there is nothing we can do about it from our end...

  14. Oddly enough I get more from site targeted ads than from contextual. I suppose this is due to the site's language (Portuguese in this case). But I never had realized this feature was possible.

    I will continue to monitoring it to see if I get huge diferences.

  15. Let us know what you find 😉

  16. hi LYNN,

    Thanks for this info. i didn't know that we have accessto this kind of reports. IMO site targeting ads which is pay per impression will only be shown on ad unit with type ' image'. so instead of using google_ad_type = "text_image" use google_ad_type = "text".

  17. I will have to look into this. I did notice on several "clicks" (small blog here) on some days but some change made. I was did I make anything if not "clicks"...noticed something about the impressions. I'll see what I can do on mine about those type ads. Thanks as always...great info.

  18. Turning this option off would only remove "Advertise on this site" link from the ad units. Advertisers will still be able to select your site for site-targeting from their AdWords accounts.

  19. I think site targeted ads (pay per impression) are better for websites with more technical audence, where 99.90 % of the visitors are not going to click on advert or banner ever. If I for example have 0.10% ClickThroughRatio, for 1000 impressions I may learn much more than with the pay per click program. I think it shall be available for the webmaster to select what ad types he prefers, taking the decision on his own. As I said in my case I prefer and would like more pay per impression. I see everyone prefers per click, but I guest each one to his own.

  20. Good information but I still don't see where I am getting paid for impressions and I am sure I get a lot

  21. Check your Adsense account, Dave - or put in a ticket with Google Adsense customer service. If there's a problem, I'm sure they can sort it out.

  22. omg, i didnt even notice. I always wondered why some days a click would be diddly squat as you said, and others would be higher. Does google even tell you the equation they use to figure out the amount? I always assumed it was dependant on the CPC that the advertiser is paying and com for google. u've inspired me to pay attention.


  1. [...] I wont be following this advice, though. The URL’s that I have listed in my Competitive Ad Filter are those that were “site targeting” my websites. For more on that, see: Adsense - Getting Paid Per Impression. [...]

Leave a Reply


CommentLuv badge