Is your Google AdSense Showing clicks but no money? Checklist for solutions and suggested reading

"not earning money but people click on ads" 
"adsense showing click but not money"
"what's the deal with these zero value clicks?"
Dear Reader, this seems to be a fairly common concern, especially among smaller publishers or for those who have just set out on the path of earning money from their content.

The reasons could include:
  1. Ignorance of Allowed Sites feature
  2. Invalid clicks
  3. Those ads were cost per (thousand) impressions (CPM)
  4. Those ads were public service ads (PSA)

Ignorance of Allowed Sites Feature

For publishers, whether big or small who play by the rules, this is the number one reason for labor lost and much heartburn. In fact this is so consequential, that even if you are satisfied with your current earnings, kindly check the settings as soon as you can.

This is so important that I will share guided screenshots so that total beginners can also check it instantly without fumbling around.

I have lost about six months of revenue, before I bumped onto its settings page. I don't want that to happen to my Readers.
  1. The login page
    The login page
  2. From the main tab (just below the Google Adsense logo on top left of page), select ADSENSE SETUP
    From the main tab (just below the Google Adsense logo on top left of page), select ADSENSE SETUP
  3. select ALLOWED SITES at the far end
    select ALLOWED SITES at the far end 
  4. make sure "Allow any site to show ads for my account" is checked
    make sure "Allow any site to show ads for my account" is checked
What's the use of this feature?
The Allowed Sites feature allows you to specify a list of sites where ads from your account may be displayed. Personally I feel the only use of this could be when your code is being displayed on objectionable sites, or your rival is intentionally click-frauding you in attempts to flag your (successful) account as fake.

I don't care for that. I have three blogs on which my code is displayed, and then in FeedBurner feeds, and also in SnapPreview shots. I mean it's not that easy to keep track of all instances, thus selected to show on all sites.

If you feel like using the second option, please make sure all your sites and affiliates are mentioned, and check out the list of "unauthorised sites" to see if potential revenue is being lost, after regular intervals. Because Google remains silent about it.

A publisher "webapp" did a small test, and suggests to keep eyes open (more).

Invalid Clicks

Most of us will agree that invalid clicks are, well invalid. Since the advertiser does not get a real lead, how can we the publishers expect to get real money...I think so.
"Invalid click activity consists of any clicks or impressions that may artificially inflate an advertiser's costs or a publisher's earnings, and for which we decide not to charge the advertiser.

This includes, but is not limited to, clicks or impressions generated by a publisher clicking on his own ads, a publisher encouraging clicks on his ads, automated clicking tools or traffic sources, robots, or other deceptive software.

Please note that clicks on Google ads must result from genuine user interest", offical help
The problem is that given the sheer volume of ads served, publishers etc, the task of identifying invalid clicks can only be done by algorithms, and in some cases genuine players may get hurt.

It's business, and Google must be spending a lot to stay ahead of the click-frauders, to much comfort of genuine publishers like me and also the advertisers.

There are some interesting twists to this part of the story:
  • you could be fraud clicking, in hopes of easy buck
  • your rival could be doing so to flag and possibly ban you, or
  • your friends, colleagues, as a favor to you (more)


Cost Per Impression (CPM) Clicks and Adsense

Cost per impression, often abbreviated to CPI, is a phrase often used in online advertising and marketing related to web traffic. This technique is applied with web banners, text links etc.

CPM is frequently used in advertising to represent cost per thousand (where M is the roman numeral of 1000). When used in advertising it relates to the cost per thousand page impressions.

Thus the CPM cost to advertiser of $5 translates into $.005 earnings per impression for you i.e. the click or no click has no significance.

Public Service Ads (PSA)

Public Service Ads do not pay a single penny. In general it could be because your site is brand new and AdSense has little knowledge of content to be able to show relevant content.

It could be that the content (which is understandable by a computer program, mostly text) is sparse or too diverse to focus on some particular categories.

Or maybe your site's focus is a bit too niche, and there may not be sufficient advertisers.

I think if you can, arrange for your own ads also, set them up while creating AdSense ad units.


And Finally Have Faith, and Focus Energy on Content and a little SEO

Come to think of it, it's business all the way. So Google's benefit lies in making the publisher earn the maximum. Of course in a fair way. Similar is the case for Advertisers- they must get bang for their buck for this empire to survive.

The AdSense system does show the most beneficial ad(s) at the time they are shown. This makes them the most money, and you the most money. Also, kindly don't make the mistake of becoming a statistic-addict, chasing each click or link or traffic lead. Being too much into stats is just not worth the mental effort.

Hey..why not we focus on the base of the cake - Content more, and then a little on the icing - Search Engine Optimisation. You know they say,
"Content is the King"
Let's follow this with heart, and the hard work will pay off :) 

Suggested Reading:
Credits: Cost per impression (wikipedia), screenshots of website

Originally published on my personal blog here