From the Pick Your Battles Department, Google has recently revealed its revenue-sharing practices for its two core AdSense advertising products: AdSense for Content and AdSense for Search.
Motivation is Everything
However, it’s not the actual numbers that are causing all the commotion. It’s the impetus for offering up information that has long gone unknown. Apple’s upcoming launch of its iAd platform, which promises a 60-40 split in favor of developers, is one. Italy’s complaint that Googe abused its dominant position and failed to share advertising revenue with Italian newspapers is the other.
Google has been under some scrutiny lately to be more forthcoming with data. A company as big as it is, with a reach as broad, has been criticized for not being more transparent. So let’s look at the numbers we so desperately wanted to know.
AdSense By the Numbers
Google said it pays its AdSense for content publishing customers 68 percent of the money the search engine earns from AdSense advertisers for content ads that appear on those publishers' websites. This revenue split has been the same since AdSense for content launched in 2003.
For publishers that use its AdSense for search product, which lets publishers place a custom Google search engine on their sites and make money from ads shown alongside search results, Google says it pays 51 percent of sales. This revenue ratio has remained static since 2005, when Google increased the share.
The remaining portions -- 32 percent and 49 percent, respectively -- are used to cover costs associated with building products and features that help its AdWords advertisers to serve ads on AdSense partner sites.
Numbers for revenue generated by AdSense for mobile applications, AdSense video units, AdSense for feeds or AdSense for games will not be released anytime soon because Google says they are still too new and quickly evolving to interpret appropriately.
Now That We Have 'Em, Who Cares?
Does anyone really care about these revenue splits? Probably not as much as they hoped they would. But it is a small step for Google and a request with which they saw best to comply. After all, a company like Google has to pick its battles carefully and strategically.