Online Advertising Answers: April 2021

Welcome to the April edition of Online Advertising Answers, my monthly rummage in my digital mailbag for your most interesting questions.

This month I’m looking at common misconceptions – do ads *only* earn money from clicks, does using AdSense mean you can’t visit your own site anymore, and what is the difference between Page RPM and Impression RPM anyway?

I hope these answers help,


[Want to ask a question? Head on over to my profile on Quora and ask away or email me at]



This month’s questions are:

[Click these links to skip down to the question]


Online Advertising Answers



Q: #12excludeGlossary


[This originally appeared on Quora]




Q: #19excludeGlossary


A: “Hi Daniel,

Ads generate revenue in lots of ways, depending on what the advertiser is looking for. Some ads need to be clicked on to make money, and sometimes that click needs to be followed by a sale (or other action – like a newsletter sign up) for the website to get paid.

Some ads only need to be seen to make money. Video ads are often charged on a cost per view basis for example. Also, ads that are trying to make a sale will often pay out if someone sees an ad then goes to the website and buys (even if the person who saw the ad didn’t actually click on it).

Some ads only need to be loaded by a webpage to make money. Ads that pay on a CPM basis won’t necessarily ever be seen by anyone, but each time the ad is loaded the website they are on will get a fraction of a penny. This is getting increasingly rare but still happens.


How online ads generate revenue infographic


If you want to know roughly how much money a website can make from online advertising, you can use this handy calculator: How Much Money Can I Make?


Why it feels like #36excludeGlossary is buying from ads

It may feel like #37excludeGlossary is buying from ads, because most people only very rarely do. About 2% of internet users account for about 90% of clicks, so unless you know one of those people, you won’t know anyone who regularly clicks on ads.

However, the other 98% of people online do generally click on ads sometimes, and there are enough people online which means that ads are generating tons of clicks and sales. If they weren’t, then online ads would disappear as digital marketers (like all marketers) are concerned mainly with their ROI.


Pop Up Ads

#38excludeGlossary ads are very rare these days because they don’t work very well for most people. A #39excludeGlossary is an ad that opens a browser window or tab, and that new window or tab becomes the thing you are looking at on the screen.

About 10 years ago, #40excludeGlossary were mostly replaced by #41excludeGlossary ads – which still open new windows or tabs, but have them run in the background. These ads were meant to be less annoying and intrusive, however, they were still too annoying and intrusive for most people, so they have mostly disappeared too.

HOWEVER, both #42excludeGlossary and #43excludeGlossary are still used by websites and advertisers which don’t really care about their users. This includes all sorts of adult and illegal download websites, and the advertisers are often gambling companies (or other adult websites). These advertisers pay minuscule amounts for this advertising, and the websites take that money because they can’t get legitimate advertisers anyway. These advertisers continue to use pops, as that 2% of people who will click on anything, will also go to every part of the internet, and are big gamblers typically so these ads are well suited to these sites.

So while you may have experienced #44excludeGlossary or #45excludeGlossary ads at some point, for the most part, people don’t see them much at all anymore.


Modern #46excludeGlossary ads: Overlays or Floaters

The ‘newest’ iteration of pop up ads are called overlays (or floaters in the USA). These ads have also been around for about 10 years, and they create an image or video ad which appears within the webpage you are looking at but floating on top of it.

This ad type is extremely successful but is also extremely annoying, and Google has started cracking down on any website where ads obscure content in any meaningful way.

However, you will likely still see this ad type very often in two places:

1 – On mobile. The small ads which appear at the bottom of the page floating on top of content are a good example of this type of ad. They persist because they do comparatively well, and without website owners needing to redesign theirs for mobile ads.


300x50 Example


2 – On blogs. There is a type of overlay that appears when you look like you are going to leave a site (it activates when you move your mouse upwards towards the close button tab). This type of overlay often appears on sites with a newsletter, and the overlay will implore you to sign up to get more of this “great content”. These types of overlay are also exceptionally successful and reportedly increase subscribe rates by over 300% typically.

I hope this helps,



[This originally appeared on Quora]





Q: “Can I see my site after adding AdSense or will it cause invalid impressions? “


A: “Hi Rubayet,

Of course, you can visit your own website after you’ve joined AdSense! There are a million reasons why you need to check on your own site, and joining an ad network should not stop that.

I would go further and say that when you run ads on your site, you really should check on your own site more often than usual. The ads which run on your site are your responsibility, even if they are coming from AdSense.

If you see a bad ad then you need to do something to get it off your site, and you can only do that if you actually look at your site now and then. AdSense doesn’t let a lot of bad ads through but there are enough that you need to be on top of it.


Just Don’t Click

The golden rule is that you should not click on ads on your own website. Clicks from a site owner are against AdSense’s rules and will get your account banned.

However, impressions generated by you shouldn’t be a problem. They might be registered as invalid impressions by AdSense – but even so, that’s not a problem, more of a minor irritation.

You shouldn’t be paid for the impressions you generate on your own site, and AdSense calling them invalid impressions makes that happen. It’s not a big deal.


Don’t Generate Lots of Extra Impressions for No Reason

Some advertisers do pay for impressions, which is why AdSense checks for invalid impressions in the first place. While you should freely use your website to make sure it is working fine etc, that doesn’t mean you should press refresh thousands of times for no reason.

If you do generate too many impressions, then I’m sure Google AdSense will notice and you’ll get in trouble. But you have to remember that when advertisers pay for impressions, they are paying on a CPM basis – so for 1,000 ad impressions at a time.

Therefore you would need to be generating thousands of ad impressions for it to be a real issue. Just don’t do that and you’ll be fine.

I hope this helps,



[This originally appeared on Quora]



See you next month,