Is Google Adsense working for Africa?

I joined the Google Adsense as way back as 2004 and have been earning some residual income from that publisher program since then. I currently reside in a West African country and I consider myself qualified to comment on a blog post by Mambe Nanje Churchill, a Cameroonian IT enterpreneur: “Google Adsense is not working in Africa“.

Mambe complains about the fact that he has earned only $2 per week from Google Adsense and is of the opinion that Google is biased towards residents of African countries in the sense that they earn less, when compared to their counterparts in the United States of America. He is right, but only to an extent. There are several factors that determine how much one earns from Google Adsense and the geographical location of the website users is one of the determining factors. I’d explain in clear terms: A website that has US residents as its core audience will have several more ads to display and more revenue per ad click than a website that has residents of Cameroon as its core audience even if they both have the same number of website visitors and same number of ad clicks. I do not have any reason to agree to the suggestion that the location of a website owner is factored into the earnings from Adsense.

It could be difficult for a website owner living in Cameroon to attract a core US audience. Since the content is more likely to be directly related to Cameroon, it is more likely the website will have a Cameroonian core audience. Logically, such a website cannot attract as many adverts from Google Adsense and even the ads that appear will fetch less earnings as compared to a website that has a core US audience. This imbalance is not determined by Google, but by the market forces from within their Google Adwords program. There is a high number of Google Adwords adveritisers who would only target a local audience. The number of advertisers targetting the USA is high, and so are those ad rates. Many e-businesses advertising via Google Adwords would rather target residents of USA, Canada, western Europe, Japan, Australia and other rich economies since they are more likely to earn a high return-on-investment. Any savvy advertiser will only target a global audience or any particular countries when there is a strong reason to do so.

This talk about the location of the website users is not as important as the amount of daily traffic a website generates. Thus, a website with only 10 daily visitors cannot generate much revenue by way of Google Adsense even if all users were in the USA, Nigeria, or any other country. There are several other factors that determine one’s earnings from Google Adsense but I am limiting this blog post to the ones relevant to this discussion: publisher location and traffic.

Google Adsense still stands out as one of the best means of monetizing a website as of today – whether for news/feature publishers, e-commerce stores owners, bloggers etc, the potential for a huge income still remains but one must do things right to earn high.

Share your comments here whether you are an Adsense publisher or not. Your experiences are welcome.

39 Comments

  1. great posts , can u aslo teach us ways to generate traffic ?? I personally have tried so many tips , using forums ., getting links , article writting ,answers community but it all seems not to work

    can we also do a links exchange …you add me to your blogroll and I do the same for u let me know

  2. Oluniyi
    I am happy you took your time to deliberate further in this adsense in Africa idea. And from your article I realise I am not the only person facing the problem, and also I realise that we will get more when African Entrepreneur start marketing via adwords. Well I think I have some relief but at thesame time I also think web solutions are not for making money in Africa, we are still at the sensitization phase

  3. @ 1st poster, I hope to be able to author a book one day, sharing my experience with making money online. For now, keep reading the bits and pieces on my blog as I share them – for free. 😉

    @ mambe, Web solutions are making money in Africa else I won’t be here. Only thing is, the market is still virgin and this should present opportunities to you if you know what you are about.

  4. Nice analysis up there. Its clear that in order to generate a decent revenue from Adsense programme in Africa, One has to Concentrate on directing traffic to his blog or website. It will be great if you will share some some ideas on how to do that too.

  5. I havent joined Adsense yet, but I read somewhere that you cant have adsense on your weblog except you have a (.com). Anyway, as Im still shopping for a webhost, I can wait.

    however, David, you’re right, coz the kinda traffic one gets from his site actually depends on his target audience. Yes, its possible to sit in Africa and target a Western/European audience, but it depends on what you are marketting, selling, or blogging about etc., and you have to be exceptionally good at it, coz you are on the other side of the fence, with regards to your target audience.

    The truth is that one’s physical geographical location affects his/her market potential: immediate or estimated – coz what you see actually affects you, affects how you talk, affects what you do etc.,

    On the other hand, I believe that African bloggers/online business men have a lot to work on, especially in staying clean and maintaining a good reputation online……..until the time that enough confidence has been built and enough plus points has been gathered, especially when people hear ‘Africa’ + online. ……and until then we cant have a good amount of ‘Adword’s’ that are ‘Afrocentric’.

    The other side is, when will Africa start patronizing Africa? when will African’s start preferring an African manufactured product(for example) over something that comes from Taiwan. We wear foreign designed clothes, they sell cheap. We use western gadgets, we speak the western language, our electronics are all foreign. The only local thingy’s that we have dont work(ex:NEPA/PHCN or whatever).

    See, I sit here in Africa, for example and look for things to buy online from Europe, China and American markets, Im indirectly generating traffic for such websites that I visit while I leave other African-centric sites ‘hitless’. I’ll generate traffic for those sites and those peeps will make money off Adsense.

    On the same side, no one will sit in China, America, or Europe and look for things to buy directly from Africa…..regardless of how many Adsense words I have. In fact, should they land on such sites by mistake, the next thing they’ll click is the ‘close’ button.

    What will they buy anyway? is the question I have to ask. Are we selling enough? We are more of buyers not sellers. Anyway, the good thing is that African news is better read from African websites, coz we have at least, first hand details. By the time you read on CNN a piece of news related to Africa, you can get better details from African news sites. But thats only the aspect of information. How about others: like art etc.

  6. David,

    Nice post out there.I agree with you that adsense is one of the best ways of monetizing a site.I have tried it,it has worked for me and I honestly think it will work for anybody who gets his acts right.

    I totally don’t agree that location has anything to do with how much you make from adsense because no one even knows how much you are paid per click,we only know via estimation as Google keeps that as a trade secret.

    As per traffic,I think it is critical to adsense success.Since it is human beings that will click your ads,you have to find a way to bring them to your site.

    I discuss 3 keys to adsense success in the post below.

    http://askiyabooyawale.com/3-failure-proof-keys-to-google-adsense-success/

  7. I agree with you NTT. Africans will benefit more from the Internet when we all patronize websites powered by residents of African countries.

    Of course, the onus is on African website owners to provide quality content/products/services.

  8. Yes, it’s worth it. I guess you know the effects of little drops of water. It may be small now, but by the time we start drawing more traffic to our sites in Africa, you will realize that it is worth it.Remember that the west has been doing this way longer than we have……..So lets just hang in there for a while and keep pushing and doing all the right things.

  9. It is very naive for anyone to say that Google adsense isn’t working for Africans. Yes i agree that from time to time you encounter some problems here and there but in all, i think google adsense is the easiest way for any new online enterprenuer to make money.

    I have been offering services setting up adsense sites for people and no one has complained yet. I currently have a check of $776 which i have refused to cash just yet because i want to show it to doubting thomases.

    Though this amount was my earnings of 4 months. It is possible to rake in as much as $1000 monthly from Nigeria. Is Nigeria not in Africa? I think what your Cameroonian friend should do is take time to learn how to make adsense work. If one is honest, try not to cheat, you sure will have a pleasant experience with adsense.

  10. I am impressed by the number of people that are concerned about Adsense in the African web business grounds.
    All in all in a few years Adsense will start paying off in Africa just like its doing now in America

  11. seen some good post here, well from my own experience on adsense I have seen some ups and downs, the only thing i believe may be the problem is briinging the traffic, traffic matters and if you’re lucky your site has something to do with the American market that’s a plus
    you should try and do something with content and how to pull in traffic, I’ve had the same problem as regards my sites not pulling enough ad revenue but I know the problem i face is traffic so building traffic matters for your website
    my 2 cents

  12. I believe he topic is well treated here but
    Why is everybody so interested only on Google adsense. There are other alternative programmes that pays well too. Go to my website and click on webmasters board. you will see many more programmes that pay money just like google. I use google because i am not in Africa and because my website email is Gmail. Google is marketing names to Africa not values.

  13. Guys

    I have a suggestion. why don’t you lets us all get hick up with each others blogs or site to generate this clicks to see if things can work out from there in order to put the lamenting off.

  14. Hello Olalol007, what you are suggesting is unethical and Google frowns at it seriously. Your account will be suspended by Google when they find out. 😡 So flush out that idea from your mind.
    Good luck.

  15. Hi all,

    I have the following question and suggestions

    [email protected] Oluniyi David Ajao.. How do one cash his Google adsense

    Cheque in Nigeria….?

    2.Suggestion is google adsense use rich content that will be of interest to people in USA, CHINA, FINLAND AND UK where we have high internet users.

    3.Use Google adwords and Search Engine submission to bring traffic to you website.

  16. @Michael,

    I am not based in Nigeria and so do not use a bank in Nigeria for cashing my Google Adsense cheques. However, any leading bank in Nigeria would be able to cash a foreign cheque for you and deposit the funds into your account with them after deducting their service fees. They usually require that you open a domiciliary account with them, to facilitate this.

    Good luck.

  17. @Michael, I never said I used a bank in Ghana. Whether I use a bank in Ghana or not, I am not disclosing it as I don’t see the purpose it serves here. I have already stated that any leading bank can cash a foreign cheque. That’s all you need to know. So, just approach a leading bank in your country and they will be willing to assist you.

    Remember to ask about their charges as that could be a shocker. I know a bank that charges as high as $50 to clear a foreign cheque! 😯 So remember to ask and also enquire about how long it would take to clear. That should help you decide which bank to go with.

  18. From my point of view there is a general rule for success in (google) adsense: more traffic, more $. There is no other way except to enhanced and keep improving our web-content.

  19. @Olu, glad you’ve mentioned that charges associated with foreign checks in Africa. Due to the low pickings and the potential bank charges, would anyone be right to state that it is not for Africa yet, or may be, Africa is not ready for it?

    It looks like most online payment methods and systems were designed without Africa in mind. Most online merchants claerly state that they wouldn’t deliver to Africa. I think our mail delivery systems are mainly to blame.

  20. Hi Everyone, I have seen all your comments to the subject “google adsense not for Africa yet”. The simple answer is “False”. The time is here. Companies have stated advertising, check facebook Nigeria network to see for yourself. Soon Google will easy payment methods by extending the other payment alternative to Africa.

    Thanks.
    Malachy
    2baba! | Your Infotainment base

  21. I was having this discussion the other day with another Nigerian blogger based in USA. His verdict in a nut shell: the narrower your niche, the less you earn. Most advertisers on Adsense are from abroad and thus target foreign audiences. If your contents don’t focus on wide reaching issues, the content sensitive ads offer you only crappy and cheap adverts.

  22. Hi i am a google adsense publisher base in northern part of africa but a nigerian by birth, google adsense is for every continent is just that the problem with us in Africa is lack of internet awareness and education, with time as african get to know the greatness of working at home and making cool $ through the internet then you will start seeing real african traffic from all direction.

  23. Challenges are part of Life. The ability to surmount hurdles is what makes one a hero. I am into Google Adsense and I am beginning to see result. Even though the result is small for now, but it is an indication that if I develop the necessary skill, I can easily improve my earnings. Nice post. 😉

  24. I wonder why anyone would say adsense doesn’t work for africans. Adsense feeds, cloths and pays my rent. I run three blogs. Average uniques visitors per day:1800. Generates 4000 page impressions. Traffic is the key. Search for the phrase: nigerian job vacancies, workerspace.com is 5th in google. We need more Africans online though!

  25. I make not less than $100 a month. I live in Accra Ghana. The main thing is to provide something RELEVANT. Google would reward u for that , becos u r HELPING them Google .Mambe is not providing anything UNIQUE. Checked out his blog and I don’t think he is doing anything different to deserve anything more than $2/day. In my opinion I think he should get less than $1/day. I was in Limbe & Buea,Cameroon last year(Aug 2008) and I tell you there are alot of things he can blog about that can make him more than $50/ day! Tell you what,am planning on moving to Cameroon soon.

  26. I was wondering, if one is making dollars in Ghana from Google adsense, does he need to pay Personal income tax and if so, how does he translate and calculate it?

  27. I have read all that you guys have written and greatly impressed by how much you have shared here. I myself has always believed in Africa having a big market for online business with current focus on out sourcing. Google adsense is no different. I have recently been trying my hands at it and blogs like this help a lot since conditions over here differ slightly from our western counterparts. I have went on to read a couple of ebooks and hopefully with the knowledge gained it will be a success. Will keep sharing about how things move on.

    • Luther,

      That will hardly make any difference because the contents of the blog or website will determine the kind of adverts that will be displayed and not where it is hosted.

  28. I have been using adsense to monetize my blog for years. Made decent cash, but the value paid per click has now dropped to a ridiculous amount. Thanks for sharing

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