Google Adsense vs Medium. What should you choose? & Why?

Spoiler: It depends on the niche you’re writing and for who.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

It’s funny I titled this article “Google Adsense vs Medium”. I know. It should’ve been like “Hosted-blog vs Medium” or “WordPress vs Medium” or “name-your-publishing-platform vs Medium”. But no.

If you’re reading up to this line, I’m sure you looking to earn out of writing online. You have two options to earn. Either by placing advertisements (‘ads’) or by writing to paid readers. For the latter, Medium is right now a good choice. For the former (ad based revenue generation) Google Adsense is a familiar and big player. That’s why I chose to use it in the title. But it can be any ad-serving platform that is rival or alternate to Google Adsense (like BuySellAds, MediaNet).

So this article is about which is the better option to earn more from your writing. Either by serving ads (getting paid by advertisers), else getting paid by readers?

The pros and cons of choosing self-hosted blogging and blogging at Medium have been discussed many times in numerous posts by plenty of people. I’ve only seen people discussing the benefits of either platform in terms of maintenance, flexibility, administration, editing, design, layout, etc, etc.

It is not wrong to weigh your choice based on the pros and limitations of the tool (publishing platform), but there are far more critical elements to consider.

We have two strategies to earn by writing online. Earn through ads, earn through reader’s payment.

That leads to one big question.

Is the majority of your reader base is already paying to read content similar to what you are writing?

Do your potential readers (not casual go-by readers) are ready to pay for your content. Or they are on a platform like Medium and already paying for similar content? Or are you writing for readers who are in the above-said categories and your content is relevant to their culture and lifestyle. Can they use your story? or do you think you can help them with your idea?

In the case of Medium, $5 per month. Do your potential readers fall into this category of people who can pay Medium membership?

If yes, then you need to target your publishing to Medium or other similar modes of publishing platforms. i.e. platforms that pay authors from readers’ subscription money.

If most of your readers are from developing countries or people who don’t get annoyed at seeing some ads in between your content, or people who are okay to see ads to avoid some subscription cost, then you need to choose a self-hosted platform and then serve ads to earn. But it's not all.

If your readers are people who can’t differentiate (no offence to any readers) between content and ads, people who are not worried about the authenticity of the content and links in your site when it is mixed with a few ads, then it’s strategically good decision to go with Adsense instead of publishing in Medium. One more caveat here is, Adblockers.

Anti ad blocking is difficult in my experience. If you earn in thousands, then it’s okay to spend some bucks on these technologies to save your pennies.

If you writing for the general population that doesn’t know how to use an Adblocker, then it's wise to use Adsense and dump Medium. The ROI is high. But you can’t expect loyal (returning) readers unless you play big (like a news website).

If you write “how-to” type of articles, listicles and other content which usually people search for in Google, then write on your blog (along with some SEO and other such).

If you’re writing an article with catchy screen-licking titles in a niche, and people don’t know what’s it about until they see the title, then you can’t win with self-hosted blogging solutions. You need to set up your shop in the market where people gather if you’re not selling a necessary product that people seek and buy. There’s a high chance you will get returning customers if you commit to your work and write frequently.

My suggestion: If you’re starting or you have readers under few thousand, then post your content on both platforms. See yourself for a period of 6 months (yes, that long) and see where you get your money from. Sadly if you have Adsense approval neither accepted in the Medium Partner program, then you have obtained the first and then test both at the same time.

Good luck. Liked it? then 👏. Did this help? follow me ☺️. Love to talk, so comment without hesitation.