10 Tips to Help You Make Money With Google Referral 2.0

Last modified on 26th July, 2007

Now that Google has made their Referral program available to everyone, I’d like to share a few tips to help you make more money from it.

While making money from Google referral isn’t much different from making money from other pay per lead/pay per action affiliate programs, certain restrictions apply when it comes to recommending Google’s referral products to your users.


Things You Should Know When Promoting Google Referral 2.0

Google AdSense Help states that you are allowed to endorse or recommend the products you’re referring on your site. However, AdSense program policies don’t permit you to encourage clicks or draw ‘unnatural” attention to the referral units you’re displaying on your site. So you are not allowed to use language such as “Click here”, “Visit these links to support our site”.

Clicking your own referral ads for any reason is also against Google policy. Now this is the part where I am having a little problem with. Since advertisers are not billed by clicks, this policy should not have applied to referral ads.

While you are allowed to say things like “This is a good product and I highly recommend you using it”, you are not allowed to click on the referral ad to see what you are actually endorsing!

Not being able to click on your own ads is also bad in that when the merchant’s website is down for whatever reason, you would be wasting your time promoting their product during the downtime period.

Now, pay per lead or pay per action program works best if you’ve tried the product or service yourself. A genuine recommendation usually works better than trying to recommend something just for the sake of trying to make a sell.

Another thing that you should be aware of is that you are only allowed to place up to three referrals on page. In addition, it’s against Google policies to place referrals in emails, software applications or pop up ads.


10 Tips to Help You Make Money from Google Referral 2.0

Despite my complaints above, I think Google referral is still the way to go if you are looking for ways to supplement or increase your AdSense income. Being different from the normal pay per click ads, you’ll need a different approach when it comes to promoting their referral products.


  1. Promote Free Offers

    Publishers who are new to referral program will do better promoting free offers. These are pay per lead or pay per action products that require users to download trial software, fill an online form, participate in a survey and so on.

    The conversion rates for these products are generally higher than pay per sale because your users aren’t required to buy anything. However, the commissions are usually less than pay per sale products.


  2. Start with Products and Services That Interest You

    It’s easier to promote something that you are genuinely interested in. If you have a blog, just start with products that belong to the same niche as your blog. If you love music, you could start promoting products in the entertainment category.

    Your interest in the product will help you keep going during bad times. As they said, follow your passion and the money will follow.


  4. Select Popular Products to Promote

    Ask your self if the product you want to promote is currently in demand. The second question you should ask is how many other publishers are promoting the same product. This help you get a feel for the competition.

    Alternatively, you can look at the product’s network performance star rating that indicates how Google expect it to perform relative to other products. Just keep in mind that highly rated products don’t necessarily sell better. How you decide to implement the ad, among other factors, determines how it will perform on your site.




  5. Select Products with Seasonal Demand

    Certain products such as tax software is in high demand before the income tax submission deadline. There are also opportunities to promote certain products during the special occasions such as Father’s day, Christmas Day, and back to school season.

    Take advantage of online tools such as Google Trends to help you identify hot products for a particular season.


  6. Differentiate Yourself With A Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

    USP is basically the benefit that a product or service can deliver to users that’s not offered by any competitor. It’s important because it makes you stand out from the crowd.

    Since you are promoting Google referral products and services, the USP in this case is associated with your website and how you use your USP in your referral ads implementation matters.

    Let me give you an example, let say you want to promote a web hosting product. Instead of tossing in the text link somewhere in your sidebar, you can do a complete review of the product.

    Ideally you should sign yourself up (but not via your own referral ad) so that you can share your own personal experience by using the product or service yourself. I often find users are more receptive to my marketing effort when I offer a unique perspective that they can’t find anywhere else easily.

    Here’s one product that I find interesting and related to my niche.

    If I have a personal experience with the product, I could write a tutorial or guide for using it. In my tutorial I could include screenshots, tips and tricks.

    Currently, Google pays USD96.15 for each user signs-up for any Homestead website package. Just do the math and see how your one time effort could potentially produce passive income continuously long after your first wrote the tutorial. That’s the power of Unique Selling Preposition.


  7. Learn About Pre-Selling

    Most affiliates fail to make money from pay per lead/pay per sale programs because they try too hard to sell the product or service. You job as a Google publisher is to pre-sell. When you are pre-selling, you don’t talk to your potential customers like a stranger or salesperson. You become their friend.

    Here’s a good definition of pre-selling I quote from The Website Squad

    Pre-selling is how you make your visitors like you.
    Pre-selling is how you establish yourself as an expert in the eyes of your visitors.
    Pre-selling is why they think you are their friend, not a salesperson.
    Pre-selling is why you will ultimately be able to sell successfully.

    Put very simply, it’s everything that you do to create an open-to-buy mindset in the minds of people. Things that you do before the selling even begins. Things that happen before your visitors are even aware that they are going to buy something from your site.


  9. Find Targeted Traffic

    While it’s important to get traffic to your website, it’s more important to drive targeted traffic as it could improve your conversion rates significantly. You could make more money from 100 highly targeted visitors to your website than from 10,000 untargeted visitors.

    Finding targeted traffic is a large topic in its own right. One way to get targeted traffic is to buy them via the pay per click search engines such as AdWords or Microsoft adCenter. If you are using AdWords, check out my AdWords category for some ideas.


  10. Promote Pay Per Sale Only When You are Comfortable With It

    Currently, many of the AdSense referral ads compensate you when users buy something. Pay per sale allows you to make more money when your users buy multiple items at once. The commission is usually higher than pay per lead.

    The disadvantage is that it’s harder to promote. The commissions can also be small when users buy small ticket item. That said, once you’ve become successful with the pay per lead/pay per action, promoting pay per sale products or services should be you next step.


  11. Make Your Site Sell

    You can start with you blog as a platform to promote Google referral products right away. Alternatively, you could create a website dedicated to promoting referrals products and services. You could create a review website to provide reviews, tips and tricks, tutorial and so on.

    It’s important to realise that in general, your website content is more important than its design when it comes to selling products or services. Good users experience is all that matters. To help you make your site sell, I recommend you download Ken Evoy’s ebook Make Your Site Sell.

    While it was last updated in 2002, most of the advice contains inside still applies today. Don’t worry; it won’t you cost anything.


  12. Test, Test & Test

    Like everything else, you need to test continuously to find what work best for you. Things you need to test include but not limited to

    Your website/landing page
    Referral ad implementation,
    Your sales copy
    Your traffic source
    Your AdWords ads etc

    You can find related information to the above scattered all over my blog. Just start with the category that interests you.


Success is not a destination but a journey. Keep learning and equip yourself with all the necessary skills to help you maximise your earning potential.

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An engineer by training, Victor has been working full-time online as an Internet marketer, a programmer and an app developer since 2001. He has been blogging at Sabahan.com since 2006 sharing his experience and teaching people how to make money online. Click here to join his private Facebook Group for bloggers.

  • ridwanzero says:

    This is a good article, just what i was looking for. Usually people treat referral ads just like normal adsense ads and do not get as much from it. The key, just like you pointed out is pre-selling the product which makes the visitor click the ad if he is interested in it and then for sure he would convert once he is on the advertisers website….


  • Eddie says:

    You know, it’s very rare to find good information like this, because most blogs are just filled with spam.. good work!

  • Prashant says:

    This is a good article, just what i was looking for. Usually people treat referral ads just like normal adsense ads and do not get as much from it. The key, just like you pointed out is pre-selling the product which makes the visitor click the ad if he is interested in it and then for sure he would convert once he is on the advertisers website.

  • helpful post you have… i start to like coming back for more and more!
    Google Referral actually disallow people from clicking! That’s amazingly something wrong! It is for us to test our clicks if they are leading our readers to the right place!

  • Jimson Lee says:

    Thanks for the tip! I had my first referral… 7 bucks!

    I am still confused why we can’t click on our own REFERRAL links as they don’t count until the actual sale.

  • […] AdSense – You can learn more about AdSense by browing my AdSense category or read about Google referral 2.0 […]

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  • […] can always recommend pay per lead products instead of pay per sales ones. My previous post 10 Tips to Help You Make Money With Google Referral 2.0 contains good pointers to help you get started promoting pay per lead affiliate […]

  • Hi

    I just tried referral 2.0 today

    Your post does help me much, thank for good post

    I hope i can make money via referral 2.0 mode more than before

  • hannah says:

    I wish I had money

  • Another great post! I love your writing style, and the fact that you keep things nontechnical for the most part.

  • Ashwini says:

    I’m eagerly waiting for it but the onlly problem is that I can’t see referrals 2.0 implemented on my account yet

  • […] 10 Tips to Help You Make Money With Google Referral 2.0 […]

  • […] 10 Tips to Help You Make Money With Google Referral 2.0 […]

  • Nicholas says:

    I like the new Google Referral. Still need some times to “play” with it. Thanks for doing a good writeup on it.

  • pinolobu says:

    Err… are you allowed to put up a link that leads to a URL at googlesyndication.com and gets yourself paid when ppl click on it?

    • Gaman says:

      What seems to be the problem? I think your question has been answered in my post 🙂 and no I don’t get paid when people click on it.

  • drizad says:

    Another nice post from our Guru. I think that we can now be “Google Affiliate”!!!

  • Darin Dixon says:

    What do you do with leads once you generate them?
    This question is overlooked by almost everyone. It is often the cause of failure in what would otherwise be effective web marketing campaigns. The common-sense answer is easier said than done: Have your best employees respond to them quickly and consistently to qualify them into prospects.

    Many companies spend thousands of dollars every month with Google, Yahoo, and MSN to generate clicks to their website. These same companies invest tens of thousands in building a web site to attract visitors. They even use analytical tools like Omniture, WebSideStory, or WebTrends to track these visitors and turn them into leads, only to let those leads sit in some sales manager’s inbox for 48 hours before they are contacted.

    Our research shows that the average salesperson only makes four to five attempts to contact them the first week. This means only 55% of a company’s web leads will actually get contacted.

    There are solutions available that trigger callback attempts within seconds. They will continue to make twenty or more attempts at different times of the day and different days of the week to boost contact rates above 85%. Also, these solutions can automatically market to these leads and continue to generate prospects every 3-4 weeks for 2 years or more.

    Speed is critical. We are finding that most leads sit somewhere between forty-eight and seventy-two hours before the salesperson actually attempts the first live contact. Much of the slowdown in routing leads is because there isn’t a pre-defined process to decide which salesperson get’s to work the lead. Many sales managers still dole out leads by hand after taking time deciding who is best suited to work each of the leads.

    Bottome line: Acquire a system that immediately and systematically pushes the leads to the best qualified salespeople. A system that also allows the salespeople to immediately and frequently respond to leads and turn them into prospects. Again, this simple but overlooked approach can boost net results by 20 to 200%.

    • Gaman says:


      I think you have commented the wrong thread. Your comment is better directed to merchants, while this thread is for Google affiliates.

  • Iz says:

    Thanks for sharing with us your thoughts Gaman. 🙂

    About the new Referral 2.0, I would say that it is quite hard to do a review or recommendation, simply if we don’t know actually what we want to convey in the post. Therefore, I agree with you that we need to choose the best referral which is suitable for the current niches so that the visitors/readers won’t feel much different when you are trying to promote or do copywriting.

  • Daniel says:

    It’s nice to make money online. I do, however, think that it’s important to believe in the product(s) that you’re endorsing. Good luck.

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