Within Google Adsense there are two types of channels you can set up to track your earnings – Custom channels and URL channels. Most of us know all about custom channels as they were the first to be introduced and are thus very familiar. If you have set up lots of custom channels it is easy to think that URL channels serve no useful purpose. You would be wrong.
URL channels can work alongside your existing custom channels with no negative side effects. Ok it does means an additional line item in your reports but that’s no big deal. What is particularly useful about URL channels is that they need no active work on your part beyond the initial set up. Simply set up a URL channel for a site that you own and forget about it. With custom channels however you must remember to apply the channel to any new ads that you create. This is easy to overlook and mistakes creep in.
My simple recommendation is to create a URL channel for every website that you own, even those that you haven’t yet put advertising on but might do so in future. This way, you can create ‘URL Channel only’ reports that neatly show all your earnings by website. You do this by creating a custom report in Google Adsense and selecting each of your URL channels. It is possible to do the same with custom channels of course but the information is not grouped by website. It can quickly get very messy if you have more than one channel per website.
In future, better analytics tools for Google Adsense (please) will give you the potential to look back at past history, comparing earnings to prior years, months or days, and graph those comparisons over time. You’ll be able to analyze your Google Adsense account much better than you can right now, with pretty graphs etc. You will be severely limited in your historical data mining capabilities if you have not created a URL channel for each site you own and have to rely on custom channels that may have switched, changed names, missed out on implementation here and there, etc. They will still be there to mine anyway, so it’s no worry to add the URL channels.
So if you take nothing else away from this, create a URL channel for each of your sites in Google Adsense today.