Unlike the regular Adsense ads (CPC or CPM)where Google automatically picks relevant ads based on the content, Adsense Referrals (CPA) require some effort on the part of Adsense publishers because they have to manually select products from the vast Adsense inventory that is changing almost everyday.
How do you find the Adsense Referral Ads that are likely to become popular among your visitors ?
I have been using the Adsense Referrals (Text Links) program (here, here and here) for over a month now and have had an overall positive experience so far. Here are a few simple things that I learned in the process and they may even help you improve earnings from the Adsense Referrals program:
Step 1: When generating code for your Adsense Referrals, pick the categories / products that are most relevant to your readers (for my case, categories that convert include computer software, Internet, Online Communities, Photos and Video products.)
Step 2: Check the option that says "Pick best performing ads" but refrain from using Image only ads in Referrals as that is very likely to impact the performance.
Step 3: Run the campaign on your site for around a week. Then open the Advanced Reports from your Adsense Dashboard and make the following selections - Referrals (in product), "Last 7 Days" (in date range) and Product Data (in Show).
As shown in the screenshot below, display this Adsense Referrals report grouped by Products (or both Date and Products) so you know exactly what referrals have worked well for you. You can then recreate your Adsense Referrals code from scratch and this time, just add the products that have performed in the last seven days.
The probability of site visitors getting interested in this filtered set will be much much higher translating into more revenue for you.
This is however not a one time exercise since Adsense Inventory is frequently changing and you may have to fine-tune your Referral campaigns every week for best performance. Read some additional tips on Using Adsense Referrals.