What would yield a higher ROI for Adsense revenue: focusing on getting more unique visitors but having a lower total overall page view count or getting existing visitors to click on more pages which would render more ads that users are more likely to click on?
I'm looking for some feedback here because I know how to get a lot of uniques but I'm also considering developing a site with less uniques but much higher page view counts.
Why are your asking "or"?
Best would be "and" => more unique visitors with more page views and more clicks I guess.
Both would be worth nothing, if your visitors are not clicking on the ads. IMHO the Ad-Copy is most important as well as the placing on your site.
So, it will come down to good Ad-Copy, then the page views are not that important.
Hope this helps. Good Luck with your Venture.
That question can't be answered with a simple answer. It all depends on the site and the placement of the ads.
Ad copy has nothing to do with it because you can't control the copy that you get when using AdSense.
Since there is no simple answer, let me give you some guidelines.
You get paid in AdSense primarily through CPC ads (cost per click). There are some exceptions, but for the most part clicks are what send money your way. Because of that pageviews are much much less relevant than with typical display CPM ads (cost per thousand impressions). With CPM every time the page refreshes or a user clicks to a new page (higher PVs), you get paid again.
Also, a click on a Google Adsense ad means an exit of your site. That means that by maximizing your ad CTR (click through rate) you are effectively lowering your PV/visit or at least the two are in competition. At a previous job we were constantly pushed to increase Pageview/visit as a measure of improved stickyness, but the problem is that we had a fantastic CTR on AdSense ads and the site just wasn't sticky so it was a win win situation. The user came to the site, found the answer they wanted with an ad and the clicked on it and left. In that case what was best for us was to increase visits and not care at all about pageviews. We just needed to get people to the site so they could click and leave.
However, there is some tipping point here when getting more pageviews yields more revenue. Just the simple fact that a user stays on your site and sees more ads could increase their chance to click through.
Ultimately you need to be focused on a very difficult metric to measure, but one that I believe Google helps you with a bit - CTR/visit. You need to make it visit focused not pageview focused. Since theoretically, it is most likely that a user only clicks once on an ad in a visit (because they exit on that click), you have to optimize for clicks during their visit. To say it simpler - if you get 1 pageview per visit, but on average users click through on 50 ads for every 1000 visits, you are better off than getting 10 pageviews per visit, but only having users click through on 10 ads for every 1000 visits.
One final thing to keep in mind. Don't track your clicks by ad unit. You need to look at them by a page as a whole. In other words, a user can only click on one unit on a page at one time so loading the page with more ads doesn't get you anywhere. At that same job I was at, we had a single AD (not unit, but single text line) that lead to probably 70% of the revenue for the site because of where it was located.
It has been a while since I've been in the AdSense interface consistently, but this should give you a pretty good summary. Hope it helps.
In general because of the reasons above, visits and unique visitors are better indicators of your success with AdSense.