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Decreasing EPC
binary1000




msg:1380022
 3:58 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow ... our EPCs have gone way down. Our traffic is up and our click-ratio is the same or higher, but our earnings have dropped to 20% of what they were the last few months because the EPC is so low.

Now the question is ....

Is it due to advertisers dropping promotional holiday programs for keywords that were used the past few months and then new advertisers coming in an bidding for the same words at lower prices?

Or is Google paying a lower percentage now, since we never really had a contract that stipulated what percentage we would get anyway. They can get all the sites signed up and excited and then drop the commissions.

How is everyone else doing this month?

 

schan




msg:1380023
 4:21 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Binary,

Yes have been facing the same problem & the drop is quite alarming......but i dont think it is a case of adv dropping prgrams or hot keywords, but rather google seems to have cut on commissions for some of the money spinning keywords. They used to supposedly pay 40-50% of the click value but that now that seems affected.

Are u seeing a loss in traffic for the prime keywords which you were getting earlier?

europeforvisitors




msg:1380024
 4:26 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

See the many earlier threads on this topic for various hypotheses on why EPC may be down for some sites (though not for others).

Some of the reasons may include:

1) Dilution of the available "click pool" for popular keywords and phrases as the number of AdSense publishers grows faster than the number of advertisers;

2) Advertisers opting out of content ads in categories where abuse or low-quality sites may be viewed as problems;

3) Seasonal variations in ad budgets.

4) On "sticky" sites such as forums or news sites, the same readers may be seeing the same ads week after week (and month after month), in wihch case "ad fatigue" will reduce effectiveness. (There's an advertising rule of thumb that says repetition is good up to a point, but response and effectiveness drop off after a certain number of repeat impressions.)

For what it's worth, my own EPC is up, with effective CPM and overall revenues being way up, probably because of seasonal demand and lack of competition for many keyphrases.

TIP: Editorial diversity is one way to protect yourself from sharp variations in AdSense income. If you have 500 or 1,000 or 2,000 pages on different subtopics, you'll be protected from serious revenue losses if one major advertiser pulls out or a hundred other Webmasters launch sites that are designed to grab AdSense revenues for the same popular keyphrases that you've been counting on to produce income.

europeforvisitors




msg:1380025
 5:02 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

google seems to have cut on commissions for some of the money spinning keywords.

We keep hearing that "Google has cut its payout" every time somebody's EPC drops, but I don't think anyone has shared any convincing evidence to support that view. I'd love to see proof if it exists.

I'm a liktle skeptical about the idea that Google has cut commissions for certain "money-spinning" keywords. That might have a beneficial effect by discouraging sites of opportunity that target keywords like "Viagra" or "debt consolidation," for example, but it also would penalize legitimate publishers who provide valuable information on erectile dysfunction or personal finance. And it wouldn't do anything to discourage the larger problem of autogenerated sites with junk pages on every imaginable topic.

mbennie




msg:1380026
 6:05 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have recently stopped having my AdWords ads published on content sites. My cost/conversion was 8X higher than on search listings.

Maybe I'm not the only one?

jomaxx




msg:1380027
 6:08 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

binary1000, for whatever reason, my earnings per click have been creeping upward and yesterday was my highest EPC day in a long time. That's only one site in one niche, but it shows that your observations are not universal.

figment88




msg:1380028
 6:18 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

2) Advertisers opting out of content ads in categories where abuse or low-quality sites may be viewed as problems;

I don't know if this is an extension or a different point, but I think some advertiser take reduction steps short of dropping-out.

For example, I run "mirror campaigns" for some of my higher priced keywords. I take a search only campaign, and setup one exactly the same except for content distribution and a lower max cpc.

I think other advertisers may be promtped to work harder to improve their targetting and ad copy.

Viewing the Ads that show up on my sites and others, and having a pretty good idea of different costs of clicks, I am convinced that a lot of advertisers do not realy know what they are doing. For larger campaigns, with a third party managing the ads, interests of advertiser and third party can diverge. Many advertisers probably don't even have a clue that their ads are content distributed and can show up on a variety of sites with widely ranging quality.

As advertisers gain more experience with the system, ignorance will reduce, and there will be downward pressure on EPC's. As pointed out, there are also other factors that push EPC's up, and on an individual site basis, EPC change may be net positive or negative.

europeforvisitors




msg:1380029
 6:53 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some advertisers may have found that AdSense doesn't perform for them. I suspect this is more likely for highly popular mass-market keywords than for highly targeted keywords that show up mainly on niche sites.

I also agree with figment88's statement that EPC trends will vary from site to site. We constantly see posts on this forum by publishers who complain of rapidly dropping EPCs and others who are seeing a positive trend. Overall or average trends matter more to Google than they do to individual publishers.

For my own topic, I've seen two encouraging trends:

1) An upward creep in EPC (though it's still lower than last summer) with a dramatic increase in effective CPM and overall revenues.

2) The continuing presence of advertisers who have been using AdSense all along, along with an increase in "name-brand" advertisers that range from big online travel agencies, tour companies, cruise lines, and airlines to the kinds of established midsize travel vendors who traditionally have run ads in THE NEW YORKER, the travel magazines, newspaper travel sections, etc.

I think the growth in mainstream advertisers will keep EPCs strong in niche categories where advertisers are selling big-ticket products or services and clicks cost less than inquiries from print ads, TV commercials, or direct mail.

ByronM




msg:1380030
 8:06 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

FWIW mine are up.

It must be repeated, it isn't google setting your EPC, it is the advertiser.

I advertise on adwords and constantly strive for the lowest cost - as a publisher this would be reflected on lower EPC *BUT* if there is competition or reason for upgrading/downgrading ad budgets then that just means there is good market coverage and over a period of time you should see some consistency.

Its not your EPC per day you should be concerned about. Its your revenue over x amount of days.

You nor google has any control over EPC.

mbennie




msg:1380031
 8:18 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I suspect this is more likely for highly popular mass-market keywords than for highly targeted keywords that show up mainly on niche sites.

I disagree. I am in a very similar niche as you, just a different locale.

My keywords are in this tiny niche yet we have a reasonably large sample to compare. Clicks from AdSense have been consistently unprofitable so we discontinued publishing the ads on content sites.

Visi




msg:1380032
 8:28 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Gotta disagree with some of the above comments...google does set my epc. Although the market costs of ads may move up and down, the percentage? applied to googles pockets or mine are controlled by them. EFV although you indicate higher EPC, I note that you qualify this with lower than last summer? As I have stated numerous times, it aint as attractive as it was once...and when are we going to reach the bottom of the barrel? It is a slow erosion that has occured, not unexpected but has to bring into question the longterm viability of targetted ads versus traditional services.

europeforvisitors




msg:1380033
 9:32 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

My keywords are in this tiny niche yet we have a reasonably large sample to compare. Clicks from AdSense have been consistently unprofitable so we discontinued publishing the ads on content sites.

That information isn't very helpful or meaningful unless we have some idea of what you're talking about. Are you referring to immediate ROI or leads?

I can readily understand why content ads would be more risky for, say, hotel booking sites or affiliate sites than for businesses like cruise lines or tour companies that don't measure profit and loss by the spread between what they spend on advertising and how much they earn in commissions (and who aren't likely to acquire customers from search ads).

For what it's worth, a number of advertisers here and on the AdWords forum have reported getting better results with content ads than with search ads. Their experiences and yours just go to show that what's true for one advertiser (or one publisher, for that matter) isn't necessarily true for another. The only way to see what works or doesn't work for the individual advertiser is to test, as you've done.

comments...google does set my epc. Although the market costs of ads may move up and down, the percentage? applied to googles pockets or mine are controlled by them.

Unless Google adjusts its payout up and down to compensate for market conditions (and no one has been able to provide evidence of that), the market--not Google--determines your EPC.

EFV although you indicate higher EPC, I note that you qualify this with lower than last summer?

Yes, and I attribute the drop from last summer to lower demand in the off-season--just as I attribute the current rise to growing demand during what I call the "travel-planning season." I've been publishing editorial travel sites since 1996, and my revenues were following a seasonal pattern long before AdSense came along.

What's interesting is that Google AdSensee revenues haven't dropped as much in the off-season as affiliate bookings have done. (Affiliate bookings follow a pattern similar to that of AdSense, but with bigger swings.) That's probably because affiliate bookings typically occur within a month or two of actual travel, while inquiries begin much earlier in the travel-planning cycle.

As I have stated numerous times, it aint as attractive as it was once...

It may be less attractive, as attractive, or more attractive, depending on any number of factors that influence your revenues.

and when are we going to reach the bottom of the barrel? It is a slow erosion that has occured, not unexpected but has to bring into question the longterm viability of targetted ads versus traditional services.

What erosion? I'm seeing the opposite: dramatic growth in revenues, which has been accompanied by growth in big-name advertisers of the kind who advertise in major travel magazines and on TV.

Mind you, I'll be seeing erosion later in the year, when other publishers will be raking in ads and money during the Christmas season...which goes to show that general rules or assumptions don't have much meaning for individual publishers (or advertisers).

Visi




msg:1380034
 9:39 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

EFV....epc is lower? as you said. Revenue is by clicks and trafic increases only trying to offset the declining average epcs. They are what we can influence. The google part of it has gone down...not up since the beginning of the program. Yes our revenues are up also...but no thanks to a direct google influence. Its traffic related.

markus007




msg:1380035
 9:43 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Unless Google adjusts its payout up and down to compensate for market conditions (and no one has been able to provide evidence of that), the market--not Google--determines your EPC.

Thats not true, google decides what keywords to show your ads for. If google shows your ad for keyworda which makes 20 cents, instead of keywordb which makes $2.00 then your going to see a sharp decrease in earnings. Because the number of publishers out there google has been throwing a lot of cheap ads onto content sites so that the high paying advertisers don't empty their budgets. As a test i created a 5 cent ad, i was position number 85 on average and i needed to bid over $1.00 to get in the top 5. Yet my 5 cent ad got distributed on content sites.

varya




msg:1380036
 9:46 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have posted (more than once) about the decline in my EPC. It dropped quite dramatically at the end of October.

However, I have never once said that this was due to Google changing the payout percentage. I doubt that they have.

I do think that playing around with the matching algo can have an impact. There was a couple of months during which the ads on my site were not targeted nearly as well as they had been last summer, nor as well as they are now.

My EPM also dropped at the same time, though impressions rose and CTR was stable.

More recently, my EPC seems to be popping back up, and EPM is up as well.

I can't possibly speculate about the possible causes and whether or not they are seasonal, or caused by advertiser behavior, etc. because there simply isn't enough data.

After I've run the program for a year, I'll be able to see if the same cycle persists.

I don't honestly expect to ever again see the same kind of EPC I saw last summer.

europeforvisitors




msg:1380037
 10:23 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't honestly expect to ever again see the same kind of EPC I saw last summer.

Perhaps not, but in some cases, higher CTR may offset lower EPC. Why? Because growth in the AdSense advertiser base can result in a bigger pool of targeted ads--at least in niches where growth is taking place.

It's also important to remember that "content ads" are a new phenomenon, and PPC ads in general are new to most mainstream advertisers and ad agencies. It's possible that, over time, demand for PPC content ads will grow faster than the supply of inventory in some (not all) niches.

jonknee




msg:1380038
 11:54 pm on Feb 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

My CPC has been steady since entering the program, with just a few spikes and valleys. CTR is up though, almost 2x what it was 5 months ago.

binary1000




msg:1380039
 5:13 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

This forum is great. Lots of good input here.

I am hoping that at some point, the folks at Google would be kind enough to work up some kind of detail reporting so we can see exactly WHICH pages are getting clicks and producing revenue so we can manage our inventory better. We have over 4,000 pages of content and have no clue as to which ones produce the revenue. That's not exactly as good way to run a business. I asked them about that and they did say it was on their todo list at least.

figment88




msg:1380040
 5:21 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google purposely doesn't do detailed reporting. If they did, people would game the system (more). I think we will get reporting by domain, but I would be surprised if it got any more specific.

europeforvisitors




msg:1380041
 6:40 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have over 4,000 pages of content and have no clue as to which ones produce the revenue. That's not exactly as good way to run a business.

Why not? Does PC Magazine know which pages produce the revenue? Does THE NEW YORK TIMES? Does CONDE NAST TRAVELER? No; they concentrate on building good content that their target audiences want, and in doing so they create an environment that will attract advertisers. Why should online publishing be any different?

Powdork




msg:1380042
 8:05 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

EFV I must disagree. PC Magazine knows exactly which page produces the revenue and exactly how much it produces, as does The New Yorker, etc. etc. Simply because someone paid for the ad on the particular page. I know how much every one of my pages makes me through long term vendor listings, affiliate buys/bookings, but not adsense.
On the other hand EFV, everything you said last month when I was worried about the EPC downward blip I was experiencing, turned out to be true.
The above analogy was lame, but you still 'da man with the plan for Amsterdam'.:)

Oh yeah, my EPC is back up to where it was before it fell off by 75% on 1/9/03.

gidi




msg:1380043
 9:23 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think efv and powdork are both right regarding calculating the effectiveness of adverts. The point I think EFV meant to make was that these magazines do not know how much revenue is made for the advertisers. (of course they know how much advertisers paid for them)-then it is up to the advertisers via customer surveys to find out what proportion came from the PC mag advert. It would be more useful for us advertisers to know what kind of content was generating revenue. That way we could experiment with different topic areas, and "test" the related areas whilst keeping quality of content (of course).

dhaliwal




msg:1380044
 11:04 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think the epc largely depends on what kind of ads your content is attracting, so in case you are getting ads on pages that have diamond buyers guide, i think you can earn good bucks.
and if you have ads on free downloads, i think you won't get costly ads.
well i am new to this forum, and if you think i am wrong, pleae do set me right.
i wish everyone earns good bucks and google pays us nicely.
regards,
dhaliwal

esllou




msg:1380045
 11:05 am on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

just another ONE person's EPC experience...

mine has bled away from 100%, say, in the summer all the way down to 40% now....a long steady decline. Eventually it will go below a line at which point I will try another similar service. I use phpadsnew so it would only take 3 minutes to change it all round anyway.

europeforvisitors




msg:1380046
 3:29 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

EFV I must disagree. PC Magazine knows exactly which page produces the revenue and exactly how much it produces, as does The New Yorker, etc. etc. Simply because someone paid for the ad on the particular page.

My point is that PC or THE NEW YORKER doesn't know how much revenue the content on the page produced--and that's what we're really talking about in the case of AdSense. The only reason why an AdSense publisher would want to know the revenue from a specific page would be to determine which subtopics produce the best revenue--and that's something a publisher in the offline world doesn't know, either. (A magazine or newspaper publisher can use research to determine which standing features, types of articles, etc. are most popular and least popular with readers, but not whether a car test of the Mini Cooper S earned $XXX compared to $YYY for a car test of the Ford Taurus.)

Just as GoogleGuy keeps telling WW members in the Google News forum to focus on content instead of SEO, the AdSense concept is for publishers to focus on content and leave the ad targeting to Google. I can't imagine Google being foolish enough to help opportunistic publishers create pages that exist solely to target specific AdWords/AdSense keywords. Some of that is going to happen anyway, but why should Google encourage the AdSense equivalent of search-engine spam by facilitating the process?

europeforvisitors




msg:1380047
 3:34 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

mine has bled away from 100%, say, in the summer all the way down to 40% now....a long steady decline.

That's pretty extreme, all right. At the moment I'm probably somewhere between 75% and 80% of my summer peak, but a higher CTR has helped to compensate...and my effective CPM and total revenues are way, way up, even at comparable traffic levels.

For what it's worth, I hear people talk about earning decent money from Amazon sales, and I never made more a pittance from Amazon--even when I featured targeted Amazon links on my pages. Obviously, what works for one site may not work for another.

Macro




msg:1380048
 4:11 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would personally like more detailed stats.

The only reason why an AdSense publisher would want to know the revenue from a specific page would be to determine which subtopics produce the best revenue

That's not such a bad thing. Some would use it to create spam pages but others may have more valid reasons. We could use it to compare Adsense earnings on a particular page with earnings from other ads on that same page. In cases where you have an either/or choice you can try Adsonar/Adsense and see which one provides the best ads and best revenue for the page. The earnings per page could also indicate the quality of the ads being served on it.

europeforvisitors




msg:1380049
 4:16 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

We could use it to compare Adsense earnings on a particular page with earnings from other ads on that same page. In cases where you have an either/or choice you can try Adsonar/Adsense and see which one provides the best ads and best revenue for the page.

Maybe so, but I doubt if it would be in Google's interests to help you make such comparisons--or to help its competitors cherry-pick its most profitable topics and advertisers.

Macro




msg:1380050
 4:24 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I doubt if it would be in Google's interests to help you make such comparisons--or to help its competitors

Or indeed open the floodgates of "My EPC on widget.htm page has dropped by 50%. Why?" type of emails.

The less you know the less you are likely to analyse and the fewer questions you'll have to tie up Adsense customer services with ;-)

This applies particularly to the my-CTR-has-dropped-over-the-last-five-minutes webmasters.

varya




msg:1380051
 4:35 pm on Feb 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't care about page by page stats, but I'd sure like to see separate data for each of my five sites.

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >
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