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Very bad two days
Anyone else noticing a decline in earnings and poor targeting?
max_mm




msg:1402093
 7:40 am on Feb 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

AdWords Related thread: [webmasterworld.com...]


Just wondering if Anyone else noticing a sharp decline in overhaul Adsense performance.

Jan was my record month with earnings well into three figures per day.
I am notice a sharp decline on all fronts since the beginning of Feb.

Page impressions are right on daily average target (+-5%) while CTR is down by approx 1.2% and “effective CPM” is down by almost 40%.

I have a network of sites (7 sites) on a wide range of topics. The traffic on the sites hasn’t changed much since the begining of Feb +- same number of daily viewers across the network , while earnings continue to slide daily (adsense alone, other aff products i have linked continue to sell well).

I did notice very poor ad targeting on a few pages recently. Pages which used to display very good targeted ads and this may explain the bad CTR and “effective CPM”.

Is there any major adsense update going on?….anyone else noticing this happening since the start of Feb?

P.S.
I did not update any of my content recently to warrent such update.

 

lorenzinho2




msg:1402243
 8:46 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't know EFV - maybe it's just normal fluctuations, but it certainly doesn't look like it.

We deliver 100K+ impressions per day to Google, and have been doing so for a while. Our site covers just about every vertical you can imagine, so we're pretty well diversified.

Because of this diversification, since launching Adsense, our CPM and CTR have stayed within a fairly tight range - about 30%.

I guess it's possible that starting on February 2, leads from our site began converting at about 1/2 the value that they had in the 8 months previously, and that visitors to the site suddenly began clicking through at a much less frequent rate (about 12% under the low end of average).

So your opinion that this is just more of the same normal fluctuation is certainly not impossible.

But I guess statistically, from where I'm sitting, it's pretty farfetched.

When I look at this data, it looks to me that something has changed beyond the normal fluctuations.

The Contractor




msg:1402244
 8:58 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Not that this contributes much, but you will normally have more people chiming in when things are bad, then if they are doing better.

I for one see only positive changes in earnings and CPM.
I see nothing that would lead me to believe Google has changed anything as far as percentage etc. I believe those who see derogatory changes are seeing the affiliate policy of AdWords or other factors. Type of site and visitors are also going to have the largest impact. If you have a large percentage of traffic being repeat visitors on a daily basis your earnings and CTR etc. are bound to drop as time goes on.

exacerbate




msg:1402245
 9:02 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Is it my imagination, or is the situation improving?

I run a long-established pure content site (no affiliate links whatsoever) and experienced similar negative trends to others during the first few days of the month.

However, my CPM seems to be recovering whilst my CTR is fairly constant.

I'm hoping for a recovery!

FromRocky




msg:1402246
 9:08 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

From:

Bottom line: As usual, some publishers are up, some are down, some aren't seeing any change, and some of the ones who are hurting need to vent their frustration by putting the blame on Google instead of accepting the realities of an auction-based marketplace.

To:

As usual, too many WW members are making universal assumptions based on their own personal experience.

EFV,

I have to say that you're also one of these members you were mentioned. You're also basing your opinion on your own personal experience or on your own site's result which represents just a single industry. Something is more than as usual this time.

The Contractor




msg:1402247
 9:41 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

You're also basing your opinion on your own personal experience or on your own site's result which represents just a single industry. Something is more than as usual this time.

I have to ask what you are basing your opinions on if not for the AdSense reports you personally have access to?

Like I said go to any thread on this forum and any area and you will always find more people chiming in if someone starts a post with something wrong with their site(s). Why is this? Misery loves company (and I've shared mine at times too). If others post how they are doing great it only serves to p*ss people off and frustrate those that are not doing well even more.

With all the channel tools available I am not sure why anyone wouldn't be able to pin down what is exactly going wrong... was this page/section of the site bringing in $0.75 a click and now bringing in 15 cents etc.

europeforvisitors




msg:1402248
 9:58 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

When I look at this data, it looks to me that something has changed beyond the normal fluctuations.

Could be--I'm not discounting that possibility; in fact, I've speculated on several possible reasons why some publishers are experiencing a drop in CTR and earnings. But that doesn't mean the explanation is as simple as "the bright boys in the accounting room" deciding to keep more of the gross. If that were the case, we'd be seeing a drop in earnings across the board.

btas2




msg:1402249
 9:59 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

After 3 or 4 really bad days with CPM and earnings 50% of normal, today thing seem to be back on track for me.

There certainly was a glitch. I get enough traffic to be able to tell when something is wrong, and something certainly was wrong, or at least abnormal, over the last 3 or 4 days.

flyerguy




msg:1402250
 10:08 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I don't understand the premise of saying 'nothing has changed' when many people seem to be chiming in that their rock steady CTR's have dropped.

Mine was 2.5% as steady as I take the newspaper to the bathroom each morning. Now it is 0.6 to 0.9%. It has absolutely nothing to do with affiliate ads as I have filtered the ebay crap out a long time ago.

Same ads, same players; new payout.

Google has simply altered their profit margin, and made the inflammatory decision to reflect it directly in an artificially low CTR, instead of keeping it all in purple Berkeley haze as with the rest of their business decisions.

Maybe Microsoft has already bought Google and all this confusion is designed to ween people of the G brand? I can't see any rhyme or reason to it.

First they axe my traffic by 60% on Dec. 17, then they start cheaping out on Adsense. It is really ridiculous and the only ones we can thank are these cookie cutter site authors, many of which troll these boards as well apparently.

DamonHD




msg:1402251
 10:42 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Hmm, well I just had my best ever day yesterday (and several other notably good ones in the last week) after a consistently slightly-poor January which had some internal wild gyrations.

I'm not astonished that things should be subdued after Christmas nor that they are erratic after G's attempt to squash the more egregious/crass aff ads with an algorithmic tweak...

I think that maybe G should publish a pan-publisher volatility forecast for the week ahead and a hindcast for the week or month behind. Note that some of the VERY brightest minds in international finance are perplexed by volatility (and I work with some of them), so we don't have to be embarrassed to be perplexed too, IMHO...

Rgds

Damon

jhood




msg:1402252
 10:43 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Judging from the last 16 pages, there appears to be a wave (though not a tsunami) rolling across the AdSense landscape. Beginning last weekend, some sites started reported lower earnings and others did so as the week wore on. Then, some sites began reporting that things had gone back to normal or even become better than normal.

Personally, things were roughly normal for our 100k+ impressions/day, diversified-content site until yesterday, when the bottom fell out. Today, CTR is less than half what it has been since the AdSense program began and CPM is literally about 1/10th normal. Traffic is very good, more than 10% of it coming from Google, which is about normal.

I have noticed in the past that we are often on the tail end of trends reported in this forum, for whatever reason.

My personal theory for what is going on is that the Googlemeisters are upgrading servers in their data centers, refreshing software, loading new algos or otherwise rearranging various constellations.

I suspect (and hope) this means that sometime next week, we will bounce back to normal, more or less.

There is also the little matter, apparently not given much credence in this forum, of the keyword attacks reported elsewhere. The disturbances could also be caused by those felonious activities.


doingthistoolong




msg:1402253
 10:56 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've been a lurker for a while and learned an awful lot here, and want to add my 2 cents...

Experience wise - from Feb 1 on, CTRs down 25-50%, ECPM and earning down well over 50%. It appears to have begun recovering to some extent...

However one key point: on Feb 1st - most of the advertisers I usually see were gone - and replaced with some clear mismatches. I think this is a combination of the keyword hijacking and a response to it by Google - probably software changes - and probably restarting things - which triggered re-learning somewhere in the system. In addition, the month end probably brought changes in campaigns - and perhaps some folks pulled out because of the hijack problem, affiliate changes, superbowl, etc....

I think it was a lot of unusual things happening all at once - reflected in many seein downturns - and some seeing an upturn.

Hopefully it will settle out next week...

walrus




msg:1402254
 11:10 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

<There is also the little matter, apparently not given much credence in this forum, of the keyword attacks reported elsewhere. The disturbances could also be caused by those felonious activities.>

Yup, I think this and the affiliate changes that are settling in cant be ruled out, and the other variable like EFV mentioned was that it is seasonal too.
Maybe i am experiencing normal earnings and the higher CPM the last few months was peak.
Now that weve had a few days of channel data to look at it seems to be showing a drop in earnings in retail related pages though i do to little traffic to be sure.
With all the variables it may be to soon to accuse them of lowering the percentage paid to publishers.

europeforvisitors




msg:1402255
 11:55 pm on Feb 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yup, I think this and the affiliate changes that are settling in cant be ruled out, and the other variable like EFV mentioned was that it is seasonal too.

Yes, and different variables will affect different publishers differently. For example, an attack on certain keywords and Google's response to it wouldn't affect everyone, and a reduction in direct-to-merchant affiliate ads wouldn't affect publishers whose sites didn't get many of those ads.

With all the variables it may be to soon to accuse them of lowering the percentage paid to publishers.

Especially since that hypothesis doesn't explain why only some publishers have been affected.

jonstark




msg:1402256
 12:08 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

europforvisitors:

"1) Since when has Google been 'clobbered in the pocketbook?' "

Well, that's relative of course. :) But if the new policy is driving profits down, I think they'd be concerned.

"2) The most 'relevant natural search results' will exclude boilerplate affiliate pages and other SERP clutter, so forget any conspiracy scenarios involving "the bright boys in the accounting room." All Google has to do is live up to its corporate mission statement--'to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful'--and ad sales will fall into place. "

Agreed, that's all they have to do. But are they doing it? I think some of the seo folks would argue that they aren't. Also, I'd point out that affiliate 'boilerpate' landing pages don't show up in natural search results anyway. Direct-to-affiliate landing pages compete in adwords, not in seo.

I'm not sure why I should forget conspiracy theories, though. Nothing you've stated here disproves my crackpot theory, unless I've missed something.

"3) The 'profit split' between Google and publishers isn't a 'super secret.' See Google's most recent financial statement. "

Where do I go look at Google's most recent financial statement, and does it break down revenues generated by the profit split with adsense publishers? I'm not afraid to look foolish - I'm not an adsense expert. But on the adsense sign up site there's the following answer to a faq.

Question: "How much will I earn through this program"

Answer: "...Although we don't disclose the exact revenue share, our goal is to enable publishers to make as much or more than they could with other advertising networks. "

Sounds like it's proprietary to me, but then again maybe there's another venue where you can find out the profit split.

"4) As usual, too many WW members are making universal assumptions based on their own personal experience. Fact is, not all AdSense publishers are seeing a drop in CTR, CPM, or total earnings. Some are continuing to do quite well, and some have seen increases. "

Well, we can each of us only speak to what we see. You're right of course, some are up, some are down, but it sounded from this thread (over 17 pages long!) like there was a definite downward trend. In my own pond, my personal affiliate adwords campaigns are doing great, but that doesn't mean I'm not aware of the fact that there's a lot of adwords affiliate marketers that aren't doing so wonderfully. The only way to be absolutely non-subjective would be if I was God and had all the info, but until then I reckon it's ok for anyone to voice their opinions, no matter if their mileage differs from my own or not.

MikeNoLastName




msg:1402257
 12:32 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe a lot of the negatively affected have just been too busy analyzing this mess to chime in...

Daily Impressions in the 10's of thousands.

Imps Clicks CTR CPM PPC (relative to Jan avgs)
2/1 +20% +23% -9% -3% +7%
2/2 +14% +11% -2% -9% -12% <- Slight dip in PPC
2/3 +11% +8% -2% -5% -2%
2/4 -2% 0% +2% -21% -22%!<- Major PPC dips
2/5 N/A N/A +22% +2% -15% Approx 1/2 day

Jan Std Dev 8.88% 9.13% 10.56%

These figures would be across-the-board lower if I was comparing only to the last two weeks of Jan since the beginning of the month included some much lower than avg days with New Years, etc. and CPM and PPC climbed very slowly throughout Jan.

Have noticed quite a few poorly targeted ads late Thursday night, including even a few in the WRONG LANGUAGE and obviously badly geographically targeted as well! Have also noticed quickly changing ads (here one view, gone the next) and ads which I would like to filter which never show up in the preview toolbar (or google search for related keywords), and thus I can't get the proper URL to filter with (Right click /Properties in IE doesn't show enough)!

I'd go along with the keyword hijacking theory and attempted fix, which would explain why it does not appear to affect ALL niches. Only those with keywords which were targeted.

steve40




msg:1402258
 12:35 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think doingthistoolong made a good point possibly G was worried about click fraud by competitors as per few articles and decided to do a big shakeup on areas where they suspected fraud and made adsense relearn from scratch ,

One of the interesting things i have seen is different sites of mine have seen bad targetting on different days.

This would go along with many of the quotes from webmasters xx day was bad and next day got better

It may take another week to settle down but at that point maybe we should start a thread re: cpm percentage up or down
if we only ask for percentage change on cpm this should take the current update out of the equation

as an example
These stats were taken by taking the last 4 tues , weds , thursdays and fridays and finding the average and then finding percentage in comparison with dates used
1st Feb -4.6%
2nd Feb -11.1%
3rd Feb -8.8%
4th Feb -16.9%

PS i suspect 5th will be about -3% but all data not in yet
The problem is with figures like 50% 25% etc. down without doing the maths and with some webmasters having increased traffic and some major decreased traffic from current G update unless we try to analyse stats without breaking TOS it's all idle speculation
steve

ownerrim




msg:1402259
 1:15 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

retracted the post. in retrospect, it was not helpful

Freedom




msg:1402260
 2:03 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Especially since that hypothesis doesn't explain why only some publishers have been affected.

I don't think a universal, apply to everyone rule/pattern is ever going to be found that can explain what is going on right now. Google doesn't operate in the black and white - but they really do great in the 127 shades of gray. (Exageration on the # of shades of gray)

However, EFV is right that once again, WW members need to stop taking personal experience and turning it into an internet wide rule of law. That is getting so *&^% old and worn out here. Please keep that in mind before stating personal experiences as "the facts."

We need to understand each other's personal experiences and make correlations amongst them to better understand what is going on and how best to help improve on the situation - if it is within our means.

jonstark




msg:1402261
 4:18 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Freedom: I agree about Google and the shades of grey. It probably is folly to think that if there is a widespread thingie going on with adsense publishers (which is just pure speculation anyway, and plenty of evidence to the contrary) that anyone will ever be able to narrow it down and say: This! This is why!

About the opinions being posted getting tiresome, I disagree. Without personal experience being expressed, there would be very little in the way of discussions anywhere in these forums. Besides which, many of those relating their statistics are reporting 'the facts' of their personal experience.

Besides which, the statement which started this whole thread was:

"Just wondering if Anyone else noticing a sharp decline in overhaul Adsense performance."

Many chimed and said they had, others stated they hadn't. Almost everybody speaking from personal experience.

europeforvisitors




msg:1402262
 4:46 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

jonstark wrote:

About the opinions being posted getting tiresome, I disagree. Without personal experience being expressed, there would be very little in the way of discussions anywhere in these forums.

Freedom didn't object to the sharing of personal experiences per se; he commented on "taking personal experience and turning it into an internet wide rule of law." There is a tendency by many people here to assume that (a) their experience is universal, and (b) if things aren't going well, Google must be doing something nefarious.

jonstark




msg:1402263
 6:46 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

I stand corrected. Sorry for misreading you, Freedom.

I'm sure you're right, evp, it is human nature to assume that 'what happens to me must be indicative of what's happening to everyone' and to affix blame elsewhere. But that's not to say it couldn't be a valid opinion that could be bourne out.

Freedom's last line of his post states perfectly my own position:

"We need to understand each other's personal experiences and make correlations amongst them to better understand what is going on and how best to help improve on the situation - if it is within our means."

To do that, in my opinion, we need to feel free to share our experiences and opinions. Even crackpot theories are occasionally right from time to time. :)

europeforvisitors




msg:1402264
 7:30 am on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Even crackpot theories are occasionally right from time to time. :)

Well, at least we know that Larry Page and Sergey Brin are too young to have fired shots from the grassy knoll. :-)

ownerrim




msg:1402265
 1:05 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

weekend stats aren't the best stats to base regarding conclusions (regarding recent changes) on. would be interested to hear how those who've been affected are doing on those days.

at the risk of being redundant (but, really, everything is redundant here), for me:

ctr normal
traffic normal
impressions and clicks normal
epc: terrible

Freedom




msg:1402266
 2:03 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

My CTR and EPC were back to normal saturday but traffic was down compared to all other Saturdays over the last 3 months.

freedata




msg:1402267
 3:29 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

After one month of bad (upto 50% drop) CPM and EPC, finally today seems to be back to normal CPM, EPC for a Sunday. Hope this sustains.

Something changed in the last one week that caused a close to 50% drop in EPC everything else being constant.

valley




msg:1402268
 3:38 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

same as ownerrim
This situation is persisting and is hurting so much hard work and valuable experience which we have put into our sites.
We have been through Florida and Dec 17th, not easy but we picked ourselves up again . This latest brainwave is another challenge that further tests our strenght to innovate and keep up with whatever is thrown our way.

Why doesn't google ever come out with some form of feedback, it doesn't have to be specific, but it would go a long way, after all there is no denying that for many of us something is changing and we are 50% part of that change.

Is it too much to be able to know the basics of what the $£$%"% going on?
Knowledge is power and ignorance is control

trader




msg:1402269
 4:44 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

For my wide network of sites the big decline started on Jan 29 with roughly 1/3 reductions in both CPM and income. Feb 4th was extremely poor vs other Friday's.

There has been an upmove the past 2 days (counting today so far, Sunday) but overall the daily stats since 1-29 are disturbing. Interestingly impressions and traffic have not declined and seem to be near normal.

This is the first time I recall seeing such a fast and steep decline in my long time with adsense. I suspect a possible bug or problem with their system, or possibly lower revenue sharing percentages.

Also have noticed what appears to be a large increase over the past week or so in the percentage of PSA's which may be a related issue.

europeforvisitors




msg:1402270
 5:48 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

My EPC, CTR, CPM, and total revenues were all up on Saturday, which was my best Saturday ever in terms of traffic and AdSense revenues. Overall, February so far is:

- A little better than January for EPC

- The same for CTR

- Nearly unchanged for CPM (down a few cents overall, but up by about a third yesterday)

- Way up in daily revenues (because of a 30% increase in daily traffic, presumably as a result of the Allegra update)

It's possible that several factors are working to insulate my site against the large dips that some other publishers are experiencing:

1) The time of year. (This is the season when demand increases for ads on my topic.)

2) Editorial diversity. (Several thousand pages on hundreds of subtopics, which helps to insulate against ups and downs for certain keyphrases--not unlike an indexed mutual fund.)

3) A content-driven site. (The "slow but steady" approach.)

4) No aggressive "AdSense optimization." (My site's clickthrough rates aren't likely to increase faster than conversions; this may offer some protection against downward adjustments in "smart pricing" discounts for advertisers.)

5) Little competition for many keyphrases. (There must be thousands of AdSense publishers trying to get a piece of the action for "debt consolidation" or "Web hosting," but not too many are using aggressive SEO techniques for special-interest topics with modest traffic and solid but unspectacular bids.)

6) Luck.

Everything could change tomorrow, of course; there are no guarantees in this business, and change--for better or worse--goes with the territory.

Adam




msg:1402271
 6:21 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is my first post here at WW, greetings to all.

I had a large authority ecommerce site get completely wiped out in the latest google update [Allegra]. I'm down from 10k unique google referrals per day, to 300. I also run adsense on 90% of my pages, and expected a catastrophic drop in adsense revenues as a result. To my absolute astonishment, my daily adsense clicks have dropped by 60%, yet average daily earnings have remained the exact same, completely unchanged by thousands of less clicks per day. It seems I wasn't getting paid for adsense clicks generated from Google traffic / referrals. I'm shocked by this, and cannot figure out any other explanation. Has anyone else experienced something similar?

androidtech




msg:1402272
 6:26 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

Adam,

Either that or:

- the traffic you are getting now is from people that are trying hard to find your site (since you are not at the top of the SERPS), and more motivated "clickers"
- the traffic you were getting from Google was low quality (assuming the remaining 300 per day is coming from other search engines)

Just some ideas.

bnhall




msg:1402273
 6:33 pm on Feb 6, 2005 (gmt 0)

For my site, CPM and EPC are totally consistent with the last 12 months. However, since the Alegra update, I have lost almost all my natural traffic, and am receiving only ppc traffic, resulting in a 50% reduction in impression, clicks and, alas, earnings. I have been #1 - #3 for 100's of my top kw's, and now I rank maybe in the #600 - #700 range.
For an interesting perspective, my company name, which didn't exist before I created it, does not even come up in the SERPs point to www.mycompany.com any more. Sigh. This smells like a penalty to me, not just an algo change.

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