|September 2007 AdSense Earning Trend|
After a 20% drop in eCPM in August that some others saw as well, we were hoping to see a recovery in September. One week in, eCPM is down 30% year-over-year. In some areas, the lower eCPM is allowing MFA and "death spiral" advertisers onto our site, but in other cases, the advertisers are the same folks who were there a year and two years ago. Either they've all of a sudden become more sophisticated in their campaign management or the inventory of publishers has shot up.
I suppose competing advertisers could be price-fixing as well. They need the advertising, but they see they are competing against the same group of businesses year after year, and their market shares are more or less steady. Maybe they all decided to start bidding lower at the same time!
I've just pulled AdSense off all 1000+ pages on my main book review site, after over four years. I've been getting more and more totally generic "book" ads targetted at the site as a whole instead of ads targetted to specific pages. (What's going to work best on a book about DNS? Or an Indonesian travel guide?) And Google insists on including images - "Ads by Google" - as part of text-only ads, when I want to keep my site completely image-free.
I still have AdSense on my travelogues, where the ads seem a bit better targetted and always performed better. But that's 500 pages.
As always, this stuff does not affect everyone the same way.
For me, so far this month is up about 14% over last September, but about even with August, which was up from last August. But it's still early in the month, things could change.
|As always, this stuff does not affect everyone the same way. |
And as always, somebody feels the need to point that out to us poor sad sacks who are just looking for a little sympathy:-)
I've never sat and made a list of forum members who seem to have the same sorts of issues at the same sorts of times as we do (Ann comes to mind), but I wish the forums were somehow orgainized into different types of publishers. For us to put up forty or fifty new pages in a year is a big deal, but we didn't have a single month under $2K last year. It's a different type of publishing than people who have tens or hundreds of thousands of pages online and expect an eCPM in the single digits.
And yes, I'm sure there are publishers just like us who are seeing rising eCPM as well, but if we could compare apples to apples with them, we might end up helping each other rather than just letting off steam.
For example, until this summer we followed orbit of Adsense publishers who fought to protect eCPM by active management of the content filter to screen MFA's and would simply remove Adsense from pages that didn't perform up to our target of $xx.xx. When we got to summer this year with a full filter and more important things for our business to deal with, we decided to let the site take care of itself, and see if Google would work it out so the results were the same. Instead, we fell short of 2006 the last three months (after the year started well).
Maybe the fault is ours for taking our hands of the wheel. I'd like to hear from some of the other publishers who take the same approach if they fought the good fight all summer and won.
|Maybe the fault is ours for taking our hands of the wheel. I'd like to hear from some of the other publishers who take the same approach if they fought the good fight all summer and won. |
I add more pages than you do (maybe 500-600 per year on a roughly 5,000-page site), but like you, I have a handcrafted content site rather than a template-based, keyword-driven, computer-generated site that uses high traffic to make up for low earnings per click. My eCPM and EPC for August, 2007 were down about 30% from August, 2006--enough to be noticeable but not enough to cause panic. At the same time, earnings from display ads were up considerably, and affiliate commissions have remained strong.
So, for me, AdSense is still worth having but is a less important part of the revenue mix than it was in earlier years. (Part of that is by design--I've downplayed the AdSense presence on some parts of the site--and part of it may be due to a continuing increase in pages about less "commercial" topics than the bread-and-imported-butter topics that attract higher-priced clicks and generate higher eCPMs.)
I have seen a decline in eCPMs on several channels that were big moneymakers in the past, so it's possible that:
1) Advertisers are getting smarter about managing their separate search and content bids (which weren't even available until late 2005), and/or...
2) Some advertisers who tested AdWords/AdSense in the past are now spending more money on non-AdSense site-targeted display ads (an area that's growing quite a bit, at least in my sector);
3) There are simply more publishers competing for the available pool of clicks. This seems very likely, especially with the growth in "Web 2.0" sites, megasites that publish computer-generated pages for every conceivable keyword, and the parked-domain industry.
I think we'll see more disruption in the next year, especially when Google offers site-targeted contextual ads across the network. I also think that, over the long haul, AdSense will offer its biggest rewards to publishers who can deliver value for advertisers, but publishers should regard AdSense as being just one tool in the revenue toolkit.
I have only one word for my Adsense stats: depressing.
Though I might add that this was to be expected, with the second half of the year usually being slower, almost coming to a halt in December...
Anyway, September so far does look only so-so compared to September 2006: with unchanged traffic (on the websites), the number of ads that we show has been reduced to about 80% as we removed ads from pages that never have gotten any click at all (why annoy visitors with those ads?). Thus, CTR is better than last year, but this improvement is completely eaten up by a matching decrease in EPC. In the end, eCPM remains virtually unchanged while absolute revenue is 30% down. And September is already on the road to become the "worst month of 2007".
We are now slowly adding affiliate links to our sites. Already in the first few days this has been a success. Needless to say, for each page we also check whether it makes sense to keep Adsense or not.
Ack, I see the mods changed the name of the thread so maybe I expressed myself poorly.
I'm not interested in general Adsense trends, I'm interested whether original content publishers (ie, no auto generated or boiler shop keyword writer articles) who have been proactive about trying to protect their eCPM have hung in there by continuing to do so, or if they've seen the same steep below trend results. I really had a few forum participants in mind when I made the post, I'm sorry I'm so bad with names or I would have just put them in the title and asked how their defences were holding up.
Thank you for the note about keeping your eCPM up but seeing your revenue fall as the number of views declined. We always followed the same approach, but pruning as we went along so page views didn't fall, and so eCPM remained steady with growing earnings. It's only recently, the past three or four months, that we've seen these declines that have stuck, and the reasons aren't clear yet. Sure, the number of competing publishers and the number of advertisers change, but that wouldn't account for the magnitude or suddeness of what we've seen, and we have been at this a few years.
|I'm interested whether original content publishers (ie, no auto generated or boiler shop keyword writer articles) who have been proactive about trying to protect their eCPM have hung in there by continuing to do so, or if they've seen the same steep below trend results. |
No. I'm up beyond any reasonable explanation.
|I'm interested whether original content publishers |
Mine have been improving nicely ever since 7th July with my average EPC for August up just over 50% and so far this month another couple of percentage points.
Overal US Dollar earnings are now back to a par with 2006, tis a pity that it's depreciated so much however earnings are a darn sight better than just a couple of months ago.
If I were getting the same CTR as last year I'd be back in the UPS club!
|No. I'm up beyond any reasonable explanation. |
By the "no" part, do you mean you continue to protect your eCPM through page pruning and filtering, or you simply haven't seen eCPM loss?
Well I can't prune pages - I only have three; the site is database driven. I had as many as 518 "virtual" pages, but it's an event site, so as soon as the event has passed, the page goes away or turns into a placeholder that's blocked from user or search engine view (if there are no more events for that city) - so I guess you could call that pruning of a sort.
I do use the filter fairly prodigiously, although I haven't had to add anyone new in a couple of weeks.
My eCPM is through the roof since September 1st, after a fairly dismal August. I have no explanation for that. Traffic is down (which is to be expected this time of year) and my CTR isn't any great shakes, but the EPC on every single click (and this is even for my lesser, unrelated sites) falls somewhere between .50 and 2.00. That has never happened before. I'm even getting that type of EPC on *link units*. When *I* look at the site, it looks like the same old advertisers that have been there all along, and I'm pretty sure they're not paying those rates. So I dunno what's going on. It's almost worrying.
The only thing I can think of - well, two things. 1) Some advertisers replenished their budgets at the first of September, and/or 2) Now that I'm in my slow season, I decided I wanted to redo all my non-url channels, because I'm going to be adding some more sites and I need to have a good strategy for managing them. So I deleted them all. If there is actually anything to Ann's theories from last year, *maybe* that's partly cause of what I'm seeing. But I can't be sure, so I am not advocating anyone else do it.
Maybe I should just clear a big hole in the content filter, whatever it takes, and reload with new candidates.
I'd forgotten about Ann's channel theory, never seemed to hold true here, but we have had some of the same channels in place for years, and maybe they are hurting us. Worth a try if things don't look up.
|If I were getting the same CTR as last year I'd be back in the UPS club! |
That's one of the things that concerns me. Our CTR really isn't down much, not nearly as much as the eCPM. That and the continued presence of the usual advertisers makes me supect that they are simply getting their ads displayed on our site for less. Maybe the mythical, "We volunteered for Referrals 2.0" penalty is involved."
|My eCPM and EPC for August, 2007 were down about 30% from August, 2006 |
For my main review site, eCPM was down 40% from August 2006 to August 2007. (On I'm guessing about 1% of EFV's absolute numbers.) And this trend has persisted into September. It's not the end of the world, but it's dropped below the level at which I think AdSense is worthwhile, at least on that site.
AdSense is definitely worthwhile on my site, but it's a sideshow, not the main event. That's as it should be, from my point of view, since I've always felt that AdSense's main strength is in "filling in the gaps" with ads for niche subtopics.
Our earnings for August were up 20% on July, which made it our best month to date.
September started very poor, and is likely to be some 15% less than August if it continues at the current rate.
So adsense earnings are very volatile!
P.S. We publish between 250 and 300 articles per month.
August was extremely bad. September is worst.
I resigned from my day-time job in December 2005. Unfortunately, I will have to start working again by end of this month to cover my cost.
My earnings for july were very good, august has been disastrous for a few of my sites (unseen low EPC) and since september, earnings have been back up. What a relief. I was almost ready to get rid of adsense on the poor performing sites, or at least, search for a better alternative.
Outside of seasonal factors, the only thing I did thus far are: removed adsense from what I imagined to be poorly converting sections (image galleries) and emptied my competitive filters since it was full, although I am still waiting to fill it back up since earnings are good still (don't know how long it will last).
So I do feel for people hurting right now, in august I just wanted a shoulder to cry on ;) I know I sure didn't want to hear that my affected sites sucked after the hundreds of hours of work I spent on them.
Over the years when someone has complained about low earnings, some would agree - and some would disagree. It seems that now there are a lot less people disagreeing with these 'low Adsense earnings' and a high incidence of a recent and dramatic drop in earnings.
I have thousands of pages - advertisers are much of the same as past years, the CTR is the same (if not higher) so targeting is still good. My PPC and eCPM are way down, even with much higher traffic.
I have started removing google adsense from being the first in my advertising chain, and I am looking for more advertising options.
Up a little bit today...hope it is a trend starting :)
Nothing to write home about though.
Look at your referals list, its growing. I see a lot of ecom sites killing off their PPC campaigns and moving towards PPA
|t seems that now there are a lot less people disagreeing with these 'low Adsense earnings' and a high incidence of a recent and dramatic drop in earnings. |
I disagree. I've been here since the program started, and it seems to me that we're seeing fewer threads of the "Help! I've been smartpriced!" or "My earnings have tanked" variety, along with less of the public teeth-gnashing and wailing that used to be a staple of the forum. (That could just be the result of the forum's summer slowdown, of course.)
Higher CTR lower EPC, same kinda earning level as August. August was good for me.
No change in content. No wacka mole for me ( it is too tiresome).
Handcrafted content, 300+pages.
eCPM down 40% from first six months average for 2007.
Downturn started 1st week of August and has gotten worse week after week.
Very few MFAs to whack so filter is empty.
Appears to be mostly same mix of advertisers all year.
I've just switch a few pages back to YPN :(
On September 1, I finally had time to remove a bunch of non-performing footer ads, and epc on top traffic pages went up about 30%. But the removed ads weren't on the top pages.
Not sure if there's a correlation or why. Maybe the site was partially unsmartpriced. It's day 2, and epc usually goes down on the weekends (on my sites), but today it hasn't. It's still as good as Friday.
I'd wondered if yesterday's spike was due to a newbie advertiser making beginner's mistakes. Of course that could still be the case. But in any case there's a better user experience with fewer ads imo, so it can't hurt to remove what's helping nobody.
I'm doing great. Earnings, eCPM and all that are stellar. Growth is slow, steady and what I would expect considering that I add content slowly but regularly.
|Handcrafted content, 300+pages. |
eCPM down 40% from first six months average for 2007.
Downturn started 1st week of August and has gotten worse week after week.
Now that sounds a lot like us, in terms of content and eCPM.
I did take a little time yesterday afternoon and chase the MFA's off our main channel. eCPM today was back to the old normal, ie, up 40%, but one day doesn't mean spit, especially if it's a Saturday, and not even finished yet.
I suppose that if enough large sites are hosting PPA, it could be siphoning off ads from our area. It certainly didn't work well for us, and I did try it on some pretty valuable pages in the end.
As with EFV, Adsense isn't our main business so it's not a death sentence to see earnings drop. But, monetizing web traffic has been one of my job duties the past few years, and Adsense has saved me from having to fool around with a bunch of affiliate relationships, or worse, individual advertisers. If it keeps dropping, I might have to turn salesman to earn my keep around here:-)