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|Penny clicks? enough is enough already.|
I had a conversation with a good friend this morning and in passing he mentioned being embarrassed about the adsense results of his latest project, a site about 4 months old.
We gave it a once over and it seemed like a good idea, it has lots to offer the visitor and his writing style is unique. No, its not a blog, its a widget enthusiast site. No forums, lots of news and how to's.
He told me he had gotten 21 "penny" clicks in a row and I assumed he meant clicks worth very little, he runs one ad block, the 300x250 text unit, like many others do. No, he litteraly eant penny clicks as in one cent clicks and it was easy to know he wasn't lying... his control panel said it all. Today... 21 clicks, 21 cents earned, no site targeting involved.
The minimum possible to be paid is 5 cents per click, or so I thought, and so Google is most definitely taking an 80% cut for themselves at the least in his case.
[edited by: JS_Harris at 9:01 pm (utc) on Nov. 7, 2007]
|The minimum possible to be paid is 5 cents per click |
Not anymore, it's 1 cents for the advertiser, so possibly half a cent for publishers.
Ugh. That's nice to know. It's almost laughable, almost.
|...lots of news and how to's. |
That may be your problem right there. Change it to product reviews, store recommendations, widget alternatives and rarities- in short anything that revolves around your widget strictly as a commodity will do better. Focus on the product, not the hobby. Copy about rare and sought-after editions of a video game or music CD will probably do better than cheat sheets and a fan forum.
Never do News and How-to's, unless the news is strictly about when a product will be available.
The other consideration is to look at the cost of the product, estimate the markup, and consider the amount of units that are moving daily. A video game might not pay per click as much as a click for a product that is worth $600 - $1,000 dollars. However the demand for the video game, if it's a blockbuster (and there are few of those, really) will make it up on traffic over the thousand dollar purchase.
|The minimum possible to be paid is 5 cents per click, or so I thought, and so Google is most definitely taking an 80% cut for themselves at the least in his case. |
You couldn't be more wrong about that, I'm not sure where you got that idea. The minimum amount an AdWords advertiser can bid is .01... so that leaves the publisher with well under .01 depending how google cuts shares. Your average per click will often be much higher though.
About the 80% thing.... that's very possible. I don't think anyone is too sure what G takes for itself.
|About the 80% thing.... that's very possible. I don't think anyone is too sure what G takes for itself. |
Not very possible as some of us have seen behind the Wizard's curtain and know it's a fair deal but can't discuss it.
...lots of news and how to's.
That may be your problem right there. Change it to product reviews, store recommendations, widget alternatives and rarities- in short anything that revolves around the commoditization of your widget will do better. Focus on the product, not the hobby.
Unfortunately that tends to destroy the purpose of your site. This kind of site [like mine] takes time to build, relies a lot upon visitor loyalty and above all gaining respect and credibility with your peer group. This ultimately gives quality inbound links.
Going through an overt commercialisation process can inflict serious damage on years of hard work and building.
Your visitors accept you need to do something if only to pay for hosting and bandwidth costs. Unobtrusive AdSense and perhaps other affiliate links tastefuly placed usually are considered acceptable.
|commoditization of your widget will do better |
Not a gamble I would peronally take. It's pointless building up a site [which takes years and years] to see it slide back. I wouldn't risk short term gains against a long term future.
Had I say seven or even nine years ago become more commercialised, then I doubt I would have reaped the benefit of AdSense these last four years or so. Certainly not to the extent that I have enjoyed.
Recent times is another issue altogether and to me largely reflects things are always evolving.
Well, this explains how this morning I saw:
Total earnings: $0.00
Came pretty close to taking down all my AdSense right there.
(tiny site, not much really well-suited advertising for the niche, but I do okay when I get targeted. But my main target advertiser has dropped out over the past month or so--at least I think they have, because they popped back up again for a few days last week when a few folks thought that the eCPM issues had been resolved, then disappeared again after a day or two, which I'm trying very hard to not blame on whatever's going on with AdSense)
|Never do News and How-to's, unless the news is strictly about when a product will be available. |
Not sure I can agree with this. It seems way over the top. But you can consider separating this content from more commercially oriented reviews, and only running ads on the latter type of pages, as this may improve your overall performance.
|This kind of site [like mine] takes time to build, relies a lot upon visitor loyalty and above all gaining respect and credibility with your peer group. This ultimately gives quality inbound links. |
That's fine, that is the comfort zone where you are and what makes you happy- each to his own and what they do best. But if there is a next project/second act, a logical consideration would be to decide if it's going to be about gaining the esteem of your peers or gaining the trust of consumers. One shouldn't be surprised if the former (in general) tends to do less well.
Also, gaining respect and visitor loyalty does not exclude a consumer site. A number of sites like CNET have built incredible resources that are trusted by millions of consumers. Indeed, NewEgg, an ecommerce site, is my favorite and trusted website for reading product reviews and making product purchase decisions. I'm very loyal to them.
Bringing this all back to the original post, and in the context of addressing the original post, it's not surprising that the above site the OP describes is making pennies.
I have a old how-to site, too, and I put off adding product reviews for a long time. Finally, I added a few (got the idea from these forums) and I'm very happy with the advertisers those pages bring in. My how-to pages always show ads for other how-to sites while the product reviews get all sorts of interesting ads from manufacturers and stores. They've become very popular with my visitors because they know I'm being truthful. Much higher ppc on those pages, too.
The focus of my site has always been on my visitor's needs and the reviews haven't shifted that focus at all. Eventually, I even added affiliate links to the reviews and I'm doing quite well with those, too. I think it's very possible to write sincere and truthful product reviews that add great value to a site.
Make sure you know what words people use to find your site - or a site like yours.
Search on google and try many different phrases. Note when ads don't and do come up on the side.
Then review your text and you may be able to tweak it just a little to attract more of your niche advertiser's ads - bingo! more competition and higher click value.
The less than 1 cent clicks are really annoying, not only because they are insultingly low, but also because Adsense doesn't show you how much you are actually getting paid for these clicks since they don't show anything less than whole cents. I guess that if they did show fractional cent clicks, you could then use them to figure out your publisher payment percentage from ads that cost 1 cent.
On 10/25/07 USAToday had an article about several people earning money with AdSense. One of them was a "How To" type site for home repairs. The owner of the site is reportedly earning $120K annually. You might want to take a look at that site for some ideas.
|On 10/25/07 USAToday had an article about several people earning money with AdSense. One of them was a "How To" type site for home repairs. The owner of the site is reportedly earning $120K annually. You might want to take a look at that site for some ideas. |
Yup, looks like he works a lot harder to make about the same money I do from a single site.
Anyone can make that 120k/yr... if they get the traffic. That's the one key omission from the article.
They could have also told us how many pages the man built, how many hours he spent building it, and where he is in the SERPs for key phrases.
In the past most of my clicks were pennies/click but I had the traffic so I made good money.
We have to remember it's in Google's interest to set ad prices as high as possible as much as it is in our interests, because we split the money.
I generally give Google the benefit of the doubt on prices. I assume when the prices are low, it's because Google's number crunching has determined advertisers aren't willing to pay more.
Any time you doubt Google's payout per click you can test the latest fair market value by direct advertising. Contact companies you think would want to advertise on your site, and see how much they'll pay.
I've never seen an option to pay less than 5 cents in adwords, 5 cents has been the lowest for me to date, I assumed it was the lowest possible. My mistake.
My buddy isn't interested in making money online, just covering his costs really, he's learning quickly too. Seeing 21 penny clicks in a row made him feel like ANYTHING would be better, from any other service. I'm not sure he's wrong.
My main problem is time. I have three Ideas that I WILL finish coding but they are all intensive and time consuming. I have a dozen other possible ideas I want to get to and I have a handfull of projects already launched and being used as test dummies quite a bit right now.
I know what the end product will be so seeing my own sites online and getting traffic but not yet finished to my liking makes me feel like they're "without apparel". Google doesn't have to reinforce that feeling with penny clicks!
I have a few sites which run Google Adsense. Two of my sites have been making some good money over the last year, averaging about $150 a month 'ish'. However I have just launched a new website which has been recieving only the penny hits! I know of your frustration.
[edited by: engine at 2:05 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2007]
[edit reason] No urls, thanks. See TOS [webmasterworld.com] [/edit]
Not every site or industry is right for adsense. Sites that get .01 a click should probably target higher paying direct affiliate relationships instead where you can earn on the sale. Why push traffic away for a few pennies? There are other advertising options.
[edited by: Huntster at 2:03 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2007]
When "smart pricing" was introduced several years ago, Google used examples of pages that were considered likely or less likely to convert:
"Likely" was a camera review.
"Less likely" was a page of photo tips.
That doesn't mean that everyone with a photography site should dump photo tips and concentrate on camera reviews; it does mean that cost-per-click contextual ads may not be the best way to monetize such content. "Behavioral" display ads or sponsorships might work better, for example. (Of course, if you've got enough traffic, high click volume can make up for low cost per click.)
|My main problem is time. I have three Ideas that I WILL finish coding but they are all intensive and time consuming. I have a dozen other possible ideas I want to get to and I have a handfull of projects already launched and being used as test dummies quite a bit right now. |
When I first started earning an income online, I took information that I had acquired by working in a particular industry, developed various products and sold that information via ebooks, subscriptions, etc.
When I learned of AdSense in July, 2003, I took an almost completed project and converted it into a free site that I monetized with AdSense. The results were wonderful and I began thinking of monetizing all my ideas in this manner. But over time, the luster of AdSense has suffered.
I still have most of those original products and they earn a consistent income.
My point is with some ideas, you're better off giving the "information" away for free and monetizing with advertising such as with AdSense, affiliate programs, etc. With others, you're much better off selling access.
|My point is with some ideas, you're better off giving the "information" away for free and monetizing with advertising such as with AdSense, affiliate programs, etc. |
That's the approach that sites like CNet and ZDNet have used, successfully, for a long time. Respect for the ad-suported content model has been given a big boost by NYTimes.com's abandonment of New York Times Select and the Wall Street Journal's announcement that it will eliminate its Web site's subscription firewall.
|...and the Wall Street Journal's announcement that it will eliminate its Web site's subscription firewall. |
I believe I read the WSJ is giving up $50 million in annual subscription fees in exchange for the expectation of earning much more than that with increased advertising sales.
I wonder if the WSJ will depend on contextual CPC ads for any of that revenue?
|...Respect for the ad-suported content model has been given a big boost by... |
I've always thought of my local ink-on-paper newspaper as following that model. I wonder if the 25 cents daily cost covers buying the paper and ink, printing and delivering? Even if it does, there can't be much profit left from that 25 cents.
|I've always thought of my local ink-on-paper newspaper as following that model. I wonder if the 25 cents daily cost covers buying the paper and ink, printing and delivering? Even if it does, there can't be much profit left from that 25 cents. |
In Europe, free ad-supported daily newspapers have been around for quite a while. It's difficult to walk into some railway stations without having a newspaper thrust into your hand. They tend to have more in common with the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS or THE MIRROR than with THE NEW YORK TIMES or THE GUARDIAN, but they do show that a purely ad-supported business model can work for newspapers (and other media) that have relatively low overhead costs.
|purely ad-supported business model can work for newspapers (and other media) that have relatively low overhead costs |
That's a good analysis. Adsense supported business models have a lot in common with those brick-and-mortar types.
In fact, when I look at the 5 year financials on listed free city paper companies in Europe, many of them show consistently return on equity well past 20% and very healthy balance sheets.
That's why there is so much upcoming competition to these papers. I think London had two new free city papers last year, for example.
|Adsense supported business models have a lot in common with those brick-and-mortar types. |
But there is a limit to the analogy.
I doubt the owner of the free newspapers wakes up each morning wondering what advertisements will show up in his newspaper that day and how much he'll earn from those advertisements. :)
"Behavioral" display ads or sponsorships might work better
Can you expand on this. What are behavioral display ads?
|Can you expand on this. What are behavioral display ads? |
They're ads that are targeted by audience demographics (or even by an individual's buying history) rather than by keyword.
For example, a site about wines might be able to sell display ads for culinary tours in France and Italy, and a site about luxury travel might be able to sell display ads for upscale jewelry and other "lifestyle" products or services that aren't direcly related to travel. You see this all the time in the magazine world: Look at any issue of GOURMET or TRAVEL + LEISURE, and you'll find that probably half of the ads aren't about food or travel--they're for Cartier, Mercedes-Benz, Prada, and other upmarket "lifestyle" brands.
|In Europe, free ad-supported daily newspapers have been around for quite a while. |
Mind you, not all of them are returning a profit. Some of these "free" newspapers were started as side-businesses of established newspapers in order to cater for the dropping reader numbers. Some of the "free" newspapers were started by entrepreneurs hoping for a ROI. I fail to see how, for example, a free daily newspaper with just 2.5 full-page ads can return a profit. They are clearly losing money.
|Google doesn't have to reinforce that feeling with penny clicks! |
How many publishers fail at AdSense because they can't grasp the simple fact that the money comes, not from Google, but from advertisers who have to actually sell a product in order to make placing the ad worthwhile?
| This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 (  2 ) > > |