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Premium Publishers Feel The Pain Too
glenster73

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 8:00 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

We are a high profile Australian portal and a Google Adsense Premium Publisher. We have our own personal Adsense representative, and we have access to things like keywords etc.

This time last year we were receiving US$400-US$500 a day.

Now we are down to $60-$80 a day even though our site is as popular as ever.

We were promised this was only a short cycle thing last year. But it has only gotten worse.

If we are only one of many, it would seem Google may be experiencing a major advertiser downturn, or perhaps Smart Pricing has really kicked in (too far?). Or it might be due to the extremely large, high traffic portals now putting Adsense on their pages, thinning the inventory.

Can any other Premium Publishers throw in their experiences of the past 12 months?

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:17 am (utc) on Dec. 1, 2008]
[edit reason] OP request. [/edit]

 

jetteroheller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jetteroheller us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 8:22 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

May to July around $140 a day

August to begining November $115 a day.

Next 2 November weeks $100 a day

Last week below $100.

Seems I should be happy about my stable income.

IanCP

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 8:51 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Can any other Premium Publishers throw in their experiences of the past 12 months?

Glenster73, while I was never a Premium Publisher, I had similar figures to those you mention and a similar experience over the last 12 months.

Where once our clicks were getting around 20-30 cents, they are now getting 2-3 cents

Thankfully I'm not experiencing that!

EPC has remained reasonably stable BUT CTR has been progressively slashed 75% and that's where it really hurts financially.

My sites in OZ and USA still receive good traffic but from what I see, many ads while on topic, aren't entirely appropriate.

Visitors to my sites would buy 1 or 2 of an item but the ads are often from large manufacturers hoping to sell 1 million pieces to industry.

[edit typo]

[edited by: IanCP at 8:52 pm (utc) on Nov. 28, 2008]

jetteroheller

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jetteroheller us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 8:56 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

EPC has remained reasonably stable BUT CTR has been progressively slashed

Same here, EPC even very small up,
less CTR is responsible for all my income looses

johnnie

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 10:20 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Decrease in CTR could be explained by either ad blindness or decreasing inventory of quality ads. Have you noticed different ads appearing recently on your site?

elsewhen

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 10:55 pm on Nov 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Decrease in CTR could be explained by either ad blindness or decreasing inventory of quality ads

to add to this... ad blindness might be caused by increasing repeat visitors to your site. once your regulars have seen (and sometimes clicked) the ads that run on your site, they might be less likely to click as time goes on.

you might want to check your stats to see if the percentage of "regulars" has increased over time. if so, you might want to consider repositioning your ads or trying to bring in new visitors.

glenster73

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 12:31 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the feedback so far. I'm glad we're not the only ones.

However, our CTR has remained steady (at around 1.2%) but in 12 months our CPM has dropped from around $4-$5 to around $0.5-$1 throughout our network of sites.

The type of advertiser has also changed. When once we would get blue-chip advertisers, today it seems full of new Ma & Pa startups and Weight-Loss stuff.

Our Google representative - who I talk to regularly - has ensured she is 'showcasing' our site to the advertisers, whatever that means.

I do know what something means - our bottomline has bottomed-out and we are in the process of turning to the Casales and Tribalfusions of the world, who at least offer a more steady CPM and transparency in regards to the advertisers.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 12:38 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

What you describe is a drastic drop. That's not within the normal range of fluctuations.

What ad formats are you using, and where on your web pages are you showing them?

Is your content related to news?

Is your content wide ranging?

Is your content fairly focused on a specific niche?

Are your site visitors predominantly Australian?

glenster73

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 12:54 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

> What ad formats are you using, and where on your web pages are you showing them?

Firstly, I should state that we were one of the first high profile sites in Australia to use Adsense - way back in the beginning. Over the years we tested and re-tested and finally settled on a 336x280 top of the page placement (just under the header, before the content). This served us well for years - until the events of the last 12 months.

> Is your content related to news?
> Is your content fairly focused on a specific niche?

We have a wide range of topics, however 1 site carries(ed) the bulk of revenue, and is entertainment related.

> Are your site visitors predominantly Australian?

For our main site, yes. And many are brand new in&out Google searches although we have a very loyal bookmark community.

Another thing I might add is that the downturn last year started for us in the same week that our new Australian represenative contacted us (previously we had an American represenative) to see how we were going and whether she could optimize us. We politely declined most suggestions as we had settled on a high-payout winning formula. It was also the same week that clickable white space areas of placements were now non-clickable (only the actual URL became clickable).

[edited by: glenster73 at 1:46 am (utc) on Nov. 29, 2008]

moTi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:05 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

not within the normal range of fluctuations

not at all abnormal. more competition for ad space supply.
in my area, over the last one and a half years especially. massive surge in market players, all metrics down, ctr and epc where it hurts. me and my competitors are holding ouselves in a "stable" unprofitable equilibrium now. i suspect that for the whole internet in the future. it's always been an advertiser market and as long as it's free, it won't change.

dibbern2

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:34 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Glenster,
I'm not a premium publisher (as you asked for) but my earnings are several times what you quote, so its probably a US vs. Australia thing. I think MB is right on in saying what you are experiencing is drasticaly out of norm.

If it was happening to me, I'd experiment with several aspects: new channels, new ad sizes, etc. With a 2-cent click value, I'd be figuring 'what have I to loose?' Time to shake things up. Don't let anyone encourage you that a decline from $400/day to $60/day is acceptable.

glenster73

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:44 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

> Don't let anyone encourage you that a decline from $400/day to $60/day is acceptable.

Dibbern2, that is exactly what we have done - many months ago. Despite channel changes, position changes, and much correspondence with our Australian Google representative, there is no good news and we have exhausted all of our skills and knowledge (and loyalty), built over the last 5 years, to fix the problem. There is something going on here beyond our control, and the lack of real insight from Google HQ, most publishers - premium or otherwise - will ultimately always be in the dark.

It's a lose lose though - we have had to cut our $5000 a month advertising spend in Google Adwords due to the drop in Google Adsense revenue.

(Just on Google Adwords, we also did a test Ad today and discovered that our site isn't targetable in the Site Placement Ads, despite labeling our channels as targetable in Adsense. Curious.

martinibuster

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:47 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

...entertainment related.

That might be the reason. Sounds like you lost a major advertiser or two in your space compounded by a tightening up on accidental clicks. Entertainment is notorious for being a poor niche nowadays.

If you have a significant amount of impressions with the entertainment related content then you may want to consider finding the most appropriate advertisers and dazzling them with information about your site visitors. Try to obtain demographic information about your visitors before approaching them, though. The more information you have about your site visitors the better. You may find direct CPM deals more lucrative.

Speaking of CPM, you do have site targeting and rich media ads enabled, right?

You may want to consider creating new sections of the portal focused tighter on products and services. Particularly in entertainment, there just isn't a level of desire as in other more profitable niches.

glenster73

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 2:17 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

> Speaking of CPM, you do have site targeting and rich media ads enabled, right?

Yes, we have site targeting for our main entertainment channels. Interestingly, a couple channels in an unrelated niche are not site-targeted yet are yeilding a $5CPM! Time to build those sections of our network!

Another thing to note is that I think perhaps the type of advertiser on our site has changed. We are seeing alot of advertisers who are big players but who are just advertising non-CPA sites ie. just content sites, no e-commerce or aquisition paybacks. This may affect Smart Pricing perhaps. Who knows.

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 5:01 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Over the years we tested and re-tested and finally settled on a 336x280 top of the page placement (just under the header, before the content).

I don't mean to insult, but if I landed on a page with a 336 x 280 at the top and before the content, I'd leave that page quickly thinking it was just another site thrown together to earn money with AdSense.

Were you still using that same format during the decline in revenue? Did your AdSense representative ever advise you to discontinue or to continue that format?

We politely declined most suggestions as we had settled on a high-payout winning formula.

If I read your posts correctly, you were spending $5,000/month with AdWords and earning $12,000 - $15,000/month with AdSense. Is it possible you received some type of "arbitrage penalty" - if such exists?

FarmBoy

glenster73

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 5:24 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

> Were you still using that same format during the decline in revenue? Did your AdSense representative ever advise you to discontinue or to continue that format?

We have been using the 336x280 slot for 5 years, during both good times and, recently, bad. We've had no complaints and our representative agreed it was a good spot. It is hard to convey the look of the network with this placement without giving you the actual link here.

> Is it possible you received some type of "arbitrage penalty" - if such exists?

Why? We can do what we want with our revenue - and if it's putting money back into Google I doubt they would complain. The Adwords campaigns were used to build another network, from the proceeds of our existing network.

IanCP

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 6:03 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Decrease in CTR could be explained by either ad blindness or decreasing inventory of quality ads

I think it could also be explained [as well] by tightening up the click area. I have no problem with that because I've always advocated "value for money" for advertisers, just out of long term self interest.

In my case, even though I'm an Australian and one site is here, the other is in the USA - my visitors are world wide because of the content.

But a 75% reduction in CTR [~4% to ~1%] is a sad fact of life.

zett

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 7:07 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Why? We can do what we want with our revenue - and if it's putting money back into Google I doubt they would complain.

Maybe because someone higher up in the Google foodchain has decided that arbitrage is not a suitable business model for them any longer? We have seen that in the past with other top networks (some were even getting VC financing in the low three figures, and then got booted).

Honestly, without insulting you, I think farmboy might have the answer.

Let's look at it from a neutral point of view:

- You were spending 1/3 of your revenues on Adwords to promote an Adsense powered site
- You were using the biggest ad available, and in the hottest spot
- You were somehow affected by the reduction of clickable ad space (i.e. you had blended the ads well)
- You refused to accept Google optimization suggestions, trusting your "high-payout winning formula" (whatever that may be)
- Wide range of topics, with entertainment being #1 (original content?)

Is there a chance that a Google representative COULD see your page as made-for-ads? And thus lowered your target eCPM? (Please note that I am in no way defending Google for their actions, and I really don't like the opaqueness of Google in general.)

One more thing - how did the drop actually happen? Steadily over time, or in several smaller reductions?

glenster73

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 7:20 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

> - You were spending 1/3 of your revenues on Adwords to promote an Adsense powered site

I think some people have misunderstood my reply to farmboy.

The revenue we receive from Adsense is not being used for Adwords to promote the same Adsense site.

We have Adsense revenue from one site (a popular well established site created in 1994 - yes 94). And we use some of that revenue to promote a totally unrelated publication. Non-issue folks.

> You refused to accept Google optimization suggestions, trusting your "high-payout winning formula" (whatever that may be)

This is not entirely correct. As a Premium Publisher we have been in constant contact with Google over a period of many years and of course we have undertook many changes and recommendations, which we conveyed to our last representative (they do change people there) that what she was recommending has already been tried. We have since trialed some of those recommendations in the past 12 months with the results being similiar to initial trials a few years ago.

>One more thing - how did the drop actually happen? Steadily over time, or in several smaller reductions?

As stated in one of my original posts, the initial drop ($400perday to $250perday) happened within a few days of the last representative contacting us to make us aware of the recent clickable-area change. Then every week since that time (last November) the CPM has shrunk smaller and smaller.

Anyway I am starting to feel like I am defending my company here - I was just wanting to get feedback from other Premium Publishers who MAY have experienced something similiar.

Thanks.

m0thman

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 11:41 am on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well this goes some way to making me feel better about the recent downturn on my Adsense account. It doesn't help pay the mortgage though... :-(

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 12:19 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

glenster73 - First I want to say I do believe everything you say. I also don't want you to reveal anything more about Adsense and continue to break the TOS (you're not supposed to mention click payments, only total payments).

That said, as a premium publisher you're supposed to have at least 20 million page views per month. Doing some math:

20,000,000 page views, $450 / month = $0.0225 eCPM
$450 / $0.25 = 1,800 clicks
1,800 clicks / 20,000,000 page views = 0.009% CTR

Now the 20M page views is supposed to be the minimum. Based on my numbers, I'm thinking there was something wrong with your CTR - which looks extremely low. Do you suppose Adsense was competing with a lot of other ads on your site? Maybe that's why you were downgraded...

himalayaswater

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 12:49 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

That said, as a premium publisher you're supposed to have at least 20 million page views per month

This is not entirely true, I've seen a blog with 2-3million page views per month and they are a premium publisher. It all depends upon your content and relation ship with Google.

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:32 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>This is not entirely true, I've seen a blog with 2-3million page views per month and they are a premium publisher. It all depends upon your content and relation ship with Google.

Okay, then multiply the CTR by a factor of 10. This is still a very low (0.1% with rounding) CTR.

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:38 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

We make close to what you use to make last Spring. And we still make that amount today.

We took a hit with the clickable area change like you did. But we made changes to other ad formats to minimize the effect. Some ad formats were not affected as much as others, so we went with those formats on all our pages. We had to do some re-design of our layout to fit everything, but in the end we recovered most of that lost revenue.

The remainder we have recovered by increasing pageviews per visitor by improving site navigation, etc.

So while it is true that we would probably be clearing more than we were last Spring with our new changes now, we are more than content to have brought our earnings right back up to where they were before the clickable area change.

I also believe that performance of your ads, and content is extremely relevant to the amount you get paid per ad. Over the past few months we have focused on making our pages much more useful to visitors who may be in a "ready to buy" mode by offering as much information as we can to help them get to that point. This seems to have helped improved the value of our ads, as folks are not only clicking but apparently going on to make purchases, etc.

So it was a win-win. We made our site more useful/valuable to consumers and were rewarded for it by the advertisers.

The market (and Google) is an ever changing world. We have simply tried to keep our site competitive and not rest on our laurels from the past.

zett

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:40 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

BillyS:

$450 / month

glenster73 was talking about daily values, i.e. he used to make about $13,500 a month. So, we're looking at an eCPM of $0.675, and 54,000 clicks, and CTR of 0.27% -- based upon 20M page views.

maximillianos

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 1:45 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just curious, what defines a "Premium publisher" these days? I remember folks use to say you had to make 10k/month. I figure that must be higher now...

alika

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 2:49 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just curious, what defines a "Premium publisher" these days? I remember folks use to say you had to make 10k/month. I figure that must be higher now...

OP is making less than $10K, so income may not be a consideration for becoming a premium publisher, or maintaining such status. We earn more than $10K and have our Adsense rep, but we are not a premium publisher.

OP's drop is huge, and not at all normal. Dropping from $800 a day to $500 is more within the range especially with weekends, but $400 to $60 means that something really worrisome is going on.

We suffered the same drop when we lost 80% of our Google traffic. That was easier to remedy. And yes, our Adsense rep was at a loss why our earnings shrunk, though she did check with the web search team if we had a penalty. Though we fixed the problem (has something to do with our reciprocal linking - so we removed our link pages) and traffic and income went back up after 3 months.

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 3:31 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

That said, as a premium publisher you're supposed to have at least 20 million page views per month. Doing some math:

I'm glad you mentioned that because I was thinking along the same lines and I didn't know what the criteria was for being a premium publisher.

The $400 - $500 per day figure surprised me. Taking the higher figure of $500 and assuming it's 7 days per week, that's only about $185,000 per year.

I don't understand how there are many AdSense premium publishers earning $185K per year. Or to put it more clearly, I don't understand why anyone getting 20 million page views would hang around AdSense if they were earning only $185K per year.

In this case, the premium publisher is down to $80/day. Wow.

I think, for example, you could go to ClickBank, select a mediocre product at random, promote it in the same manner at the top of your content, and see results significantly better than $500/day with 20 million impressions - and it doesn't require any more effort than AdSense.

Maybe this is what I like to call a "blessing in disguise." As a result of your revenue falling, you're not real happy with AdSense right now and will experiment with some other means of monetization. Hopefully you'll find something else that in the long run will make you think AdSense did you a favor in motivating you to try some other opportunities.

FarmBoy

farmboy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member farmboy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 3:44 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

This is not entirely true, I've seen a blog with 2-3million page views per month and they are a premium publisher. It all depends upon your content and relation ship with Google.

Just curious, what defines a "Premium publisher" these days? I remember folks use to say you had to make 10k/month. I figure that must be higher now...

Hmmm. Does anyone know for sure what the criteria is for being a premium publisher?

FarmBoy

BillyS

WebmasterWorld Senior Member billys us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3796206 posted 3:45 pm on Nov 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

zett - my bad. You're right. I'm still surprised that at $450 per day this is a premium adsense publisher. I'm sure many of us come near and even make more money than that are aren't even close to being considered premium publishers.

This 41 message thread spans 2 pages: 41 ( [1] 2 > >
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