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Ad links Earnings Down Since Past Two Weeks?
adlink CTR and earnings halved

 3:14 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Hi. I have a small website for which I write my own content and have a few bucks per day income. For a long time I used only a single adlink at the top of the pages, and got about 5% CTR on the few pages which served contextually relevant ads.

Now, since around two weeks ago my CTR and earnings consistently dropped down to 40-50%. Traffic is the same, and as far as I can tell, the ads are the same. I can't really figure out what has changed.

I really like the adlinks, they are inobtrusive and they serve quite relevant ads. I guess the regular behavior of visitors was something like this: the visitor clicks on the adlink because it's clean and non-spammy - basically the visitor chooses the specific context of the ads they want served. After this, they most likely close the window and don't click on any ads, but if they do, in many cases they click on 3+ ads.

The way I see it, it takes more clicks for the visitor to get there, but they are rewarded with more specific ads and are more inclined to look at many of them.

My suspicion is that stricter fraudulent click filtering has been implemented and it's destroying valid adlink clicks. If a site with regular ads gets more '3+ clicks' from a single visitor than a single click, I'd say something shady is going on, but with adlink ads this is normal.

Adlinks fit so well with my site, I wanna keep using them...

Comments, insights, suggestions?

[edited by: DawnArdent at 3:26 am (utc) on Mar. 17, 2009]



 3:30 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

We have not seen any change in our adlinks performance.


 5:41 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just checked the AdLinks stats.

Last 2 days even much better than average of the time since first February. To short to see a trend of improvement.

But enough to tell, AdLinks still working great.


 8:22 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

No change in my adlink stats at all either, steady as usual.

Check to see if you had a "heavy hitting" page that has dropped in the serps a little. If you have analytics joined with adsense it should be easy to find out which pages have been generating the most revenue and to spot which ones have fallen off.

It's not unheard of for 50% of a sites income to be generated by less than 5% of the content.


 8:46 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

...and have a few bucks per day income.

1. Small changes appear huge when you're only earning a few bucks per day.

2.Two weeks are not a trend.

In general AdSense earnings go up and down across different niches in different ways for different reasons. The one thing in common is that they generally go up and down. It evens out into a similar range of ctr and earnings at the end of the month compared to previous months exluding seasonal interruptions, and year over year comparisons.


 8:54 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I've seen today a single ad instead of the link block. It seems to me they are trying something new.


 9:13 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you for the replies everyone.

I have a single relevant heavy hitting page, it's still at the top, and traffic is pretty much the same as always. Unfortunately I don't have adsense joined with analytics yet, I use a bunch of URL channels for my categories and more popular pages.

I'm glad to hear it's not the adlinks, I guess I'll just write it off as uncommon variance and save the panicking and the making of unnecessary changes for later. :o)


(Ps. Although I haven't seen it, I hope the single ad thing doesn't stick.)


 9:21 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

At least I learned something from this experience: if you stack the three allowed adlinks on top of each other it gives a nice impression. I'm somewhat surprised I haven't seen this on other sites before.


 10:21 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't forget it is nearing the end of the fiscal year.


 10:48 am on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Ad links Earnings Down Since Past Two Weeks?

Definitely, they've been yo-yoing all over the place.

I've mentioned this several times in different posts over the past couple of weeks with bizarre swings. For instance towards the end of last week they were running at 50% average EPC then on Sunday they jumped 200% of average EPC!

As usual I seem to be the testing ground for various Google trials and yesterday they were just a bit lower than average.

Don't get me started about CTR...yesterday was my WORST day of the year and although it's early Tuesday, today's looking even lower.

And yes, all my logs are looking normal if anyone wants to know.


 3:00 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

HP, I often wonder if I'm a testing group for Googles trials. I don't have Ad links but other ad blocks have had massive swings in CTR, from 3% to 1% over night.

Not sure I like being a guinea pig, well maybe if they paid me :)


 7:25 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Can you guys, particularly HP and Realmavrick, get your head around basic statistics, and the fact that your day to day variances and thus standard deviations are so high that the day to day shifts you are seeing are a result of CHANCE?

You guys seem to be stuck in 2005 and don't get that it's different.

DO the number crunching. Learn how to do the proper parametric tests and you'll be amazed when you look at day to day comparisions, exactly how different one day needs to be from the others for it to NOT be chance.


 7:31 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thank you for your helpful advice coachm, I'll take all of it on board immediately and bow to thy greater knowledge and experience :-)


 8:29 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yeah. I feel enlightened Coachm.

You assume because you don't personally experience the strange abnormalities, that we must be stupid. Well we're not.

Day to day variances do not explain why during feb, after years of pretty stable figures, my CTR would suddenly halved and then doubled on alternate days.

CTR doesn't just halve or double over night. I get 10s of millions of impressions and massive jumps like that just don't happen. For what it's worth, on the days my CTR was halved, my CPC was doubled. Strange.


 8:43 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just a friendly note to please stick to discussing "Ad links Earnings" and not specific members. Deviance from that will be edited appropriately. :)


 9:34 pm on Mar 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Year-over-year, with hundreds of thousands of pageviews a day over multiple sites, ctr and eCPM are down ~35% in March thus far (presaged by February), which is only partially compensated by an increase in traffic of over 25%.

No doubt the economy, smart pricing, advertiser budget limitations, and keyword competition within Adwords has had an effect (among other factors, including the current malaise which leads to more "window shopping"), but the downward trend has made my revenue diversification ever-more-important.

Are others seeking greater diversification to buffer themselves against further downward earnings?


 3:24 am on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

A few replies. Yes we've been diversifying for 18 months. We're good. adsense income down 60%. Others up. Recession affects everyone, but diversification keeps us good.It is, however awfully late to diversify due to the recession. The time was two years ago. Actually, if I had started two years ago, I don't know how much the recession would have affected our revenue overall. EVen we were late.

On the other thing. GOOGLE give us data (however limited), but interpreting it into useable knowledge requires at least a basic understanding of statistics and/or logic, and a few other things. It REALLY helps.

There's actually a good book out that explains how humans make errors in conclusions based on data, and at least understanding basic stats and probability concepts helps prevent making the wrong conclusions, or in fact, wasting time, when no conclusions are necessary.

If you rely on adsense for important income, I think it's foolhardy NOT to take the time to learn about basic things like probability, statistical testing.

When someone says their adlink data goes down 50%, and it also can go up 200% day to day, we clearly have random fluctuations so high by chance that no conclusion is possible except to say "It's most likely it's a chance occurence".

That's obvious conceptually, you don't really need to do the tests, but if you don't get that, then you probably should learn.

Professionals using adsense will learn the tools to get the most out of it, while people who aren't willing to learn the tools will eventually drop out, or give up, or simply suffer and complain.

At least if you understand the data, you can decide whether you want to invest in adsense, and to what degree.

I'll add that we scaled back a lot for a number of months in terms of impressions, and then ramped back up because our numbers suggested that was a good course. So, we don't depend on adsense, but my bet is our adsense income should go up this month.


 3:41 am on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Great post coach.

When someone says their adlink data goes down 50%, and it also can go up 200% day to day...

And let's not forget that the OP is discussing fluctuations of a couple dollars. It only appears larger when expressed in percentages. ;)

This is a common trait in these "Income down by 50%" threads. But how dramatic is it to title a post, "My income is down by $5 per day"?

[edited by: martinibuster at 3:46 am (utc) on Mar. 18, 2009]


 4:41 am on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Not much to be learned here anymore that's useful.

Good points coachm. You did however admit that in this ever-changing landscape that it is important to keep learning, whether via this forum, via relevant or related literature, or through personal experience.

I do suspect that there are few people, however, who simply come by this forum to see if the patterns that they are experiencing are theirs alone, or if they find a significant echo. No need to spend much time on certain strategies or optimizations if something bigger is at work.

Of course the more information provided (within the limits of what is allowed), and the greater the data reported on and analyzed, the more likely there might be some validity and subsequent applicability across sectors.

"Nothing is new under the sun," but if the U.S. (or a coalition of countries, for that matter) could learn to optimize solar power through shared research and analysis we might get out of this recession a bit more quickly... Or we can passively wait for the next great inventor...


 10:02 am on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Good points honestman.

I would bet my life that Google have been making some quite dramatic tweaks to their system, as well as running a various of tests. Whether the tests were global, national or focused on small group I don't know.

But looking back over a few years of data, february was totally abnormal. CTR halve and CPC double. CTR double and CPC halve. Up, down, up, down. Rather than varying between the usual realms we'd come to expect, based on personal experience and quite a significant amount of data.


 7:22 pm on Mar 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Here is an example of one of my ad blocks in Feb

February 24, 2009 69,184 1,954 2.82% $0.99
February 25, 2009 67,495 802 1.19% $1.03

Earnings on both days for these blocks were identical. There is no way that's normal. That trend went on throughout the month, then suddenly everything was back to normal in March. Well I say normal because it all went tits up after the maintenance days.

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