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|Drop in revenue|
I've been making my money off AdSense since before it was really released. But recently I had a pretty major database crash on my largest site. So while I was fixing it I've actually been improving the site, for instance I was running SMF for my forums and have since changed that to IP.Board.
The site is looking better than ever but my revenue has gone down and my traffic has taken a hit. Funny thing is that the CPM is down on all my content not just the pages that were effected by the crash.
Can it at all have to do with Googles Indexing of those changed pages... could that at all effect the ads on other pages?
Thanks a bunch Google...third worst earnings' day of the year for me, 50% of average,...as usual when stats get stuck they very rarely ever recover.
Not impressed at all with what's happening at the moment.
My earnings are at an all time high, but I'm pretty new and just got in a year and a half ago when things were crashing. So I never got to experiance the mega earning times of the early years. I'm actually seeing some $2.00+ clicks on a regular basis now. CTR and eCPM are both up nicely. No changes to my site, just more content and thus more traffic.
My link units are going through the roof. Dunno if it's because of the changes G announced earlier this week, but I'll take it.
Past few days are especially bad - run multiple high quality sites with Adsense, but the eCPM has dropped considerably.
Am seeing a lot of *untargeted* ads appearing frequently though - some sites in high earning areas, instead of showing high earning ads, are showing very off-topic ads.
Have third-party advertisers blocked, and not opted into categories.
The lack of transparency, lack of support, and general messing around with settings without publisher consent, makes Adsense an awful program to work with.
Unfortunately, until there's a serious rival to Google Adsene, then Google retains a stranglehold and does not need to worry about publisher interests.
|Ads per page, size ads, placement of ads, and colors are the LEAST important reasons for why some of my sites are performing well. Niche is 70% of the battle with the balance taken up by concerns related to the kinds of traffic coming in, followed by placement of ads, etc. |
Placement of ads, etc. is lipstick. You can apply it to a pig and it won't make dramatic changes for a site that is dragged down by it's niche or poor traffic.
In case anyone missed that pearl of wisdom, it's worth repeating.
Most of my sites focus on a variety of niches that I've researched for specific keyword combos (often long tails) that draw traffic. So far, I haven't experienced the sorts of AdSense revenue declines being discussed here by some. Think niche(s) folks!
|Placement of ads, etc. is lipstick. You can apply it to a pig and it won't make dramatic changes for a site that is dragged down by it's niche or poor traffic. |
A poorly placed ad that had the best niche and traffic will not get any clicks.
|A poorly placed ad that had the best niche and traffic will not get any clicks. |
That is true, and I agree with you 100%. However that is not the problem some are discussing.
The first issue, which involves 50% drops in revenue, is most often an artifact of low traffic/earnings. 50% of ten bucks a day is easy to achieve.
The other issue may be related to niche, and can be addressed by focusing on different kinds of content within the niche, expanding the type of content, as well as improving the type of traffic, all that can be addressed.
However, the rest of that, the poorly placed ad and colors etc. don't address the core problems. I'm not putting anyone down, just trying to help.
There's a strong tendency to blame Google in these kinds of threads. While I'm no Google cheerleader, the reality is that you can't change Google, whether or not some blame lies there. What you can change is how you set up your site(s) to stimulate clicks on your ads. Again, that includes choosing niches and including content that will generate the sort of targeted traffic that yields a good CTR, etc.
Housekeeping, such as ad placement, colors, etc., is much easier to learn and deal with (sometimes requires a little experimentation).
Another dismal day with Adsense. Perhaps the volcano ash has confused the Adsense hamsters.
Do not change more than one thing at a time!
Otherwise you won't know what actually worked!
|Niche is 70% of the battle with the balance taken up by concerns |
related to the kinds of traffic coming in,...
Some niches perform better than others, that's just life. The task is to get the best performance possible out of the niche at hand if a publish really cares about the site/topic.
Niche is not something an established site is likely to change, it is what it is, at least on sites on a topic the publisher really cares about.
The "kind of traffic" is probably not very easy to change. Maybe working on getting more direct traffic from highly related sites.
Possible to do, but probably not quickly where high quality related traffic is concerned.
One thing to look at is how focused your existing pages are, and how much landing traffic they get from a given search term. In some cases it might be wise to think about subdividing pages to achieve more focus.
Also not a quick or easy task.
|Placement of ads, etc. is lipstick. |
Call it by whatever name you want, ad placement and adblock formatting can probably make the fastest change in income possible on an established site.
There must have been some reason Google went to the trouble of publishing the heat map [google.com] to help publishers figure out what ad placement might work best on their site(s). And then there are all the adblock size and format options available to publishers.
That said, placement still needs to be appropriate for the site, topic and type of page. The heat map provides a guide and is not a "rule" as far as placement and performance go.
[edited by: ken_b at 7:45 pm (utc) on Apr 18, 2010]
Thanks ken_b. As for earnings, I can vouch for dramatic differences in the ad sizes/placement dept. Changing your site can really mess things up for awhile too. About a month ago I made a significant change to the layout of my site which also included new URLs. Google, Yahoo! and MSN are still slowly adding the new pages and so my traffic isn't quite as much as it once was (which may partly explain why earnings are down, though my AdSense stats have just not seemed normal either). If for some reason my new layout doesn't catch up to where the old one was, I can always revert (such are the joys of having backups!).
Blah, blah, blah.
If you haven't changed your site, and still saw 50 percent drop in revenue, Google
This has been going on for weeks with established publishers who have been around for 6 1/2 years like me. My PR6 site is an authority site, not some junk. It's been around for 6 years and has more links from .edu, .gov, .org etc., from all over the world than I remember. Recently, Google lost 1,400 backlinks to it (as seen in Webmaster Tools). There's 100s of different advertisers across it and I doubt they all decided to change their ad budget at the same time.
Take a look at the high amount of Google ganked me threads that have started up in the last 6 weeks. It's way over the usual amount of weekly disgruntled low end publishers.
Something went off the rails and Google's typical silence has already told me all I need to know. I'd rather have lower income that was steady than get jacked around on a roller coaster ride where I didn't know if I was penniless or profitable.
[edited by: martinibuster at 12:14 am (utc) on Apr 19, 2010]
[edit reason] Keep it professional, please. [/edit]
If you haven't changed your site, and still saw 50 percent drop in revenue, Google
This is my situation Freedom... not only that my traffic is growing on a daily basis... still in the top ten for 60+ keywords... and been with adsense for 5 years... during which time my revenue was steadily increasing on a monthly basis...
Now to have my revenue drop by 50% to an all time low is beyond me... I have not opted for 3d party ad or interest based ads... but I do believe that when google offered these options things went south for me
I know how most of you all feel. I have had to recently go back to full time work because of the massive drop in earnings.. !
We dropped 40% 2 months ago and another 20% this month. Changed NOTHING, like Freedom I believe we do have a couple authority sites over a decade old with millions of visits and millions of backlinks.
Sorry folks, this just doesnt happen overnight across thousands of advertisers in our channel.
I have had to lay people off as a result of this. I am currently removing adsense for another program I cant discuss because of a NDA.
I wish I could say it's a shame to see it leave but it isnt. Size of your account and traffic volumes make little difference in the eyes of the adsense team. Just hope they don't turn there gaze on you.
To think we were a success story with reps and custom code just a couple years ago and now here I am firing people and replacing Adsense with it's arch enemy.
Now thats a shame.
[edited by: drall at 11:44 am (utc) on Apr 19, 2010]
What I've seen is a constant 20% decline per month in CTR for the last few months on one account.
I also have another account for other very similar sites (different company), which has not seen the same decline and has mostly the same advertisers and demographics.
This leads me to believe that there is a serious technical problem causing this huge decline.
Maybe if the WSJ picks up on this, it might focus Google's attention.
"replacing Adsense with it's arch enemy."
Micrososft's PubCenter ?
Okay, I think that I'm finally seeing why I have the CTR problem.
Comparing my 'red widgets in some town' site which is performing well with my 'red widgets in some other town' site which has experienced the huge CTR decline, I can see that the ads are irrelevant on the pages that should perform best:
The visitors to my 'red widgets in some town' site are not interested in 'red widgets in some other town', and for the most part they are not seeing ads for 'red widgets in some other town' - except for the pages that should convert best for the advertisers.
Pages such as 'red widget accessory suppliers in some town' are filled with ads for 'red widget accessory suppliers in some other town'.
Since Google ranks my page very well for a search for 'red widgets in some town' and the 'other town' is not mentioned at all on that page, I can only conclude that something has gone wrong in the adsense system recently.
Another theory - the site that is suffering has a large amount of 'placement targeted' ads, while the sites that are still performing well do not.
What I am seeing are ads from 'Joe Blogs Widgets' with titles such as 'Widgets in City X' and 'Widgets in City Y' - but none with the name of my city. I guess that an ad for widgets in some other city is pretty unappealing.
Anyone else seeing the same?
Another lousy day. Sometimes I wonder whether it is worth even leaving the servers running.
Blah blah blah is right.
First of all - everyone thinks their own site is best site on the planet, the ultimate authority in its niche, deserving of top three organic SERPS, high PR and traffic, and many AdSense dollars raining down upon it. We have to. It's like how we feel about our kids (those of us who have them) Well, nobody's site is as good as they think it is. Not even mine. It's impossible to be objective, and it's just as impossible to substantiate such a claim, so why even make it.
Second of all, there seems to be this impression somehow that if you *do* create the perfect authority site, that Google will reward you with AdSense dollars. News flash: this is not how advertising works It doesn't MATTER if your site is every bit as good, as noble, as beautiful, as relevant as you say it is - if it's not catching potential buyers at exactly the moment they're in the mood to buy, and showing them ads for exactly what they're in the market for at that precise minute, it's not going to do particularly well with AdSense. Or any advertising.
This business of having been in AdSense for six years or whatever - also irrelevant. Just because you haven't changed one word on your site (which is kind of hard to believe, but okay) there have been a TON of other changes in the economy, in AdSense, in AdWords, in your competition, in your advertiser's competition, in your niche - I can't even list them all.
I have a lot of sites, but my first site - nobody can argue it isn't a great site; I get tearful sounding emails thanking me for running it, there are links from the state government site and almost every newspaper and tv station website. Google and Yahoo and Bing love the heck out of this site - it ranks first for thousands of relevant search strings, and on the first page for some keywords that it doesn't even deserve because they're too broad. Traffic grows hugely every year - last year I was getting 70k unique visits per day in season, and I don't even remember how many pageviews - but earnings were way down last year, mostly due to CTR. Why? Well for one thing it lists mostly free events in the state of Michigan. People come to my site looking for FREE entertainment for themselves and their families; they don't sit down to my site with their credit card out on the desk next to the keyboard. Also, Michigan has one of worst economies and biggest job loss numbers in the country at the moment. People aren't spending a lot of money on things they don't absolutely need. When I do get clicks, they're really good ones - probably because most of the ads I see are goods and services targeted to Michigan audiences. But my users still aren't coming in with the intention of doing anything but looking for their event and then leaving. So that universally beloved site will never be much more than a hobby that makes good money for two months out of the year and a couple hundred a month the other ten.
Until you know exactly WHO your users are, and what they're coming to your site to find, and whether or not they are finding what they expect, it's useless (albeit easy) to blame Google. Look, Google would LOVE you to have better CTR, better EPC. That means they make more money too. But they're not in the business of rewarding sites just because they're good ones.
You have to know something about user intent.
You have to know something about the environment of your niche.
You most definitely have to know something about how AdWords works.
It doesn't get any clearer than that.
Would switching off interest-based and third-party ads be an option?
So far today's EPC is now 50% of yesterday's...if it ends the day like this then AdSense will be gone until they sort their mess out.
Okay, I think that after 2 weeks of getting nowhere, I'm finally seeing the problems :-)
I just checked my site through a few proxies located in my target audience country - what a shock!
The ads listed in the adsense preview tool for that country were totally different - nearly no resemblance whatsoever! And more than 50% of the ads were totally irrelevant, so I've added about 50 domains to Competitive Ad Filter and the ads being displayed look much better now. I don't display interest-based ads, so that's not the reason for the discrepancy.
Anyway, it looks like the adsense preview tool isn't reliable anymore.
I've noticed that irrelevant ads and public service ads have been a huge problem lately (8 weeks).
Even so, my theory on this problem is that Google is drastically undercutting the content network CPC price in order to try to make more money on the back end through higher volumes with advertisers.
This is a tactic that is good for Advertisers, good for Google (if it works out), and bad for publishers. Which is what we are seeing now.
Besides caffeine cutting traffic by 1/3 because they lost pages and backlinks, the epc/cpm is down by 40 to 50 percent since Jan.
I've been through highs and lows with adsense before and never worried too much about them after the first one (April 2004), but something is really different this time, and it's got "beginning of the end" written all over it.
There is something about it that says this does not have Free Market pricing as a reason, but instead, Google is trying a new revenue strategy of higher volumes via price controls on it's own ads. Among other things, there is just something strange about the abrupt suddeness of it all.
My EPCs have never been higher. My traffic has never been higher. It's my CTR that has fallen.
People have been predicting the fall of AdSense, the fall of AdWords, the fall of Google, for a long time now. Somehow it never happens.
"drastically undercutting the content network CPC price in order to try to make more money on the back end through higher volumes with advertisers"
Your theory doesn't work on my site. CPC is good, as good as it's ever been, but CTR has declined.
The dropping CTR many are seeing (me included) is most likely due to the introduction of Interest Based Ads.
Note: you can't opt out from showing IBA-s on your sites, you can only disallow G to collect information about your visitors to be used for IBA targeting. See: https://www.google.com/support/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=140379
CTR is down here by 50% so it's not surprising earnings are off 50% too. Not sure what to do about the drop as I *think* I've got my site in 5th gear as it is. My hunch is that this recent change in CTR is on Google's end and not something to do with my site. How long will this last? That's anybody's guess.
|Your theory doesn't work on my site. CPC is good, as good as it's ever been, but CTR has declined. |
Okay. If it doesn't apply to your site/others, than I must be wrong.
My CTR has stayed the same, but cpm/epc is down. And for that, I might attribute it to the 1,400 lost backlinks. Whenever I got a batch of new links (in the past) I would see a dramatic increase in cpm/epc. The reverse might be true as well.
I dunno; Google devalues backlinks all the time. Since 55 of my sites are seasonal, I lose links all the time when news stories get archived; it means my PR dances around a lot, but it doesn't seem to affect SERPs or earnings.
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