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My CTR Hit A New Low Apr 9, 2010 - 6-year Low
CTR continues to drop, seemingly without limit
Sally Stitts




msg:4113427
 5:22 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

My CTR is now 1/3 of what it used to be consistently. The lowest in 6 years. February was bad, March worse, and now in April, it is the worst. I have changed nothing.

What do you think might be the cause?

1. Advertisers are making lousier ads, because the advertisers are of lower quality.
2. The fewer ads available offer less choice to clickers.
3. AdSense is losing the ability to target. All the smart Googlers have moved on.
4. Crappy substitution fonts are being way overused, resulting in fewer clicks.
5. AdSense is serving far TOO MANY interest-based ads, which simply don't work.
6. Ad blindness is increasing at a rapid rate, because users are becoming more sophisticated.

The trend is alarming and profound. New avenues of revenue must be explored. The AdSense outlook is not good, CTR-wise anyway.

 

icedowl




msg:4113428
 5:28 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

For me, March was an improvement over February but April is tanking. Just this afternoon I found a load of crap by using the preview tool and there's probably more to be found. The sites I found had no content and only had a list of ads, and to top it off half a dozen were clones of eachother. I didn't check whose ads they were running but they weren't AdSense.

anon123




msg:4113433
 5:37 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm still getting clicks but if I had to take a guess, I'd say ad blindness.

Adsense hasn't changed since, well, ever.

People know what Adsense ad's are by now. They're everywhere, on almost every site.

Even my friends, who are not very internet savvy, try to avoid them now for some reason.

It's not because they have something against the site owners making money, but more because usually clicking the ad's take you to low quality sites, or sites that want you to buy something. It's sunken in. I think Adsense is due for a facelift of some sort.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4113445
 6:08 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I must admit, yesterday (9th) was the worse day of the year for me. (I still have an hour left, but it will still be bad.)

Going back to last year, all the way through the year - up till 31st of March - I was doing great. Come April 1st, I was kicked hard in the chuddies by adsense. Nothing had changed on my site. Same kind of adverts, but for some reason my CPC dropped harshly. It stayed like that for a few months IIRC.

iridiax




msg:4113472
 7:36 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

In my niche I'm seeing:

      Fewer mom and pop advertisers

      Many of the best advertisers are only advertising on Google search and not the content network


On bad days I see:

      Really bad geo-targeting with ads for local services from places totally unrelated to either my websites or where I'm browsing from

      Poorly targeted single ads in a 4 ad unit block with an arrow that shows more and usually better-targeted ads on the next page

HuskyPup




msg:4113517
 11:46 am on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Something happed on 15th March, since then my CTR average has been consistently just over 20% lower than before.

Did the hamster die, have they given it a new diet, is it no longer fit for purpose? I have no idea other than knowing it sticks out like an unwlecome sore thumb.

FWIW all my ads from here still seem to be relevant and my EPC is still releatively ok although on some sites mysteriously low at times.

Maybe they're installing a new, bigger wheel today with a much fitter rat?

Swanny007




msg:4113549
 2:30 pm on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh there's always 100 reasons why your results vary. In many cases it's not worth the effort to "try" to figure out what happened when you've changed nothing on your end.

My results? March was my best month ever. This month is down about 20%. I have no idea why but I didn't change a thing so I'm just going to wait a little while and see what happens. I will go check to see if this happened last year however...

JasonDX




msg:4113601
 5:07 pm on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Something happed on 15th March, since then my CTR average has been consistently just over 20% lower than before.


For some it happened in March, other in February, others as far back as November when we began seeing these type of, "my ctr crashed by 50% after being steady for 5 years" posts.

All you can do is guess what happened due to the lack of transparency of the network. With other networks is easy to figure out since you see what ads, how many ads, what they pay etc... With Adsense its an impossible guessing game. Adsense is like the CIA of ad networks.

IanCP




msg:4113677
 10:24 pm on Apr 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sally are you seeing graphic ads? Quite some time back I had your problem and went to text ads only. Since then it steadily increased to what is now considered "normal" i.e. 50% of the real olden days.

Of course on a day by day basis it's all over the place but averages out over the month.

Jaideemaak




msg:4113707
 1:01 am on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ditto. On my sites, I think there are different reasons for the ever-diminishing CTR. Ad blindness is a big problem generally - I hardly ever visit a site these days that doesn't have Adsense.

I don't believe this has anything to do with 'user sophistication'. It's simply that when you are over-exposed to something, your brain automatically starts to filter things out so that the 'annoyance' goes away.

On some sites, general targeting seems way off and on other sites geo-targeting is way off. If a site gives tourist information about a specific location but ads are displayed for tourist services on the other side of the world to that location, who will be interested?

I've been through the exercise a few times of filtering out the off-target ads, but then others just pop up and it becomes unmanageable.

The jury is still out with image ads. I turned them on and CTR dropped, but after turning them off again CTR has hardly risen. It might just have been coincidence that CTR dropped at the same time I made the change.

It is still a big lottery as to who arrives on your site. Some people never click, while others (a minority) are 'clickers'. A few years ago I saw relatively consistent statistics. Now I don't.

I still have the occasional good day but when that happens I know that some 'clickers' arrived. On the good days the click activity always comes in bursts.

Compared to three or four years ago, CTR is about 10% of what it was. I've put in a fair amount of work to reverse the situation. The result is page impressions at an all-time high, but CTR at an all-time low.

If I had the skills I would now be putting my efforts into developing useful iPhone applications instead of flogging this dead horse!

The Internet moves very quickly, and opportunities to make money come and go very quickly. Adsense was great a few years ago. Smartphone applications are probably the thing to be into now but eventually that market will become saturated and something else will come along.

Mentat




msg:4113775
 7:46 am on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

My problem is that the CTR is rising and the # of clicks tripled in the last 2 years, but the CPM is lower and lower, same with revenue.

Since 15 march my traffic is steadily going down :(

Yesterday was the lowest point in traffic and revenue this year.

Last week-end was Easter, but was better than this week-end.

Play_Bach




msg:4113844
 1:09 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Looking like this month will be the lowest AdSense income in years. :-(

HuskyPup




msg:4113858
 1:50 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

If someone doesn't give the hamster a blooming great thwack up the backside today's going to be a disaster...stats completely stuck in the UK...again!

CalArch90




msg:4113867
 2:21 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

There was a recent update of the Google SERPS and a PR update around this time which I would suspect could be the cause of the drop. Take a look to see if your site has been affected in the new rankings. I've seen somewhat of a drop as well, and noticed I've dropped in one of my main keywords. I'm hoping it's a temporary thing that will pass. Fingers crossed.

piatkow




msg:4113873
 2:30 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have an old site which I no longer maintain but which does well in the SERPS. It gets a low but steady CTR.

New site totally up to date, same topic but slightly different geo-target, zero clicks.

I think that the trick for getting clicks is to give the customer almost but not quite what they are looking for.

SEOPTI




msg:4113887
 3:50 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

@CalArch90

A toolbar PR update is never the cause of a drop, PR is always calculated in real time.

Play_Bach




msg:4113932
 5:59 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Depressing. Guess I'll go to the movies and try to escape reality for awhile. :-|

purplecape




msg:4113963
 7:33 pm on Apr 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm also experiencing a long-term decline in CTR, over a period of years. For a while, increased CPC was compensating for it, but that's not longer true.

I see the same advertisers, or types of advertisers, traffic is modestly up but not much changed.

I put the decline down to a combination of ad blindness and the near-ubiquity of AdSense. Visitors coming to my site and seeing an ad for "widget services" these days are simply more likely to have seen it before, and if they were interested to have clicked on it before, than used to be the case.

ThatsBoBo




msg:4114063
 12:53 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Prob has to do with the VERY nice weather here in the US.

Mentat




msg:4114157
 7:35 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

I don't know how is the weather in US, but my traffic is only 20% US and in Europe the weather is not nice at all.

jmccormac




msg:4114186
 9:13 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Slow start today. Maybe the Adsense hamsters are on Pacific time.

Regards...jmcc

YouTalkingToMe




msg:4114224
 10:20 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

@CalArch90

A toolbar PR update is never the cause of a drop,


Not totally true.
Probably when Google updates toolbar PR, real PR will change too.

PR is always calculated in real time.

I think this is completely wrong. It's quite impossible to do that, even for Google!

Lame_Wolf




msg:4114231
 11:15 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Not totally true.
Probably when Google updates toolbar PR, real PR will change too.


Poppycock.
Real PR is altering all the time.

YouTalkingToMe




msg:4114240
 11:35 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Poppycock.
Real PR is altering all the time.


What do you mean with "all the time"?
Every day, every hour, every minute, every second or maybe every visitor?

Lame_Wolf




msg:4114264
 11:58 am on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Every day, every hour, every minute, every second or maybe every visitor?

More often than the PR toolbar.

Anyway, what has the Google PR Toolbar (or PR in General) got to do with Adsense?

[edited by: incrediBILL at 7:18 pm (utc) on Apr 12, 2010]
[edit reason] language [/edit]

YouTalkingToMe




msg:4114287
 12:45 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

More bloody often than the PR toolbar.

I think Google never said that.

Anyway, what has the Google PR Toolbar (or PR in General) got to do with Adsense?

If your real PR changes, than your search engine ranking changes, than the quality of your traffic changes than both your AdSense cpm and ctr change.

Anyway are you so sure that real PR is not one of the variables used by AdSense to decide where to serve its ads and how much to pay for these ads spaces? If yes, please tell me more about that!

Play_Bach




msg:4114306
 1:26 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Yesterday was a bust. Today off to a very slow start too.

netmeg




msg:4114317
 1:50 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

PR or TBPR has nothing to do with AdSense. To find out more about it, you want the Search forum.

My traffic is way up, my ads are the same or better, and EPCs are through the roof. But CTR is way down, as with most everyone else. I'm of a mind to think most of the reason for that is outside of AdSense.

It's not terribly realistic to think it's going to suddenly spring back to where it was several years ago or even several months ago. Google can't flip a switch and make people click.

If anything changes *we* have to make the change - changes to our sites, changes to our business plans, changes in monetization, changes in advertising sources.

Everything has a shelf life. You have to adapt or die.

Play_Bach




msg:4114328
 2:03 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

> You have to adapt or die.

Now, that's the truth! :-)

"The only fish that go with the current are the dead ones."

Lame_Wolf




msg:4114361
 2:58 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Now I know why I'm doing so well.

So am I, but without the thought that the Toolbar has anything to do with Adsense. :)

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >
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