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Decline in MSIE Usage May Impact AdSense Revenue
incrediBILL




msg:4121884
 12:37 am on Apr 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

I started a thread about browser usage [webmasterworld.com] in the browser forum and just happened to stumble across a startling statistic about my site.

People using MSIE tend to have a significantly higher CTR on AdSense ads compared to visitors using any other browser.

Therefore, as MSIE usage has declined from 68% to 51% on my site over the last 3 years it would also explain a steady slippage in revenue with the shift in browser usage.

From Google Analytics showing MSIE users tend to click on AdSense more!

1. Internet Explorer 4.79%
2. Firefox 3.69%
3. Safari 3.47%
4. Chrome 3.30%
5. Opera 3.20%


Therefore, the further MSIE declines likewise will my revenue and this is literally something there's no control over short of blocking access to low revenue browsers.

Probably the single most startling trend I've ever noticed since I started using AdSense.

 

YouTalkingToMe




msg:4122509
 10:23 pm on Apr 26, 2010 (gmt 0)

The data is clear. The vast majority of FF users are not using AdBlock. We cannot scapegoat FireFox for a decline in CTR.

The reality is that even if 50% of your users tomorrow will install Adblock, statistically speaking, your AdSense CTR will not be affected.

incrediBILL




msg:4122600
 2:39 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

The reality is that even if 50% of your users tomorrow will install Adblock, statistically speaking, your AdSense CTR will not be affected.


That theory depends on whether those people installing AdBlock tomorrow never clicked on ads in the first place.

People also install AdBlock to protect themselves from 3rd party ad servers that every now and then get hacked and start attempting to serve up malware instead.

If that group of people were previously prone to click on AdSense then off course your CTR would go down as you lose people that were clicking.

Just like I had a drop of MSIE by 17% that had a 4.79% CTR, how can anyone say there was no loss of income when that 17% got replaced by 3.6% CTR and lower.

Obviously AdSense is subjective and they may push more high paying ads first which would somewhat balance things out, assuming those people were on high paying pages in the first place.

Let's do some math here...

Assume all clicks from MSIE or FF clicks pay a dime $0.10

Then assume out of every 1,000 visitors 4.79% of them click, that's 47.9 clicks, on an ad that pays one dime per click, or $4.79.

Now assume we get 100K visitors a day so if 68% are MSIE, you earn $325.72.

100,000 (visitors) * 0.68 (MSIE%) * 0.0479 (CTR%) * $0.10 (DIME) = $325.72

Compare that to 51% are MSIE visitors, the same traffic would only earn $244.29

100,000 (visitors) * 0.51 (MSIE%) * 0.0479 (CTR%) * $0.10 (DIME) = $244.72


OK, so you got 17% new clickers in other browsers that have a 3.6% CTR, all clicks are a dime, per 1,000 visitors you would earn 36 clicks or $0.61. or $61.20 per 100K visitors.

100,000 (visitors) * 0.17 (OTHER BROWSER%) * 0.036 (CTR%) * $0.10 (DIME) = $61.20

Let's see we just went down from $325.72 (68% MSIE) to $305.92 (51% MSIE + 17% OTHER) by only swapping 17% of the visitors to a lower CTR demographic.

Why has $19.98 vanished by browser attrition?

There are obviously a lot more things going on in AdSense that effect earnings but that's not the topic, assuming all things are equal and those clicks would pay the same either way, you're going to lose money.

Period.

blend27




msg:4122628
 4:21 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

MARTINI, what I was trying to say is that FF Users(Mostly Rebels) have it at their hand to Block AS by enabling(FF bling) cause they can.

I personaly think MSFT is holding out on ann Add-On(not that much market share, YET) like that for the final blow: Install, restart(given), poof goes CTR, MTR, BOOT, BUZZ, CLIP...etc.... and other obriviations.

I mean there are some, but not as easy as click the Green Button(START in XP home comes to mind :)) and restart.

Vamm




msg:4122638
 5:01 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

If the users were running IE but NOT clicking on ads.
Then switched to FF+Adblock.
CTR goes UP because impressions stop.

If the users were running IE and clicking on ads.
Then switched to FF+ADblock.
CTR does not change because both impressions and clicks stop.

Unless all users switch to FF+Adblock, when impressions and clicks = 0.

YouTalkingToMe




msg:4122684
 8:08 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

If the users were running IE but NOT clicking on ads.
Then switched to FF+Adblock.
CTR goes UP because impressions stop.

If the users were running IE and clicking on ads.
Then switched to FF+ADblock.
CTR does not change because both impressions and clicks stop.

Unless all users switch to FF+Adblock, when impressions and clicks = 0.

Well done, Vamm!

YouTalkingToMe




msg:4122704
 9:12 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

how can anyone say there was no loss of income when that 17% got replaced by 3.6% CTR and lower

I never said that.
We were not talking about loss of income. We were talking about CTR decline.
Adblock can definitely cause a drop in revenue but not in the CTR (statistically speaking).

Bill, like you, We are earning many thousands of dollars a month (from years), so our numbers are significant too. As I said, our visitors using Chrome and Firefox have a better CTR than visitors using MSIE, so I think there is not causation and for us neither correlation.

Bill, you should check the numbers on search engine users. I get much better CTR and earnings from non-Google SE visitors compared to Google itself

I agree with purplecape that's a good point.

vivalasvegas




msg:4122721
 10:19 am on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe we should name this thread: Increasing ad awareness by Internet users leads to lower CTR. This is the only logical conclusion in my opinion.

incrediBILL




msg:4122811
 1:38 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

I went digging in AdBlock for FF since it seems to be a major issue.

Here's the deal, if you run AdBlock with the default EasyList out-of-the-box it blocks AdSense but doesn't block Analytics, therefore it could theoretically contribute to a lower CTR, but it may not, read on...

Also, if someone is running AdBlock they can add their own rule with .google-analytics.com or subscribe to a privacy list containing GA installed, then it blocks Analytics as well so that visitor would be invisible and not even be included in the stats.

But out of the box, the GA will record this visit, AdSense doesn't show, so AdSense itself WOULD NOT COUNT this AdBlock'd page toward their CTR since there is no impression.

The question is, would GA attempt to resolve this situation since GA knows there was a page impression which AdSense didn't count and adjust the CTR according for GA reports, or just show the raw data collected by AdSense?

This is a key to knowing exactly what were looking at in GA's browser AdSense stats because counting AdBlock'd pages or not makes a huge difference in what this stat really means.

farmboy




msg:4123007
 5:29 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe we should name this thread: Increasing ad awareness by Internet users leads to lower CTR.


Why would someone who reaches some level of ad awareness be less likely to click on an AdSense ad (that's what we're discussing, not ads in general) than before he/she reached that level of ad awareness?

If my hobby is growing green widgets and I see an ad for a new green widget harvesting tool, why would I be less likely to click on the AdSense ad than when I was new to the Internet? Why not assume that because I am more aware, I would trust the ad offered by Google instead of some unknown party and be MORE likely to click?


FarmBoy

incrediBILL




msg:4123173
 8:34 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

Let's get back to the FACTs and stop conjecture just for a moment:

FACT - Analytics for my site (and others) says MSIE visitors have a much higher CTR than other browsers

FACT - AdBlock software downloads are statistically insignificant to seriously impact FireFox CTR. Martinibuster pointed out Adblock's download numbers aren't that large compared for FF as a whole.

FACT - AdBlock isn't used on Safari or Chrome which had similar CTR numbers.

FACT - EU has recently started forcing MS to offer new browsers as options and people are adopting other browsers at a more rapid rate.

FACT - Simple math showed that based on the same eCPC that the changing browser demographics caused a decline in revenue.


Speculation time:
-----------------

Moving forward, it's possible that as more potential MSIE users migrate to other browsers, maybe not of their choice even, that their current CTR trend will start to raise the average of the other browsers.

Many have speculated that it's more savvy netizens using the alternative browsers at the moment but I think that trend will change. With both the EU and Google pushing other browsers heavily it's possible that MSIE users switching will cause an upturn other browsers.

However, on the flip side, all the mobile devices using Webkit (Safari,Chrome) like the iPhone, iPad (1 million in the field in less than a month), Android, etc. that the demographics have no choice but the change. I think you'll see less CTR from Safari and Chrome in the long run because of their high volume usage in PDAs and the ads are often off then screen, which won't be as problematic with the iPad.

IMO, mobile will be the biggest downfall for traditional AdSense sites, especially the new mobile devices using a regular browser unless you redesign your site specifically to address the mobile devices.

Still, Windows netbooks are flying off the shelves at record paces (just got one myself!) and that still doesn't explain Firefox.

Perhaps we'll never be able to explain it fully at this time because there are so many different market forces at work and AdSense is complex, but based solely on browser demographics and performance alone, I see the AdSense CTRs we've come to expect hanging perilously on the edge of a serious slippage.

ken_b




msg:4123178
 8:42 pm on Apr 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

So what happens when you mix in the source of the traffic?

Does a larger % of people using IE and clicking ads also come from Bing or Yahoo?

Would that make a difference?
.

MsHuggys




msg:4123725
 4:49 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

People switch to Chrome because it is faster. I can give you an example. I use a stat program that is widely used across the web by many webmasters. My #2 site, revenue wise, is my my #1 site page number and traffic wise.

Because the #2 site is so large, I can't view the stats anymore in IE. It locks the browser up, on every machine I own. The stats are just too massive. This actually evolved over time, getting slower and slower to load, as I was rapidly adding pages, until it wouldn't load at all. I thought it was the stat program bogging down because there too much data. Turned out it was IE, the stat program was fine.

I actually use two stat programs and one doesn't tell me much, but loads quickly in IE. Since I switched to Chrome, the stats load quickly it the better stat program, every single time. After months of not being able to really evaluate trends, I am back on top of my game.

Desperate to crunch my visitor numbers, I heard Chrome was much faster than IE and decided to give it a try. That is why I came over. I was referred by another tech who had the same problem I was having.

If you are Joe Blow fooling around on the web, IE is likely fine. If you are running a business and time is money, Chrome is an excellent option. As I said, I think many of the Chrome users are business owners. We don't click ads a lot.

londrum




msg:4123758
 5:22 pm on Apr 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

maybe its just got something to do with the layout of the browser itself.

if i look at a webpage in IE, it starts a good inch higher up the screen than the same page on Firefox, because my Firefox has got a whole row of bookmarks which IE doesnt have.

moving ads an inch further down the page is bound to affect the clicks a little bit.

tim222




msg:4125914
 2:47 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's difficult to use these stats to make a projection over time when they only represent one point in time. You can say that IE users click more right now, but their CTR rate is likely to change at the same time as the usage. It's likely that IE usage will continue to fall but will the CTR of other browsers increase as their usage rates climb?

Also, I don't see why experienced users would be less likely to click an ad that interests them. I've been using computers over 20 years and I click ads when I want to find out more about the product. I assume others do the same. How could someone be too experienced to click an ad?

incrediBILL




msg:4125916
 3:13 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

It's difficult to use these stats to make a projection over time when they only represent one point in time.


The stats were close to the same for about 3 years with the exception of MSIE usage on the site declining, that was the major difference.

rajivatre




msg:4125965
 7:14 am on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

if i look at a webpage in IE, it starts a good inch higher up the screen

londrum: this seems to be a new but very valid point. After reading this i checked my site in google chrome and my chrome dont have anything except the address bar and some few buttons in the same line of address bar.
So there also the site starts well near to the top, which eventually shows the first ad block in correct position as per google heat map.
If this logic is true then chrome should also get more clicks once it gets on majority of computers.
Interesting point though.

Rajiv

netmeg




msg:4126102
 2:02 pm on May 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

How could someone be too experienced to click an ad?


Many of the inexperienced don't necessarily want to click on ads either; they just don't realize they're ads.

This 47 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 47 ( 1 [2]
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