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Google AdSense Forum

what to do about plunging click rate
or is it just people are bored with AdSense ads

 8:58 pm on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

I used to post here often then the economy plunged and I kind of gave up on AdSense. I left it up but just didn't look at ways it might pay better anymore.

I'd kind of assumed advertisers just weren't paying as much for ads with the depressed economy but lately I looked carefully at my stats and the real problem is my click through rates are down, way down. It's been gradual over a couple of years.

So for some reason my visitors just aren't clicking on the ads. I haven't changed my layout or my positioning of AdSense ads. Does anyone have any ideas as to what I might do?

I'd thought about doing image ads but there doesn't seem to be much in my field which is kind of strange as there are plenty of text ads.



 9:12 pm on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

My impression is that over the last couple of years punters have become less likely to click on ads.

I had a boost last month as there was some highly relevant inventory around related to dated events in my site's topic and geo coverage. These are now past and ads have slumped again.


 9:30 pm on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

To answer your question, a good place to start is at your traffic stats. Review the keywords used to access your site from one of the good months then compare it to this year, same month. What differences do you see?

How do your top ten twenty keywords differ?

How many total keywords are used to access your site?


 9:31 pm on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Adsense needs a lick of paint. New sizes, more fonts, different styles. Clean out the crappy sites, MFA, etc.

Make it so every site has to "pass the test" before adsense is allowed. This will improve the brand name of Adsense, and hopefully better clicks.


 9:51 pm on Oct 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

A step I rarely see advised but that's helped me a lot is to think about it from an intuitive, common sense level. Imagine you're one of your typical readers in today's economy. (Find out who your market demographic is, if you don't know it already.)

Would your ads, as they're presented on the page, be juicy to that reader, in these particular subjects as they're accessing your content?

Also a low CTR might mean irrelevant ads, which might come from lack of targeted traffic.


 12:51 am on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Does anyone have any ideas as to what I might do?

How confident are you that all supposed visitors are genuine?

I have been ruthlessly locking my sites down and my CTRs and eCPMs are the best they've been for years YET my actual PIs and bandwidth (multi GBs) are way lower than ever.

How much of this has to do with, for me, an algo change at the beginning of October whereby all my thousands of images after 10+ years were removed from their SERPs...!...I have absolutely no idea HOWEVER my earnings seem to be now back to "normal".

Seriously, look at how much stuff is being leeched from your site(s) BUT still being recognised by AdSense as PIs...many, many, many of mine were attempted hotlinking of images...one image alone 200,000+ in one month!

Check everything, if it does not apply to you, fine, if this helps anyone else, check it.


 9:08 pm on Oct 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wow, thanks everyone for all your thoughts. HuskyPup are you saying that when someone links to one of my photos each time the photo is opened it counts as a visitor?

My site is academic/informational on a history topic but it's one that still applies to what people do today. That is why I can get good related ads. It's been gradually built over 12 years so my topics rank well and there are a lot of good keywords.

I'm thinking more likely it's that people are bored with text ads and maybe they just don't see them anymore. So I'm thinking maybe the lick of paint idea would help the most.

The interesting thing is that my Amazon book sales are still doing fine. I post books that are exactly related to each article and that helps. But I never thought the day would come where AsSense earnings would be down with Amazon.


 5:06 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

annej, it's pretty much the same story for most of my sites. Gradual decline of CTR. EPC increases though, but not enough to really compensate. I make up for it with more traffic, thankfully, but yeah, it is frustrating. The 2008 crisis hit hard and I haven't recovered. I try other topics and other web sites, but overall, with mixed results, I'm just making a little bit more than 2 years ago, after continuous hard work. Some would say I'm ahead because I avoided losing revenues, compared to others. In any case, I like what I do, so I don't plan on giving up my dream of fully making a living online. It's just taking a lot longer than hoped.


 10:10 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

HuskyPup are you saying that when someone links to one of my photos each time the photo is opened it counts as a visitor?

The problem I had and definitely still occurs for many people is that many social networking sites use a customised Google search box for finding images and when the searcher finds one that they like and is available a hotlink is created between Google images and your site, this in turn generates an AdSense Page Impression if used as a background etc.

Even someone merely searching for an image on those sites can create an AdSense Page Impression. The 200,000 I mention was people just searching for that image that month, just imagine how much bandwidth they would have consumed if they had been able to use it and then every time someone looked at their pages my server would have been hit! And then multiply that by months and months of hotlinking.

If the image is a direct hotlink to your image it will not affect AdSemse and do anything but use up your bandwidth.

Insofar as the picture linking sites are concerned they offer several different methods of linking and some of them will definitely show up in your log as direct referrals from their sites. I have had very little of this happen, even though many of my images are displayed on their sites at the moment, and that was in the couple of days I removed all my protection for testing purposes, therefore I'm not sure whether they create AdSense Page Impressions or not.


 10:38 pm on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

If click rates go down you can try to deactivate "Interest-based ads".

I run a medical forum with high click prices.
After deactivating Interest-based ads my earnings increased.

If a user is on my site he should see medical ads fitting the content he is watching and not some ADs for shoes because he viewed a website on shoes a few times before.

I remember once (before I opted out of interest based ads with a cookie) I was searching for a toy for my niece and after that I was bombarded with toy ads for several weeks. If I would click on ads regularly many publishers would have missed out on a possible click because the toy was bought and I had no more interest in toys.

Just a thought that might be interesting for some of you ;)


 1:50 am on Oct 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I haven't changed my layout or my positioning of AdSense ads. Does anyone have any ideas as to what I might do?

Stagnation doesn't pay.

Change things.

My eCPM was starting to dip under $10 and now it's double that again and things are improving weekly.

I finally enabled images at AdSense's suggestion, still see off topic crap often but it seems to be well paying and often clicked unlike the old days. Then I added a large rectangle ad replacing a leaderboard. Also, the new AdSense format changes in the leadboard and big rectangle seem to have people clicking like crazy.

Try installing an ad rotation system, even Google's, and serve up different sized ads in the same location, different colors, basic A/B testing to see which seem to get the most clicks.

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