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Google/adsense and credibility issue
adsense stats/data making no sense
coachm




msg:4289339
 2:13 am on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not particularly pro google or the opposite, but having been in adsense since close to the beginning, I have to wonder whether google cares about whether it has any credibility with webmasters and those that use adsense.

I don't mind so much that since I've been with adsense, my income has dropped by >50%, and CTR has dropped by 50-70%, and of course CPM has dropped hugely. I expect things to change.

What gets me, and starts me wondering WTF is when the data jumps around in extreme ways, turns one way for a few days, then drops, then jumps, and so on. I think Huskypup has remarked on this a few times. It's the WAY the data goes, and not so much that there's less money now.

Minor changes and fluctuations will happen, but extreme ones will happen far less often than happens on my sites. Sometimes you can explain stuff by what's going on in the world. Not so for a good 12 months.

When I see crazy data (today almost everything doubled while everything pretty much tanked about the time of the panda update which didn't change volume of traffic) that cannot possibly be explained by market forces, or advertiser behavior I HAVE to question what Google is doing, why it is doing it, and why there are simply NO reasonable explanations for insane data. It SURE looks like google is knob-tweaking behind the scenes.

I've looked at enough data sets in my career to know when something isn't a result of "naturally occurring forces".

Maybe there are good explanations. But as far as I'm concerned (and I'm not a google is messing with us person), I've seriously lost a lot of confidence.

How can I trust a party in business who won't explain even basic stuff about why the money they are send us fluctuates insanely with no apparent reason.

I've started removing adsense from some of my sites or from some places on specific days. If I'm going to suffer financially, I'd rather it be that I understand why. It might be that the economy is such that I'm losing regardless of the many business models I use, but at least I'll know why things are not going well.

I'm pretty tired of the whole thing. My bet is that as/if other monetization alternatives emerge, there will be a mass exodus from adsense. I'd certainly leave, because I've just lost confidence, from the insane data I see. I'll even take earning less money to do this, since I'm much shorter on time than money.

When on Tuesday (hypothetically) I have ZERO click thru's and the next day I have a 2.7% click thru rate (thousands of impressions) and this craziness happens across all my sites (different topics) without us changing anything, I have to wonder. How could ALL my sites tank at the same time? Nd then get better all at once? Market conditions?

I look forward to the day when I can say: "Goog, me ole trout, give me a shout when you decide to offer explanations for all this nutty data, but until then, here's a hammer, and a bucket of sand".

Ach.

 

BillyS




msg:4289348
 3:14 am on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

How can I trust a party in business who won't explain even basic stuff about why the money they are send us fluctuates insanely with no apparent reason.


I've been with Adsense for six years now, I've not the experience you're talking about, but I am interested...

What ad networks share this level of data?

netmeg




msg:4289509
 2:33 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I absolutely do not believe that the click information we get is all 'real time' within minutes of when the click actually occurred. In fact, my stats indicate they most definitely are not. I think some clicks probably have to go through an extra quality/validity check before they're processed.

But there are also some days when my stats indicate that people just plain don't click. Either they're not in the mood, or the ads suck, or whatever reason, they just don't. It's harder to determine if the ads are at fault, because what I see isn't going to be what they see.

All you can do is treat AdSense as incremental, and look for more stable methods of income. Good luck. It can be done, but it's a hell of a lot more work.

(And no, I don't think they care about trust or credibility with webmasters. They care about trust and credibility for users, and for advertisers, but publishers are a dime a dozen, and for every one that stomps off in a huff, there are a hundred more eager to take his place)

Broadway




msg:4289627
 5:34 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

>>My bet is that as/if other monetization alternatives emerge, there will be a mass exodus from adsense.<<

I'm sure this is true but how many years have we been waiting for an alternative? Even Yahoo (YPN) was too inept to simply rip off Google's model.

Broadway




msg:4289639
 5:48 pm on Mar 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I serve tens of thousands of page views per day. I don't see the wide variance in CTR that you do.

Yes, I have my days and then other days that are lack luster. I attribute it entirely to the "clickability" of the ads shown.

I've never experimented with the Adwords side but I was under the impression that determining when your ads show could be turned off and on easily, and defined not only by just the day of the week but also by the hour of the day.

I attribute CTR/Income variances to visitor variances (holidays, day of week, etc...) and advertiser variances (as described above and also players with budgets coming into and leaving the market place).

Could it be that the type of ad your typical page attracts is more general rather than specific?

A page about Sony TV's model XYZ would attract very specific on-target ads for model XYZ tv's, whereas a page about TV's in general would attract more general, less interest-specific ads. A type of ad that might be considered to be a "second tier" campaign for a company that only get funded sporadically.

Just some ideas.

coachm




msg:4289869
 1:27 am on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Broadway, in the past I have attributed occasional fluctuations to advertiser behavior, or other rational type things having to do with the market. I no longer believe that what I'm seeing has to do with what advertisers are doing.

For example, I expect weeknd numbers to be low, as they have been for years. Makes sense in the niche. But why, in the middle of a week, would I have a day that's an outright crash in ctr, epc, and everything while impressions are constant. Then back up. Or why a saturday with 3x normal ctr. It doesn't make sense unless Google is knob-twisting on the adsense side or on the search results side (ie. altering the type of traffic hitting the site somehow).

I suppose I could run some stats analysis on the numbers to rule out chance fluctuations,but that's takes some time I don't have.

Netmeg, I know, I know, you speak truth. I'm kind of tired of being treated like the disposible and ugly sister in this business. Only virtual monopolies can do things they way they do. I'm just venting here, because my fed up ness is fairly new.

At least a little more info would be good. Would knowing that stats on any given day don't necessarily reflect that day actually help game the system? No. So why don't they just tell us that stuff. In the absence of information people make things up...even I'm tempted.
Anyway, exploring alternatives as I come across them.

Problem is I'm not in the selling ads business, per se so direct selling isn't something I want to do, although I could explore it on a small scale.

Leosghost




msg:4289922
 4:07 am on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

If they give too much detail, or made any kind of specific info that we could correlate to specific days ( for example if they said there may be a delay of up to 3 days before stats show data related to day "x") it would still be enough info to allow us to "tweak" content or placement etc too much for them to guarantee the "quality of clicks" to advertisers.

And yes I know that the "quality of clicks" is already an extremely variable animal ;-)

Larger sites or networks..especially those with high traffic and very frequent crawl rates would be able to accurately extrapolate too much by A/B/C etc testing.

We can already vary what content any visitor sees ( and what ads accompany the content ) based upon various things specific to that visitor ( Google's attempt at "personalisation" is a very clumsy attempt at improving the advertisers conversions in the face of pure MFA ) ..remember the huge dynamically generated MFAs of a few years ago..Read the current thread here on the "supposed" high quality of "spun" content..Google have enough crap on their adsense network like that, without encouraging more by giving better data to be crunched by site owners.

Give all adsense site owners better data and many would abuse that and the result would be adwords customers voting with their feet.

If the only reason that someones site(s) exists and is able to pay its way is via adsense and with no direct ad sales, aff ads nor products.And there are many that exist only to serve adsnse.

Then maybe the choices have to be , work at direct ad sales, run it as a "labour of love" or a hobby ( and gain your crust with something else ..maybe even "offline"), or take the site(s) offline..or think of it like fishing ..some days, sometimes, you don't get a bite..or the net comes up empty..you can't really see what is going on under the surface of the water..

Most people doing the hard sweaty dirty type work in the world would willingly just sit on the riverside waiting for "clicks" / fish to bite ..lot easier than working on production line or in the heat in a field somewhere.

Complaining about days with no clicks is IMO as futile as a farmer complaining about the lack of rain..it won't change a thing, you either make it so you don't depend on the rain or the invisible fish biting for a living ..or get another job.

Or learn to fish and farm real smart ..and no one is going to give away that kind of info ( where to fish and how and what to farm and where ) the "how to do those things" on a forum..apart from the "tech" stuff like scripts and CSS and HTML and codes etc

Because everyone reading is either a competitor or a potential competitor.

Especially in webmaster fora frequented by"marketeers"..anybody who does give away "lucrative info" can expect instantly more competition in any promising looking niche..be it adsense , direct ad sales, aff or software or goods or services.

And there is only so much pie ;-)

Play_Bach




msg:4289931
 4:53 am on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Back in the old days (2005), I remember stats updating much more frequently. The updates weren't real time, but they weren't delayed to the extent they are now. Today, I don't know if the stats we see are those from yesterday, the day before, or a week or weeks before that. The bottom line still is what it is and so I continue to watch the stats go up and down, day after day, year after year. Irrational and frustrating as it is at times, stat watching is an important part of running my site (either that, or it's a bad habit I can't quit!)

iamlost




msg:4290244
 5:15 pm on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

While one can generally trust Google comments and data one has to be careful not to read too much into them or expect that what one receives is the whole.

For example Webmaster Tools may show but n-bucket of data from a bucket sort of available data. [cre8asiteforums.com ]

Remember the myth of the sandbox? Circumstances can create the appearance of existence. Investigating Google behaviours, comments, and data is frequently fraught by the logical fallacy that correlation proves causation.

Does Google deliberately filter/throttle query traffic or ad delivery by quality or quantity, by time or earnings threshold? Or is it simply another case of unknown circumstances à la the sandbox?
I don't know.
I do know that if it is ever shown that they are the manure will hit the fan with consequences such that doing so would be next to financial suicide - the 'black box' torn open and exposed, goodwill obliterated, law suites and investigations forever, etc.

I do not dismiss your [coachm] findings nor that of others who report strange behaviours. Neither do I ignore your suggestions of causation. However, as my results (and apparently that of many others here) do not replicate yours as reported all I can do is sympathise and try to keep an open mind.

Not helpful, I'm afraid.

scooterdude




msg:4290256
 5:42 pm on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

you should consider installing altternative analytics, alternative means unrelated/unconnected to your income program

HuskyPup




msg:4290276
 6:06 pm on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

One of THE most frustrating aspects of AdSense is Smart Pricing. I understand how it is supposed to work however, yet again, today I see absolutely crazy channel EPC values.

For instance my best EPC earning channel, and I've mentioned this before, is a Coppermine gallery solely with trade widget images, today that gallery is averaging $1.25 click and has generated 37% of total earnings, all my other channels can only muster an average of $0.28 click.

These are sites ostensibly all showing the same advertisements in my niche and this is where G's credibility completely falls flat on its face...I spend years building niche pages with all the technical specifications, images and all the information pertaining to my products and they're worth $0.28 whereas I put up a galllery with minimal effort and they're worth $1.25 click.

Smart Pricing has never worked the way it was supposed to have done and if the above doesn't go to prove to AdSense just how ridiculously out of kilter it is with their perceived reality then I don't know what does.

My sites are where the real meat is, the gallery is merely fluff.

Now just where are those camera sites they've always given as examples?

Atomic




msg:4290277
 6:06 pm on Mar 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I share coachm's experience with the wild data reporting swings. It all seems to even out in the end (if you only view monthly totals) but some days look like utter diasters. My graphs have lots of peaks and valleys for earnings but traffic is always amazingly similar each day.

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