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Is it remotely possible that Goog would throttle CPC down as CTR increases (and vice versa)? I know: that would seem to make no sense. But lately the two have been inversely related, at least for my account. For example, yesterday the CTR for my 336X280 unit was nearly triple its average, but the CPC was about 1/3 of its average. And I didn't notice any difference in the types of ads being displayed in that unit. Otherwise, I might have assumed that the unit was displaying an unusually enticing but low-paying image ad.
Some good efforts from the pr team.
G is the one controlling the black box and smart pricing pubs. If it were the advertisers then they wouldn't have any issue's with being straight forward and transparent. If it were the advertisers, then spreading sites over multiple accounts wouldn't help. If it were advertisers, then it wouldn't/couldn't resolve itself after a month or more of sustained traffic levels.
I've seen it again and again. Like I said, if the traffic levels remain for a month or more, then g resets the baseline and the cpc/ecpm's go back up to the normal pre traffic levels. This is all algo. There's no possible or logical way this would be caused by advertisers. This is direct manipulation of earnings based on short term rises in traffic. Easy to watch as your sites slowly gain momentum and improve through the years. They outright penalize sudden increases in traffic even if it comes straight from g serps on high converting 'buy' mode keywords.
Sure, like everything in life, it's all a big complex web of causality and can never be definitively pinned to a single cause or condition, but it's quite easy to see how g tweaks things in their favor. Unfortunately, they have the monopoly and control the black box so it's not likely to ever change.
|There's no possible or logical way this would be caused by advertisers. |
|Like I said, if the traffic levels remain for a month or more |
Just because you can't conceive of it doesn't mean it doesn't work that way.
Advertisers budgets are also monthly cyclical, the whole ad ecosystem for many advertisers resets at the start of the start of the month. Advertisers review past months sales and apply new budgets for the next month, that probably causes a shift in AdSense figuring out how to distribute the new ad budgets.
FWIW, besides using AdSense, I sell direct ads on my sites and I see the budgets fluctuate and go in cycles with my direct customers. I'm making the assumption that the AdSense ad ecosystem does the same thing on a much larger scale.
|Some good efforts from the pr team. |
If you can't debate the topic without being rude to the members of this forum, please keep your comments to yourself. Just because people don't agree with the agenda you're pushing doesn't make them the 'PR team'.
It's quite easy to find numerous examples of advertisers in many niches that are buying up every possible impression they can get. There's no way that a site getting a handful of extra traffic is blowing out their budgets. An extra 1000 impressions/day on one site is a mere drop in the ocean to these big advertisers. They advertise 24/7 on both the content and search networks and have been for as long as I can remember.
Yet these extra impressions always trigger the scrub algo and cpc drops. By the same token, a drop in traffic for a day sees the cpc's rise. There's no way advertisers are changing bids by following the hourly/daily traffic changes on individual sites. This is all google. It's automatic. It's an algo.
An increase beyond the 'baseline' always causes the cpc to fall, often within the hour. If it was caused soley by advertisers it would not be so predictable. It also wouldn't fix itself as the traffic stabilized at the higher levels.
I apologize if I offended anyone. I tend to call them as I see them. It's more than a little strange how g is so strongly defended here by people who appear to otherwise be quite knowledgeable and intelligent. I know I'm not the only one who finds this fishy. Everyone I've personally known in this industry, has a realistic and thus often skeptical view of g and their actions. They've proven again and again that they are not the same "do not be evil" company from a decade ago. It often appears like the job of admins and some posters on this site, is to protect and guard google's image. I'm not sure if there are financial reasons for this, or if people are scared of google, or if they are just blindly drinking the kool-aid. No way of really knowing, but there is surely some motivation involved.
I will avoid this in the future now that I see it's obviously a touchy subject.
@shazam, the subject isn't touchy, this is a debate, a conversation, everyone learns from differing viewpoints and exploring the depths of those points is a good thing.
We debate the topics here, not the people debating the topics, keeps it professional. Just don't call people the 'pr team' or accuse them of being scared of Google or 'blindly drinking the kool-aid' just because you don't agree with their point of view. That's where it starts to step over the line into getting touchy, with other words like 'fanboy' to be avoided, etc. ;)
I do agree the phenomena you see exists in AdSense, I just don't agree on the exact cause of the phenomena is all.We could actually be both partially right considering the complexity of AdWords/AdSense. I'm willing to believe almost anything reasonable about AdSense with the exception that Google would do something that limits both your, and more importantly their, income which is why I don't think the throttling is deliberate at any rate.
When my site traffic goes up and down, my eCPM, CPC and earnings have always stayed very steady and increased or decreased accordingly. As a matter of fact, my eCPM actually increased with one traffic burst I had for a few months. The fun fact is, some of my pages pay over $1 CPC, some I see pay as low as $0.01 CPC, I've still seen $4 clicks now and then, but at the end of the day it all averages out to about $0.25 CPC and has for many years, steady as a rock. This year as the economy started to turn around a bit the average CPC actually increased about 50%, no complaints!
I know a premium publisher who gets about 10x page impressions over my site(s) and their earnings follow the same kinds of trends. As a matter of fact, I was called in to consult with them, look at their topics and traffic, and estimate their earnings prior to signing up with AdSense and I came within $10K of estimating their monthly revenue. (sometimes I even impress myself!) Wish I had that revenue! LOL
That's why I say you can't group all sites in one big blanket theory because nothing fits all sites the same and if I had a magic bullet to help people break the appearance of the glass ceiling I'd be handing it out, but best I can tell it takes some work like I said in my earlier posts.
I'm not going to look up the old posts, but years back I thought I'd hit a glass ceiling 3 times in both traffic and AdSense. I managed to bust out of it 3 times, ultimately hit 1M pages/month, and it's plainly documented right here on WebmasterWorld too if you can find it!
(If I were convinced that Google was trying to screw me over via AdSense, I would not display it on my sites)
If there's a ceiling, I sure haven't seen it yet. Even counting the odd anomaly here and there, my earnings have grown every year (except 2009 for some reason) And by a sizable amount this year. I used to believe that EPC (the correct term by the way) always went down when traffic went up, but not this year.
I could blindly ignore what I see, but that's never a good idea in my opinion. For me, empirical evidence trumps any pro google viewpoint. I cannot do the three monkeys routine, it's not in my nature and it's not a logical way of operating. I see what the data and numbers show me. It's obvious and indisputable.
Google scrubbing increases their income, that's why it's a black box. They clearly have an incentive to continue this practice.
They also flat out lie about the impressions. For any given site I may get 1000 UNIQUES per day. The adsense reports never show more than a few hundred impressions/day. This is impossible, especially when you take in the total pages, bounce rates, time on site, etc.... They flat out scrub 5-7x the traffic right off the top.
This never used to be the case. Before this year the impressions reported by adsense were in-line with other data sources. Now they are not even close.
Netmeg for low traffic sites, there's not much alternative to adsense. They have the monopoly. Once my sites 'grow up' I absolutely make an effort to 'go direct', go with affiliate deals, or produce my own products. This always causes earnings to skyrocket in comparison to adsense. Unfortunately, for low traffic sites there's not much alternative. I also agree about the term epc, try explaining this to the adsense team! They use CPC when it really should be EPC. CPC is for the advertisers. Now they seem to have invented a new one 'rpm'.
|For me, empirical evidence trumps any pro google viewpoint. I cannot do the three monkeys routine, it's not in my nature and it's not a logical way of operating. I see what the data and numbers show me. It's obvious and indisputable. |
Who said anyone was promoting a pro google viewpoint and why must anyone with a differing opinion be pro google?
Makes no sense and fewer friends, but I digress.
There is usually a logical reason for most of what happens in regards to impressions.
Before jumping to accusatory conclusions, read on as the obvious is usually closer to the truth than big conspiracy theory against the webmasters.
|Before this year the impressions reported by adsense were in-line with other data sources. |
Do some reverse DNS look-ups on those IPs and it'll probably be a real eye opener. Check the source of those IP addresses, if they resolve to data centers and not residential ISPs it's not human because humans don't live in data centers. More importantly, the newer 3rd party analytics have gotten smarter and will scrub non-human impressions and filter out the scrapers if they do process the javavscript, such as Google won't register web preview screen shots made by Ask, Bing, Snap and many others which were previously being registered as a unique impression.
I could go on and on with other sources you thought were unique, such as the Getty Picscout crawler, AVG's link checker, not only that you're probably counting pre-fetched pages nobody ever sees (which I block at the server) as part of your page impressions.
If you need help with this, drop in on the Spider forum [webmasterworld.com] as we're old hands and figuring out human vs bot traffic sources and you'll get an idea of what's truly an impression vs meaningless noise.
Yes, I understand all about spiders and bots. I have actually learned some of it from you through the years. I remember a few years ago when one of my sites was first hit with a proxy indexing issue you were one of the few people who had a firm handle on the situation and code to defend against it by checking "gethostbyaddr($ip); and gethostbyname($hostname);." Since google refused to deal with the issue, your help was and still is appreciated.
I stated "uniques" in my last post. I find it hard to believe that 800/1000 unique ip's are bots. 80% of IP's being bot/spiders is not logical. Especially on one particular site where 90% of my traffic is coming from links inside flash content that has become popular on many top sites in the niche. Bots cannot even load the flash, much less play through it and click a particular link inside it. The traffic numbers and uniques are all clear as day on the raw access logs, and my membership growth and participation levels, also prove that these are valid users. It's good targeted human traffic directly from other sites in the niche.
|I find it hard to believe that 800/1000 unique ip's are bots. |
Just as a matter of interest you don't happen to have any desirable images that are hotlinked or being searched for on a daily basis?
Every two weeks I have to rename some specific images and their urls otherwise my AdSense Page Impressions will easily increase by 10,000 a day.
This is simply from freeloaders wanting a background image because they're incapable of producing one themselves...if you knew what it is it would surprise you, I kid you not.
I avoided the new interface for a long time but now that it's going to be forced on us, I decided to switch.
I went to the reports, and am viewing "entire account by day," which shows quite clearly exactly what I have been talking about. I have it set to show me the last 30 days. It's really depressing. You can see quite clearly the insane drop in cpc as the traffic and clicks increased. My highest traffic days were smart priced down to a few pennies/click. Pre-content release levels were in the .20 - .40/click range.
The interesting thing is that although there was a huge change in traffic and clicks throughout the last 30 days, the earnings stayed the same. There is literally 4x more traffic during the peak period when the content went semi-viral and was posted on similar sites in the niche. Despite getting literally 4x more impressions and clicks, the earnings stayed the same and even fell below the average on a few days. Quite obvious that a baseline daily earnings is determined and google makes any changes needed in the cpc to maintain this range. The algo is quick too, increases in traffic/clicks are met almost instantly with lower cpc's. The algo is clearly based upon the pubs sites/account not on advertisers.
This new report really shows it quite clearly. Now I feel even more depressed. You can't win with this kind of scrub algo running. Google knows full well that content goes semi-viral like this, generates a ton of traffic for a few weeks, peaks, then starts tapering off. They've got the "steal from publishers algo" finely tuned so no matter how much traffic and clicks increase, earning drops or stays the same. Amazing. I never saw such a clear, and obvious bit of data showing exactly what they are up to until now. The more traffic increases, the more they steal and the lower the cpc is. You can't beat it by getting more traffic. They simply keep lowering the cpc.
More opinion expressed as if it were fact.
My numbers show me something entirely different. Which one of us is right?
Neither of us know or will ever know.
But regardless, if you really think they're stealing from you, nobody is forcing you to use someone who steals from you. That's entirely up to you. If they're the only ones who can or are willing to monetize your traffic - well, that's on you too.
Not opinions, this is data provided and generated by adsense, not me.
|There is literally 4x more traffic during the peak period when the content went semi-viral and was posted on similar sites in the niche. |
Ah, if I'm understanding you correctly therein lies the problem. Both advertisers and Google know that viral campaigns can generate lots of traffic yet, as I understand it, much less qualified traffic, therefore bids and smart pricing are proportionately a lesser value than "normal".
I'm fairly sure netmeg may be able to confirm that or not.
Well then google is wrong again.
This is high quality targeted traffic. Just because content is popular, or spreads within it's industry without involving google search doesn't mean it brings untargeted low quality traffic. Quite the opposite in many cases. Users wouldn't be on these referring sites in the first place if they weren't into this industry/niche, and they couldn't possibly click through unless they were engaging the content due to it's nature.
We're not talking about silly photos or cat videos!
Maybe this is what adsense is doing. It seems to be backwards thinking, but it's an excuse to scrub I guess. For me, as an advertiser, I would want to advertise on sites that get a majority of their traffic from other sites in the same industry, a sort of pre-targeting filter.
I did a very specific test to confirm that there is some form of Google Adsense throttling.
I was running Adsense in 20% rotation with my custom ad server. Adsense reporting showed an average of 1500 impressions per day on a specific page, and the revenue each day was consistent. The number still seemed low compared to my own internal ad counter for ads I display from direct paying advertisers. But at least it was consistent.
I doubled the rotation. Increased it to 40%.
Average ad displays from Google the next two days while page views for those ads doubled...approximately 1500. Adsense reports state that they are serving ads to 100% of requests.
Revenue remained virtually identical.
So it seems to me that Google sets a dollar threshold for your site, and without a massive increase in traffic, that's what you're going to earn.
Next test is opening it up 100%, see if if at 5X the current impressions, the ad views and revenue goes up.
|So it seems to me that Google sets a dollar threshold for your site, and without a massive increase in traffic, that's what you're going to earn. |
Over six years on my sites, that has not been case.
|Over six years on my sites, that has not been case. |
I belive there is a short-term throttling/glass ceiling, that prevents quick-bursts in earnings (remember the Automatic Volume Limiter System (AVLS) on walkmans). You can increase your earnings if you can keep up the increase in traffic for more that a couple of days, maybe more than a week. Seeing increases over the long term (month to month etc.) doesn't mean that throttling doesn't exists.
|So it seems to me that Google sets a dollar threshold for your site, and without a massive increase in traffic, that's what you're going to earn. |
I thought that once too with a site that seemed to have a $100/day limit, then I got creative and hit a $200/day limit, then a few months later cracked that situation and hit $300/day.
It was all SEO for better paying traffic and targeting better paying keywords for AdSense.
If your only plan of attack is to simply attempt to get more traffic for the same keywords, you'll probably stay in that same threshold. You have to expand your reach of new money, it's really that simple in all the tests I've run. Sticking with the same old gets the same old but something slightly new, but not radically different, can pay off big time when you find the sweet spot.
I don't think anybody is saying it's not possible to break out of the smart pricing/throttling. We are saying it's real. There absolutely is an algo between advertisers and publishers toying with cpc's. Even Hal Varien admitted that smart pricing exists and published a video explaining it to people. It's strange to me that people argue that it doesn't exist when there is such obvious evidence. (thus the questioning of motives and connections to google)
Like I've said before, after the same volume of traffic is coming in at a steady pace the cpc/ecpm's return to normal. Google know's full well that traffic is not a steady flow but changes hour to hour and day by day. This is the very point they exploit to scrub earnings from pubs.
I'm seriously starting to think that the way beyond this is to code custom ad scripts that give adsense X impressions/hour and keep it absolutely steady. Then as a site improves and traffic numbers improve you ramp it up a little. Always staying well behind your total traffic # so there is no interruption and impressions are perfectly stable and steady. You will of course lose money each time it gets opened up, but after a few weeks/months the cpc's will be back to normal levels.
It's obvious that it's the sudden increase or decrease from the baseline that triggers the algo. Take out the peaks and valleys and I bet cpc's/ecpms normalize.
I think we have been too generous in blindly giving adsense our traffic. We can all likely make more by strategically limiting it.
|I think we have been too generous in blindly giving adsense our traffic. We can all likely make more by strategically limiting it. |
My adsense revenue remained within a 10% range of $200 a day even when I throttled Google Ads down to only 20% of page impressions.
So yes, I agree with you completely.
If it's a real fixed limitation then sites couldn't break out of it.
Sites do break out of it, once the owner figures out it's not being limited ;)
Smart pricing and throttling are not the same thing. If your traffic is poor, you might get smart priced, but that's not throttling, which would be (as stated above) that some ceiling has been set on the earning potential for your site.
I know from my own experience, and that of close friends, that there is no throttling merely on the basis of traffic numbers, nor any earnings ceilings.
But you keep believing in an artificial limit, if it makes you feel better. I don't much care about that.
But I do care about the spread of misinformation to people who might not yet have the experience to know better, so that's why as often as you say there IS a ceiling, I will counter that there is not. Because there isn't.
Actually throttling is a pretty good word.
a. To regulate the flow of (fuel) in an engine.
b. To regulate the speed of (an engine) with a throttle.
This is exactly what adsense is doing.
CTR up - CPC down
CTR DOWN CPC up
1.You are working for the google pr team
2.You are seeing different numbers
3.You don't watch it closely enough to notice this rather obvious pattern.
Either way, whatever the reason, please don't imply or state that people who see this common pattern are reporting misinformation.
Re-read this thread from the beginning and count the number of posters who see this CTR/CPC relationship. It's > 75%. Check other threads, other forums, and you will find the same exact thing. For many pubs there is a definite CTR/CPC relationship just as stated many times in this thread.
How about posting an "entire account by day" report for the last 30 days or longer of your adsense account with the new interface? Let's look and see if there is CPC/CTR throttling being applied. Maybe you are the one spreading misinformation.
I would wager that even the two posters so aggressively defending google would have evidence of this in their accounts. It's not likely that the algo is turned off for some people unless they reach some kind of 'special publisher status' for sending insanely large amounts of traffic. Most networks treat the super affiliates a lot better, maybe adsense has similar policies. It would be interesting to see.
shazam - I've been following your posts. I've been running AdSense since 2004 and if you've been reading my posts, know that 2011 has not been a good year at all. I attribute most of my drop in earnings to Panda and it's widespread effects, but not throttling or ceilings. The main problem with making conclusions without enough information is just that, not enough information. When it comes to AdSense, there's simply too many variables unknown to us publishers to say what's going on. Sorry, but I'm with netmeg and incrediBILL on this.
|Either way, whatever the reason, please don't imply or state that people who see this common pattern are reporting misinformation. |
Nobody said that reporting the pattern was misinformation.
We've said that the concept of a glass-ceiling of AdSense earnings is misinformation.
You can earn more by:
- Site redesign, sometimes site layouts impact earnings, for instance ads on left vs right column
- Ad placement, size/ type, quantity, and blending may effect sites differently
- SEO adjustments, change the keywords used to target better earning keywords
- Expand your scope, add new niche related content in areas currently not covered
- Add more sites in new niches, if one niche doesn't work go elsewhere
The bottom line is throwing more traffic at something with finite earnings isn't always the answer.
For instance, I do sell direct advertising, so assume if I sell $3K/mo in direct ads with 400k visitors/mo, then increase the traffic to 1M visitors/mo and can't attract more advertisers, it's still only worth $3K/mo in ad revenue. Would you spread your existing ads out to cover most of the 600K additional impressions or would you start displaying PSAs or "YOUR AD COULD BE HERE!" on those 600K pages, both real winners with visitors.
The next problem is whether that traffic increase is buyers or not. Visitors not really qualified as buyers, based on their source and actions, probably causes the smart pricing to kick in and may impact all your site as a whole. Suddenly your site loses the crap traffic and CTR down CPC up, no shock there as the better quality visitors probably gets the better pricing, find more of those, not just any old visitor.
Another issue is the page quality, which page is all the new traffic landing on, is it a high quality or low quality page? That'll impact smart pricing and your earnings as well.
If you can find a way to increase quality traffic to quality pages you'll probably get paid MUCH better.
Lots of reasons, and when you put it all in a blender it can easily cause a cyclical effect. You're seeing Google adjust their search algos with Caffeine, Vince, Panda and your traffic changes along with the targeting keywords bringing that traffic, which also impacts the advertisers as they adjust bids as the search engine shuffles.
It's very complicated and I can understand why people would like to lump it under a simple term and say Google limits their ability to earn and throw their hands in the air instead of trying to look for ways to improve their sites, improve SE placements, or simply start over and continue to milk the old site for what it's worth in it's decline.
The end result is the difference of running a business on the internet or just having an AdSense hobby.
Yes you can break out, nobody said you couldn't.
This doesn't change the fact that CPC's are throttled. In fact as stated before, Hal Varien the chief economist at google has stated this is the case and he called it 'smart pricing.'
Sure you can increase your earnings, I haven't seen anyone saying that you can't.
In the day to day fluctuations A burst of traffic/clicks will send CPC's down.
CTR UP --> CPC down.
CTR DOWN --> CPC up.
Exactly as the OP said he/she is experiencing.
|Is it remotely possible that Goog would throttle CPC down as CTR increases (and vice versa)? I know: that would seem to make no sense. But lately the two have been inversely related, at least for my account. For example, yesterday the CTR for my 336X280 unit was nearly triple its average, but the CPC was about 1/3 of its average. And I didn't notice any difference in the types of ads being displayed in that unit. Otherwise, I might have assumed that the unit was displaying an unusually enticing but low-paying image ad. |
|This doesn't change the fact that CPC's are throttled. |
The proper term is still "smart pricing" and even if they appear throttled, there's a big difference between some claiming they are being deliberately throttled by Google vs others claiming it's natural AdWords market forces plus smart pricing causing the throttling throttling phenomena.
One sounds like an agenda or paranoid, the other sounds logical.
I'll opt for the logical version of marketplace throttling until AdSense is actually proven to throttle sites deliberately, of which there is no empirical evidence at this time.
Check out the Hal Varian video I am talking about. It's on youtube. He makes it quite clear. He's not trying to hide the fact that there is an algo controlling the CPC's. He is simply explaining what they want us to know about it.
It is an algo throttling the CPC for the advertisers. It happens automatically, not by anything the advertisers are doing. They don't have any more control over smart pricing than the publishers. It's all part of the black box, the middleman keeping both sides blind to the actual numbers.
Easy to find just go to youtube and search for 'hal varian smart pricing'
The only thing we can go by is the numbers they give us, and for many there is a strong negative correlation between CTR and CPC.
Just as the OP and others have observed. Get a burst of traffic/clicks and your all but guaranteed to have a drop in CPC. I would love to see someone post some stats showing a burst of traffic that broke this negative correlation.
|1.You are working for the google pr team |
<snort> Yea, that's it. You got me.
Not many people have more bursty traffic than I do. Some of my sites can go from a few hundred pageviews a day to close to a million per day in a week. My EPC (the proper term, by the way - CPC is for advertisers) on these sites is up 40% over last year, and even more over previous years.
(I also have more sites than the average publisher, so I have a far bigger sample)
But I'm a private company, and I don't publish more stats than that.
No ceiling, no throttling by Google. Your limitations are your own, or those of your niche.
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