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Adsense "throttling"?
numnum




msg:4380342
 7:06 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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.

 

dontono7




msg:4380354
 7:18 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've often thought something like that was happening too. However, I have come to the conclusion that it is just a matter of how many people are advertising currently, and what the best available "fit" would be for your site/page at the moment. My CPC and CTR also vary widely, from one day to the next even. Anybody else have this experience as well?

netmeg




msg:4380363
 7:26 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I notice my EPC goes down when my traffic goes up, and most of my sites are seasonal so it's pretty easy to see when my traffic spikes. I don't believe in a throttle, but I do think that some advertisers might see a sudden spike in clicks (as my traffic goes up) and may stop advertising on my site. It's backward, but a lot of advertisers aren't educated on such things.

There's also availability, and third party networks, and all the other things that go in to the calculation at the exact moment of a click.

But I'm pretty sure there's no throttle. My EPCs for my main sites this year are close to twice what they were last year, and the "drop" when my traffic spiked was far less than usual.

farmboy




msg:4380398
 8:58 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

My EPC's are up so much lately I've been wondering if AdSense is suffering a shortage of relevant ad space and the law of supply and demand is driving up the ad prices.


FarmBoy

numnum




msg:4380445
 11:09 pm on Oct 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Right, probably not throttling but rather many different factors adding up to what only looks like throttling. That 336X280 ad is the last of three Adsense ads in my HTML, which might account for an erratic CPC (not enough advertisers some days to bid up for that third ad box -- if that's how it works). But it doesn't really explain an unusually high CTR just for that ad box coupled with the unusually low CPC. That's a head scratcher.

shazam




msg:4380875
 8:59 pm on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

There is clearly throttling being applied to my account. Without fail, each and every time I have an increase in traffic the cpc goes down to almost worthless levels.

I literally make more money when my sites get very little traffic.

There also seems to be a HUGE discrepancy in reported impressions. AwStats will show over a thousand uniques for a site while adsense will show maybe 100-150 impressions.

Some strange and shady things going on these last 6 months.

thatjen




msg:4380914
 11:02 pm on Oct 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have the same thing happening with my sites - if the CTR goes up, the CPC goes down, and vice versa. When my search engine traffic goes up, it doesn't seem to matter either because either the CTR or CPC goes down. It's very frustrating because it feels like no there's no hope of things getting better, and then it makes me have no motivation to build new content on my sites.

incrediBILL




msg:4380972
 4:00 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's the bidding system and advertisers causing what perceives to be throttling.

Google puts up the best paying stuff first, when those budgets runs out you get the dregs, so it appears to be throttling and it is, the advertisers throttle their budgets.

The next best bidders budget runs out, so on and so forth until you get the bottom of the barrel and it repeats day after day.

Some sites probably get the lions share of the better budgets too as the algo determines that site provides the best ROI for the advertiser.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you want the most AdSense money, you have to build a site that incites more buyers to convert to sales.

azlinda




msg:4380990
 5:47 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

shazam, I have experienced the exact thing you have.

CMidd




msg:4381071
 12:57 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

The is a Glass ceiling to certain niches. There is a finite number of related advertisers for your site and their budget are usually set by day "and maybe not spread out evenly". What IncrediBill said is true, once their daily budgets run out, cheaper advertisers fill there place.

Ways to help:

Try to drive as much traffic to your site in the beginning of the day to capture more of those higher clicks.

Leverage an ad server, set it to replace adsense once you reached your normal high paying ad % limit or schedule it for late at night and on weekend. That way you can put affiliate offers up instead or the unrelated cheap ads.

Take some time to review who is advertising on your site. find the most common advertisers who fit your niche, see if they have an affiliate program "usually do" sign up, and serve their affiliate ad instead "even borrow their adsense copy/creatives, which is usually the same as their affiliate copy/creatives". << this has helped me a whole lot.

some sites, niches have a glass ceiling, which is set by the advertisers' budgets. wouldn't matter if you sent 1 million visitors in a day if your related advertisers combined budgets is $1,000 a day, you will only get $1,000 a day, then it's all non related cheap clicks from there.

But affiliate offers are usually limitless depending on the product or service, but it's a little more risk then PPC. But if advertiser are risking advertising on your site, there is usually an Return on investment "or they would have blocked your site".

Break that glass ceiling with affiliate offers.

numnum




msg:4381155
 5:42 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm the OP. I'm happy to see this issue fleshed out here. Yes, it makes sense that it's the advertisers who are doing the throttling. Let's see if I've got this straight:

Once the advertisers whose ads are relevant to my site's topic shoot their entire wad at my site, my ad units fill up with irrelevant, low CTR and CPC crap, which lowers the day's overall CTR and CPC as the traffic increases -- hence the inverse relationship between page views and earnings per page view.

To take this a step further, is it possible that you, the publisher, may not experience this phenomenon (i.e., throttling) unless and until you've lost a sufficient amount of traffic due to Panda -- for the reason that fewer relevant, high-paying advertisers are inclined to bid for ad space at a low-traffic site than at a high-traffic one? I'm not sure why any advertiser would shun a low-traffic site per se. Any insights?

shazam




msg:4381176
 7:23 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't buy the advertiser explanation.


If this was the case, there would inevitably be times when you have good traffic AND good earnings ecpm/cpc.

Traffic up, earnings down, with no exceptions that I have seen in the last 5 years I've been running adsense. When I write/post some excellent content that earns links and traffic it has always been followed with a reduction in earnings. Then after a week or two when the traffic dies down, the earnings always go back up.

This is clearly an algo. They appear to baseline sites to get a 'normal' reading on impressions. Once your traffic shows a significant increase the algo ALWAYS kicks in to knock the cpc way down. If the traffic stays high for a month or more, then your baseline is moved up. If I then get a day with only a little bit of traffic they give me insanely high cpc's. I've been watching this for years.

incrediBILL




msg:4381193
 7:58 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)


I don't buy the advertiser explanation.


For some reason people get the impression that AdSense is just a big bucket of endless money which isn't the case. I do some limited advertising, so buy it or not, I know when my budget expires so does your earnings from my wallet.

Traffic up, earnings down


You also have to take into consideration the traffic source, SE keywords, geographic location and time of day. Just because you have more traffic doesn't mean it's good traffic and the algo will discount what it perceives to be less valuable traffic.

There is also the theory of supply and demand, if all the AdSense sites in your niche create a larger traffic supply, it will also cause the value of your clicks to diminish.

More traffic does not mean you have more advertisers or more advertising budgets.

shazam




msg:4381274
 4:06 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

What you are saying is true. I spend a fair amount on adwords myself so I fully understand what you're saying.

This theory does make sense for huge sites with tons of traffic. They can suck an individuals daily budget down quickly similar to a straight media buy.

For lower traffic sites, it just doesn't make sense. A site that gets 1000 uniques/day then gets 2000/day isn't going to kill an advertisers budget.

You can simply watch the ads. What I see are advertisers that are always looking for as much traffic and impressions as they can possibly get. Big advertisers with huge budgets. My little adsense sites are a drop in the ocean in comparison to their daily spend.

I used to also think it was a traffic quality issue. It's not. An increase in high quality traffic has the exact same effect on earnings. It's the jump in traffic that triggers the algo, and on the flip side, the reduction in traffic that sends ecpm/cpc soaring upwards. Any sudden change in the baseline triggers the scrub algo even if the traffic is coming straight from g with a high conversion keyword.

The 'trick' if there is one, is to somehow get steady increases, to somehow raise the baseline. After a month or two of steady traffic inprovement, the scrub algo calculates a new baseline and the earnings go back to normal. The fraud and thievery is at it's highest when traffic fluctuates. Which of course is most of the time.

I still haven't come up with anyway of controlling this, but i have seriously considered coding ad rotators that can avoid these issues by removing adblocks after x amount of traffic. I'm scared of implementing such a thing though, as I'm sure g wouldn't like it, and probably ban my account. I'm sure it would work great as it seems the scrub algo is based on individual adblock impressions.

incrediBILL




msg:4381290
 6:18 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

For lower traffic sites, it just doesn't make sense. A site that gets 1000 uniques/day then gets 2000/day isn't going to kill an advertisers budget.


What does a lower traffic site have to do with the fact that it's concurrently fighting for ads with all sorts of sites including higher traffic site?

Just because your site isn't going to kill the budget doesn't mean your competitor isn't killing it at that same time. Everything happens globally in real time and your site has no bearing on what other sites are doing and their impact on the global AdSense advertising pool. The advertiser money may run out at any minute, regardless of your traffic, it's a worldwide global thing, and even ads showing on Google SERPs are dipping into that same ad pool at the same time.

You have to think in 3D as this isn't a 2D ad system.

shazam




msg:4381300
 8:02 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Exactly.

So the fact that more traffic = lower ecpm has nothing to do with advertisers budgets running out and everything to do with a scrub algo.

incrediBILL




msg:4381301
 8:12 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

So the fact that more traffic = lower ecpm has nothing to do with advertisers budgets running out and everything to do with a scrub algo.


ARG - it's all tied together, it's a combination of traffic, traffic sources, budgets and algos assessing all the parameters and assigning value your clicks.

However, without analyzing your traffic, simply saying you have MORE traffic is a meaningless unit of measure. You need specifics about that traffic before it's impact on eCOM can be truly determined, but trust me that ad budgets are the biggest factor in AdSense because it's a BIDDING SYSTEM.

shazam




msg:4381304
 8:38 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's a bidding system on the Adwords side. ( even this is a black box)

Then it's the typical google black box in the middle. No transparency, no disclosure.

Then on the Adsense side, it's quite clear:

Traffic goes up = ecpm/cpc goes down.

Traffic goes down = ecpm/cpc goes up.

I highly doubt that content network advertisers are seeing lower cpc's when this happens. They are likely being charged the same cpc while Page and company skim/steal from the publishers. We can never know for sure the extent of it, because it's the typical black box.


Now if the search rankings or traffic source remain, then like I said, after a month or so, a new higher baseline is calculated and the ecpm/cpc returns to normal. I've been watching it for years. It's not a one time occurrence based on low quality traffic, it's standard operating procedure.

incrediBILL




msg:4381311
 9:24 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've been watching it for years. It's not a one time occurrence based on low quality traffic, it's standard operating procedure.


Maybe on your site, doesn't behave the same exact way on my sites.

Best I can tell there is no cut and dried blanket behavior that can be attributed to all AdSense sites, just some commonalities that tend to manifest in many clusters of similar sites.

It's obviously a combination of factors that make AdSense behave the way it does and each site has the ability to, at some level, manipulate those behaviors. I've manipulated them for years when I see certain trends start to emerge on my site by changing various page factors and testing the results.

By changing both the on page and off page factors that are part of the AdSense equation the payouts can be manipulated. One of the factors is the keyword that brings the surfer to the page. By simply adjusting the keywords your page targets in the search engine can get higher payouts. Doing some A/B testing of keywords on several similarly targeted pages can be used to determine the sweet spot and get the max revenue from AdSense.

It's very similar to testing ad performance in AdWords, not that different really.

rlopes




msg:4381336
 12:42 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

All I can say is that the same happens here:
CTR goes UP, CPC goes DOWN

Hard to believe there's no throttling, specially when Adsense is the blackbox it is.

HuskyPup




msg:4381350
 2:48 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't forget about the Smart Pricing effect as well clicker location. FWIW my top ten EPC earning countries compared to the overall average EPC since April are:

USA - 128.5%
UK - 140.5%
Canada - 102.4%
Australia - 121.4%
India - 23.8%
South Africa - 33.33%
Netherlands - 71.4%
Germany - 50%
France - 50%
Italy - 45.2%

It's also interesting to note that India also has my 4th biggest page impressions and 4th biggest click volume which obviously has a massive effect on my overall EPC average.

My sites are global however it may be worth studying your Performance Reports > Countries in the new interface to see from where your actual traffic is deriving and the actual values you are getting.

farmboy




msg:4381362
 3:45 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's also interesting to note that India also has my 4th biggest page impressions and 4th biggest click volume which obviously has a massive effect on my overall EPC average.



I've found that with some countries more than others, people seem to visit with an intent to steal content rather than because of an interest in the content of the pages.


FarmBoy

HuskyPup




msg:4381379
 4:50 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'd better explain that our main factory of 40 years is in India, we're one of the top five Indian companies in our widget industry and India per se is one of the top three widget suppliers worldwide for our trade therefore it's not surprising we get a lot of Indian visitors both buyers and sellers.

incrediBILL




msg:4381389
 5:43 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just remember, your AdSense CPC isn't the actual amount being charged advertisers.

Google pays you $0.68 per $1 charged to advertisers for AdSense clicks, or $0.51 per dollar for search ads. To keep the math simple, that means for every $51-$68 you earn in AdSense, they charge about $100 to the advertiser thus Google earns from $32-$49 for the same clicks.

Look at Google as a big source of both traffic and ad revenue, and no matter how you slice it, there is only so much traffic going around to share that ad revenue.

I'll bet Google does everything possible to make sure the maximum money possible is paid out of that ad revenue bucket every day, and any odd behavior we see is just an artifact of the algos trying to max out that ad spend vs their ad budgets and traffic.

What's the alternative when your CTR doubles suddenly but the available ad budgets don't increase accordingly?

Well, I'm guessing AdSense could:

A) raise the ad prices, probably not happening if the advertisers have fixed budgets and it would run some advertisers away making the problem worse, not better. Fewer advertisers to bid up the ad prices and they go down, not up. bad idea.

B) they could burn through the ad cash pool just as fast as when there are fewer clicks to maintain the same CPC and then show lovely PSA ads after the ad budgets are exhausted like the old days. bad idea.

or...

C) AdSense could simply counter the higher CTR by smart pricing the ads to spread the money out over the same period and show actual ads all day, not PSA ads or off topic ads, better for your site, better for the advertiser, more relevant for the visitor.

Never mind. I'm completely wrong. Google wants to throttle your sites! they don't need more money, no need to impress Wall Street or make the investors any happier! :)

That's right, Google wants us to fail.

shazam




msg:4381418
 8:32 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Out of your list, B is by far the most honest straight forward and ethical approach. Not that I agree with your assumptions, but from the options you pointed out, B is by far the best.

I've spent a lot of money through the years advertising both on search and content networks and know many others with similar experience. By far, the most common complaint about the content network is getting ads to show. Most content network advertisers will happily take all the volume they can get. Sure they will pick and choose the quality sites and weed out the others once their ads finally start flowing, but they all want volume.

Google should stop playing these games with both the advertisers and the publishers. At the same time publishers are being 'smart priced' into .01 clicks, there are advertisers that cannot get google to run their ads. They clearly 'work' both sides. If you believe the 68% number, I got some ocean front property Nebraska you would love. They can SAY 90% if they want, it's irrelevant, nobody will ever know because it's once again the typical google black box. "Trust us, we're google."

Once again, you can simply watch the ads. The same exact ads show up regardless of the number of clicks/traffic/ctr smart pricing etc.. The advertiser's budgets aren't being depleted. These same ads are always showing 24/7 on other good sites in any given niche. You can see the same ads showing at the top of the serps (much more expensive) day in and day out 24 hours a day. Clearly no budget caps being hit. They want traffic, an extra 1000 or 10,000 impressions from one site is not pushing them over the edge.

This whole 'smart pricing' is a 100% google creation, not at all the result of natural market forces. It is an added layer in the black box between the advertisers and the pubs. This is why they refuse to be transparent about it.

incrediBILL




msg:4381428
 9:34 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you believe the 68% number, I got some ocean front property Nebraska you would love.


Dude, I'm a cynic too, but I've actually seen real contracts signed by companies with Google, those Premium Publisher accounts you may have heard of? They only got a few percentage more than regular publishers, so I believe it.


It's really not that hard to figure out the payout if you try.

Out of curiosity once I created an AdWords campaign and targeted specific keyword areas of a site. Then I played some cloaking games on the site so I was the only one that could see and click those specific ads as they were never presented to anyone except my IP address. This allowed me to see what they paid AdSense and know exactly how much they charged the AdWords advertiser in a 100% controlled environment.

Not hard to find out, never was ;)

CMidd




msg:4381518
 9:03 am on Oct 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sharam

could be another webmaster beating you to the ad budgets.

example:

5 "super related" advertiser in my niche spending $100 each a day.

Avg click = $1.00

500 clicks total. << There is a Finite Number of Clicks in a niche!

First related traffic to reach them and suck up those 500 clicks wins.

After the 500 clicks are gone, their ads disappear.

Traffic after that gets crappy cheap ads.


I have seen this on one of my sites, after a certain time of the day the good ads stop.

I have a image only 300X250 on a page.

Early on in the day "in private browsing" this same super related advertiser dominates that spot and dominates it on my competitors site as well.

Highly targeted 300x250 image ad that is designed directly toward my niche.

Later on in the day it's gone, and it's gone from my competitors sites as well.

Their daily budgets is gone.

After that cheap, non related ads take it's place.

I learned, The First person to get related traffic driven to those pages and drive ad clicks will likely be first to get the biggest piece that budget.

It's not always about driving a lot of traffic, it's about being first to that traffic.

with X amount of users and X amount of clicks. The first to get those user and drive those clicks win.


So i use Facebook.

I spent the last 6 month investing in a huge Facebook Page.

Now I can send thousands of page views of traffic directly to those pages, before visitors need to search "or visit my competitors sites"

After posting on Facebook to my large group of fans, I'm sending tons of Ad clicks "and sucking up the budgets".

I do this early in the day "between 11am to 5pm"

Normal organic traffic doesn't usually start rolling in until the evening.

visitors of my site, and member of my Fan page are also visitors and member of my competitors sites, but I'm first.

user don't typically click on the same ads twice.

Lame_Wolf




msg:4381523
 9:17 am on Oct 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

user don't typically click on the same ads twice.
The chances are, if they liked the site, they probably bookmarked the page... hence no further need to click on the same advert.
CMidd




msg:4381524
 9:18 am on Oct 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm also tried publishing later in the day, and my CTR is lower and average PPC is lower.

I have also seen this as an advertiser.

when running a super low daily budget campaign I was constantly getting alerts that my daily budget was to low, and my ad stopped showing and i miss out on X amount of possible traffic.

Meaning:
after a period of clicks my ads budget stopped my ads from showing.

I also managed two campaigns. One for Content network, and one for Search. both using different budgets, so my content ad could be stopped, but my search ad were still showing.

I sent most of my search traffic to page that Called to Action Facebook Likes over Adsense clicks.

No, I'm not a mouth piece for Google or a Google Sympathetic, I personally don't like them, and have been doing everything i can to reduce my income and traffic from Google "and it's working"

But the truth is the Truth.

Google doesn't pay you, Advertisers Pay you!
There isn't an infinite amount of ad money out there!

Advertiser have limited budgets, and if your not positioning yourself to get the most of that budget, by the time your traffic rolls in, you will get what's left over.

CMidd




msg:4381536
 9:32 am on Oct 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Last Post:

right now it's 5:23AM in my time zone, and my ad are on point.

I have three ad units.

I have a 300x250 Image
Below that 300x250 text
Below content a 468X60 text


All ad on super targeted.

All smaller, high paying advertisers, who's ad's and copy match my site, niche and visitors exactly.

Once i send traffic my CTR and PPC is going to be high.

But, let's rewind 8 hours ago.

My ads looked like crap!

Direct TV dominated my 300X250 spot "something about the DirectTV vs Fox battle"

Some stupid "Obama Love this product" ad took over my 468X60

Only one related advertiser was in my text 300x250 "at the bottom", and the rest were junk.


If most of my traffic comes in now, i would get paid!


If most of my traffic came in 8 hours ago, i would get peanuts!

in about 14 hour "after advertiser budgets have been exhausted" my ad will be back to crap

The advertiser quailty determines your CTR and PPC, not Google.

This 59 message thread spans 2 pages: 59 ( [1] 2 > >
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