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Big CTR Drop On Thursday Dec. 9
Continuing Today (Friday)
Sally Stitts




msg:4396097
 6:22 pm on Dec 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Anyone else?
My CTR dropped 40% on Thursday Dec. 9.

I don't know how they do it.
From 8% a few years back, to 5%, to 3%, to 2%, to ?%.
Reverse Fibonacci comes to mind - 13 - 8 - 5 - 3 - 2 - 1 - 1 - 0.
Is zero a number in the series? Here she comes.

As Impressions continue to hit new highs, CTR continues to hit new lows.
This is not natural, or normal, or logical.
But I'm sure it is explainable.

Surely it is more than just Interest-Based Ads, and poor targeting. I don't use 3rd party ads.
Anyone got the answer?
How about a theory?
Maybe a solution?
Cheers.
.

 

tangor




msg:4396245
 4:22 am on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

My only theory is that G is hanging on to Panda(istic) recent events until the first of the year. That and the brick wall that all search engines seem to hit: I can't index it all so I have to:

a. qualify
b. redundant
c. duplicate
d. Big Brand which pays me money
e. catch my breath

Any one of the five above will impact all the rest of the sites. Guess which one I think is most important.

Sally, the sad reality is the web is growing so much faster these days and the "pie" is only so big. "Our" slice just got that much slimmer.

snickles121




msg:4396280
 7:19 am on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

My CTR has dropped to that low too Sally, but this is normal for December and it might not pick back up until the second week of January. This is normal for at least for me and I know a few people on this board that know the same. I wouldnt panic over it.

HuskyPup




msg:4396313
 11:07 am on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's been all over the place for me, I've never seen such peaks and troughs. Tuesday's earnings' were 70% of average, Wednesday 50% and then Thursday 135% and Friday 124%.

Traffic was completely average in the range of 93~105% therefore you can guess what my CTR looks like.

I did notice some horrible off-subject ads that seem to have disappeared now.

farmboy




msg:4396334
 1:35 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

My only theory is that G is hanging on to Panda(istic) recent events until the first of the year.


Maybe someone can explain something to me.

I've been reading about the impact of "Panda" for quite a while now. My understanding is the search results get moved around and traffic increases or decreases as a result of higher or lower rankings for various search terms.

So Panda is the "problem." Lower traffic meant lower CTR, lower revenue or whatever.

But in this thread, the OP indicated a problem with CTR being down. The OP didn't say her traffic was down. She even reported impressions being up.

So why is this connected to Panda? What am I missing?


FarmBoy

HuskyPup




msg:4396347
 2:46 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

So why is this connected to Panda? What am I missing?


I wish I knew the answer. One section of one of my websites, a Coppermine gallery, was hit by Panda 2.1. This gallery used to generate more page impressions than any other of my sites but only contributed about 10% to overall earnings.

Since Panda 2.1 my overall earnings have been in the region of 45% prior to May 7th and this gallery still produces about 10% of revenues.

I have argued this time and time again here that since Panda 2.1 my CTR reduced to 65.8% overnight and has stayed at that level although this week I did see new lows.

Comparing the 3 months before and after 2.1 my page impressions were 75.7% which was precisely the reduction in my gallery image views.

So what have I answered? Nothing other than my overall earnings are 45% of what they were and the site that produced the most impression still produces 10% of overall earnings YET Panda was supposedly nothing to do with this.

I also have to add I have non-Pandalised sites where the earnings also halved overnight with 2.1 and since Panda I have not had ONE day where earnings or clicks achieved a pre-Panda average.

Beats me I tell you.

ember




msg:4396355
 3:42 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Less traffic should not lower CTR unless the quality of the traffic has changed. If it is coming from the same place, ie organic search, maybe visitors are coming in on keyword phrases that aren't quite as relevant as before.

farmboy




msg:4396364
 4:13 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it is coming from the same place, ie organic search, maybe visitors are coming in on keyword phrases that aren't quite as relevant as before.



Maybe.

Suppose you have a site about green widgets and it currently sits in the number two spot at Google for the search "green widgets"

The next morning you wake up and your search position for "green widgets" is now at 12. Why would the quality of the traffic arriving at your site be less now than before?

Or maybe I'm missing your point.


FarmBoy

Sally Stitts




msg:4396422
 6:23 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Here are my generalized estimates for AdSense overall CTR stats over time -
2005 - 8%
2006 - 11%
2007 - 13%
2008 - 8%
2009 - 8%
2010 - 5%
2011 - 3%
2012 - 2% - ? (approaching this now)
2013 - 1% - ?

These are the approximate average CTR numbers that I have observed over time.
How did your CTR numbers compare with these?

The greatest single CTR drop occurred when IBAs were introduced.
--- Reduction of clickable area had an effect
--- Poorer targeting has had an effect

I have never used image ads, nor 3rd party ads.
I only use 1 ad per page - it is always the 250 square, always at top center.
Over the years, what I have done has been extremely consistant. AdSense, not so much, exhibiting a pronounced CTR downtrend in recent years. The earnings trend is still up, due to increasing EPC, but the "CTR clamping" is annoying. I wish I had more definitive info on CTR dropping, so that I might improve it. My belief is that there is less and less we can do individually. After we have optimized, CTR is determined by AdSense, by what ads they serve.
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 7:10 pm (utc) on Dec 10, 2011]

azn romeo 4u




msg:4396425
 6:53 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

What are you counting CTR off of? Impressions or per visitor? If impressions, mine is pretty crappy hanging at around 1% since I joined adsense in 2005 I think. But if I count based on visitors, my CTR is around 10-20%.

Sally Stitts




msg:4396429
 7:05 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

CTR = Total Impressions divided by Total Clicks

Are you saying that each of your visitors visits 10 to 20 pages?
Each of my visitors visits about 1.5 pages.

I should add that I believe my CTR is better than most of those reported online, maybe twice as good.
But the trend is undeniably downward.
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 7:27 pm (utc) on Dec 10, 2011]

londrum




msg:4396437
 7:19 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

my average over the last two years is probably between 1.5% and 2%
but i've definitely noticed a decline since about august. the average dipped to between 1% and 1.5%. and since november i'm seeing stuff between 0.5% and 1%

its been a steady drop over time, whilst my traffic has stayed more or less the same.

i think that means its probably something to do with the economy, because the economic news has been getting steadily worse all year. people dont want to buy stuff, so they dont click. and there's less advertisers around too, spending less money, so the ad quality isnt so goood, meaning you lose clicks there too.

ken_b




msg:4396443
 7:27 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

CTR = Total Impressions divided by Total Clicks

Are you saying that each of your visitors visits 10 pages?

Each of my visitors visits about 1.5 pages.

That brings up a good point.

The number of page views per visit can certainly affect CTR.

100 visits x 10 pages = 1,000 page views. 10 clicks would then = 1% CTR

100 visits x 2 pages = 200 page views. 10 clicks would then = 5% CTR

farmboy




msg:4396450
 8:11 pm on Dec 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

i think that means its probably something to do with the economy


I agree the economy is having an impact. Different sites in different ways with some a negative impact and probably some a positive impact, depending on the topic.

But look at the CTR rate over time as the OP posted. As I've noted before, the AdWords side of things has become more complex over time also. I've also noted I think their inventory of ads has not kept pace.

I have talked with small business owners who see what's involved in advertising on AdSense as compared to other means and they choose those other means.

I think more simplicity on the AdWords side would bring in more advertisers and that certainly has the possibility of bringing up the CTR.

FarmBoy

netmeg




msg:4397100
 4:41 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

My CTR is way down too. I live in MICHIGAN and my sites are all targeted to MICHIGAN or neighboring states. I attribute it almost entirely to the economy. My AdSense sites aren't e-commerce or targeted to people in the buying cycle (which cuts out a lot right there) and people who wander my way don't generally have extra money to throw around these days.

jmccormac




msg:4397106
 4:52 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Looks like Adsense is banjaxing the targeting. I've had a pile of forex rubbish on one of my sites - all completely irrelevant.

Regards...jmcc

Sally Stitts




msg:4397227
 9:41 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

After 7 years with AdSense, today, Monday Dec. 12, I have hit a new daily record low CTR, while at the same time I have hit a 7-year record daily high EPC.

Interesting, eh? What does it mean?
I could be doing much better, were it not for my unexplained CTR "clamp".

As suggested above -
--- Bad economy causing visitors not to click?
--- Too many ill-conceived Interest-Based Ads?
--- Ad targeting gone bad?
--- Fewer advertisers?
--- Poorer ads

Some of each? Don't know.
I'm leaning toward modified targeting that simply doesn't work as well as the "old targeting". One factor might be that there are ads that "must be served", even though they are nowhere near the best choice. Ads from big AdWords buyers with very deep pockets, that pay Google NOTHING unless they are served. The best possible targeting is NOT Google's primary objective - income maximization is.
.

dirkji




msg:4397352
 9:11 am on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Same here, a serious CTR drop on Thursday and haven't recovered yet. Must be a change in the targetting algorithm.

njstangers




msg:4397405
 2:09 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's really interesting, not even a year into it for me but from my SEO and Panda knowledge. I am focusing on creating more fresh, useful and good content on a weekly basis to drive extra traffic and make up for the low ctr that I am also experiencing.

joeychgo




msg:4397418
 2:53 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Well, I think what is happening at this time of year isnt about traffic or panda.... I think advertisers are starting to pull their ads as most people have completed their christmas buying or at least know what / where they will be buying.

With lower demand for ad placement, cpc prices go down and the variety / quality of ads also drops. I think THAT is what is reflected in the traditional mid-December drop.

ember




msg:4397441
 3:37 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think advertisers are starting to pull their ads as most people have completed their christmas buying...


I don't Christmas shop until Christmas Eve and not even then if I can help it.

netmeg




msg:4397454
 3:56 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't think advertisers are pulling their ads.

Actually Sally's stats (low CTR, high EPC) match with a few of my sites, and make me wonder if the advertisers are seeing low CTR as well, and raising their minimum bids in a sort of desperation move to get more coverage.

dirkji




msg:4397461
 4:07 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

@joeychgo I have never in all these years had a CTR drop like this in December.

dirkji




msg:4397462
 4:12 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

My CTR over the years:

2004: 5%
2005: 11%
2006: 11%
2007: 11%
2008: 7%
2009: 6%
2010: 5%
Q1 2011: 4%
Q2 2011: 3.5%
Q3 2012: 3%
Q4 2012: 2.5%
Since last Thursday: 2%

How low can we go?

HuskyPup




msg:4397485
 5:31 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

How low can we go?


Yesterday I had 0.80% however my EPC was 160% compared to November, I'm thinking along the same lines as netmeg but also assuming that considering my industry in the western world closes for two full weeks over Xmas, that this weekend many may pull their ads altogether.

azn romeo 4u




msg:4397486
 5:32 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are you saying that each of your visitors visits 10 to 20 pages?


They visit 1-80 pages. But it averages around 13 pages per visit this month. I have a fairly high bounce rate of 30%. Actually not sure if that's high or not.

CTR just means Click through rate. Google measures CTR by total impressions. I measure it by unique visitors. Since each visitor visits different amount of pages, it's gonna jump up and down the CTR. But by measuring it by unique visitors, i know the number is constant and easier to look at.

netmeg




msg:4397521
 6:54 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would not consider a 30% bounce rate to be high at all. I don't even pay attention till it gets well above 40%.

dirkji




msg:4398132
 8:15 am on Dec 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

When did the +1 begin appearing on display ads? Maybe there's a relation...

martinibuster




msg:4398143
 8:56 am on Dec 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

After 7 years with AdSense, today, Monday Dec. 12, I have hit a new daily record low CTR, while at the same time I have hit a 7-year record daily high EPC.

Interesting, eh? What does it mean?


To begin to properly identify and understand what is happening, we must consider metrics associated with the server logs or third party analytics. One cannot begin to find an answer without reviewing the traffic metrics. Here are just a few year over year comparisons to review:

Top 20 keyword phrases year over year
a. What phrases are missing?

b. What phrases are new?

c. Same phrases but less traffic from phrases?

d. Where do those top twenty phrases rank, compared to their rankings
over the previous year?

e. What does Google Trends say about those keyword phrases?

f. Who else is ranking for those keyword phrases?

g. How have the percentages of OS/browser/devices changed year of year?

h. Has percentage of traffic from countries changed? Do you have less from the UK year over year?

i. What do the top keyword phrases used to access the site say about user intent, why are they on your site? Are they on the buy cycle?

Those are just a few considerations that have NOT been addressed in this discussion that need to be addressed in order to begin to find a satisfactory answer. There are more. You will not find answers clicking around your AdSense Control Panel. Log off from the AdSense control panel. Dig around in your traffic stats.

While the traffic logs is not the only place to look, it's an obvious one to look at. There are other considerations outside of AdSense, like algo tweaks (which will be revealed in your traffic logs), ranking changes (which will be revealed in your traffic logs) and other factors that also may be hinted at from your traffic logs.

Good luck.
;)

azn romeo 4u




msg:4399939
 3:13 am on Dec 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Might be because of the end of the holiday season, but my CTR is down about 20-25%. Sucks...

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