|October 2013 AdSense Earnings and Observations|
Haunting Tales of AdSense That Would Spook Any Webmaster!
Good bye September! What will October bring? Ups, downs, and everything in-between...
Good points, webcentric, but I have made no assumptions about anything concerning Tuesday being the best day I've had for revenue in about three years (The all-time record the result of a certain person dying, and me having a huge traffic surge due to an article I had written about this person.)
So, humor me a moment, and allow me to dissect my own huge earnings day.
As usual, with any unforeseen event, we try to put causation into the equation, and I am postulating that my big day had to do with a confluence of factors.
1. Recent success in one area which generated targeted traffic.
2. End of month ad spending
3. Increased effort to drive traffic from another source.
4. Luck, fate, karma, other uncontrollable forces.
These are nothing more than guesses, however. Adsense continues to be extremely opaque - like government or the tooth fairy. In the case of government, we don't actually know exactly why it DOESN'T WORK so well, as in the ObamaCare website, yet we can count on it to be highly dysfunctional in many enterprises.
The tooth fairy may be a better metaphor for Adsense. We put the teeth under the pillows (implement the ad code on our sites) and the tooth fairy (Googlebot) delivers money. We never know how much money and there is usually no causal relationship (bigger teeth or multiple teeth don't necessarily generate more income). The money just shows up.
Just my two cents. In any case, the days prior to and following record-setting days are always somewhat disappointing. Such is the way of the Google tooth fairy. Kinda like the stock market, too.
Edit: this post brought up recollections of the work of a stock market favorite, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who wrote "Fooled by Randomness" and "The Black Swan." Other authors have written extensively on the subject, citing dumb luck and "being in the right place at the right time," usually by accident, as outsize factors in investing success.
My Adsense observations for October...
From October 1st my RPM has gradually declined. By October 26th I was at half of my usual RPM and then on the 27th I had a sudden drop so my RPM halved again.
I'm now making 25% of what I was with the same traffic.
Is this smart pricing?
BTW, this is based on significant data with tens of thousands of daily pageviews and thousands of Adsense clicks each day.
|I am postulating that my big day had to do with a confluence of factors |
Ah, the confluence of factors. Not being facetious as you've hit the nail on the head (IMHO). To be fair, as a general conversation, the "I'm up" or "I'm down" posts do speak to trends in Adsense on a very general level and I suppose if you went back and did a detailed analysis of these posts (probably over many months), some conclusions could be reached about VERY GENERAL TRENDS at Google. Actually, I've reached a few of my own without any detailed analysis necessary. Still, the devil is in the details and who knows if someone is up because they started a new Facebook campaign or down because they started mixing up text ads with display ads. The confluence of factors makes arriving at anything more than some general conclusions, really difficult, if not impossible without knowing what those factors are. Perhaps understanding general trends is the primary reason for this thread but I can see much more possibility, given some detailed information to work with. Volume of traffic is one factor but actually it doesn't go to the methodology behind generating earnings and whether that methodology is succeeding or failing so I see it as a red-herring in a way. It's how folks engage their traffic (content and ad presentation) when it arrives that is the real intangible (or should I say, "missing") element in this discussion.
The Google was very good to me yesterday! No kidding, like a light switch. Not a dramatic upswing in traffic, but earning were abnormally high.
Things are pretty much back to normal for me today, but I'm still enjoying my own "Google as tooth fairy" metaphor. That, and my psychological well-being attributed to thinking like I'm 20 when Im really almost 60 is having a positive effect.
If Google's the tooth fairy, then the IRS must be the Grinch, right?
I think it all stems from selling stuff on eBay auctions. Addicted to #winning.
webcentric - Totally agree with your comments.
I think Google is sometimes seen as the cause of a rise or fall in income, when the reason could be something else…
1) Server problems. Your server could be down for a few minutes every hour, especially if its a shared server and there is a badly coded site using up all the resources and crashing all the time. Or the server is just generally struggling at peak times and the adsense is loading too slowly.
2) Low traffic levels. If you have under 1000 page views per day, a few lucrative clicks will have a big effect on your stats. Any analysis is very difficult to do without a decent amount of regular traffic.
3) Advertisers. In my sector, advertisers are very active in changing their targeted keywords on a daily basis. Using Bing, I can target a phrase and send those advertisers a shed load of traffic. During the day, spend limits get hit and slowly the bids go down. Next day, the advertisers rethink their budget and experiment with other phrases. This type of behaviour must be happening with adsense advertisers, and your page may lose or gain advertisers accordingly. I suppose advertisers may also just run out of money near the end of the month or choose to advertise elsewhere.
4) Seasonal effects. A big football match, a sunny day, a storm taking out electricity pylons…. all can have a small or big effect. In the recruitment sector, January can be huge, while november and December is often quiet.
5) Fashion. You may be selling red widgets, while Britney Spears says blue widgets are cool this week.
6) Too many website changes. A change you did a month ago may only now be effecting your ranking and the 'theme' of your page. Perhaps you have changed the 'theme' of your page sufficiently to change the ads that are showing. Whilst the change you did a week ago has yet to be picked up, but you blame it for the drop in earnings. Perhaps your traffic from google is slightly different, for instance, you change a title of a page from 'Sales Jobs in New York' to 'Sales Vacancies in New York'. This could rank slightly higher for 'vacancy' searches and change the ads that google sends you as well as the type of person google sends you, being people who would use the word 'vacancy' rather than 'job'. Then add a subtle colour change to the ads and all of a sudden you have too many variables to really know what is happening.
7) Someone links to you and you start to get slightly off theme traffic. Sometimes difficult to spot, but it can screw up your stats. Also your stats package may not be keeping up with spiders etc. We became a target for a university that was teaching its students to make spiders and crawl sites. Our servers kept being hit and many problems followed.
8) Assuming something which appears to be obvious…. but is fundamentally wrong! We had a classic example of this. We assumed, for years, that people going for 'Driving Jobs' would probably not be uploading CV's or even have one. It turned out that Driving Jobs attracted the most CV's compared to every other sector. It was one of our biggest earners and we had no idea. The point is, every assumption needs to be backed up with reasonable evidence.
Anybody think of other reasons for adsense earning losses which are not caused by google?
Nope. I blame AdSense 100% for the drop. Is there anybody here getting anywhere near the click count for the same traffic they did in 2009? Didn't think so.
Back then, the same page views on my site were generating 150x the click count that's being scored today. What changed? Not my site, not my visitors.
People back then were happily clicking away on relevant ads, not the IBAs and poorly designed ads today that have replaced them. For my sites at least, it's pretty clear cut what changed. AdSense.
|Back then, the same page views on my site were generating 150x the click count that's being scored today. What changed? Not my site, not my visitors. |
In my case, sites changed for better: more traffic, like 2x and 3x what I had on 2009. I'm receiving more emails from readers, and it wasn't page views the only thing that what went up, it was everything, unique visitors and page views.
Still, not getting quite good ads and as I posted previously, I can reach my daily usual earning at times at 9am and then no clicks for the rest of the day? just 2 clicks? that's too strange. But I'm not taking the opposite view on your approach, I'm adding and supporting what you wrote.
There are some posts discriminating sites... that make no sense, there are big players here on WebmasterWorld with 5K to 10K uniques per day going to pennies, and we are all familiar with their wisdom and good practices, it can't be just like that.
Back to the main topic: earnings have been slow today, yesterday was better, back ok track after a week of 50% less earnings. Today looks like 60% of the usual.
|Nope. I blame AdSense 100% for the drop. Is there anybody here getting anywhere near the click count for the same traffic they did in 2009? Didn't think so. |
Given the upheaval in the SERPS over the last year or more, how can you even think of using a term like "same traffic?" So you're saying that you have exactly the same "quantity" of visitors as last year and that the "quality" of traffic is also the same. When you make a statement like that I presume you mean every one of your keywords is performing exactly as it was a year ago.
|Back then, the same page views on my site were generating 150x the click count that's being scored today. What changed? Not my site, not my visitors. |
So, you haven't changed anything in the last year even though the entire composition of Adsense ads has changed radically? No wonder your numbers have declined so dramatically. Evolution is a process of adapting to environmental changes and even basic survival instincts will kick an average person's defense mechanisms into reaction mode when their status quo is threatened. I find it hard to believe you have not reacted to the stated losses with changes to your site(s) in some way. And again, I question whether you have the exact same visitors (or even type of visitors) now that you had a year ago.
Yes junk ads are a factor, I can attest to that but to say you haven't reacted to that as well is a bit hard to believe too. You didn't at least try replacing units with ads from another network? If you did then your statement isn't accurate because you have less Adsense units in play. If you didn't, one could reasonably ask, why not?
|People back then were happily clicking away on relevant ads, not the IBAs and poorly designed ads today that have replaced them. For my sites at least, it's pretty clear cut what changed. AdSense. |
Here's what I do get. All your visitors are people. You blame your earnings decline entirely on Adsense and appear to want to take no responsibility for your own survival in a changing environment (or credit any other factors like changes in the quality of traffic over time). Everything should fit into the plan you laid out years ago and you have a right to succeed with the same tried and true method from now until eternity even though everything around you is changing.
Sorry Google didn't follow your recipe for success and now you have to rethink your retirement plan. Yup, I'm one of those idiots that sneaked in the back door here at WebmasterWorld just to complicate your life by pointing out that paradigms shift and complaining about them won't change the fact that they're shifting. So when you're ready to share something like "I took this action and it didn't help" then I'll be the first one to lend you a shoulder to cry on because Google is messing with people's livelihoods in very real ways. The circumstances are far too complex though to wrap into some of the safe, comfortable blanket statements made in here that would presume to summarize the entire situation and all of it's nuances into one nice, neat, little package.
Nope webcentric, not even close. I'm saying I know my niche, I know my site. People just don't up and change their clicking habits on a dime like they have without a reason and sorry, but I put that on AdSense's doorstep. There's just no way people change that fast, none.
My earnings are now about 25% of what they used to be before Sept 19th (new design launch). My traffic has not changed, my sites have not changed, but my CTR dropped 2.5 times, and CPC is ridiculous. I also blame Google.
My RPM was so stable you could guess it for the next day and even next week. And then a sudden drop to 25% of what it was. And still dropping. How would it be even possible to think something else changed?
The interesting thing is that this drop did not happen for all sites, some even see an increase (and I am talking about the same traffic source and same niche I am working in) - must be something with the algorithm shaving many accounts or something... I just cannot find any other explanation to that.
Play_Bach. The main reason I am looking at Adsense, rather than staying with Bing, is that our income has dropped like a stone. I assumed the advertisers were moving to Adsense. However, it seems that members here say their Adsense has dropped, which suggests that publishers using Bing or Adsense are suffering from the same problem.
The common denominator may be that on both networks, Bing or Adsense, the advertiser can opt out of appearing on 'partner sites'. I think that as advertisers have become more sophisticated, have more tools/data to analyse and partner sites continue to get poor press, so the bids drop.
Who can blame them?
I've seen a few people mention "red bar days" can someone enlighten me?
I suspect that refers to instances where the stats are stuck, and if you go to the Performance page (or whatever it's called - I have a beta test UI at the moment so I don't remember) and there's a red bar across the top that says the stats are delayed but it doesn't delay ad delivery or earnings.
Is anyone seeing little thumbnail pics in their text ads today? First time I have seen this on mine.
|The common denominator may be...the advertiser... |
I'm using the quot here slightly out of context from the way it was made to cherry pick a point.
Somewhere farther up this thread, someone said "follow the money." If Adsense is the culprit, then the advertisers are victims too and they seem to be leaving and/or at least haven't figured out how to take advantage of the changes either. Where are they going? Now that's a productive question. Trying to follow the money would be taking a real survival step.
As I've mentioned before, Adsense and Bing ads are now starting to look quite similar (or at least are using similar layout components). It may be all the fault of Adsense but advertisers aren't stupid (for the most part) and know that if something isn't working for them, then they should put their money elsewhere. So, once again, follow the money.
I've also written on this board that certain layout strategies that worked with the old ad formats just don't work with these new formats and that certain steps are necessary make them more effective. It's a theory but I have at least some evidence that the theories do work (even if not as well as the old ads but somewhat better anyway) in certain environments. Of course, engaging anyone in a discussion like that is like pulling teeth around here.
|People just don't up and change their clicking habits on a dime |
We'll if the things they used to click on are no longer available then apparently they have to. So, Adsense is messing with habitual behaviors you've come to rely on Play_Bach. Not only has the advertising environment changed but the behavior (or reaction to what your site now looks like) has changed and again I ask, what are you going to do about it?
@MHes Been meaning to say that you posted a very cogent list of insights into some of the variables in the equation. Changes at Adsense are certainly a variable of prime importance but so many other factors are at work and a discussion with some context has a much better chance of being productive than one without it.
Good morning webcentric. No, I'm not relying on Jack $#1T from Google, never have. If you want to extrapolate that into something else, more power to you. Cheers.
And a good morning to you Play_Bach
The primary point I'm extrapolating is that you don't want to discuss specifics or address the nuances of the environment we all find ourselves in (at least not publicly). I didn't know this was the "complain about my earnings" thread. I though it was about observations related to how those earnings are made, not a stock ticker.
p.s. FYI in case it's not obvious, I'm interested in have productive conversations and not in starting flame wars. A productive conversation can start with a complaint but if it never ventures beyond complaining, then I challenge the assumption that it's a productive conversation (or even a conversation for that matter).
Perhaps the question of how to actually earn money with Adsense is no longer relevant. What do I know. I'll observe that some people are still trying and, in some cases, actually succeeding. Context is everything (or at least an important thing).
"Where are they going? Now that's a productive question."
Here's my take on what may have happened to me. In 2006 we had 5 recruitment websites, ranking well and pulling in 40,000 uniques per day. We showed Overture ads (now owned by Bing) and targeted lucrative bids. At the time, you could use a tool which showed you the bids for each phrase, so what we did was find the combination of the most clickable and lucrative bids and just show them. e.g. We may have a page that ranked well for "customer service jobs" but the ads were poor with low bids for that precise phrase. So instead of showing that phrase's bids, we would ask Overture for "Sales Jobs" ads which we knew was a good earner and clickable, and show those on the "customer service jobs" page. By changing the phrase always to the top earning ones, we were getting on average 22 cents per click and attracting 20,000 clicks per day. Nothing illegal, Overture were happy for us to show whatever ads we asked for. Happy days. I think the advertisers started to realise that avoiding the big phrases and focusing on more precise phrases produced better results for them. Eventually, a phrase like "Sales Jobs" which was at 30 or 40 cents fell to 7 or 8 cents and more targeted phrases like "customer service jobs" increased to 10 cents. In short, the advertisers got smarter. At the same time, Overture stopped allowing publishers to see the bids for each phrase. The result was that we could no longer know where the money was and the advertiser was spreading their budget over much broader phrases. At the same time, Google was weeding out of the serps any sites that were "made for Adsense" which meant we had to tone down the number of ads per page and put them lower down on the page. Unfortunately, we lost traffic from Google anyway, probably due to the fact that we never had much original content. The advertisers in the recruitment sector then started to shift towards paying commission for CV's or job applications, rather than just for visits. Some also stopped using Adwords or Bing and started paying sites like ours directly for traffic. We shifted from selling traffic to other sites via Overture to having direct ppc arrangements and contracts with those sites. A typical contract would simply be 15c per unique who clicked through to their site. Then this changed to actually showing the advertisers jobs, and only getting a 10c click if the visitor wanted to apply for the job. Throughout this time, Google was giving us less and less traffic, while our clients own sites were moving up the organic serps, thus reducing the need for them to buy any traffic. Meanwhile another factor was kicking in….. the public were getting better at searching. In 2002 we would get a lot of traffic for phrases like "sales jobs", by 2008 people were using much longer tail searches, such as "customer adviser sales job in furniture or bedding in Liverpool". This meant that more specialist recruitment websites were picking up these focused keywords and we could no longer cover the increase in phrases.
So thats where we are now. 10% of traffic and 5% of previous income. My conclusion is that it has been due to the advertisers getting more targeted and generally smarter, the "network partners" giving too many low quality clicks and advertisers shying away from them and Google. Bing and Yahoo all realising that they can keep the advertisers more happy and on board if they focus the ad presentation onto their own networks. They only want good quality clicks from their partners, so they increase that chance by focusing on the users history rather than the topic of the page. If they get an 'off theme' click maybe this has proven to be better quality, although less frequent. Hence the drop in clicks and revenue for the partner sites.
Just my take on things.
Some of this type of conversation is also going on here: [webmasterworld.com...] Perhaps we clip off the general "Whither Adsense" stuff into its own post.
|Perhaps we clip off the general "Whither Adsense" stuff into its own post. |
I'm not opposed to compartmentalizing discussions but I would like someone to explain why the discussion to be "clipped" isn't completely relevant to this thread in the first place. How and why earnings are fluctuating/plummeting is an observation about Adsense earnings.
To be fair, I understand that this is a monthly thread so putting it into a more permanent bucket makes sense. I'm just sensitive to how "clipping" can be used to bury a discussion. Right now, this is the most active thread in this board and the discussion has not strayed off topic as far as I can see.
|Is anyone seeing little thumbnail pics in their text ads today? First time I have seen this on mine. |
I mentioned this over a month ago but maybe I was the only one who got experimented with because I don't recall anyone else commenting on it. Text-ads, oh right, those things with images in them and sliding panels and favicons. I remember those from back in kindergarten...NOT! To call Adsense text ads "text ads" anymore is a joke. It's also bordering on false advertising on Google's part so my suggestion is that they drop the pretense of "text ads" and call them something more accurate...perhaps goulash would be a good name.
|To be fair, I understand that this is a monthly thread so putting it into a more permanent bucket makes sense. I'm just sensitive to how "clipping" can be used to bury a discussion. Right now, this is the most active thread in this board and the discussion has not strayed off topic as far as I can see. |
I dunno if you were here under a different name prior to August 2013 (the signup date for your profile); the whole reason this monthly thread came about was to keep the discussion of daily fluctuations to one specific thread rather than have them take over every other thread in the forum - which they were doing. As I recall it, it was meant more for reporting - the analysis parts usually go on in their own threads.
So... as I understand it, that's why.
Thanks netmeg. No I have never used this site with a different username although I lurked here for well over a year before ever posting.
As I've said before, if the purpose of this thread is to function like a stock ticker and that's all then it's very poorly named and subtitled. Assuming that new people coming to this board know that this is just meant to be a Adsense ticker without actually stating that is probably the cause of this current blip in the ticker tape. I'm going to suggest that someone take a look at a dictionary and come up with words for a title that accurately describes the intended purpose of this thread and save everybody the confusion of thinking its about any and all observations related to Adsense. Then that way I'll know not to muck up next month's ticker tape parade.
|As I recall it, it was meant more for reporting |
Yep, HuskyPup started it when AdSense stuck queries were being asked on every post and it was a simple way to stop it.
webcentric, there's nothing to stop you creating an original and thought-provoking post, in fact it would be quite a good idea since you do seem to like analysing most things and I find them an interesting read.
I don't know why people can't just post what they want if it is an observation about Adsense. That is the title of the thread. What is bad form is newer people coming in thinking that they know what is best for the forum.
|webcentric, there's nothing to stop you creating an original and thought-provoking post |
Point well made and taken.
|What is bad form is newer people coming in thinking that they know what is best for the forum. |
I agree and if I'm guilty of that then I apologize (it's board etiquette just about anywhere you go). Having said that, I think there's a difference between trying to stimulate conversation and outright telling people what they should think or do. New people jump in all the time and this thread is a bit special because it rolls over every month. Can't really expect someone new to glean the culture and history of a thread that only has a few days worth of posts in it and a very broad title to boot.
I think Adsense is making just about everyone here a bit cranky about now and with the holiday season rolling in, the stress is only going to increase. If a conversation can unveil a magic bullet for someone or perhaps just suggest a mitigating strategy to help someone alleviate some of that stress then it's a conversation worth having (IMHO). Wouldn't it be great if we all discovered something together and had a great holiday season as a result. I know, wishful thinking but I can't help myself. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Thanks for the insights.
To me this monthly thread isn't about having a conversation.
It's about incident specific observations.
"My earnings today look horrible at the moment, stats are stuck, stats are flowing again, anyone seeing crashing CTR", etc.
You want an intelligent less interrupted conversation, start a topic specific thread.
It's really that simple.
And yes, a string of off topic posts does make me cranky.
By the way, my stats have been stuck most of the day, but I'm still not going to walk out in front of a speeding truck. :)
I'm at 115% of last October, so I'm cool no matter how today ends up.
|I don't know why people can't just post what they want if it is an observation about Adsense. That is the title of the thread. |
|It's about incident specific observations. |
Didn't see that in the title or subtitle. Apparently there's no consensus on the matter.
On the matter of how Adsense is treating my business (putting all other factors aside) it's been a decent month. So, putting all other factors aside simply proves that apples are the same as oranges.