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More Visitors Less Earnings - 35% drop in October
adsense more visitors less earnings, CPC down
Ger02




msg:4628026
 10:57 am on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have been using AdSense for about 16 months and had steady increase month on month earnings until about 4 months ago where it just levelled off at about €1k per month. My visitors have increased month on month but the CPC drops so I cannot go over €1k a month even though my traffic is up 60% from June to September, the September earnings are just the same as June due to a lower CPC and slightly lower CTR. Visitors per country are at the same percent.

However since mid-October I started to see my earnings drop. My earnings per day went down to 25% from the normal daily rate and after 6 days of this I contact AdSense support. For the next few days (while awaiting a response) the earning went back to normal. Then after 1 week they responded and said "We've narrowed down the reasons for the drop to the changes that were made to our ad serving systems to address accidental clicks (which have been on the rise for you since the start of October)". I pointed out the CTR stats had slightly gone down since June along with my CPC and if anything I should be earning more since I have 60% more visitors for the month of October compared to the month of June. I have not changed my website. It seems like a machine sent this standard auto response email. After my reply they did not respond, and since then my earnings have dropped. Also at the end of the month (in which my earnings were now down 20%) my payable earnings are down another 17% from what I earned. So I am now down about 30-35% to my average monthly earnings even though I had more traffic that month than any other month. For the last year I am usually only deducted €1 for "Invalid Traffic - AdSense for Content", now they seem to be deducting €130 on top of my drop for that month? Some days I check and I earn X amount and later that day it goes down by half, I have never seen this happen over the last year. By this stage I should be earning €2k a month (comparing traffic stats) but instead €700 a month and dropping.

Last week I tweaked one page’s content (correctly) to get a high paying ads, it worked my earnings were up massively however when i checked later that night it was all deducted. I never click on any ads myself (obviously) but it seems I am stuck on my current earnings and decreasing. I was thinking of setting up a company and changing my personal account to VAT registered account. Do you think an unwritten rule exists that google AdSense treat personal accounts different from registered VAT company accounts? My only source of income for my site is Google AdSense and was only concentrating on increasing traffic as I thought double the traffic double the earnings, but this does not seem to be the case. My CTR is only at 1% which is pretty low. Any suggestions would be welcome as I am unsure how to proceed, but my website is growing (it’s not a blog) and I wanted to make my money through advertising and not charge users for the service my website provides. Has anyone experience anything similar to this? Has anyone experience anything similar to this since mid-October? I only use 2 ad units and was thinking about asking AdSense which ad unit is causing the accidental clicks; do you think that would be a good idea? Do you think I should contact adsense support again?
Any suggestions appreciated.
Thanks.

 

netmeg




msg:4628053
 1:39 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld.

First thing you need to realize is the difference between "accidental clicks" and "invalid clicks"

Accidental clicks could possibly be because of user confusion on your site - you want to make sure your ads aren't too close to the navigation, that they have enough contrast not to be mistaken for navigation, or that they're not too blended in with your content.

It's important that you figure this out, because this could put your account at risk. One quick way to see if it's an issue on your end is to turn up the contrast on your ads - add a header that says "Advertising" or "Sponsored" (and nothing else!) and maybe add a background or a border that is different from the rest of your site. Run that for a month and see if you accidental click rate goes down.

Invalid clicks can include bogus clicks from invalid traffic. You have something of a better chance of keeping your account if you have these, because Google has gotten a lot better at detecting them and is less likely to ding you if they don't think you're responsible for them.

Last week I tweaked one page’s content (correctly) to get a high paying ads, it worked my earnings were up massively however when i checked later that night it was all deducted.


I don't know how you're doing this, but Google isn't crazy about this (specially if they think you're writing for ads and not users) and that might be why you got all your revenue taken back.

There's no difference in personal accounts vs company accounts; I've had both.

Another thing that is happening is that the invalid bot traffic activity has gone WAY up over the past year. I never had much in the way of adjustments either, but Google actually told me I had some kind of ad clicking bot network hitting my sites hard - they said they were aware of it, so my account wasn't at risk, but despite repeated pleas they won't give me any more information so I can block or identify this traffic. Very frustrating, but AdSense is what it is.

My only source of income for my site is Google AdSense


Finally - fix this. Start working on alternatives. If your traffic is valid and it's growing, start now at developing direct advertising, explore other ad networks or affiliate ads. You're already experiencing problems with AdSense - you don't want to be in the position of being completely stuck if something happens and your account is suspended or closed. Google protects the Advertisers at all costs, and if your account is considered to be a significant risk to them (even if you did NOTHING wrong - all that has to happen is that your account for some reason attracts trouble) you could be at risk.

You have to think about whether you want to base all your income for the site on another company, in a situation where you really have very little control. AdSense can be great, but it's good to have alternatives too.

martinibuster




msg:4628055
 1:57 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

...and if anything I should be earning more since I have 60% more visitors for the month of October...


You're under the wrong impression. Two myths need to be understood:

1. Traffic does not equal income.

2. More traffic does not always equal more income.

Those are two misperceptions that are common to AdSense publishers. In order to experience success, publishers must stop associating traffic with earnings. The two are not often linked. I know that seems counterintuitive but your experience is proof of it. Please keep reading so I can explain why traffic does not always equal income.

What determines income is the reason for the traffic. Some keywords convert into sales. Most keyword phrases do not convert to sales and will not result in income. On the average website, most traffic does not convert into a sale or a click. Your problem is not adsense. Your problem is not your ads. Your problem is your traffic.

Your symptom is indicative of non-sales traffic. Increasing non-sales related traffic to your site will not increase clicks and income.

Many AdSense publishers will benefit from getting into the mind of an affiliate marketer. No better place to start changing your thought processes than on Rae Hoffman's blog, starting with the Affiliate Marketing [sugarrae.com] section of her blog. I have known Rae for over a decade, she's been involved in affiliate marketing for a long, long time. She doesn't publish photos of fake checks with six figures on it. She tells the truth.

You may want me to tell you that you can get rich quick or get rich lazy, but I'll leave that to the snake oil salesman.

The truth is that affiliate marketing is VERY doable and can BECOME a source of passive income – but you'll have to actually WORK to achieve success with it, at least in the beginning.


Good luck!
;)

[edited by: martinibuster at 2:12 pm (utc) on Dec 5, 2013]

StoutFiles




msg:4628060
 2:09 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

My CTR is only at 1% which is pretty low.


A low CTR, and viewers who don't spend money when they click ads, translates to lower payouts as time goes on. More traffic means nothing if you aren't hitting certain metrics.

hannamyluv




msg:4628081
 2:30 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Last week I tweaked one page’s content (correctly) to get a high paying ads


I will also add that many AdSense publishers fail to look at things from an AdWords advertisers perspective. What may seem to you to be a "great tweak" that will generate YOU more money, may look horrific to advertisers and they will avoid you like the plague, which eventually means less money for YOU down the road. Anytime you make a tweak, consider how you would feel if an ad you were paying for appeared there.

Think about how you can make an ad placement a win-win for both you and the advertiser. I am a big proponent of using logical exit points on a page. It is where a visitor would decide to leave your page anyway, and offering an ad at that point is a way that you can monetize what would have been a lost set of eyeballs and the advertiser benefits because they get a new set of eyeballs who are already looking for related information and products.

martinibuster




msg:4628098
 3:48 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I am a big proponent of using logical exit points on a page.


Yes! That is the kind of thing publishers learn when working with affiliate programs. I was pleasantly surprised at how high CTRs and conversions could be with a properly placed relevant link at the end or near the end of an article.

Ger02




msg:4628102
 3:54 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the tips netmeg. I have now placed a 4px light coloured border (different from every other colour on my page) around each AdSense unit with the title "Advertising" as recommended. Hopefully this will cut out the accidental clicks. Also I did not fully understand accidental clicks with invalid clicks, thanks for clarifying.

The page I tweaked was information relating to "work safety guidelines" so I decided to add in information about claims, personal injuries etc. which should result in higher CPC and CTR. Is this wrong?

martinibuster that seems logical so thanks for the link, will go through it.

And yes StoutFiles I understand that users must not be buying anything when they click on the ads and maybe that's why my earnings are not increasing. I have not changed how visitors find my site or bought traffic as most comes from search engines.

I agrees with you hannamyluv as I already have ads on my "logged out" page. The site has 1000's of pages as my site is broad and allows users to build pages but most of my earnings come from a small number of pages. Would I be better off removing the ads from the other pages that are not earning? As this will bring up the CTR.

Will look into alternatives, prefer to spend my time updating the site rather than marketing but maybe this one of the problems.

Thanks for the feedback.

hannamyluv




msg:4628116
 4:38 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

prefer to spend my time updating the site rather than marketing


Keep in mind that once you nail down a good ad placement, you only really need to re-visit and test new ones once every quarter or so. A little effort now and you are better able to focus on updating because you are making more money.

I also think that you need to fine tune placement, before you worry about things like color and border.

I would not remove ads yet, but I would test other placements. It can take awhile to get them figured out. I have some pages myself that are only making 1/10 what my other pages are. So I am asking for advice from the AdSense team, doing some user testing to see where the ads are failing to be helpful and brainstorming with friends and other publishers. Over the next month, I will take those ideas and test and tweak. A few months from now, I know those pages will be making money like the others and I can move on to more fun things without worrying about them anymore.

netmeg




msg:4628125
 5:01 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

prefer to spend my time updating the site rather than marketing


One is just as important as the other, in my opinion. Maybe even a teeny bit more.

londrum




msg:4628177
 8:01 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Earnings can be very seasonal as well. My earnings drop by 25% over christmas, even though the traffic stays the same.
If the advertisers pull their ads, or start paying less money for them, then you are naturally going to earn less money, and increasing your traffic won't really make much difference
Ups and downs throughout the year are just a normal part of doing business

ken_b




msg:4628196
 10:14 pm on Dec 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

I already have ads on my "logged out" page.

I'd be taking those ads off that page as soon as possible!

Those "you have logged out" pages are generally "NO MEANINGFUL CONTENT" pages and that would probably be a problem for Google.

To me, a logical exit point on a page is a point where the reader has gotten what they came for and then clicks off that page, which is NOT the same as logging out of the site.

.

Jaideemaak




msg:4628239
 2:07 am on Dec 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Martinibuster, thanks for the link. I've been going through Sugarrae's pages and really like her honesty. It's a shame that more pages like this don't turn up in search, rather than the scam sites that she says to avoid.

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