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February 2014 AdSense Earnings and Observations
RedBar




msg:4642050
 10:48 am on Feb 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'll kick it off then!

 

breeks




msg:4649838
 9:36 pm on Feb 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Almost double February 2013. Will see if it sticks.

Today looking rather sad with a 50% drop in CTR compared to the rest of the month.

webcentric




msg:4649856
 10:20 pm on Feb 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm curious how many of you are doing better this February than February of a year ago and how many are doing worse.


Approaching 17 times the revenue this Feb. vs Last Feb. with about double the traffic. More ad placements and lots of fidgeting with color, placement and ad size seem to be the primary factors along with moving to a responsive design which has kicked mobile revenue way up. Never had a February this good in over 8 years. Of course, this comes with the obligatory "if they don't take it all away in a couple of days" disclaimer attached. Today appears to be off the hook in a great way (same disclaimer attached).

littlecubpanda




msg:4649870
 11:03 pm on Feb 27, 2014 (gmt 0)

Things are better today. Back on track.

Fact is, I'm scared -- some b.s. bot traffic came in on one of my sites, I immediately sent G a message about it in Jan., but I LEFT THE ADS UP.

I left the up on this site because the traffic looked real, the clicks rarely if ever got removed, and the CTR was very low.

So why worry, right?

Well, I found out the traffic was b.s. It was someone attacking me with bot traffic, but for whatever reason, these bots produced clicks that appeared REAL.

I don't know if G will ban me, just rescind all the clicks I made through Feb when the money settles in a week, or just carry on like nothing happened.

I don't know, and I'm scared. At least I sent them that message early so, so it will show I was concerned. I also removed the ads completely from that particular site a few days ago. I should have sooner, but as I said, the traffic looked real, the clicks looked real, but at this point, I highly suspect it was not real traffic or clicks.

I'm terrified. I didn't know. I should have just removed the ads, but at the time it looked like real social media traffic, it looked like my site had just gotten some play on social media.

wa desert rat




msg:4649893
 1:48 am on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

So after an entire day and a reported 5 clicks, G took all of them away, one by one. We're now at zero clicks with over 400 visits and 1700 page views but now one single click.

Sweet!

wa desert rat




msg:4649901
 2:34 am on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Wait... now we're at 6 clicks. This is insane. 5 down to zero and up to six in the space of a few hours. This is insane.

wa desert rat




msg:4649904
 2:58 am on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Back to zero. I'm amazed.

explorador




msg:4649910
 3:17 am on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm back to my roots, the beginning, living as if Adsense didn't exist. Sure is there and I'm still making money but the traffic is so high and the earnings so low... it's boring! I'm more busy with other stuff. Nope, I'm not making pennies, but I even feel (respectfully and is just MY case) that talking about Adsense and trying to figure it out became a waste of time, first I lost the intensity, now I don't even care.

MrSavage




msg:4649912
 3:32 am on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yesterday seemed broken. No surprise to me that today bounced back decently. Considering the effort (or lack thereof) I've put into my sites the past 3 months, I'm content. I've cut expenses to adjust to the lower earnings but at the very least I've numbed to it somewhat. Inner peace is it called?

AnAppleADay




msg:4649926
 6:43 am on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

> first I lost the intensity, now I don't even care

Me too! I've send them many, many new advertisers in the past, now I try to get them all back.

avalon37




msg:4650043
 2:38 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've noticed that the Adsense numbers are consistent again in GA + AdSense direct login.

Ironside




msg:4650048
 2:51 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I was on the 7.50 when I checked First thing, one hour later, it's dropped right down to 1.38. Honestly, AdSense has often been erratic, but it's so so much worse in the last few weeks. Anyway, I've done pretty well this month, considering it's only 28 days. However, I hope it's not going to continue getting worse. Apart from AdSense, what other schemes can a new fairly good money. My website is an article website, people basically come to me for information on how to look after fish. It be nice to have something to fall back on if AdSense goes belly up

RyuUK




msg:4650072
 3:50 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Was ok at the start of the week, but things have majorly slowed down. One thing that I have noticed much more is the shaving! Never happened like this in the past and so I have no idea why they are doing this so consistently now. From what I gather on the board, others have been experiencing this same thing.

wa desert rat




msg:4650074
 3:52 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

Yesterday (the 27th) finished the day with zero clicks. This morning at 8am the report shows 7 clicks; normally it would show one or two.

I have little doubt that most of them will be withdrawn before the day is over.

I'm glad I still have my day-job.

MrSavage




msg:4650085
 4:24 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm with a few of you. I had a good chunk of money clawed back later in the day. I guess it doesn't pay to check stats.

Ironside




msg:4650150
 9:40 pm on Feb 28, 2014 (gmt 0)

I had more money this morning that I have at the moment, 31 clicks, and just over 5, it's normally double that at this time of the day, what is going on?

wa desert rat




msg:4650228
 2:47 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

12 hours later I have the same 7 clicks; there were 9 but they ripped those right out of my hands within minutes. So essentially the same 7 clicks all day long. And yesterday G took back every click so we finished with zero.

webcentric




msg:4650243
 5:04 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

And yesterday G took back every click so we finished with zero.


Not doubting you but that's extreme. We had someone in here a while ago ranting about how their account got suspended and then mentioned that Google didn't like the popups or whatever that they were using. Not saying you're doing anything wrong but reporting that Google took all your clicks away seems to point at something you're either missing or not sharing. You can check countries during the day and maybe the activity is coming from someplace you'd be better off blocking. Do you have drop-downs opening up over your ads. Something's not right when someone routinely is reporting huge take-back percentages IMHO. What's seriously questionable is how this seems to happen like the plague to some and others get a little taste at best. What's also interesting is that the people who complain about this the most are the most tight lipped about any details other than the simplest of stats. So because I'm left to assume what it is YOU are actually doing (or not doing or whatever), I get a serious urge to pull out my proverbial grain of salt. What am I trying to say? I'm trying to say a few details to put the problem into some context wouldn't hurt the conversation.

Oh, and like some have mentioned, 400 visitors is such a miniscule sampling of the Global Village that it should be no surprise when click volumes vary widely from day to day. Some days the ads suck, some days the visitors aren't clickers. The sample is too small to not have some serious variations in it.

wa desert rat




msg:4650281
 8:21 am on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well, yes... I understand that us little guys are hardly worth noticing... barely a glance from the important publishers like yourself. We're all crooks, after all. And it's a constant refrain here that publishers, somehow, have control over what our websites generate in clicks and visits and so forth so it must be our fault. Given the paucity of real data available to any of us as to what, exactly, generates income on our sites, I'd have to call BS on that theory. I've been here long enough to see publishers who say they've gone from $50,000 a year to $4,000 a year. There's one in this thread, actually.

So your thinly veiled accusations that it's really all *my* fault are not unexpected.

Of course, you aren't exactly forthcoming with much information either. No real data from you despite constantly insisting that the rest of us do it with complaints about how you can't really analyze anything unless we do. I'm not sure how qualified you are to analyze anything but with your dog's help you might muddle through.

No one really does share much detailed information, really. This is due, in large part, to the fact that Google actively discourages sharing information among publishers. Even here on Webmaster World there is almost no real information beyond "did better yesterday". And there is little information on what analysis tools are available to publishers beyond those provided by Google. Is there a tool that actually analyzes who clicks on what ads and when? I have not actually seen any reference to it; and that seems, to me at least, to be the bare minimum required to actually understand what your web site's ads really do.

So you're being somewhat disingenuous in demanding that I share more than you - or anyone - share.

But I'm not surprised. It's glaringly obvious that publishers really have no clue. Putting ads in this spot or that spot or making them bigger or smaller or brighter or less bright is never accompanied by real data. And information from Google itself is only remarkable in its paucity. No one here (who does not work for Google, at least) really knows why they got 15 clicks yesterday or why 3 of them were removed. Or why the CPC went up or down. Or even who clicked on what ad. Or why their income has gone down for the past 3 years (mirroring, by the way, Google's revenue as reported to shareholders - which you purport to not understand). Google actually does have that data but it's not eager to share it with publishers.

Nevertheless in the spirit of going beyond here is a description of what I do... and it is nothing more or less than I've done since I started my two web sites. One of them is a blog about kayaking in the Pacific NW of the USA and has two side bars ("towers"). The ads have been on there for 3 or 4 years but I have paid little attention to them and didn't even really know that they had generated a few dollars in that time frame.

My main site is a forum and I placed two Google ads on the pages (one "banner" at the top and one "banner" at the bottom) on it just about a year ago in the hopes that it would pay for hosting. The forum was started about 2 years ago but I did not put ads on it til it was a year old.

I don't go out and "cross post" or write essays on other forums that are designed to push traffic my way. Nor do I encourage or suggest that my visitors do the same. I write something 3 or 4 days a week; generally in response to something a reader has already written. In short, I do nothing more - or less - than I have done for the entire time the sites have been up. Yet, suddenly, clicks are being removed in a wholesale manner.

My Google "scorecard" has varied between 4 and 5 "dots" except when the hosting site was experiencing problems a few months back. Google has not sent me any messages accusing me of doing anything against the rules.

The main site deals with bicycling in general and mountain bikes in particular. This has been one of my interests for many years and while we're small we gather new "registered" users at a steady rate. People seem to like the site and we have almost no quarrels or fights. I am the only moderator and I have "banned" only 3 users for being jerks and IP blocked a dozen or so IP ranges because of spammers. No spam or jerks in months.

My day job is as a network engineer working as a consultant. My hourly billing is such that spending much time shepherding a web site that pulls in $1k a year is not worthwhile. I've never expected the site to make as much as it made last year, for instance, but as a trained engineer I can recognize when there is a hitch in the getalong. And there is clearly a hitch in the getalong.

I do have Piwik so I can access quite a lot of data:
For February 27th (the day Google scraped every single click off my site) Piwik reports 431 visits of which 346 were unique. Pageviews were 1,647 (1200 unique). Bounce rates run between 50% and 60% and on the 27th it was 56%. The average user spent just over 5 minutes on the site and made just 4 "actions" (page views, downloads, etc) per visit. The maximum "actions" was 106. So it's clear, at least to me, that the site has enough content to make it interesting to bicycle riders.

321 of those 346 unique visitors were from North America, 14 were from Europe, 3 each from Africa, Central America, Oceania and South America, 2 from Asia and 1 unknown.

68 of the unique users were unknown as to exact city but the majority who are "known" were from California, Florida, Texas and Arizona. Perhaps not surprising considering that bicycling is mostly an outdoor sport and the weather isn't all that great along the northern border.

The statistics for the 28th (where I somehow kept 7 clicks most of the day although I had two more scraped back) were very similar. Fewer visits from Europe and more from the UK but still only a dozen. By far, my traffic is from the USA and Canada; mostly the USA.

Piwik can trace every single user by IP address and which pages he (or she) looked at on an individual basis in real time as well as historic data. There is little change in the way this data looks. There are fewer visitors in the winter but the numbers appear to be incrementing.

Since it's a forum I simply place one banner ad at the top and another at the bottom of every page with content. There are no ads on pages generated by a "search".

I have a mobile "style" with one ad at the top.

It's probably true that "scraping" clicks is more noticeable on sites with lower click traffic but a huge change like I've experienced since the first of the year seems not to be uncommon. Your barely concealed accusations that we all must be cheaters is more than a little distasteful. After all, you could just as easily be inflating your statistics in an attempt to present yourself as an authority figure. Or even a shill from Google whose job it is to confuse the issue and throw down accusations against potential troublemakers.

If you are making lots of money from Adsense then that's swell. It does not match the performance as reflected in Google's annual reports, however. Mine really didn't either; until recently.

JCKline




msg:4650334
 2:10 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

For the second time in 10 years with AdSense, I missed the payment threshold and will NOT receive a payment in March!

The last time was 10 years ago when I was "learning" the system. Then my earnings climbed every month. This all changed a year ago as things started to decline. Not traffic, just everything else. Every month, less and less, and now this. I'm very disappointed in how the system "works" these days. March will be my last month with AdSense if things don't change. The only reason prior to this point that had been keeping me on board was merely covering server costs. Now that no payment will be issued, I can't even cover that.

AdSense ads have now become a visitor distraction and "eye sore" monopolizing what was once valuable website properties. At least I know I have control over changing this aspect. One more month and that's it! Surprise me G!

webcentric




msg:4650345
 3:27 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well, yes... I understand that us little guys are hardly worth noticing...


I didn't say that. I have a great deal of respect for anyone who has the initiative to try to build a business with their own time and initiative, regardless of their current situation. You agree in your reply, it's a small sample though, so variations from day to day are going to be more dramatic. Plain and simple.

important publishers like yourself
.

I'm not important. Just interested in having a real conversation about something that is important to each of us, regardless of our current level of success. I have as much to gain from the learning process as you do.

We're all crooks

The point isn't about being a crook, it's about skirting questions when a bit of disclosure would not only allow others to help brainstorm your issues but also eliminate some of the doubt that we're just helping someone game the system even more. It does happen that some people will do anything and many people don't even read the rules, let alone follow them.

It's one thing to say, I made or didn't make money today. It's far more useful though to know that you're using a banner top and bottom of your content and those banners did or didn't make money. Placement is a huge consideration and ad size is also becoming a very tricky issue. Have you noticed banner ads recently with 6 (count 'em) tiny ads crammed into a single banner ad? When those things are showing up, my CTR drops like a stone for those units. So knowing whether your using text-only in your top banner (or text plus display or display only) is a critical detail in understanding what might be going on with a given ad slot.

And it's a constant refrain here that publishers, somehow, have control over what our websites generate in clicks and visits and so forth so it must be our fault...your thinly veiled accusations that it's really all *my* fault are not unexpected.


Don't put words in my mouth.

Failing to respond to the changing environment would be something I would fault. If a person's complaining about dropping revenue but not adjusting to the changes in the system, then the problem is partly their fault. I didn't accuse anyone of this, just suggested that without details, it's impossible to tell. Some people have no clue how to use color, some have no clue how to use spacing. These simple aspects of this business are becoming critical and any success I'm having is related to the simple but important things. Would love to share some of it but it's hard to have a one sided conversation too.

Of course, you aren't exactly forthcoming with much information either.


I'm almost always talking technique, not stats, so thanks for providing some details. Now I know your circumstance a bit better and everyone here can make better suggestions based on that information.

From JCKline's post.

AdSense ads have now become a visitor distraction and "eye sore" monopolizing what was once valuable website properties


This is very true if you just leave things the way they've always been and even with fidgeting, these ads can still get ugly. Still there are some new ways to work with these things that are quite interesting and effective. Got to go to work now but I'll be happy to share what I'm learning with anyone who wants to have the discussion.

I have some specific thoughts on your situation wa_desert_rat but no time to post them at the moment. It's all one man's opinion but the opinion is base on what I'm seeing in the numbers, just like you. I just see technique in the numbers, that's all.

JCKline




msg:4650347
 4:13 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Still there are some new ways to work with these things that are quite interesting and effective.

I'm certainly open to any advise on this you may have, as A/B testing and changing ad placements and sizes have worked to no avail.

Ironside




msg:4650356
 4:30 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Seasoned Internet users, people who are regularly visiting websites and are very much at home using search engines will probably ignore AdSense. I don't ever click on AdSense units myself so I can imagine that you guys are probably the same. I don't believe that AdSense is dead at all, I believe that AdSense will work best on websites that are offering general information, hobbyist websites, websites that are offering "how to do" information. A website that gets lots of visitors from non-Internet savvy people will probably do really well because these people I am more likely to click on AdSense, even if it's really through ignorance. In many cases, people will click on the first bit of information that catches their eye, they may not even know they are clicking on advertising units. I've seen the way my mother uses the Internet, she will quite often click on the very first thing that comes up on you all, very often the paid advertisements at the top. So if you can put your AdSense units somewhere that is going to catch the eye, definitely above the fold and they are navigation, you're probably do quite well

webcentric




msg:4650400
 8:49 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I would ad to what ironside said that it seems to have some real potential in a magazine layout generally. Those layouts are structured for moving the eye in around better than large blocks of text do. I'm referring to page with lots of content sections on them (article leads, ads, trivia blocks, survey widgets, images, etc).

wa desert rat




msg:4650408
 9:03 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

I would ad to what ironside said that it seems to have some real potential in a magazine layout generally. Those layouts are structured for moving the eye in around better than large blocks of text do. I'm referring to page with lots of content sections on them (article leads, ads, trivia blocks, survey widgets, images, etc).


Let me explain the problem more clearly:

The problem is not traffic. The traffic is either average for this time of year or above average.

The problem is not that people are not seeing the ads.

The problem is not that people are not clicking on the ads. If they weren't clicking on them then Google could not be scraping them back.

The problem IS that Google is pulling back the clicks and we have no way to determine why. Google has always pulled back some clicks... but when G pulls back every click generated in a 24-hour period and leaves the page with zero for that period... then how do you fix it without knowing why they did it?

nomis5




msg:4650432
 9:59 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

webcentric, it would be good if you could put a little more specific details about your websites in a similar fashion to
wa desert rat. He has divulged quite a lot so far, why not match it?

I have a lot more than 400 visors a day and agree wholeheartedly with his last post. Between us we are well into four figures which begins to look a bit more statistically stable.

UK based sites, visitors 80% from the UK the rest from USA and OZ. No pop ups or pop downs or pop anyways, no drop down or drop up menus. No tricks on the site, all 100% absolutely genuine, normal stuff. Never asked for a link in my life.

G knows full well that over the last year they have deducted an abnormally large number of clicks from some sites but absolutely no explanation. Instead they prattle on about ATF ads, scraper reporting to them and goodness knows what else to distract attention from the key fact. Clicks are suddenly being deducted and not a single word why.

I've started my exit already and will continue to do so over the next year.

[edited by: nomis5 at 10:11 pm (utc) on Mar 1, 2014]

webcentric




msg:4650436
 10:04 pm on Mar 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

OK, simple yes or no question. Do you have drop down lists or menus on your site? If yes, is it possible for them to expand over your ads at any time, on any device? If the aswer is yes, that's a possible cause. If no, then it can be ruled out.

wa desert rat




msg:4650463
 1:17 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Nomis5:
No pop ups or pop downs or pop anyways, no drop down or drop up menus.


Webcentric:
OK, simple yes or no question. Do you have drop down lists or menus on your site?


Me: ?

webcentric




msg:4650469
 2:12 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

nomis5 and I crossposted but I was actually asking you wa desert rat. Sorry for not making that clear. The point is that one could make a list of common things people do that could result in "accidental" clicks which G might be considering invalid. The reason for the question is to eliminate some obvious issues from the equation. The whole problem may still boil down to Google but if we're going to blame the golden goose, we need to make sure we're not somehow complicit in the problem.

wa desert rat




msg:4650471
 2:26 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I thought I made it clear. A banner at the top and a banner (same size) at the bottom. Just a standard phpbb forum.

webcentric




msg:4650475
 2:56 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

@wa desert rat

Do you mean a banner in the header section (at the very top of the page or do you mean just above the forum index? Something to consider, and I've never really thought about this before, is that ads at the very, very top of a page are subject to falling under the dropdown list embedded in the browser itself (in fact, much of all page content falls under this scenario as the page is scrolled). The Firefox bookmarks toolbars is an example of what I mean. In that toolbar, users can create folders of links that open up as a dropdown menu. Now while it's not under your control it could be an issue. I wonder how often an accidental click is generated because a user mis-clicks while looking at a browser dropdown. A common way people dismiss dropdowns is to simply click off of them and if they click on an ad in the process...well you see where I'm going with this.

You can tell what units are losing clicks if you're watching performance reports close enough. If your top banner is loosing a lot of clicks and the bottom banner is less subject to this problem, this could be part of the problem. Also, the phpbb main menu (on the main product site) has major dropdowns, if your site is like that and your ads are under the menu, that could also be an issue. And yes I could interpret "top" to mean at the top of your forum index which is under the main menu. So, just trying to get a clearer picture since all we have to work with here are words.

wa desert rat




msg:4650488
 3:25 am on Mar 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Do you mean a banner in the header section (at the very top of the page or do you mean just above the forum index? Something to consider, and I've never really thought about this before, is that ads at the very, very top of a page are subject to falling under the dropdown list embedded in the browser itself (in fact, much of all page content falls under this scenario as the page is scrolled).


The top banner is in the "header" section of the code. There are no drop-downs at all in my phpbb pages. Users can click on "view unread posts", etc. but they are well separated from the banner. And the banner is pretty well isolated. It's not impossible for a user to make an accidental click... and with a tablet or smartphone set to the default style it might be easy due to size of fingers. But I don't understand why it would have suddenly started around the first of the year.

The bottom banner is very much isolated from any page controls that I have control over. I think a visitor would have to be a real klutz to make an accidental click on it, quite frankly.

You can tell what units are losing clicks if you're watching performance reports close enough. If your top banner is loosing a lot of clicks and the bottom banner is less subject to this problem, this could be part of the problem. Also, the phpbb main menu (on the main product site) has major dropdowns, if your site is like that and your ads are under the menu, that could also be an issue. And yes I could interpret "top" to mean at the top of your forum index which is under the main menu. So, just trying to get a clearer picture since all we have to work with here are words.


Google scrapes clicks from all the ads (top banner, bottom banner and mobile top). There does not seem to be a pattern and in order to discern a pattern I would have to have a lot more time to hit the refresh button every minute or two.

The bottom banner tends to gather fewer clicks. Right now I have 4 clicks on the top banner, 3 on the bottom banner, and 2 from the mobile.

Remember that on the 27th I had 5 clicks for quite a while, then they were scraped off one at a time... then a couple hours later there were suddenly six clicks... and finally all of THOSE were taken back.

Really, this doesn't look like accidental clicks.

This 214 message thread spans 8 pages: < < 214 ( 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 > >
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