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Prediction: May 2014 will be the worst month of all time
avalon37




msg:4667729
 9:38 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

So, it appears as though AdSense has permanently replaced the smaller circle arrow in the text ads with the much larger square version. I've seen it consistently across all devices and I don't think I ever saw it before on smartphones. This will have huge negative consequences for publishers that are opted into text ads. I'm already seeing a huge CTR drop as a result.

Unless AdSense changes this "switch" I predict it will be every publishers worst CTR month ever, and as a result, your worst month as a publisher adjust for traffic.

Google - unbelievable.

 

webcentric




msg:4667773
 11:20 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

Time to think fast. I'd agree with the "unbelievable" statement but, unfortunately, it's Google so it's totally believable.

Last time the changes got this extreme, I kept my head above water with link units until I could figure out what was what. This time I'm considering any and or all of the following

1. Link units
2. Turning off enhanced text ads
3. Using more display advertising vs text

All while playing with color, font size and whatever else is available to see if something clicks. This change on my site took place mid-day for Firefox browsers and it's like someone turned off the tap. Plus, the ads just look like crap.

This appears to be a measure mostly directed at mobile but it's killing desktop at the moment unless there's a huge delay in reporting which I'm beginning to doubt.

netmeg




msg:4667776
 11:39 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

My CTR is up over the past ten days.

webcentric




msg:4667779
 11:57 pm on May 1, 2014 (gmt 0)

My CTR is up over the past ten days.


Most of the last week was great. Let's see what tomorrow brings. BTW, when did you notice large square arrows on your site (in all browsers now it seems) or have you yet? This was like flipping a light switch today. Actually saw precursors to this move a day or so ago.

jpch




msg:4667784
 12:52 am on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

My CTR has been down the last 3 days so maybe this is why. It's down most noticeably on Tablets more so than Desktop. Could have just been advertisers budgets running out at end of April so hoping it's not related to this new design because then it could be a bad May.

Sally Stitts




msg:4667793
 2:24 am on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

The bottom has fallen out for me. Worst day ever.
I never go below 1% CTR. I did today. Time to try media.net.

Somebody has turned off targeting ability on my sites.
One page I have I know has MANY, MANY appropriate ad suppliers, yet what do I get? Ads for Google AdWords. Which, of course, results in a dismal CTR. Other pages have ads from outer space - totally unrelated. I feel like I am on some other platform than AdSense.

Something HUGE has happened. It will take some time to figure it out. I will be reading the forums all night. SOMEBODY knows what has happened. I have to find them, because this change is simply astounding.

Feel free to PM me if you have guidance. You will remain anonymous.

My CTR is up over the past ten days.

You must be in the Green category ("leak" joke).
.

wa desert rat




msg:4667794
 3:01 am on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Last month (April) was not too bad... depending upon how much they shave off when it comes to payday. But we finished within a couple percent of the actual revenue for last month.

Today I'm having the highest CTR I've ever had. I would still be crap CTR for the rest of you but for a forum it's very heartening.

WDR

webcentric




msg:4667805
 4:47 am on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Think back to the day Google started experimenting on us with all these various changes in text ads. Think of each weird variation you've seen over that time. They seem to be rolling them all out now at once (at least the winners).

I'm seeing text ads with large arrows (round arrows are gone) plus huge images imbedded in the ads along with the smaller "favicon" images (all three of these features in a single ad). Put all this together and it's no longer a text ad. It's mixed media. I believe the age of the text ad as we know it has come to an end. Wonder how long it will be before the "text" option is renamed to something else in the Adsense interface. Seems to be only one option and that is to hang on tight and pray they know what they're doing. That or bend over and kiss your butt goodnight.

Hums softly "Summertime, and the living is easy..."

Sally Stitts




msg:4667857
 7:23 am on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Grasping at straws,
do you think it is possible that there is a "non-compliance" penalty, or degradation, or page reevaluation, or whatever, based upon how completely you follow AdSense "recommendations", such as -

- Replace 250x250 ads with 300x250 ads (tried it, things got worse). -1 for me
- Allow image ads along with text (tried it, things got worse). -1 for me
- Add more ads (I choose not to, for Google Search esthetic reasons). -1 for me
- Add bigger ads (I prefer the soft-sell, as opposed to obnoxious ad intensity). The harder the sell is, the harder I resist. -1 for me

Is a "compliance score" part of the algo? This score would be very useful, in terms of helping Google to focus on problem areas of non-compliance. If your Adsense compliance score got too low, might you be served with -

- far lower-paying ads? (I have been switched to these.)
- far less targeted ads? (I have been switched to these.)

Would they punish for non-compliance, to try to get you to "wise-up"?
Do you find this illogical or improbable?

Am I still just grasping at straws?
Paranoia is setting in.
Maybe someone just has it in for me for unknown reasons, which I shall never determine. Age discrimination? I'm old. Dunno. But it is something.
.

avalon37




msg:4667982
 1:52 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I think turning off enhanced text ads might be the best option for now.

netmeg




msg:4667986
 2:16 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't think there's a compliance score. I only use maybe 30 to 40% of the AdSense suggestions.

My CTR is typically quite low on some sites, so it having gone up for me would probably be down for the rest of you.

Yes I've had those arrows intermittently for a few weeks now. They're ugly (I need to experiment to see if I can control the color of the arrows - green on pink really doesn't work for me)

webcentric




msg:4668002
 2:45 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Here are some observations about those arrows.

It's been noted that the link color controls the arrow background color BUT, this is only partially true. There is a "contrast" or "value" function built into the arrow color that starts picking it's own colors if your chosen color is too close to the background color of the ad. I'm sure this is to prevent any attempt to completely hide the arrow by making it the same color as the background. The closer you get to your ad's background color with your link color (actually the less contrast between the two might be more accurate), the more the arrow color is pushed toward grey generally.

One truly maddening thing about this is that it's taking over 2 hours for changes in text ads to show up on my site and there is no preview of the arrow in the ad preview section. I'm having to tweak colors and wait that long before I can see what it actually does to the arrow color. Ridiculous.

I'm guessing the arrow has never been added to the preview because they weren't sure what version they were going to go with in the end. Hopefully, its continued absence means they still haven't committed to this lovely new hot spot of theirs.

netmeg




msg:4668010
 3:33 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

In my case they seem to be using the specified URL color as the arrow color, unless it's too close to other colors. I'm going to experiment with that more. I like the green for the URL, but I don't particularly care for it for the arrows.

breeks




msg:4668025
 4:04 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm back after a rest from posting :)

Coming off best month ever and now the big tap target ads to deal with.

So far best results have been with default font Roboto with text set to large.

Sill have blue url text and arrows, except on tablets which Google has decided to change to grey even though they are set to blue.

CTR on desktop up
CTR on mobile up
CTR on tablet down

RedBar




msg:4668075
 6:34 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Going by the first two days so far I may just make minimum payout therefore it would be my worst month of all time followed by the complete removal of AdSense.

Traffic normal, clicks are just not happening even in the UK where it has not been a holiday, not ONE freaking UK click today!

community2004




msg:4668077
 6:41 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Been a member here a long time and always popped in and out of the forum every quarter or so to keep an eye on things..

Alas, the last month and the start of this one has made me scour everywhere to find out what on earth is going on with AdSense - all those arrows, favicons, etc - webcentric summed it up perfectly above 'the end of the text ad' - what are you doing Google?

(Talking from a site with over 5m pageviews a month, mid-to-high 4 figures UK revenue and only using AdSense!)

webcentric




msg:4668081
 7:43 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

So, yesterday turned out mediocre and today is OK for a Friday I guess but my site looks like a two-year old decided to make a collage out of it. Visual chaos is the best description I can manage. Ad layouts are so unpredictable from page-load to page load that getting a grip on how to display them is almost impossible.

The idea of turning off enhancements is tempting but given the fact that a plain ad doesn't even have an underlined hyperlink on it, it just doesn't make sense that it would improve CTR at all. I'm guessing it would soften the visual chaos but at what cost? Not sure I'm willing to go down that road yet but if Adsense publishers start turning this feature off in droves, it may well send a message to the powers that be. I'm not there yet but this is plain stupid. Stupid to trash your publishers websites like this and to not even offer some tips on (or real options for) using these ads in a way that won't make site owners look like they don't know a damn thing about design.

Hot spot my butt! Just make the whole ad space clickable and be done with it! Give us back our hyperlinks and stop breaking that which was fine to begin with. Humming again..."it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."

netmeg




msg:4668087
 8:43 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

Don't hold your breath.

webcentric




msg:4668098
 10:03 pm on May 2, 2014 (gmt 0)

It's hard to hum when holding one's breath ;)

It's equally difficult to vent.

Sally Stitts




msg:4668273
 7:38 pm on May 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

I agree with webcentric completely.
Everything (for me) has been turned upside down.
It was simply my turn for decimation by rotational rollout.
It involves being served 3rd tier, totally untargeted ads. They need to be served to someone, right? Well now, its me.

I have always played the game as a squeeky clean, white hat.

May 2014 will be the worst month of all time.

After 3 days, I am convinced that this statement will be true.

I have made Google over $1,000,000 (over $600,000 for me.) So I can hardly be mad at them. I was wise, and saved a pile, knowing full well the tenuousness of the relationship. (Thanks Uncle Sam, for the SEP IRA). I have always wondered when crunch time would come, for me - the point at which Google profits must continue rising, beyond any other considerations.

I believe the party is over (for me). Lucky to get $30/ day, now (down from $650/ day). The one stat I can reveal is earnings, according to AdSense TOS.
I have a new theory now, but I need a little more evidence, because it is pretty radical. It is similar to a theoretical Google update from years ago.

I have a support message into AdSense support.
When I see their response on Monday or Tuesday, I will know more, no matter how they respond. If I receive a boilerplate response, then my theory will gain great credence (to me).

It has been a grand experience, and lots of fun. But I suspect that there will be little that I can do about my demotion. Except continue saving and analyzing data. And find other ways to spend my time, that will result in new income. Unfortunately, AdSense STILL has no viable alternative. I know, I've tried them. They are all inferior (and not just marginally) to AdSense, in one way, or many ways.

At least I won't be seeing those disingenuous upside down red triangles saying "Your earnings on May 1 were 55% below our forecast". As if it were something that I was doing wrong, when they know full well that it is was THEIR actions that have caused my reduced earnings.
"We encourage you to investigate further to identify any potential issues with your site or traffic."
Hey AdSense, how about YOU do that? And then, give me the answer. I will still be putty in your hands, if you just tell me why. Not going to happen.

Walks away humming "Zipitty do-dah, zippity yeah, my, my, my, its a wonderful day" ...

littlecubpanda




msg:4668294
 9:31 pm on May 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

My CTR is WAY up since they started this.

But CPC is down, maybe that's normal for the start of the month tho.

avalon37




msg:4668302
 10:45 pm on May 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

littlecubpanda - I'm betting your CTR is way up on smartphone clicks correct? That seems to be the the main focal point of the recent text ad change - to get CTR up for them (AdSense) and monetize mobile once and for all. But the CPC prices for mobile clicks are terrible. So for most advertisers, your CTR can be up but your overall earnings/RPM can also be down. Which is what I bet will happen for the majority of publishers by the end of the month.

Peanut45




msg:4668303
 10:47 pm on May 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

Ouch... so that's what happened. Those blocky arrows do look fairly awful compared to the round ones.

However, I think the culprit here might actually be the font.
They changed the default for everything to Roboto?!

Well let's change the it back to Arial and see what happens...

nomis5




msg:4668304
 10:53 pm on May 3, 2014 (gmt 0)

My main site is no longer my "main" site. Starting two years ago it started to decline and I fought against it for six months and then came to conclusion I would never win with that site.

One of the key reasons for that decision was the huge decline I saw (via Alexa) of my previous "main" site which I sold just before it started to decline very dramatically. Both sites were founded in ideas that had long since been copied by others, and in truth, they copied my ideas better than my originals.

Three other sites I have were then the main focus of my attention and they are doing very well.

One lesson I applied to those sites came from several comments made on this forum, the ones I particularly took to heart were from Netmeg - along the lines of make your site stand out from the competition or you are dead in the water.

My three sites do stand out from the competition now and everything I do to them is based on that premise. There are much bigger sites than mine but they are having difficulty in offering something the others don't because of their very size.

It's difficult to accept that a previously prosperous site you own now no longer offers anything different from hundreds of other sites. In the past it stood out but others have copied the format and maybe even executed it better.

Stop the "content is king" mantra, look very closely at what your site offers (and be hyper-critical from a dispassionate viewpoint) above and beyond the competition. If it really is "just another site" either give up and save the inevitable pain or devise a site(s) which truly offer something the competition does not.

Good luck to all for May, I am convinced it can be a good month for some of us.

RedBar




msg:4668342
 10:49 am on May 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've almost been annihilated and I am hating the new stats presentation! Figures to chew on so far:

First 3 days May v April earnings 49.87%

First 3 days May 2014 v May 2013 earnings 25.03%

First 3 days May 2014 v May 2013 PVs 85.7%

Whatever Google's trying to achieve they are being spectacular at it insofar as I am concerned.

netmeg




msg:4668348
 1:01 pm on May 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

I spent some time in the Styles section of AdSense yesterday - the color of the arrow is definitely tied to the color of the URL - unless it's too close to the background, in which case Google will pick their own version.

Sally Stitts




msg:4668388
 4:31 pm on May 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

Figures to chew on so far:

First 3 days May v April earnings 49.87%

First 3 days May 2014 v May 2013 earnings 25.03%

First 3 days May 2014 v May 2013 PVs 85.7%

Oh, yeah? That's nothing. I can top that. Try this -

First 3 days May v April earnings = 14% ($120 vs. $875)

First 3 days May 2014 v May 2013 earnings = 6.5% ($120 vs. $1,828)

First 3 days May 2014 v May 2013 PVs = 37% (xx,xxx vs. xxx,xxx)

This is a humdinger, all right! Technology gone awry.
"He who lives by the sword (AdSense), dies by the sword."
Targeting, presentation, EPC, CTR, eCPM, visitors - all are fading fast.

Regarding the "tiers" thread active now, I feel that my "tier" has just been changed. I have unquestionably been "dialed down".

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 4:45 pm (utc) on May 4, 2014]

webcentric




msg:4668390
 4:43 pm on May 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

I don't even know where to start...

the color of the arrow is definitely tied to the color of the URL - unless it's too close to the background


There are several color-adjusting algorithms involved with text ads. I believe the arrow algorithm is descended from previous color controls that kept titles from being too close to the background color. I work with very colorful ad layouts and have seen this effect for quite awhile. It's not just about color, it's about contrast and color value. I also don't think the full hex color range is available in certain cases. Yes, you can enter any color but many get overridden when they don't fit the rules.

Your earnings on May 3 were 85% below our forecast...we encourage you to investigate further to identify any potential issues with your site or traffic.


Really? Had the best traffic numbers of the year for a Saturday. The same site and ads that gave me an above average Friday with below average traffic is somehow the cause of the worst earnings day of the year a day later with more traffic.

Earnings are down 50% since this latest downgrade of the Adsense program. According to Google, I need to fix my approach to the web and and my use of Adsense now that they've seen fit to break that which was working perfectly for me...again.

ADDED (Note to Moderators): Might as well pin this thread up as the May version of the Adsense Earnings and Observations thread.

ADDED: Ad relevance seems to be at an all time low right now for me so maybe that's the culprit here. Time should sort out that question though. We'll see.

Sally Stitts




msg:4668396
 5:08 pm on May 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

I see several possibilities -
1. I am being penalized for unknown transgressions
2. The technology is imploding at an increasing rate
3. BOTH 1 and 2
4. Something else is happening
.

not2easy




msg:4668397
 5:16 pm on May 4, 2014 (gmt 0)

In case anyone missed the Google announcement on the new AdSense appearance, an article with link was posted up here: [webmasterworld.com...]

This 339 message thread spans 12 pages: 339 ( [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 ... 12 > >
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