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Looks like we're running the low bidders all of a sudden?

     
6:49 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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A few days ago I noticed our CPC plummeted to less than half of what it was before. I'm also seeing ads running on our site from smaller companies that I haven't seen previously. It looks like we're running ads from all the low bidders in our category, which explains the poor CPC. We're not getting any PSA's either, so I'm not sure if this is related to the problems other people here have been discussing lately.

I thought perhaps the big guys used up their budgets since it's near the end of the month, but I looked at a competitor's site (the ads on our sites are typically identical), and the high-bidding advertisers still show up there.

Has anyone experienced this before? My best guess is that our site is responsible for sucking up a disproportionate share of some advertisers' budgets, so Google is throttling back those ads so other AdSense publishers get a bigger slice.

8:42 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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noticing a potentially similar effect as you have described. Any recourse other than to just sit on our hands? I assume google support will just tell us to get more traffic if we complain...
9:52 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Getting same results here as well. I've seen EPC drop by 30% over the last 3-5 days or so.
10:12 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Same here. About a 25-35% drop since Jan. 22.
10:27 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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...Please note that Google AdSense does not disclose an exact revenue share amount, nor do we pay publishers a fixed amount per click. Revenue will vary based on the actual cost-per-click (CPC) paid by the advertiser for each AdWords ad that appears on your site. Some ads have higher CPCs than others, so therefore it is not possible to say precisely how much you will earn for a given number of clicks...

Hmmm... this many people reporting the same problem and we get this general a response? I think a pattern is forming regarding a shift in the program based on similar experiences we have read here. I'm dissapointed in the response above.

10:28 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Same here dating back four days... plenty of traffic, no PSA's, EPC way down, CTR down slightly.
10:32 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In general terms my site was performing better than what I read here, for last month. But I have to agree that in the last five days the number of impressions and clicks remained the same, but revenue went down - almost 50% of previous week. It's not like one day, but the whole week.

Now, it can be end of the month, fuel for the campaigns running out, end of promotions where advertisers were selling stock from last season, etc.

Who knows? I'll just sit back, and wait for the final number at the end of the month. In any case, my total revenue in January is already higher than December.

11:48 pm on Jan 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I agree from Jan 22 to today the EPC has been down. While I am tempted to say that CTR has declined, I will hold off since one of those days it was well above average.

Advertisers selling leftover christmas stock should not affect me, and I doubt that the reason is campaigns running out of funds/fuel. Something bigger is behind. What it is? I do not know.

12:02 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Similar results for me--down 40 to 50% last few days with level impressions. Could it be that G is test marketing a lower revenue share percentage to see how publishers react? (Shudders)
12:14 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I disagree. I'm getting similar CTR and Impressions as before and my EPC is up and I'm having my best days. It all depends on what adwords ads are available.
1:06 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Could it be that G is test marketing a lower revenue share percentage to see how publishers react?...

Cary:

That thought did cross my mind, but I thought I was being paranoid. I hope that the changes don't stick.

1:12 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am not sure about any current changes in EPC, but when I learned about the recent parked domain program I wondered if it would effect EPC's.

Google greatly increased their ad inventory recently at what I am guessing are far lower marginal costs.

1:17 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Adsense wasn't running this time last year so we don't know how the run up to financial year end on March 31st will affect us. I would hope for a good March on the basis that businesses will want to spend on advertising then, to reduce the tax bill, with the resulting sales coming through in April to increase ther cash-flow.
1:31 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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longen: Most businesses in the US have a fiscal-year ending in 12/31. I would guess that the second most popular is 9/30. Filing in March does not mean that they can deduct expenses incurred in these three months.
1:35 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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EPC have suffered greatly on my large, multi-topic site. They have been in steady decline since last July. However, on a much more targeted and smaller (both in terms of pages and impressions) site that I manage, in the last week or so both the CTR and EPC have nearly doubled. What's it all mean?

I think it means just what we always thought -- as more and more publishers make space available, run-of-network prices will fall. (RON/ROS ad space is a commodity, after all). Meanwhile, advertisers seeking to reach a highly-defined professional audience that spends corporate dollars on widget medicine, widget regulation and widget design will pay whatever it takes to reach that audience.

Nothing has so far appeared in this forum, or in the development of Adsense, that has struck me as alarming, unexpected, etc. I am doing what I've always done -- trying to build the largest general audience I can while developing niche audiences when other people are sleeping.

2:06 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's just not the values that have dropped as you have noted but also the number of ads available. Over the pasrt few days the number of ads displayed in a 4 ad leaderboard is 3 or less, many times being only 1 ad. Let me look at this from Google's standpoint...umm...serve up one ad...at a lowest price...so default ads are not replaced with alternatives? Love it when a plan comes together....:)
3:30 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This is very weird... every time I complain about a EPC drop on this forum, the EPC would climb back again the next day! What a coincidence (or not)...
4:11 am on Jan 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's a coincidence. :-)

My EPC has never recovered from the drastic drop at the end of October.

2:46 am on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As we move towards the end of the month, the trend continues in regards to EPC errosion. As others have noted this month from around the 20th on, EPC have shown a dramatic shift downwards. This is the lowest 7 day moving average result we have ever seen on adsense EPC. More of a concern is that the long term trends other than a slight blip in December continue downwards. As more and more ebay links appear (and even then the leaderboard is not full) it is apparent that google is not selling high/moderate priced adverts as quickly as they would like. The degradation can be traced to October when broad matching was introduced.

Would seem to me we will be seeing some changes in the program shortly, including perhaps some movement in the publishing base. I think that perhaps google has expanded too quickly, resulting in a high ratio of publishers to sold ads available. Initially I thought that perhaps they were reducing the payout ratios, but this month shows this is not the underlying issue. Too many low priced "junk ads" filling 1 of 4 slots, so that default ads are not shown. Want more prove? Try visiting their showcase sites and see how many pages you have to visit before you see alternative ads being served.

In addition the targetting of ads has shifted recently, including general ads being served across a site, or repetative ads from previous pages being shown. The thread posted in regards to the city targetting in the travel site confirms what we thought has been happening. The targetting "ain't so good, no more". Program has been excellent for us in the past, but something has been changing recently....and not foer the better.

<added from Google News...relevant?>

I just read a piece in Business Week which mentions Google and geo-targeting. It says that they quietlt launched a pilot program last October. It talks about Google Ads and how they will target specific locations based on a persons Internet address. Apparently they have split the U.S. into 210 individual regions.

Another piece of the puzzle?

[edited by: Visi at 3:17 am (utc) on Jan. 30, 2004]

3:09 am on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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3:28 am on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Read that one Div1 but this is not a case of lowered ctr as much as lower EPC trends. The CTR remains within what I would term statistical averages even though the total number of ads is reduced. We tend to have a high number of unique visitors at our site that helps us in that regard, so ad blindness is a smaller factor. It is the EPC trend that has us concerned. For whatever reasons in our topic type google is having recent problems selling ads, or inventory no longer supports demand.
4:03 am on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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If you check back in this forum to threads that are from the last week of each month, you'll see similar threads - it is quite common for EPC to go down towards the end of the month, likely due to advertisers dropping down their daily bid limits, and waiting until the first of the month to bring them back up to high levels again.

It is a similar phenomenon that happens on weekends - many advertisers turn off their PPC campaigns over the weekends.

4:20 am on Jan 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My EPC has been creeping up in the past few days. Part of that may be due to seasonal factors: i.e., increased demand by new advertisers may be compensating for any drying up of existing advertisers' budgets as we near the end of the month. My site is pretty diverse in terms of keywords, so that's probably another stabilizing factor. A site that's heavily focused on a few major keywords and keyphrases is likely to be more volatile, IMHO, just because bids can easily drop if one or two major advertisers take a break from AdSense.



continued: [webmasterworld.com...]

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 12:16 pm (utc) on Jan. 30, 2004]