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Major changes to AdSense

Pricing structure and ad relevance

     
8:04 pm on Apr 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Unless adsense is sending out a april fools joke, what do people think of the changes? Every site has a unique pricing model?

For example, a click on an ad for digital cameras on a web page about photography tips may be worth less than a click on the same ad appearing next to a review of digital cameras.

[edited by: markus007 at 8:08 pm (utc) on April 1, 2004]

5:46 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Click through rate down 30%.
Earnings Per Click down 50%.
Page views: Same

Pass the Vasoline please.

6:02 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Click through rate down 30%.
Earnings Per Click down 50%.
Page views: Same
Pass the Vasoline please.

total pages/Daily impressions/Backlinks/pagerank?

7:02 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Small info niche site with 1500 pages, 700 backlinks and PR6
Ads that are shown are a bit more targeted,
Click through rate up 15%.
Earnings Per Click up 30%.
Page views (according to Google): 4000

I can live with that, but imo way too early to draw any conclusions.

7:19 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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<quote>Here's how my April stats (so far) differ from March:
CTR: Up 24%
EPC: Down 14%
CPM: Up 7%
</quote>

I compared last 3 days of March to 1st 3 days of April

CTR: DOWN 10%
(by this I mean if you were at 1% and went to .9 % that is to me a 10% drop ... not from 20% ctr on the
google stats to a 10% ctr on their stats)

EPC: UP 8%
CPM: UP 12%

Although 3 days to 3 days is not a good test it is what it is.

8:12 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Regular Search (Avg 0.13 CPC):
~3000 Impressions / 40 Clicks / 10% Conversion Rate

Content Targeting (AdSense Advertising / 0.14 CPC)
~15000 Impressions / 30 Clicks / 0% Conversion Rate

Conclusion: Not much improvement in AdSense targeting as far as I can see. If this keeps up, will turn AdSense off.

9:40 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How have your sites been faring icedowl?

Prior to today, only two of my three sites had the adsense code on them (I added it to the third today on a lark). Most of what clicks I get are from my largest site (~500 pages). EPC was down about 30%-50% initially, but looks like it may be stabilizing somewhat. All else is pretty much the same as it was prior to the latest foopah.

Sorry for the delay in replying, I've been gone.

10:15 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Since the changes there hasn't been a single day where I have made over $1,000.

Since the changes there hasn't been a single day where I have made over $100,000.

10:22 am on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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EPC was down about 30%-50% initially, but looks like it may be stabilizing somewhat. All else is pretty much the same as it was prior to the latest foopah.

Looks like your sites are tacking back to normal, good stuff. I'll be curious to see how some of the "CPC down 80%" webmasters report after a couple more days.

12:22 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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80K-100K impressions/day

CTR same
EPC down 70%
Impressions about same.
Ads appear mostly on SERPs and info articles on the same site.

Tried some other programs for test sites before and now some look even more attractive (higher EPC, also targeted ads). Adsense clicks are getting close to be pennyworth, which is same as adult ads pop-ups, not too good fo Adsense at all - good news for competition. Go this doesn't stick.

12:26 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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EPC is down significantly. CTR is doing fine. Ads are back to being relevant.

Over 1,000,000 page views per day according to my stats, less according to Google.

I'm still giving it time before making any changes on adsense placement on my sites. Unless things change adsense will be moved to a less prominent location and stop taking up prime space from direct advertisers.

I would like to know how Google can decide that clicks from my site are worth less. I have the most dedicated audience in my category. They spend upwards of $10k or $15k doing performance upgrades to their cars on a regular basis. There is no other venue that comes anywhere close to reaching the quantity and quality of members that I have in this category. I have about 120 direct advertisers that pay to reach this audience. And now it appears that Google has decided that clicks from my site are worth less?

The bottom line to me is what will pay the best. I can sell the existing adsense space to advertisers who will pay a premium for the good placement. I can move adsense down the list in terms of placement. They will still be on the main site, but they will produce less revenue for Google if this ends up being the route I take.

12:31 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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They have confirmed that they use conversion data as a datapoint for how they dole out EPC.

Traffic coming from your website probably is not converting as well as sites which are earning a higher EPC.

12:45 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Most of the products advertised are not going to be sold online. They are the type that people view online then call to order. There are many questions to be answered about most of the products advertised on the site. I doubt that conversion tracking is going to work accurately with many of them.

Bottom line is that direct advertisers are willing to pay higher rates for that space than what I have seen from Google the last few days. They know the value because they are not using a computer formula to determine it. They know that if they get 100 calls from members of my site and one of them results in a $15,000 high margin sale that they have done alright.

Google cannot possibly make this type of judgement through an automated system. I think it would be wiser to let the market decide what clicks are worth for the advertisers in the different venues. They know what they are worth and will bid accordingly.

1:01 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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One conversion statistic Google's customers use that I have seen and like is PPV - pages per visit.

While not 100% I have found it is a fairly accurate barometer as to how effective a particular marketing channel is at sending interested traffic.

If I get lots of people who simply leave after only one page visit from a particular marketing channel, I am fairly quick to dump it.

It is quite possible that some of the AdWords customers which receive your traffic are using the PPV conversion counter and Google is not registering the same amount of PPVs for your traffic than they are getting from other sites which they are rewarding with a higher EPC.

Note, however, that this may also be a short term SNAFU on Googles part and your EPC may return to normal. I have no clue what your site is, so please don't take this personally.

I am simply trying to defend what I believe to be a fair way of doling out EPC - using conversion statistics. I just wish that Google would to more to educate their AdWords merchants and make it more desirable for them to use it .. and therefore make the whole system that much more accurate and fair.

1:10 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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There seems to be an assumption that other sites in the same category get a higher epc. I don't know that to be true. The lower epc may apply to my industry as a whole but not to others.

I just don't think that an automated system is going to be as good as one that lets the market of advertisers decide. The advertisers know the market best. Give them the tools to track stats and let them decide what to bid. Any other method is going to make assumptions and miss potential value.

You also have to realize that not all sales can be tracked by an automated system easily. What about cases where the clicks take you to a site and you don't end up buying online but rather with a follow up phone call? There are a lot of variables to take into account.

Google has a company philosophy of automating everything. Unfortunately this has its limits. Not everything can be automated effectively. Sometimes it's better to turn to the market for knowledge (bid prices in this case).

1:16 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As I stated several times, I was talking about PPV and not sales.

As for the bidding on a site by site basis, this has been asked for quite a bit by a lot of people.

Considering that you can't even bid for content sites seperately from regular search traffic, I wouldn't be holding my breath..

1:44 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Now that I've got channels data showing for the 2nd:

11 "Review" sites on various topics:

3 smallest, no significant change.
1 medium, slight increase in CTR.
7 other sites, slight decrease in CTR, massive drop in EPC (less than 1/2 what it used to be).

So overall, I'm still seeing less than 1/2 the revenue I used to from Adsense. :(

Oh, and as for the "salability" of my readers and their conversion rate, I make more from affiliate sales then from Adsense, despite Adsense's prominant placement.

[edited by: Sharper at 1:46 pm (utc) on April 4, 2004]

1:46 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think that bidding by advertising channel would be sufficient. i.e. SERPS, content sites, gmail, etc.
2:25 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You got my vote.

You know one thing that sometimes people do neglect (we used to neglect this with our website which had very high uniques and over 2 million page views per day) was the fact that 90% of our users didn't change on a monthly basis.

WebmasterWorld is a good example. Site probably has high page views and high uniques, but those users are probably a very deeply loyal following.

A million uniques which churns from month to month is worth a lot more than a million uniques which only churns on a yearly basis.

3:26 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Oh, and as for the "salability" of my readers and their conversion rate, I make more from affiliate sales then from Adsense, despite Adsense's prominant placement.

Same here. Before the April 1 changes, AdSense accounted for about 35% of my revenues, with the rest coming from affiliate sales. AdSense has been my #1 revenue source for a while now, but with the advent of Google's variable-pricing scheme, its importance will drop (probably to #3).

If EPC and revenues don't recover from the changes, I'll invest more time in my affiliate partnerships (which I'd been neglecting a bit in the "AdSense era.") Still, I'm likely to keep AdSense unless revenues fall even more drastically, because it does produce revenues from subtopic pages that don't lend themselves to affiliate sales.

3:31 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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One reason why large sites are being it hard is because of their relevency.

A large site takes on many aspects of something.

buying widgets
cleaning widgets
bathing widgets
getting widgets
coloring widgets
talking to widgets

etc.. etc..

If your adsense ads are showing "widget" ads, then your EPC is going to go down because most of your topics are not what google is NOW looking for.

However, people dont make small niche sites on side topics (cleaning bathing getting coloring talking), they normally stick with stuff you can make $$ with... that is BUYING widgets.

So you see, major authority sites that tackle all sides of a topic are getting slammed, but niche sites that are just about directed topics are doing fine...

3:40 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It comes down to money. If Adsense drops to 50 or 60% of it's prior level and other sources produce 15 - 18 times that in total, guess where I'm going to put my efforts. Guess which advertisers will get the best placement. ;)

Hopefully adsense will return to decent triple digit daily earnings. Either way, I'm not going to dump it since it is free money. I'm just going to relegate it to a lower spot if it doesn't return to prior earnings. Or I may leave it in the same spot but change it from the wide tower to a single ad box.

If they are no longer one of the biggest individual sources of income then they will no longer get the premium spot.

4:19 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I keep reading these posts that say "niche sites are doing fine", and yet I've read multiple posts from people with niche sites that are NOT doing fine.

I have a niche site, and I am NOT doing fine. EPC is down 35%...

4:38 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I've got a niche site too - CTR is down a couple percent, and revenue is down by 30% - 40%. Just hoping it's temporary.
4:58 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What happens when Google offers AdSense Select, allowing advertisers to select groupings of preferred websites, a service which will have higher ad rates?
5:15 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What happens when Google offers AdSense Select, allowing advertisers to select groupings of preferred websites, a service which will have higher ad rates?

I've been preaching an "AdSense Select" concept since last summer. Don't tell me that someone actually listened. :-)

Seriously, do you know something that the rest of us don't?

5:37 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm a little new to this, but I can say that my earnings are down by at least 30%. Certainly, I will at least "try" another form of advertising in light of the recent changes.
6:07 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What happens when Google offers AdSense Select, allowing advertisers to select groupings of preferred websites, a service which will have higher ad rates?

Something like this is what it would take to get the advertiser half of me back into content ads. Fuzzy math doesn't do it for me, nor I doubt for most advertisers. So far it just upsets the publisher half of me.

MQ

6:25 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My 50,000 hits a day review oriented content site with 3000 plus back links still has earnings down 70%.

Like others, I have been reinvesting some Adsense money into Adwords to drive traffic to other ventures. A practice I had to stop today. Wonder if other publishers will have to drop out of Adwords. Wonder how much of that advertiser loss was factored in their secret algo?

6:38 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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For me, the CTR has gone through the roof. Unfortunatelly, the EPC has plummeted to 10% of what what it was.

Too bad, it would have been a nice pay day. I will not jump the gun on this one though. I'll stick the month out and see what May brings along...if this continues, goodbye Google.

6:48 pm on Apr 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Something like this is what it would take to get the advertiser half of me back into content ads. Fuzzy math doesn't do it for me, nor I doubt for most advertisers.

Agree. Especialy when I noticed one of my small adsense niche sites seemed to be paying me more per click. I thought (now from the advertiser perspective) 'what if I end up paying MORE for content clicks'.

Then again, it should still work with the cap an advertiser sets up... but I have yet to see any difinitive explanation from G, so i'm still hesitant to enable content throughout my adwords campaigns.

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