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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]

11:28 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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i doubt he got laid off, but there's really nothing more he can say...

One thing I'd like to hear from the G camp is an assurance that there will always be a notice before rolling out changes that affect our revenue.

11:51 pm on Apr 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Things are still looking good here, after a one day drop off on April 1st. Thank goodness.
12:19 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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PR6 site, 4000+ content pages. No change in CTR,EPC, etc.

Unfortunately my traffic is down 25% since 2nd April, summer is always bad for me, so earnings down.

12:27 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think it's still way too early to tell, but my earnings appear to be stable. I think they are up on a return per impressions basis.

The amount I make has always been pretty volatile (up and down day to day) so I'd need more time to spot a real trend. But I can guarantee there's been no large bump either way, possibly a slight bump up, but hard to tell.

12:56 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Things aren't looking good here. In fact, I'm about to remove adsense from my site. I would rather not give away thousands of impressions and annoy my visitors for the pittance I'm being paid now.
1:30 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It is not good. This hurts.
1:42 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I sure would love to get a look at the actual sites that are going up, holding stable, and going down. I think we are allowed to discuss the direction of our revenue changes, if not the actual data.

Guess there is no way to do that (compare sites) unless we go set up a new domain. Would be interesting though...

1:48 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My impressions are normal, CTR is down, EPC is down but improving.

This morning I saw well targetted ads, and no vacant spots. This afternoon I saw a few ads that were totally unrelated to my content, and I saw many vacant spots where ads could've been. Most of my traffic comes in the afternoon and evening due to the nature of my content.

Might I be suffering from a timing issue? If so, I've no clue how to combat such a thing.

2:31 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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We give Google a strong majority of our 100,000 +/- daily page impressions, and I've been impressed as heck since joining the program last summer how nicely targetted the ads were.

Our users seemed impressed, too, as clickthrough rates started strong ... and climbed steadily.

Since April 1st, our EPC has dropped noticeably (about 20%).

But the real frustration is that our Clickthrough rate has dropped dramatically ... by more than 40% ... and it's easy to see why: The ads aren't targetted anywhere nearly as carefully as before.

One one story about how to set up a backyard water garden, for example, our block of Google ads is currently showing a pair of ads for "skunk odor removal" ... plus two ads to remove pet odors. The story doesn't mention skunks. In fact, it never mentions bad odors at all, not even 1,000 or so words into the story, where it talks about combatting algae blooms in a new pond.

Skunked by Google, I guess!

2:33 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Oooooooouchhhh. I've been getting it for four days straight now. I have to go to the store and get more vasoline now. I hope it is on sale.
2:37 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Oooooooouchhhh. I've been getting it for four days straight now. I have to go to the store and get more vasoline now. I hope it is on sale.

Guess the money won't be so easy anymore, eh?

2:56 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I don't know if making money was easy but per Google co-founder Sergey Brin making money was the idea. -

"I'm really excited about our self-serve AdSense. I think this is changing webmasters' lives. They can make money on something that was a hobby, and they don't have to do weird search deals. Think of it. We send you checks. I'm hoping that it can help spur the next generation of content development on the Web."

[searchenginewatch.internet.com...]

At least he claimed it was the idea until he decided he'd rather keep it himself.

2:58 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have to go to the store and get more vasoline now.

guess G should start offering that in their online store so they can suck even more $$$ out of you.
3:06 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Today is not looking good so far, I hope it's just a momentary blip on the radar screen, but it is making me a little nervous. Will keep my fingers crossed in the coming days.
3:16 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The G reply was pretty general (BUT APPRECIATED WINK WINK) and sort of along the lines of the BLACK Thursday email but they said the new changes to advertiser prices and targeting will affect differnt publishlers differently. That maybe our EPC will go down, our click-thru rate may increase do to the more targeted ads (this makes sence and I am seeing a little higher rate). They also said that even tho we are seeing smaller revenues, the changes are ment to affect the LONG term potential, blah blah by getting more advertisers.

I received the exact same form letter. The problem is, my message to Google complained about a lower CTR, told them exactly why this was happening due to poorly targeted ads, and gave examples of specific mismatched ad categories appearing on my site. Of course, no response to that as they never actually READ the emails sent to them.

Edit: corrected CPC to CTR.

4:26 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'd like to hear from Jenstar and how she has been affected by these changes.

She regularly claims the 'so-called decline' in AdSense revenue is not something that is occuring across the board.

4:31 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'd like to hear from Jenstar and how she has been affected by these changes.
She regularly claims the 'so-called decline' in AdSense revenue is not something that is occuring across the board.

I think it's pretty safe to say that the majority of people hitting this thread are wondering what the ... is going on with their income. I have counted at least a half dozen people who have said they are seeing either minimal decline or actual increases.

4:41 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I was making $X before... now I'm making $.XX and EVEN $.0X one day this week. I'm just hoping it makes enough to pay for hosting.

This is killing many of the smaller sites that dont have other avenues of revenue yet.

4:46 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I was making $X before... now I'm making $.XX and EVEN $.0X one day this week.

Ditto, except for the $.0X - but I did have many a $.00 day before I added AdSense. A few years worth of them. I'm not about to quit my day (really night) job.

4:58 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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How many people did not get the email from G? I didn't get it and my EPC increased a bit from April 2. Does it hint that if you didn't get the email, you won't be affected by the adjustment?
5:56 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm a relatively small AdSense publisher, and I've noticed that *so far* my EPC & CTR for April are *much* higher than March. These changes appear to have positively affected me.
6:02 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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With my advertiser hat on, I wrote Google and asked how the recent changes would affect what I pay for ads, and whether their "optimizations" rely on conversion tracking. They wrote back, saying that the changes did use conversion tracking data.

I wrote again, saying that I don't use conversion tracking, because it doesn't fit my sales model, and asked for more details on their "smart pricing". They said that their system reduces the cost of a click if it is less likely to turn into business results. They take into account factors such as what keywords or concepts triggered the ad, and what type of site displayed the ad. They also said that you don't have to use conversion tracking to benefit.

I also asked about how ads will be shown with emails. They said that ads will only be shown with incoming emails, on sites where users have agreed to have ads shown. Ads can also be shown on pre-approved outgoing newsletters (maybe a new opportunity for some publishers?).

To me, it seems like Google has made several important mistakes with AdSense:

-- Inadequate communication with publishers (too many secrets). For one thing, pay rates and performance are clearly communicated (and are shareable among members) by most other ad networks. It would have been nice if they had sent an email saying something like "based on our new pricing structure, our pricing simulation model shows that your site would have earned $X last month instead of the $Y that you actually earned." They must have done that kind of work internally before releasing a change of this magnitude. Sharing that kind of data would have been a good thing!
-- Trying to use a totally automated system to determine keywords and page relevance. If we could tune the keywords that were used for ad matching on our pages, everyone would benefit.
-- Inadequate reporting. Google is benefiting from the detailed stats that they gather from running ads on our pages. That data clearly has value, and should be shared with the publishers.

As others have said, content-based ads are still relatively new, and there is clearly plenty of room for competition. It seems obvious to me that you don't have to have the world's largest search engine (or even a very big one) in order to be able to compete in this space.

6:10 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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They said that their system reduces the cost of a click if it is less likely to turn into business results.

What are business results? Does that mean sales? Does brand recognition count for anything?

6:14 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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yo-yo hence the term reduce the cost. At least you get something for the brand.
6:31 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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So I guess this means for businesses that are looking for quick sales of widget x, a premium will be applied for those sites where it has previously performed well?
6:57 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Well after a 24 hr test of identical Adword campaigns, one shown on search network only and one shown on context network only, it appears that ..... [drum roll please].....

I am paying ner enough the same price per click!

OK this has only been 24 Hrs, but it will be interesting to see what happens over time.

6:58 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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[qoute]I received the exact same form letter. The problem is, my message to Google complained about a lower CTR, told them exactly why this was happening due to poorly targeted ads, and gave examples of specific mismatched ad categories appearing on my site. Of course, no response to that as they never actually READ the emails sent to them. [/qoute]

Yeah. I sent a letter to Google as well. My CTR had dropped as well. Google has replied with a chain letter as simple as that. Screw the month waiting period, I plan to drop adsense this week. This is from a guy who used to be "scared" of clickin on one of the adsense ads on his sites!

Those days are over.

8:34 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I have also notice drop in CTR but my overall earning has increased a bit.

Over all I am seeing positive effect these changes.

Now each click is paying more than before

10:42 am on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Timeshare guy,

Can you start your own thread, maybe called the 'Twin Adsense test' so we can all see how it comes out..... This thread is getting a little long in the tooth and I think a lot of us would be interested in your out come.

RrVnN

12:30 pm on Apr 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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What are business results? Does that mean sales? Does brand recognition count for anything?

PPC ads are intended to generate a response, not to communicate a brand message. (That's why Google takes both advertiser bids and clickthrough rates into account when determining display order for ads.)

A more relevant question, IMHO, is whether Google's definition of "business results" is too narrow. Does lead generation qualify as a "business result"? If not, why not? If so, how does Google determine what's a lead?

FWIW, my own site generates substantial affiliate revenues each month--probably 2-1/2 to 3 times what it earns from AdSense, in fact. Some of those affiliate sales are immediate (people clicking on a hotel link and placing a reservation), while others may require correspondence with a human being. Does Google have any way of knowing when sales result from the latter type of inquiry? And is it basing its assumptions about "business results" on a statistical analysis of information pages in the big-$$$$ travel category or of information pages in general? I can't help wondering if some advertisers (those that sell big-ticket services rather than click-to-order now items) aren't paying less for leads than they should be paying, just because Google is making incorrect assumptions about the value of "information" clicks in a category where the record shows that most users are looking for advice on where and how to spend their money.

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