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A change in the AdSense tide?

Reports of record daily earnings

6:57 am on Apr 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jenstar is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I have been hearing from publisher's all evening with "Have you checked your stats?" and "are you seeing super-high earnings?" So far, I have heard from six publishers who have had record earnings today. These are publishers earning double and triple digits a day, some newer publishers and some publishers around since the beginning, and each in completely different keyword areas (ie. if one publisher's site was about watermelons, another's was on hockey sticks and a third on hedgehogs. Completely different areas).

But each has made more today (Tues April 13, 2004) than any other day in their AdSense earnings history. If one or two publishers had reported this, it could be coincidence. But six publishers in such different keyword areas, impressions and CTRs have all reported the highest daily earning total ever - and noticeable in a period when so many publishers have had record-low earnings (including at least a couple of those 6 publishers) in the first 12 days of April.

Could the AdSense team have received enough less-than-glowing feedback to make a change or a rollback to the "new and improved" AdSense that publishers have been experiencing since the beginning of the month? Was this April 1st - April 12th period the "New Coke" phase of AdSense?

There has been plenty of negative feedback to these new chages, with publishers threatening to leave and try competitors. But if publishers start recording record high earnings, will the first 12 days of April be shortly forgotten and AdSense will once again claim the golden image of being the best-thing-going for content site owners and hobby sites?

Timing is crucial, especially with Quigo's Ad Sonar poised to launch, supposedly this week. However, even that remains to be seen, since Ad Sonar has repeatedly pushed back their launch date. But for Google AdSense, having a competitor launch at a time when so many publishers are unhappy would be bad for AdSense and a dream come true for that competitor. And Ad Sonar could finally come through and launch this week, even if they wouldn't have otherwise, simply to capitalize on that publisher unhappiness.

Is this all just a mere coincidence? Or has there been a significant change in AdSense? There could have been an EPC split that is more favorable to publishers than it has been recently. Or the AdSense team could have tweaked their algo slightly so that publishers are getting better targeted ads than what was seen during the first 12 days of April, resulting in a higher CTR.

Are others seeing record or near-record earnings for Tuesday April 13, 2004? (Do make sure your stats have updated - some have reported much-delayed stats today, which often happens when there has been a change). Or noticed a significant change with better targeted ad or higher than normal CTR or EPC? Or anything else that could be attributed to a change?

Please, no gripes :) Keep it constructive and on-topic with what has changed with AdSense as of April 13th, why, and what it all means ;)

3:16 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

.....Google's algorithm is now making wild (and often inaccurate) guesses.

I still think that a computer can only do so much on this situation. A lot has to do with the editorial process that gets ads approved for words and word combinations that might not be the best possible match. If the algo starts with lemon, it can only make lemonade.

3:32 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

So I wonder why you complain. I guess 99% of your pages are well targeted.

I "complain" because I see a significant number of mistargeted ads on my 4,000 or so pages, and the problem is getting worse, not better. (I don't regard your one visit to my home page as a statistically valid sample, by the way. And I can assure you that I've seen some wildly mistargeted ads on that home page lately, including the previously mentioned examples of ads for "Denver car broker" and "fleet management.")

In any case, the purpose of mentioning such examples isn't to just to "complain," but to illustrate what quite a few of us are experiencing these days. The purpose of a forum like this one is to share information, and the bigger the sample, the better the information.

3:39 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I still think that a computer can only do so much on this situation....If the algo starts with lemon, it can only make lemonade.

I agree completely. Some of us have recommended that Google allow publishers to help out with:

1) Positive or negative keywords and themes to help the algorithm determine the topic; or...

2) Better blocking filters, such as a "block by keywords" filter to supplement the current "block by domain" filter.

Publisher intervention might not be practical in every case, but for evergreen pages that consistently show poor results (especially if they get significant traffic), a little extra help for the Mediabot could result in more revenue for both the publisher and Google.

3:59 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My ads have been waaaaaaaay off the last few days. Seems I'm getting *only* ads for German Childrens' Books on a graphic design site. Wierd.
4:21 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you see not well targeted ads do yourself a favor and sign up for adwords. It's a trial and error process of getting high CTR. I started off with "keywords" but got terrible CTR as it was too generic and most likely appearing on sites that were irrelevant. Within a few days it would have automatically 'optimized' my campaign by removing 'high-risk' keywords. So I ended up using all [keywords] and now enjoy pretty decent CTR. What a difference brackets make.

So for every advertiser if there ad appears on your site they're probably learning the ropes and eventually if it's not performing well it'll get weeded out. Unfortunately and fortunately new advertisers come into the system constantly so I guess it's inevitable you'll see mistargeted ads more due to the fact of the advertiser learning the google ad system as to what works and what doesn't rather than google's algorithm.

4:47 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Things have been downward here too lately. Targetting has been ok.

About new adwords advertisers making mistakes.... I can see your point, but this assumes that every adsense ad in a 5 ad block happens to be a new adwords advertiser, which is unlikely.

5:34 pm on Apr 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I went to the Hadrian wall page and got "Toronto Tall Ship Cruises - Yes we Really Sail, a 165' three Masted Schooner, public sails daily"

Targeting has been off on my site as well :(

April started off really badly, there are some days that recover to about 80% of average pre-April earnings but usually it's about 50-70% of pre-April earnings. Number of impressions have been fairly static.

7:28 am on Apr 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was totally depressed about Adsense in the beginning of this month. But things have improved.

First week or so, I was seeing a huge difference in the relevance of the ads delivered, and had to ban, for the first time, a number of urls that all fell in the same keyword category, which was inappropriate for my site and pretty much guaranteed no clicks.

My click through rate had fallen to less than 1%, which was not surprising, given the ads that were delivered.

Last week or so, there has been an improvement. In fact, I'd say the relevance is higher than it was before April 1, and the CTR has risen to near 2%, which is higher than I was getting before these changes.

My main site gets about 3,000 uniques, and about 10,000 page views per day, but the average price per click is low. Still, I'm heartened by the results in recent days, which are approximating what I was getting before April Fool's Day.

I continue to believe that Adsense will allow the smaller webmaster to recoup web hosting costs and then some...which is all that many people want. Adsense still enables people to produce content-based web sites without incurring personal debt, because the hosting/bandwidth expenses are paid for by Adsense advertising revenue.

For this reason alone, I value Adsense.

I'm a successful freelance magazine writer, and I get about $1000 per feature for magazine articles. But I'd much rather produce my own content, edit it to my own satisfaction, feature what I want, and get paid not by a magazine, but by the advertisers that would otherwise pay a magazine for page space. Adsense is one way for me to do that...and, after this week's improvement, I'm hopeful it will continue to be that way.

4:26 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For the last four days now I have been seeing record EPC from Adsense for my site. And, I have a statistically viable data set from which to draw conclusions, so it is not an anomoly. In fact, EPC is now higher than where it was when I first started publishing Adsense in July/03.


[Edit]I have not changed a single thing on the pages in question where I am seeing higher EPC, and therefore have not triggered different targeting or ads.[/Edit]

7:20 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


If the click-thru is referring to the site in your profile, then I know why CTR is low. Adsense is content ads... so naturally, blending in ads with the rest of the content works. I tried what you did right now and CTR is also below 2.5% at all times. After blend in, CTR sits at 3.8 to 4.3%.

8:49 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I have tried blending in the past, but that was before channels were available. I'll create a channel for blended ads, and try what you suggest. If it doubled my CTR, I'd be a happy camper!

I have had improvement though, just in the last couple of days, but I think that's Google getting back on track and serving up more relevant ads for my site.

Thanks for your suggestion...


11:39 am on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I agree with irock post.

Also, in the page I visited there was another animated ad too close to AdSense. I suggest to try to leave Adsense alone and monitor the results.



5:39 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


you know what i would do...

on your "Autumn Vine Wreath" page, I would get rid of the right column. Align AdSense 'rectangle' to the right side of the content while keeping your current bgcolor, hyperlink color. I don't think FastClick can be as rewarding as AdSense in terms of CPC rate. As for the amazon ads, use another format and put it at the bottom of your article.

From my experience, the CTR would skyrocket so you don't need a group of scientists to figure out there's an improvement.

10:47 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have been experimenting Google adsense for more than four month by now and was completely satisfied with the result, even after the adsense change which took place after 1st of April. Suddenly, and out of the blue, and exactly starting from 21th of April when Google announced the new design of PSA, a major drop in EPC occured. Problem is until the moment of writing, EPC still decreases a day after a day.

Have anyone experienced such "phenomenon" after 21 April, regardless of the PSA disaster on 24 April and regardless of the new change of 1 April?



11:09 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Yes a dramatic decrease since the 21st here too...
a drop of almost 80% in earnings.
I'm hoping it's a glitch, anyone have any answers or also experiencing this?
11:22 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I see it too. 65% or more gone since the 21st.
11:37 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Ditto. a steady decline each day, starting at the 21st of April.
11:51 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Am I the only one that sees fluctuations of +/-50% in my daily earnings? I doubt I would ever notice a change of 50% of earnings in one day because on any given day they can be anywhere from X to 10X on a site that serves about 2 million impressions/month.
11:53 pm on Apr 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So it has nothing got to do with my niche market also.

I contacted Google anyway three days ago asking for an explaination but no response.

As I already said before my experience with Google is no longer than a few months but this is the first time ever since that I do not receive a timely response, OMG nor even an automated one!

Time to sleep and having some sweet nightmares..


8:26 am on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Hmm, now that you mention it there may have been something that was changed on 21/04. Maybe that requires a new thread.

Fortunately, we are on the right side of the 21/04 change and we are seeing a slight improvement. Not yet pre-April figures but a small improvement nonetheless.

11:11 am on Apr 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Hmm, now that you mention it there may have been something that was changed on 21/04. Maybe that requires a new thread.


This 171 message thread spans 6 pages: 171

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