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Reasons for a sudden drop on CTR

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4:25 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Without changing a bit on my site, suddenly, my CTR dropped from a consisten 8% to 5%. It may sound not too much, but it is when measured in earnings!
I'm looking for a brainstorm here.
4:44 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is the ad pool the same?
Have any of the advertisers changed their ad copy?
Has your source of traffic changed in any way?
4:51 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Are you being site targetted? Have you updated your compet. ad filter recently? Has your ecpm been dropping at the same time?
5:01 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I experienced the following reasons for a dropping CTR:

1) Sudden appearance of site targeted ads. These ads are untargeted (hence cheap) and exist mostly to promote a brand or get that odd click. Around 9th November (the day QS came to content), I experienced a sudden increase of CPM ads. I suggest to have a look at that.

2) Sudden appearance of MFA type ads. Especially if you are running a high-traffic high-quality site, people very soon get tired of "Top8" style sites. They learn from their disappointments (caused by clicking on promising ads but disappointing landing pages) and refrain from clicking on ads.

3) Seasonal influence. Obviously. Selling plastic Santas in April does not work too good. But then again, it's typically not a sudden fall, but more of a gentle rise and fall. Have a look at the 31-day average CTR, averaging out the day-to-day swings. What does it say?

4) Repeat visitors. They seem to be a strong reason for dropping CTR. They are interested in your site (again and again) and not in clicking away from your site. It's lovely, because your overall popularity and traffic rises, but your CTR goes slowly down. You should always have the right mix of old vs. new visitors.

5:02 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks guys!
I've checked some of these.

Ad Pool:
Recently, say since a couple of week, I've been "invaded" of really premium advertisers : Microsoft, Oracle, SAS, Bea. I thought it was a good thing, but now I think may be these advertisers are too much high quality and they are paying cents even if they're on top spots. What do you think?

Site targeted:
May be, I see like 3 advertisers consistenly showing in my site.

eCPM been dropping at the same time:
Yes, perfectly proportional. People just stop clicking the ads.

9:52 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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fischermx-

Since this past Sunday, I've seen a consistant and unexplainable decrease in CTR as well. Sadly my CTR is nowhere near your numbers, but what I have has decreased about 25%... with normal to high traffic and only a slight decline in eCPM. CPC is at an all time high, however, so there is xome compensation!

My ad pool appears normal and there has been no influx of MFAs or off-target ads. Just seems like the algo got a little more picky as to what type of clicks it is allowing after last Saturdays' "maintenance".

I get a good amount of non-US/UK traffic and it is during those periods of the day when that traffic is active that the clicks seem to have become leaner.

Chapman

10:49 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I'd suggest a spot of a/b testing with different ad formats. Just after the QS algo was introduced, my ctr went down despite no changes to the site. A little a/b testing showed that the skyscraper was working better for me at the moment, so I changed the ad block.

I'm not saying it's QS, as it could be many things. A spot of testing might be worth trying however.

[edited by: FortySomething at 10:50 pm (utc) on Nov. 16, 2006]

4:19 am on Nov 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It's as if a switch was thrown on Nov 9 that put a cap on EPC for specific sites.

My site is small and my earnings are probably not even a fraction of most of the folks here, but for what it's worth :

Traffic up 10% from last month
CTR increase of roughly 45%.
eCPM down 30%
EPC down 30%
Earnings (to this date) also down proportionately 30%.

Getting lots of affiliate / low paying ads now on the homepage.

It's really a roller coaster ride this Adsense... just when you think you're on an uptrend, it goes and turns the chart upside down.

Good thing direct advertisements are picking up.

8:38 am on Nov 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>>>I've been "invaded" of really premium advertisers : Microsoft, Oracle, SAS, Bea. I thought it was a good thing<<<

those "premium" advertisers could actually be in a better position to game the adwords system than companies with a much smaller advertising budget... ebay being the classic example of that.

12:28 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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on the night to Tuesday, November 14, 2006 my ctr started to drop about 30%. i am getting very untargeted ads all of a sudden. i hope this will change back to more targetted ones.
12:51 am on Nov 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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My CTR for a few websites has also dropped drastically (by more than 50% in some cases)
 

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