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Is anybody else in this situation?
Easily assimilated proof of expertise is needed nowadays to increase the liklehood of users clicking on ads.
I'm not saying you are incorrect however I'm pretty sure that it is not this simple.
I have noticed that compelling ad copy is not very evident these days, there is a huge amount of amateur DIY AdWorders all stating very similar things (in my niche).
I feel that owing to the proliferation of Google Ads, in most sectors, its novelty is wearing off therefore to attract a visitor's attention the ad copy has to be much better than:
We have XOXOXO
Buy cheaper XOXOXO
Great prices for XOXOXO
I'm not very good at writing ad copy however the difference between DIY and professional is enormous.
It would be interesting to know AdWorders views about this since many here complain about falling AdSense CTR (the main cause of falling eCPM) therefore if their response rates are falling then THEY need to do something to reverse that trend, it's not something that the publisher can affect directly within Google's programme ad placement.
I believe the viewers on my sites are "in depth" interested in the subject of the sites, not just passing half-interested. Possibly this makes them more likely to click on text ads.
Even more important, those readers are probably more likely to convert for the advertiser than the casual or accidental drive-by visitor is. Keyword targeting is only half the battle for AdSense and its advertisers: Reaching the right audience is the bigger challenge.
Ad blindness is kicking in, volume is no longer the key. Content is no longer the "be all and end all". Readers need to believe in the author of the content. So much of the content on the net is scraped or just superficial.
No kidding. As a Web user, I'm often annoyed when I search Google for "[keyphrase]" and find a single reference to that keyphrase buried in post #12 of a forum thread, a series of blog comments on a semi-related topic, or a me-too directory that lacks any editorial input. Google must be aware of this problem, and I can't help wondering if some kind of AdSense "quality score" or "relevance score" may not be in place or at least on the way. From a long-term perspective, it's in Google's own corporate interests to use some of its Google Search scoring techniques on the AdSense side: e.g., by paying a higher percentage or serving better ads to sites that have earned high "TrustRank," achieved authority status for a topic, etc. Just matching ads to keywords isn't likely to be good enough for Google or its advertisers over the long haul.
Even "quality sites" are succumbing to temptation these days. Thanks to Google Alerts, I discovered that one of the top left-wing U.S. political blogs is running pages of scraped search results with "sponsored link" ads. (The ads don't appear to be working too well, though--the third-party ad units on the scraped Paris shopping results page are in Swedish!)
It's disappointing to see a respected site go downhill so far and so fast.
We do have hub pages for certain people and items that do get updated whenever somethign changes or a new detail comes out.
But most of our content is not altered after the fact, oh bar maybe the includes regards related content etc.
But even if that was an issue we are publishing hundreds of new pages every day so I cannot see that being the problem regards the recent crash.
[edited by: FattyB at 1:16 am (utc) on Jan. 18, 2008]
For four different events, when earnings have slid hard, and I have jumped in with both feet, slinging content left and right, moving things around, doing full template changes and making major changes, within a day or two, the earnings pop back up. I was discussing this with Ann the third time it happened. It is not because of an increase in ad blindness with fresh pages peaking interest, because 75% of my daily traffic is uniques.
Of the other 25% who are sticky, they come to an area of my site that is one of the lowest performers, but a favorite of visitors none the less. They do not click. So, it can not be said that freshening up the site has had an effect on visitor reaction to ads. If anything, it is only advertisers or the adsense bot that notices the difference and reacts to it. Do advertisers check on the sites they advertise on continually? Do they react to fresh content with higher bids? Are there really that many advertisers who spend their entire day in the control panel working on their ads? Or is the Adsense bot taking note of changes to the websites, and awarding publishers with a better cut of the pie for content changes to many pages?
Today, again, earnings are back to 'normal', though traffic has not changed. With 5 hours to go today, I have already earned what I did on Monday. Monday this week I was slammed to the floor with dismal earnings, the lowest since December 25 (my lowest day of the year), and Monday is normally my big day. Sunday, the day before, I worked the main site hard, and made major changes. So, Monday I was seriously pained. My pain continued on Tuesay and Wednesday, both very good days for last year or so (as good as it would get anyway)
Thursday, is my weakest weekday, historically. The same ads are showing from the same advertisers who advertise on my main site all along. Nobody has taken the entire ad block, and the average CTR today, is really low with a dismal single digit ecpm. I am stumped.
Though I have begun pulling the second ad units on pages, the pages I have pulled them on are not performing well at all today. They should be dragging me down overall ad they are my highest traffic pages. Pages performing well, have two ad units on them. I did pull Adsense off 5 websites entirely yesterday that had a ctr of 1% or less. To me, it is the single event that seems to make any sense.
Once, I pulled Adsense off a huge amount of my pages to place YPN on them. I did really well with YPN, better than Adsense. Then, seeing poorly targeted ads on YPN increasing over the trial, I switched back. Almost instantly my earnings at Adsense were record breaking... then slowly fizzled back down to normal. We called it our 'welcome back bonus'. But, that bonus, seems to come after wide spread changes in a variety of scenarios, not just pulling a high percentage of ads.
I have a record of earnings by the hour over the past two years. I get x amount at 6am,7am,8am,9am... right up to 7pm. It is what I make at those hourly intervals that tells me how my night will finish up, and I am not usually off on the calculation. When I see the numbers are off at 10am, I can tell whether or not I will have an average day. Of course there are adjustments for days of the week and significant other days of the month, such as the 1st, 3rd and 15th. Each day of the week has it's own 'normal' hourly average earnings.
It is in checking at these particular times, then looking at where my traffic comes from at those hours, that I can tell where I need to expand or motify. There are clear trends. When earnings are normal at 7pm for days, I go days without checking on my stats. When I see at 7pm my earnings are off on any given day, I go back to checking them on the hour and matching traffic with earnings, to see what exactly is off. Is it China that is off, the U.S, office employees, military, government offices, home users...? UNLESS there is a known wide spread weather event that would have a severe affect on traffic. Then, I just wait until the weather clears up in the widely affected areas, and check to see the earnings are back up. Of course non-severe, wide spread, adverse weather will have the opposite affect on earnings.
There is one interesting fact though. In checking back to Jan 2006 there is a trend I missed in my Adsense stats. I rarely look at Search revenue because it had always been so insignificant (low hundreds $$). I am surprised to see Search revenue has steadily increased from Jan 2006 through now. I am seeing a 25% increase in cpc over Jan 2007, which is 150% over 2006 cpc. Now, back in 2006 my CTR was 50% on search is now half that, with much higher earnings. Clearly, my search revenue has increased, while total number of clicks has not. So, it can not be said that I merely saw a transfer of clicks from content to search.
Oddly enough, that 25% increase in search is the exact percentage my total revenue from Adsense (search + content) is off. I'm simply earning more cpc in search while the ctr in 2007 is half of that in 2006.
For example, In December 2007 and March 2007 I had the exact same number of clicks in search, but with a huge difference in revenue. The monthly average cpc began really increasing heavily in early 2007 and has continued to increase. My search earnings are better than ever for January, continuing to grow, while my content earnings have plunged, the exact same percentage.
Here is the kicker. While my cpc in search used to be a fraction of content cpc (2006), the average monthly cpc of both search and content are now exactly the same. Not close, EXACTLY.
I don't think it could be any more confusing. I continue to look for trends, but the only common thread I can see is major site changes noticed and rewarded by either advertisers or Adsense bot.
let's suppose all of those affected have a similar topic. now a huge player becomes adsense supported and pulls down your metrics because he gets more ad impressions than all of you combined.
meanwhile i tend to believe in this theory as i see exacly "my" ads all the time on myspace and youtube. my earnings reduction didn't happen overnight, but gradually over time.
Actually I don't think YouTube is a content network site, but MySpace is and the AdWords campaigns I'm experimenting with got tons of impressions from that site before I blocked it. I'm just not interested in paying for that traffic.
I don't think this could explain a sudden drop for a certain fixed group of publishers, but it may well be a generally depressive factor on earnings across the whole network.
I "update" pages even when there's nothing to update. Move some text around, restructure a table, change a file name.. whether it does any good or not I have no idea, but it makes me feel better.
I have been on the Adwords side of my industry, and there are no new 'major' players, as Google search confirms. Believe me, I have checked, and checked and checked. If you know who the enemy is, then you can fight him and win, has always been my train of thinking. We are swinging in the dark here at an unknown enemy.
Yesterday, closed out about right for a 'normal' third week Thursday. But, the money came from all the areas of my site with the least changes. Those where I took away an ad unit, didn't make a dime all day. Not a dime.
Those are my major earners too. I used them for the test, because the difference would be the most noticable. I'm putting the second ad block on those areas and leaving it through mid next week. If moving everything around reversed a moldy content decline, then putting those units back on should increase earnings. If not, I will buy into the 'cap' theory others are believers in.
Why not think long-term and concentrate on fundamentals? Meaning:
1) Intrinsic value of content.
2) Building organic traffic.
3) Attracting the right audience (meaning visitors who are likely to be interested in what advertisers are offering, and who have the means and motivation to make purchases or serious inquiries).
Points 1 and 2 are always worth attention (assuming that you have a legitimate site); point 3 may be a challenge if you're passionate about a topic that's likely to attract the poor or the parsimonious.
I really think that trying to second-guess the AdSense smart-pricing algorithm, compensation scheme, or market supply and demand falls under the heading of flailing around.
I don't stress on this anymore. I really used to hate it when people would say, "If you don't like it, you're free to remove adsense from your pages." I heard that over and over again and it really used to tick me off. It doesn't anymore. I mean that is exactly the way you should look at this. If it's not working - do something else. There's a fundamental truth buried in there that goes far beyond adsense and the fickle fluctuations that accompany it. This shouldn't have been difficult for me to see as I am the epitome of "trial and error." Try this. If it doesn't work, try something else. If that doesn't work, try something else, etc... Isn't that really what affiliate marketing (and I'm using this term loosely) is all about? Find what works. When it stops working, find something else. You keep looking and you keep looking and you continue looking until you find what's right for your site. When you hit on that right combination you stick with it, promoting it and enhancing it up to the point to where your "good taste/user experience" meter says stop.
I've set a cut-off point that I'll probably reach next month or maybe the month after that. When adsense income falls below a certain point, I'm quitting. I'm not going to replace adsense ads with YPN or any other affiliate programs. I'll be done - period. I have obligations to fulfill with regard to several direct advertisers and I'll probably go ahead and maintain those agreements if they want to continue when their terms expire but beyond that I'm done. I tried it. It worked for a while but now it's not working so I'm going to quit. It feels good too. It's a very liberating thought. It may sound strange but I'm kind of looking forward to it.
If it doesn't work, try something else. If that doesn't work, try something else, etc... Isn't that really what affiliate marketing
I think in terms of psychology, when something has worked great for years and liberated webmasters from chasing, testing, evaluating programs after programs and keeping on top of it so not to be defrauded, so they could just focus on their site's content (a webmaster's ideal setup), suddenly if it just doesn't deliver anymore, there may be a shock / denial / anger / mourning period that will last longer than just jump to a new affiliate program.
Adsense was great also for webmasters with pure content web sites, not some pre-sale information like the old thin affiliates format. Now it seems that you do need a commerce oriented topic (product reviews and such, at least according to EFV) to do well with adsense, and that's frustrating for many who weren't interested in having an pseudo-ecommerce site in the first place.
Anyway, for anyone about to create a new site, I say, choose your topic well and make sure there is a lot of commercial interest.
Now it seems that you do need a commerce oriented topic (product reviews and such, at least according to EFV) to do well with adsense.
It's not just according to EFV. It's according to best estimates and most probably outcomes. It's all about the intent of your traffic. Are they trying to buy something or are they just dilly dallying around and tring to kill an hour or so until they can punch out and go home? Product reviews attract the sort of surfer who is doing comparison shopping. They're ready to buy and now are looking for the best deal they can get. It makes sense in anybody's book to value clicks from this visitor higher than the time waster who's surfing with no real intent at all.
[edited by: wyweb at 6:17 pm (utc) on Jan. 18, 2008]
when something has worked great for years and liberated webmasters from chasing...
Anyone who considered this adsense thing a long term fix to their financial freedom was woefully disillusioned. Adsense is the cherry on top of the cake. It's not the cake itself.