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Since Aug. 2008 we have been kicked down another 30%

     
6:24 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We have taken such a dive over the past 3 weeks it is scary. Since the onset of Aug. we have been kicked down another 30%. This is on top of the 20% we have already lost. Not only that but our traffic has increased! The reporting stats are just erratic.
This makes no sense.
7:00 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There's a lot of variables you have to look at. What's down - your total earnings, your EPC's, your eCPM? your CTR? your impressions? Are you seeing the same ads you saw a month ago, from the same advertisers? How long have you had your site up with AdSense? Have you looked at other sites in your general niche to see if they are showing ads that you aren't getting for some reason? Are the ads you're getting pretty well targeted? How many ad blocks do you have on a page? Do you sometimes see duplicates of the same ad running in different ad blocks on a single page? Are you over blended? Under blended? Do your users return to the site a lot (i.e. are they becoming ad blind) ? Where's most of your traffic coming from? How's your bounce rate?

I don't mean for you to answer all these questions here; this is confidential to your business model of course, but this is the kind of stuff you have to look at.

7:06 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's like a switch was thrown Aug. 1, I feel it too! Some advertisers may have discontinued their campaigns Aug. 1 or it may be Google needed some extra cash in this ruff economic time, so they soaked it from us! ;)

One of my sites is seasonal and is subject to this yearly affect, though I hate it, it's the reality of this particular industry.

7:07 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't be worried but we have been fairly consistent for over 3 years. We’ve had normal fluctuations but we've always bounced back within 10 days. This time it has been pushing a month and Aug has been unprecedented.
7:12 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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con771 are you getting around the same CTR, In my case CTR is about that same in average as before but since Aug 1 the eCPM has taken a nose dive about 50%
7:42 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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'CTR is about that same in average as before but since Aug 1 the eCPM has taken a nose dive about 50% '

This statement is pretty accurate with my scenario as well, Rock steady CTR with suppressed CPM. One observation though is that I did notice a large office supply chain overtaking some larger traffic ad spots recently, even reducing an ad block that usually had twice the CPM, would love to test that theory but may wait it out before switching that block to text only to see if that may help.

7:56 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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maybe it's just the ad inventory growing for your niche, so there's more lower paying ads to go around.

if your site isn't near the top of its field (for good click throughs etc) then you will naturally start attracting a larger proportion of those ads (especially if your traffic has increased).

8:24 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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They have turned on a new feature called frequency capping:

Frequency capping, which prevents users from repeatedly seeing the same ads on your pages.
Improved attribution, to help advertisers identify the best performing sites in the network based on post-impression activity.
Improved ads quality, as we're able to improve ad performance within the Google content network.

Source: [feeds.feedburner.com...]

Now Google bot can identify the best performing sites in the network based on post-impression activity. This is really scary, what if bot algo went wrong and you got badly kicked out...

8:27 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Bots never go wrong
go wrong
go wrong
go wrong
go wrong
go wrong
go wrong
10:02 pm on Aug 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a slight increase in eCPM this month (compared to July), but that may be a normal seasonal uptick.

EPC has been very strong this summer--something that's a bit of a surprise in the current economic climate. (For what it's worth, I've seen several articles lately that have talked about ad budgets being shifted from branding media to more easily measured media such as search ads. Maybe that's the economic cloud's silver lining.)

12:34 am on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Umm, okie so as himalayaswater mention they have created frequency capping, But the real weird thing I am still getting the same ads unless other people see different ads then me.

I check a lot of my pages to see if the ads are different or if I go to a page more then once, I did it 4 times Actually and got the same ads.

Most likely Google is lowering the amount Advertisers are paying per click on my sector. That's the only thing i can think of.

1:06 am on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Most likely Google is lowering the amount Advertisers are paying per click on my sector. That's the only thing i can think of.

Or, more likely, advertisers are bidding less per click. That's certainly possible as economies in various parts of the world take a hit.

1:41 am on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I did it 4 times Actually and got the same ads.

Yep, but was that using one browser from your location?

To check ads, not very often, I use at least four different bowsers plus a proxy browser. You may be surprised just by using the Opera browser the difference you may see.

And I have this funny feeling that some ad budgets are not being very well controlled at the moment!

5:49 am on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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[On my sites] daily revenue is down 15% compared to July 2008 and in line with the decrease of 2007 (whereas 2005 and 2006 we did not notice a decrease in August). Seems to be mostly caused by reduced traffic; my audience is not sitting in front of the computer in August.
2:47 pm on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Same here. August is a slow month typically with vacations by both consumers and advertisers. Just hang in tight till Labor Day.
4:47 pm on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'm also feeling a hit. Maybe there's a relation to the summer season; many people are out enjoying theirselves!

Luckily the US dollar seems to be on a very sharp rise, which should give us EUR-based publishers a little boost in the future :D

5:13 pm on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Maybe there's a relation to the summer season; many people are out enjoying theirselves!

Let's face it: Advertisers and media buyers need time off to take their families to the beach, the mountains, or the lake, just like everyone else!

7:07 pm on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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For the past 3 years we have been stable for July and August. This year, no Such luck. So the theory of summer slow down doesn't explain things for us.

Take today for example. our traffic is down about 10-15% but our earnings and Ecpm are down about 50%. We've checked everything...There is nothing we can find which accounts for this

8:36 pm on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We've checked everything...There is nothing we can find which accounts for this

ok, but when it comes down to it, but all you can check are things on your end - there's a thousand other things you can't check or control, not only on the Google end but on the advertiser end, the market end, the user end, and so on.

9:41 pm on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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traffic is down about 10-15% but our earnings and Ecpm are down about 50%.

I'd be looking at which source was sending less traffic. That could easily account for the situation in the quote.

Lose traffic from a source that sends a higher percentage of shoppers (people more likely to click an ad) and your earnings can take a disproportionate dive.

10:07 pm on Aug 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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We have taken such a dive over the past 3 weeks it is scary. Since the onset of Aug. we have been kicked down another 30%. This is on top of the 20% we have already lost. Not only that but our traffic has increased! The reporting stats are just erratic.
This makes no sense.

Sorry to hear about your payout reduction. Unfortunately, it is unlikely you will be able to determine the root cause of this payout reduction event. The best advice anybody can give is that you diversify your revenue streams and move on..

[edited by: Edge at 10:07 pm (utc) on Aug. 8, 2008]

12:51 am on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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my trafic decresed 10% but the clicks are about the same.
earnings are down 50% :(
4:02 am on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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some great replies, so...

For the past 3 years we have been stable for July and August. This year, no Such luck. So the theory of summer slow down doesn't explain things for us.

Probably most common misconception about web performance regardless of metric. Website businesses don't work that way...the landscape changes so quickly and so discontinuously that the trends from least year or the year before are largely irrelevant, or rather, uninterpretable as applied to today. Very few other businesses are that chaotic and unstable.

SO, it could be Summer. It could be anything. 42.

6:13 pm on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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the landscape changes so quickly and so discontinuously that the trends from least year or the year before are largely irrelevant, or rather, uninterpretable as applied to today.

I think that depends on the topic and/or the site. I've been seeing the same patterns year after year since the 1990s, and I could graph an accurate forecast of month-to-month variations from memory.

(FWIW, I get a monthly report from Hitwise about Web traffic in my vertical, and the vertical as a whole has a seasonal pattern that's extremely close to mine.)

6:55 pm on Aug 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If Google has turned some system-wide knob then we should all be seeing the same things, and we aren't.

On my site, for example, traffic, impressions, and clicks are very similar to last August, but click value has gone up significantly, and so have my earnings.