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CTR Declining Since The Introduction Of Personalised Search



2:21 pm on Dec 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I have gone through all my data for previous Decembers and although overall earnings were down as the month progressed, my CTRs and eCPMs stayed within their usual norm.

This morning I have been comparing the past few weeks metrics since yesterday, Thursday 17th December, heralded a new CTR low, therefore comparing recent metrics, and especially so since the introduction or personalised search, I have the following to report.

These figures are compared to 1st November 2009 to 4th December 2009

5th December to 14th December - Page Impressions normal average

CTR -12.3%
Clicks -22.8%

15th December to 17th December - Page Impressions normal average

CTR -22.6%
Clicks -35.2%

Obviously my eCPMs and earnings have reduced considerably, yesterday my eCPM was -24.5% but significantly earnings were -38% of 1/11 to 4/12 average.

How much of this is to do with personalised search as discussed in the search forum?


Personally it seems to be very coincidental how I have seen a gradual slide to this new low since 5th December and especially so when comparing AdSense metrics to previous Decembers.

Are personalised search results now serving non-relevant or garbage widget ads on my pages that I cannot see?

Has anyone else seen such a reduction in CTRs since 5th December?

I'll repeat, I did expect my earnings to go down in December however not the anhiallation of all metrics.


3:26 am on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I throw my hands up at this point.... I have a "red widget" site and a very specific audience. My earnings have gone down 75%. I just checked my site tonight and instead of ads about red widgets, I have ads about cholesterol and a shopping ad. They have NOTHING to do with my site. I know there are advertisers out there for red widgets - and my site would be the perfect place for them to place their ads due to my "one topic" site. My traffic is normal. Google has always been AMAZING at matching ads to my site. This change just hasn't worked for my audience. When they are on my red widget site, they are not looking for medicine. And I haven't been looking for any either, so I don't know WHERE that ad came from.


1:02 pm on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Not much to say except i have also seen a drastic decline in CTR in december. Something on the order of a 20% decline.


6:53 pm on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Would have to agree. We spend 1+ mill/year on Adwords and notice ever since they tweaked and added personalized search our CTR / conversions have dropped compared to last year, but still spending the same. As a result I've had to reduce daily spending on Adwords. Something's going on maybe.


9:48 pm on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

katherinez, disable Interest Based ads in your AdSense account, it will probably help to return your red widgets ads there

As for the CTR drop, are we talking about adsense CTR or something else? Because I don't think that Personalized SR will affect which ads are displayed on your site. It should only affect the SERPs and therefore the number of visitors you get. Unless that is I missed something here?


12:07 am on Dec 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well at least I know the darn thing works! After having a zero ctr for saturday and sunday I looked at my Adsense numbers today and saw I got at least one click late yesterday and my ctr has risen today which I chalk up to it being a weekday and not a week end.


2:50 am on Dec 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If person A and person B share the same computer and same login wouldn't person B see ads targeted for person A and the other way around? Seems like that would lead to un-targeted ads for most of the general computer users out there.


3:14 am on Dec 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You know what? I have given up trying to figure out how on earth Adsense could have done something to make the CTR rates go so low! I mean I look at my sites, see the ads and the ads are relative to my site's contents but it just seems that lesser people are clicking on the ads - can it be as simple as a reason as that?


12:26 pm on Dec 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well, I don't know what to write other than all my metrics have returned to normal since Xmas Day! If this is the foundation for my 2010, bring it on:-)


3:18 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Google is showing all the premium ads on their pages, why wouldn't they? It's pretty obvious to me that they'll do everything in their power to show the more expensive ads on their pages instead of ours. Personalized search is all about improving their bottom line, their profit, not ours.


10:59 am on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google is showing all the premium ads on their pages, why wouldn't they?

Searching for my most popular widget terms shows I have the same ads as Google.


12:47 pm on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Searching for my most popular widget terms shows I have the same ads as Google.

Maybe you have a premium account? I've never seen that to be the case unless they're premium accounts.


12:53 pm on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

Maybe you have a premium account?

Nope, however I have been with AdSense from the offset and I am #1 worldwide for my widgets.


3:44 pm on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

If Google shows more "expensive" (by which I assume you mean more lucrative) ads on their search pages, it's because a LOT of the advertisers don't bother advertising in the Content Network at all, or are only now coming back because there are some controls (that weren't there before) that keep their budgets from being run amok.

Like Husky Pup, I see pretty close to the same advertisers in search that I see on my sites. And I assume it's because those advertisers are getting conversions from both. That doesn't necessarily happen in every niche.

And, for what it's worth, you can't possibly know if the more lucrative ads are in search, because you don't know what those advertisers are paying at the given moment you see that ad.


4:25 pm on Dec 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I'll add a ditto--I see the same ads on my site as on the SERPS, and this is a niche with decent EPCs. kjennings, you need to understand more about the controls that advertisers have. They can choose not to advertise on "content" (that's us) and that can have a huge impact.

Google actually wants to get more of them advertising on content--if you lurk on AdWords you'll see discussions from time to time about this, along the lines of "so I got a message from Google encouraging me to look at the content network. What are your experiences with it?" And that draws a wide range of responses!

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