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#1 Hardest Adsense Problem

     
2:19 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi everybody my name's Paul, I see you guys are pretty helpful when it comes to adsense so I had a question I was hoping you could help me out with. Well more like a problem actually...

Mystery: Drop in eCPM by 30-40%

Stats for December '09:

Avg. Page Impressions: 7,699
Avg. Page CTR: 1.46%
Avg. Page eCPM: $8.72

Stats for Jan '10 (so far):

Avg. Page Impressions: 7,921
Jan Page CTR: 1.49%
Jan Page eCPM: $6.76

Now before you say "hey you moron $8.72 to $6.76 isn't a 40% decrease" you must understand one thing: in December, my eCPM for good days was in the double digits ($12-$16 usually), and on weekends it was obviously very low ($4-6). So this evened out.

In January, my eCPM is in the single digits day-by-day. So I have no good days, just long bad weeks. Bear in mind also, my January stats are not done because January is not over, so if this continues the Avg. for the month will be much lower.

Result My earnings are 30-40% lower on a weekly basis compared to Dec.

Now I have a Blog and I looked at particular blog posts in December that yielded high eCPM and re-posted them with hope. They had higher eCPM than other content in January but still not what they once were. In December a blog post that had maybe a $16 eCPM in January had $9.

And it seems to be getting worse day-by-day.

So my CTR is nearly the same, traffic nearly the same, my content has not really changed. Source of traffic is relatively the same as well.

I have tried:

- finding out low eCPM/MFA sites and putting them in my Competitive Ad filter (there are barely any)
- clearing the competitive ad filter out completely (read somewhere if you keep blocking ads, avg. bid for your ad space goes down)
- changing title of blog posts to get better targeted ads
- google section targeting code

The 3 common points of advice for ecpm are:

1. CTR (where you place your ads) --> mine is fine, hasn't really changed
2. Content --> my content has stayed the same
3. Traffic --> the same, in fact might be a little higher than last month

The only answer is Google Smart Priced me

Many articles say being smart-priced isn't bad for you, but good. Many sites say the opposite.

The solution all sites give: #*$!.com. That's great but the site hasn't accepted new users for months.

So what do I do? Am I really just smart priced by Google or is there something I haven't analyzed yet?

I appreciate everyone's input on this, thanks so much.
2:31 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Try disabling Google Certified Ad Networks. Also check your location stats, maybe visits from high-paying countries have dropped.
2:42 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Three questions:

Mystery: Drop in eCPM by 30-40%

Stats for December '09:
Stats for Jan '10 (so far):


1. You're posting about a change from one month to the next. Do you have a longer frame of reference - such as the trend over the last 12 months for starters?


Now I have a Blog and I looked at particular blog posts in December that yielded high eCPM and re-posted them with hope.


2. Aren't your blog posts always available? What do you mean by "re-posted".


finding out low eCPM/MFA sites and putting them in my Competitive Ad filter...


3. How do you identify low eCPM sites?



FarmBoy
3:00 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Month to month changes are too short of a period to measure. There are daily fluctuations, weekly fluctuations, monthly fluctuations and yearly trends. what can be of use is comparing a given month in a given year with the same month in a different year. Comparing December to January will tell you nothing.

Remember, AdSense works like a live auction and prices in an auction are always in flux depending upon supply and demand. Each month of a year has different supply and demand characteristics and each topic type has different supply and demand characteristics.

I've been tracking patterns on my site for years and I see the exact same trends year in and year out. eCPMs rise and fall like the tides of an ocean. If you are trying to react to every monthly rise and fall of eCPM you will be wasting your time.
3:13 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is a big one, you can't say it's up and leave it at that. There are more nuances to traffic.
3:26 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Traffic is a big one, you can't say it's up and leave it at that. There are more nuances to traffic.


Traffic is a huge factor. Not just traffic on your site, but traffic in general and traffic for different niches. For instance niches that depends heavily on students will have totally different traffic patterns that depend heavily on those planning vacations. All of this will have a huge impact on supply and demand. during my highest eCPM times of the year I can get an eCPM that is 2-3 times my eCPM of my lowest eCPM times of the year and this is directly related to how much traffic, there is for my niches.
3:34 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Three questions:

Mystery: Drop in eCPM by 30-40%

Stats for December '09:
Stats for Jan '10 (so far):



1. You're posting about a change from one month to the next. Do you have a longer frame of reference - such as the trend over the last 12 months for starters?


Now I have a Blog and I looked at particular blog posts in December that yielded high eCPM and re-posted them with hope.



2. Aren't your blog posts always available? What do you mean by "re-posted".


finding out low eCPM/MFA sites and putting them in my Competitive Ad filter...



3. How do you identify low eCPM sites?


1. Sorry I know this'll make me sound like a huge beginner, but for this particular Blog I basically started it in End of October/early November so these are all the stats that I have. I started the blog back then.

2. By "re-posted" I mean this:
I go into google analytics and see on a particular day what my adsense income was, and what particular blog post yielded such high results. I look and see the majority of that days ad impressions/clicks came from this one blog post that had high CTR% and high eCPM. So come january, I'll re-post that same blog post (change the date).

3. The way I identify low eCPM sites is I use the Google Adsense Sandbox Preview tool (basically like Google Adsense Previe Tool except shows which graphical ads show up also, and you can do it according to Country). Then I'll visit the sites, and generally if I find one that has a lot of adsense, and external links, and not much content, not even an "about" or "contact us" page, then I decide that's a low eCPM. This is the advice I have read many times online, but of course you never know.

Bear in mind I've found only a few of these low eCPM sites, maybe like 5 so far in the past few months.

I also found lists people generated of MFA sites to block and used them, but that didn't really change my eCPM at all.


Other notes:

*One person told me that re-posting old stuff drops your rank in Google search engines, and somehow that affects your eCPM, but I'm not sure about that?

*My monthly traffic was not only not lower in January, it was up by about 7%.

*CTR was nearly the same

*I also heard some say that advertisers pay a lot leading up to December, then it drops in January and generally peaks again in April.

Again all I can think of is that I was smartpriced.
4:08 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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1) The site is new so you'll have to ride it out, the stats are meaningless at this point in time. If you try to micromanage now your just reacting not planning.

2) That is just dumb and a terrible way to build up readers. Create new content and let the content build up over time.

3) Cutting what you think are low eCPM sites only reduces the number of bidders you have for your ad slots. This could lower your bid amounts since there is less competition for your slots. Also to get better paying advertisers your site has to build up a track record of performing well for advertisers (conversions not just clicks thrus).

Basically stop micromanaging and instead focus on building good content for the long haul. Properly created content could be earning you residual revenues for years to come. Tomorrow's profits come from today's labors. If you focus too heavily on today's profits rather than the long run, you'll get neither profits today nor tomorrow.
5:36 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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wow great informative post KenB
(his post may sound some what aggressive and harsh but truth is always harsh :) )

everyone should always remember and apply this logic
7:50 am on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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...his post may sound some what aggressive and harsh...


Not at all aggressive and harsh.

A blog is a series of posts/articles/comments organized by time. Not by topic, by time. Yes you can put tags and whatnot, but at heart, fundamentally, it is organized by time. Blogs are calendars for scribbling what you did, thought, experienced, reviewed on any particular date. That's why it's called a Web Log (Blog). The format does not lend itself to the optimal site architecture for ranking anything other than longtail queries. The format is painful for site visitors landing on the home page who want to drill down and find what they are looking for.

So first of all, a blog is not going to earn you as much money as a traditional website with at least a few months of planning behind it. If you don't know HTML learn it. If you don't know graphics buy a copy of Photoshop and learn it. Even the best blogs that earn good coin had months of planning, their own domain, and quality graphic design- and an aggressive content building strategy.

Not saying this is you, but here is the harsh and aggressive but true advice that if you have the ambition to be a success will take it for what it is, an attempt to put you on the right path instead of the downward spiral to the next abandoned project. Nobody picks up a hammer and expects to build a house. Don't expect magic to happen with a twitter and blogger account. Doesn't work that way.

Step back, visit all the different forum categories, take some classes to improve your skills, then have a whack at it again next year- if you want to do it right. There is nothing anyone here can tell you that can replace a year of researching analytics, affiliate site strategies, graphic design, conversion analysis, how to do niche analysis, how to buy a domain, how to code, and so many more topics. The issue you have is deeper than a drop in eCPM. You need to get down to basics [webmasterworld.com].

Good luck.
1:25 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I should add a addendum to my comment about the competitive ad filter above.

I do use the competitive ad filter, but my target are ads that look like scams and/or would make my site look scummy. In other words I choose to limit my pool of bidders and thus potentially my eCPM to try and prevent the appearance of ads that tarnish the apparent quality of my website. I can also afford to do this because my site is highly established with plenty of high quality advertisers who target campaigns to it directly.

Getting rid of the scummy ads is fine from the standpoint of maintaining site quality. Just do so with the understanding that it could lower your potential eCPM because of a smaller pool of advertisers bidding on ad slots.
4:25 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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So come january, I'll re-post that same blog post (change the date).


Am I understanding you correctly?

You take a post that was successful, say 1st December 2009. and then re-post it 1st February 2010 with the hope that it will also be successful?

If so you are doing two things wrong:

1. Duplicate post, Google will mosy likely ignore it.

2. Aged posts, unless it is a daily news type of site, tend to perform better as they get older and merge into all the SERPs for longer-tailed results rather than the immediacy of the "new" post.

Don't tell me you delete the 1st Dec post and then re-post it 1st Feb? If so you'll create all kings of problems for yourself within the search results.
5:41 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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HuskyPup,

No I don't delete old posts. I understand the consequencesin the search results forthat. And some of my posts are news.

KenB & martinibuster,

Thank you for your input. It's not important whether someone thinks you're "harsh" or not.

I get it, I need years of experience to do well and learn things. I know it's too soon to analyze but I also love learning things. For my other Blog my adsense CTR in October was triple what it was in August and September because of me constantly analyzing things and reading articles, so I felt I learned a lot. But I get it, it takes time.

What I was inquiring about was, if I bring new content, if I use section targeting, if I remove low eCPM sites, how is this directly reducing my eCPM instead of increasing it? How does this make sense?

Have I been smartpriced? Is there any way to get out of it? Is it just seasonal fluctations?
5:47 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Nobody can tell you that. It just plain depends on too many things, and we only deal in generalities on WebmasterWorld. No specifics.
5:56 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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RE low eCPM sites:

In theory the highest bid for an ad slot wins, period. There is speculation how true this is in practice. Removing what you THINK are low eCPM sites could actually remove higher eCPM ads from your pool of bidders, you just don't know. The only reason to remove an advertiser is because you think their ads look scummy and you don't want them displayed on your site. When blocking an advertiser, you must accept that this COULD reduce your eCPM.

RE - Seasonal fluctuations vs smart pricing.

There is no way to know until you build up enough data.
Every site is different and every niche is different. It doesn't matter, which is the cause, because the cure is the same: just work on creating quality content and attracting quality users.

From one day to the next I can see my eCPM triple or get cut to 1/3 of the previous day. If you watch the eCPM to closely it will just give you an ulcer. Patience and a calm head is a virtue in this business. Don't let the month to month fluctuations rattle you until you have enough data to know when to worry. The worst thing you can do is try to react to every little hiccup, belch or fart.
6:22 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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if I remove low eCPM sites


As has already been said, none of us know however what may appear to be low may depend from where that click originated e.g. was it a click from China on a US ad which the Chinese visitor has no intention, or very little chance, of calling to action?

That same ad may, and I see this every day on my sites, derive a 0.01 click from one country yet 1.00/2.00/3.00 in the country/region targetted.
6:59 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thank you guys, I understand now there's no real answer and I have to wait much longer to gather more data.

I appreciate everyone taking the time to share their input and stories on this.
7:00 pm on Feb 3, 2010 (gmt 0)

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if I remove low eCPM sites


Think before using blacklists generated by someone else. Others have many reasons for putting a site in the blacklist and those reasons may not match up with your goals. You need a deep pool of bidders to keep the competition up for your adspaces.

kenb has suggested a reasonable approach.
8:33 am on Feb 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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$6.76 is nothing to complain about.
2:13 pm on Feb 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Your stats match mine nearly exactly except in reverse. My CTR has risen over last month and ecpm has declined. However these short trends mean nothing! I only look at 10 year trends. I will take my first good study of my adsense results in 2014. Then I'll compare them to results in 2024. That way I'll have a good base to judge results in 2034 and 2044. Don't you guys know time is relative. It is the size that matters! (sample size that is).
3:46 pm on Feb 5, 2010 (gmt 0)

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$6.76 is nothing to complain about.

I didn't notice that stat earlier, but ya if that is your eCPM you've got nothing to complain about.

BTW: isn't posting eCPM in this manner a violation of the AdSense TOS?
3:32 pm on Feb 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Stats for December '09:

Avg. Page Impressions: 7,699
Avg. Page CTR: 1.46%
Avg. Page eCPM: $8.72

...by my calculations that is $0.60 per click. Is that considered smart pricing in your niche?

I'm honestly surprised no one here has been "harsher" towards your original post. You're talking about re-posting articles you already wrote because they, on one given day, performed well eCPM-wise. Seriously? If you have nothing else to write about, you're going to face much larger issues in the future than your current one (not to mention f*ing up the SERPS).

Also, I hope you do a better job with spell/grammer check on your articles than you do here...