January revenue minus 19% compared to December
February revenue minus 25% compared to January
March revenue minus 26% compared to February
And now the finalised earnings for April show another drop of minus 37% in revenue compared to March. Are there emoticons on this board to represent raucous laughter or uncontrolled crying?
Also last month I saw a huge drop in CTR. Google had been invalidating lots of clicks this year by taking the money away but leaving the clicks. They do this not because they believe clicks are fraudulent, but because they believe that certain clicks don't 'perform'. My CTR was the same but this policy resulted in a much reduced EPC.
They seem to have changed this now. They're still invalidating lots of clicks but now taking the clicks away as well as the earnings. Consequently my CTR has dropped by about 50%.
As long as advertisers keep paying, Google doesn't care what happens to publishers. Screwing the publishers actually means the advertisers get a better deal for their money so this is good for Google's business model.
The only time Google will ever worry about publishers is if there isn't enough advertising real estate for advertising inventory. That's very unlikely to happen now.
There's plenty, and even though many publishers are seeing revenues now that are a fraction of what they were before (HuskyPup mentioned 10%) I doubt that many will remove AdSense altogether.
HuskyPup's comments summed it up very well:
My earnings are now at the level of do I or do I not remove them? It's now at the few hundred Dollars per month as opposed to thousands per month. If I remove them do I go ad free or do I leave them and say to myself "The income is paying for the servers and domain registrations and a few beers per month"?
If I removed my AdSense I would get nothing. I'm getting very little now, but getting enough to pay for my hosting costs plus a few beers, whatever, is better than nothing. I guess a lot of people feel the same way.
If there was a viable alternative to AdSense I might be motivated to make the effort to switch but from what I can figure, there isn't. As painful as it is at the moment, AdSense still seems to be the best option for monetising a website.
HuskyPup made lots of excellent comments. Yes, the web has matured now. I know what I want and go directly to the sites I need. I suspect many people are the same. An ad may catch someone's eye but it is less likely to happen these days.
And yes, the big players will continue to do OK because of the number of pages they serve and the audience they reach but for the small fish there doesn't seem to be much food left in the pond.
After such huge drops in my revenue over the last four months, I'm wondering what will happen next. Will it level out, will it start to climb again, or will it go to virtually nothing? I suspect the latter.