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Adsense income dropped 60% because CTR down 50%



8:45 pm on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My adsense income has dropped like a stone by 60% sharply at the end of March, from one day to the next. Until March 28th the income was hovering around a certain level, since March 29th the income has been hovering at about 40% of what the previous level was.

I didn't make any changes to the site, besides adding new content on a regular basis which I have been doing for years. I haven't made any changes to the ads (format, settings etc.)

The page views dropped a bit, but no by so much. The real issue is the page CTR which seems to have dropped to half of what is usually was (used to be around 1.something %, now it's around 0.5%).

Do you have any suggestions what might be going on?


9:54 pm on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

You lost CTR. And did not change page layout or anything like that...

Sounds like you benefited from the ugly arrows or something like that G might have stopped ?
Or you lost an image ad that got replaced by almost equally paying text ads - but aren't attracting as much clicks?

Now the ToS prohibits disclosing CTR. But the number you mention feels rather low - it depends on the content etc. (e.g. forums perform notoriously bad). I'd look into placement, layout etc to make the ads stand out a bit more/give them a more prominent place.

Also keep an eye on how your site looks on iPads and iPhones ... their usage is on the rise globally, so that's probably true for you just as well.


10:02 pm on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

So I'm not the only one whose CTR dropped at the end of March? What is the reason for this drop?


11:55 pm on Apr 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Maybe you are getting hit by a bot that's clicking on ads and Google is now filtering out the clicks while the page views stay the same.


12:15 am on Apr 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

"GooScrood", "a bot that's clicking on ads", ... to put it to rest with one simple concept: Occam's razor.

So what's the simple explanation: something changed, either an advertiser (e.g. one targeting your site) dropped out, either something in the looks of the ads changed (e.g. removal of the ugly arrows) that made them less attractive to click on for your visitors.

Now even before this drop, you already had a lowish CTR IMHO ... SO I'd invest a bit in A/B testing to see if you can;t change the layout of your pages to increase this. Some ideas can be found
and the old heatmap:


1:03 am on Apr 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Exactly same problem here for my and my wife's account. Same 60% drop starting at the end of March. Earnings are ridiculous, back to 2007-2008 levels.

There is nothing you did wrong. It's google related changes and THERE IS NOTHING you can do about that. Just relax and live each day like it's your last day with google.

I've seen drops like that a few times since I started my sites in 2005 but never as bad as the last one. First times were very stressful. Now I'm just taking it as is.

The good thing I got my life back. I stopped working all those countless hours supporting my sites and answering countless comments on my blogs. I just let it go as is posting occasional posts. I stopped checking my google account every 15 minutes a while ago. :)


2:47 pm on Apr 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

The bad: same here. Earnings down since March, April has been ugly. I changed nothing on my sites, strange thing is I have more traffic than ever. Earnings are on my lowest levels ever, compared to the amounts of traffic this looks worse, but still is enough to cover certain expenses.

The good: I'm writing more fresh content, motivated just by the old idea of posting and sharing. I'm now off the addiction of checking daily earnings. I'm slowly moving to "removing it doesn't sound so bad".


5:09 pm on Apr 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

Me too.

But, AdSense engineers know that there will always be complainers (like you) that coincidently have identical drops in performance. Because everyone else that's not complaining is doing fine. It's not them. It's you, in other-words.

Remember when everything died for thousands of publishers the day they finally switched everyone over to the new interface? Total coincidence. I swear, that whole department is run by a bunch of "genius newbies".


8:02 pm on Apr 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member swa66 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I see the 60% stuff mentioned in the Nessie update thread as well.

Sure you guys didn't lose the ugly arrows ?


8:12 pm on Apr 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have arrows. Doesn't matter if they zero out your earnings on every other click.

Oh, but it might be a renegade bot! Not really. Not when you're still not making a third of what your rolling 30 day average is. Their scrubbers scrub valid clicks - because every click is guilty until proven innocent. Then their almighty algorithm adjusts your performance down because of their bs scrubbing - turning it into a snowball.

And if this isn't the case, then they should be more transparent. I want every click's original click time and date with an explanation as to why it was scrubbed or not. You know, like a normal business. Oh, but wait, it's a pity-party! So sorry.


7:16 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Start moving your ads around, use different sizes etc. Google may not like where they are based on their algorithm. Yes, Google can be a massive pain but we have to deal with it. Don't just give up, start experimenting. You have nothing to lose.


11:55 pm on Apr 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Start moving your ads around

Many of us do not have that option without a massive amount of extra work and insofar as I am concerned, not worth the time and effort.


8:06 am on Jun 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

With regard to repositioning ads, I found long ago on a site with lots of regular visitors that ad blindness would eventually set in. Moving an ad to a different position or just taking it off for a fortnight would do wonders.

A crash in CTR does sound like a change in what as are available, either some majors have pulled out or the algorithm thinks that something you visitors don't click on is more suitable.


11:02 am on Jun 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

"A crash in CTR does sound like a change in what as are available, either some majors have pulled out or the algorithm thinks that something you visitors don't click on is more suitable. "

This sounds most likely.

My CTR has dropped and is similar as the OP stated his is (without divulging what it actually is).

Another big issue: 40% of traffic is mobile, so that really has to be tweaked just right. I wanted to put my ads justified to the right of the page, but that might not be showing up on some phones, so I'm going to put them back in the middle of the page.


11:28 am on Jun 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

Can a drop from 1.x% to .5% really be called a crash? Not really. I don't think so. Expressed as a percentage, 50% looks pretty bad. Expressed in actual clicks the story changes. The reality is often less drastic than the percentages seem to indicate.

50% fluctuations in low performing ad units are not unusual. In fact, one should expect 50% flucutations in CTR in low performing ads.

You can remove ads from the top of the page and be surprised by seeing a 200% jump in CTR from ads on the bottom of the page. When discussing low performing ads, percentages can exagerrate the situation.

Not to minimize your predicament. But the OP has been offered reasonable explanations by swa66. If it's possible to improve the Earnings (notice I didn't say CTR), then experiment with different sized ad units, color schemes (blend/no blend) and number of ad units. Limiting ad units tightens the competition and could increase the earnings. Keep in mind that I just listed four different variations that can be made to how the ads are displayed. Four variables to change means you can start with 24 experimental changes to test. The actual number of experiments is far higher. It's important to do it properly, so be sure to use your channels.


4:59 pm on Aug 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

In the past 2 months my (previously pretty decent) Adsense income has dropped 60% and this month in August 2013 that remaining 40% has dropped another 55% (with Google notifying me about that), which means a total drop is more than 80% which means less than 20% of my income that I had for almost a decade is gone. No changes were made, my traffic counter shows a slow down, but not such a huge slow down.

I wonder, and I'm not accusing anyone, but is it possible that Google allegedly may have decided to share less of their ad revenue with the advertisers? Perhaps Google's profits are in trouble or their revenue has gone down. Could they have taken such unpopular and unfair step?

Or perhaps people are cross with Google and are switching to other search engines? But then why click-throughs are not dropping that much but revenue drops significantly? The only explanation so far is as per above.


5:17 pm on Aug 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

If ad blindness sets in, that means that those people were accidentally clicking on the ads and not necessarily buying anything there. That would not be good for the advertisers, who would be wasting their advertising expenditures on thin air. I would not like to cheat my website's visitors in this kind of way even if I made some good money from it. My business model is honesty. I don't feel like providing all this CTR revenue to Google and its advertisers for that little money. How come a number of click-throughs remain high but ad revenue collapses? Sometimes I even believe in evil conspiracies. If the ad revenue continues this low I will not move Google Ads around, I will simply remove them, drop them like a hot potato. Visitors appreciate ad-free sites more than you think. I suspect my website will soon become Ad-free and keep all the visitors on my site instead of sending them away to the advertisers.

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