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Broken Adsense?

Some strange dates match the poing where many good sites earnings went down



4:58 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

I'm trying to understand and then fix what I can, or at least get around what's happening. I'm up for practical stuff. This thread:

  • It's not about complaining
  • Not about ranting
  • Not about "I have a perfect site, nothing to change here"
  • Not about rumors or myths

There is a tricky part regarding rumors and myths but I what I will expose from my personal experience is pure data, so it's difficult to say it kinda validates a previously discussed "myth" regarding limits on earnings. Good for you if your site is still performing just fine with Adsense, I feel your pain if it's not.

Sadly Adsense is like fight club, we can't talk... I mean by it's own nature we can't easily approach the specific data that will allow us to compare, diagnose and fix stuff. This weaken us the publishers and works in favor of G wen they mess up. I take this chance not because I'm angry or that my site should make millions, not at all, I'm not on MFA in any way. It's because I'm reading here and everywhere about good webmasters (and ones I'm familiar with) following the rules of original content but they make pennies while really questionable sites are making money. I read a lot on Spanish forums and I'm seeing many bloggers making good bucks breaking a lot of rules (and many banned sites too but they are back in no time).

More traffic doesn't equal more earnings
Panda 1-2 and Penguin 1-2 proved to affect traffic and earnings, but I don't mean less traffic = less earnings. In my case (as other cases that I read here) many sites went up and even doubled their traffic but earnings went down. There was an update, I'm 95% sure it was on Panda making many sites go to their normal status of traffic and earnings, well I was one of them too: traffic went down (back to almost the previous numbers) and earnings went up.

It was mentioned around here that it's not only about numbers (traffic) it's also about the quality of the traffic. In my case I kept receiving emails from readers, my SE positions were not apparently compromised and I couldn't find any clue on what caused more traffic but less earnings. Panda affected many sites in negative ways, not my site. Penguin did the same to many and I read the complaints but not my site. I have more traffic than ever but Adsense earnings are 50%-40% of the usual earnings. I mean that if I was making US$100 per day now I'm making US$50 or US$40. This numbers are made up as a reference only.

Earning limits? by site? by account?
Not Panda or Penguin related: discussed previously as a myth but it's been true in many cases, mine is one of them. You have steady traffic, you put effort on increase it but earnings stay the same. Then traffic goes a bit higher and earnings go up a little, only to come back to the usual average while traffic stays. Again? the same and you end up with more traffic but the earnings stay the same. Other webmasters reported being almost unable of increasing their rankings even by organic traffic increase. Did't work like that for others.

Adsense fluctuates but something happened
Adsense fluctuates: you can have diff earnings for each month, sometimes up sometimes down. Many of us who have been using Adsense for years can predict and see trends by month. But this is not the case anymore. Adsense shows a big fluctuation affecting many accounts at the same time the same way. We can see in this side of the forum how many cases match the downfall. It goes beyond the usual fluctuations. It's not about "I deserve higher earnings" it's about not making sense and giving away thousands of hundred of impressions for free each week. Suddenly blogs with 200-500 visitors per day based on inserting you tube videos are reporting strange daily earnings... how is that compared to researched articles on sites with 2K, 3K, 4K, 5K daily visits?

About the fluctuations
Something happened, March 2012 was the last stable month.
  • Since then earnings been going down and down.
  • August 2012 was another key month going down.
  • AND THEN just as many of you, January 2013 was the beginning of the disaster
  • February 2013 went down even more to stable X daily numbers
  • April went down a bit more
  • May was even lower

So March, April and May 2013 became suddenly the lowest months ever, ever. Been having ridiculous low days and I've seen the low numbers and dates matching other users around here. ****Oh and just a thing: all of this while having more traffic than ever.****

Over time some things matched the dates affecting my earnings: the release interest based ads, Panda 1, Panda 2, Penguin 1 and 2. Around those dates I also saw the problem of repeating ads, I saw it on my site and read complains here.

At the end of 2012 if I recall this correctly (but around the same conflicting dates), G began eating space on the search results showing ads. Since then many searches end how with many ads eating space, with a slight diff color as the search results. There is some thread around here complaining about it.

*Funny, G posted a while back a warning on sites displaying ads on the first screen view area replacing the content, being the important stuff that should be more visible. G approach is incompatible with their recommendations.

Coupons and profiles
I don't have a date for this, I should have taked notes about it. Perhaps at the end of 2012 or before that, many ADWORDS ads began to appear giving away free coupons. If I recall it correctly many webmasters received this offer by mail before the ads taking over the slots.
  • Then G created a Gmail account for my login into Adsense
  • Youtube created a G+ account for me
  • Then I was receiving this recommendations about what to read...
  • Now I receive G+ emails about completing my profile
  • And now I'm currently seeing ads regarding Google Drive and Google Docs

I already blocked Adwords and I will do the same with G services. And about the compulsory insistance: thanks G but I have my own emails and services, the only thing I find useful is search (not so much anymore) and Adsense. I'm covered for the rest.

No ads? a malfunction on Adsense side?
  • Some of us have been seeing difference between ad impressions and our daily stats, as if no ads were shown. Sometimes numbers close to each other but no clicks, like everybody ignoring the ads.
  • Recently Huskypup posted about being in Germany and his sites loading really fast but with no ads.
  • Something broken? G having too many requests? can't handle all the requests?

The rise of mobile readers: no ads
I'm having increasing traffic coming from mobile platforms: smartphones & tablets. Problem is many of them won't show any Adsense ads. I confess I'm one of those who are reading now a lot on the smartphone and tablet, specially using Opera Mini, but still no Ads. Perhaps many of our readers are there but have no ads to click on.

Compulsive ADS
Can't say interest based. No matter what I search for I end up with ads following me all around. Seems G can't differentiate between a simple search for information, reference or search and one performed to find out what to buy. As if G is treating every search as potential sale, don't get me wrong I know everything is about business but G suppose to be a search engine for information and general purposes, not a tool that must be squeezed to make people buy stuff.

The take over of social networks and FB generation
I'm curious about what's original quality content, research, etc. Been seeing first page results about fanpages and even pinterest pages. I'm not talking about "Bon Jovi recent album..." I'm talking about widgets, history of widgets, kinds of widgets, etc. I somehow wonder if this wave of new ways of valuing content is taking over, besides the "what yours is ours" thing when everybody wants to profit from your personal content.

Panda, Penguin and Adsense
Not exactly related but clearly one have an effect on the other. Still confusing to me why the search algo ended providing more traffic but almost instantly diving earnings.


So what do you think? do any of your problems match recent dates?

AND... what to do to increase earnings?
  • Add more traffic?. Previous experiences show little effects on Adsense after increasing the traffic. Besides I'm having way more traffic than ever before. Panda 1, 2 and then Penguin 1, 2 only increased my traffic on each release. So?
  • Add more fresh content?. I'm already doing it. And you webmaster, make sure to get indexed quickly to avoid others monetizing your content or appearing as the authors.
  • Change the ads and their position. I will experiment with this in other ways to see what happens.
  • Try other options to monetize the sites? sure I'm already on that.
  • Remove Adsense?Sure I have considered this many times because due to poor performance in some cases... it's just eating space.

Don't get me wrong, my sites were not created for Adsense so I'm not on the MFA thing in no way. But I'm having very good traffic and the current earnings seem really, really confusing.

Got anything to share?


5:05 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

A few links

Adsense earnings drop [forums.digitalpoint.com...]
G and Adwords Bids (coupons related) [vinaysahni.com...]
Adsense going down (the graph is what matters) [successfulsoftware.net...]
Low earnings during April 2013? [infobarrel.com...]
Noticing strange changes in Adsense [blog.2createawebsite.com...]
63% saying adsense going down [sarkarinaukriliveinfo.com...]

The discussion is not based on the links, keep that in mind.


5:11 pm on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

A couple of thoughts:

1) You can have really really good traffic (for your site) that is not necessarily good traffic for clicking on ads (or buying stuff once they do click, which may affect smartpricing)

2) There could also be changes in your niche and in your advertisers.

3) You could try widening or narrowing your niche to find monetization options inside and outside of AdSense.

4) Mobile is a huge deal, and I think bigger than we all may realize. I run event sites, and on weekends or days where I have live events, my mobile traffic can run up to 70% now. These people don't click so much by a longshot. But during the week, when people are *researching* the events, from desktops and tablets and even some phones, they do click. So I have to figure out how I'm going to adapt for that. And Google AND the advertisers have to figure out how they're going to adapt for that too. I work on the advertising side too, and they're making strides, but not as fast enough.


7:05 pm on Jun 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

> More traffic doesn't equal more earnings

and that's what's been worrying me

many years ago: 1 (traffic) = 1 (earnings)

today, no more 1 = 1, it's more like 5x traffic = 1x earnings, or even less!

adsense is now more cpa than cpc program, no sales for advertiser, 0$ for us, but still we send them traffic, and i expect some money for that


9:16 pm on Jun 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For me, the most confusing part about adsense is the RPM

I know in my head how to calculate it. But what I can't wrap in my brain is how I can really influence it. What I want to know is something like:

"If I do action A, RPM will increase by so much."

I just don't know how to influence it.

I know that a $25 RPM for 50,000 impressions will give you so much more earnings compared to $5 RPM for the same amount of traffic.

What bothers me is that I sometimes see a huge increase (and huge drops as well) in RPM even though I know I didn't do anything new with the site. It must be the comings and goings of new advertisers spending more (or less) on the site, which is something I can't control.

With CPC, there's just a stronger handle how to influence it -- change color of the ads, change font, change placement. Plus, you can test the change and see the impact. With RPM, it's just harder


9:36 pm on Jun 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

There is a connection between this:
more traffic but less earnings.

And this:
The rise of mobile readers: no ads
I'm having increasing traffic coming from mobile platforms: smartphones & tablets. Problem is many of them won't show any Adsense ads.

While it might not be the full reason for everyone, there is a definite connection for many web publishers.

Google AdSense dropped the ball with mobile. Some web publishers compounded the problem by being slow to make their sites mobile friendly. While this may not explain all of your problems, I believe mobile is a major reason for a revenue decrease for certain high quality web publishers.

Is AdSense broken? It's not adequately monetizing how people are consuming web content today. If you call that broken, then yes, it's broken.

AdSense was created for monetizing Internet content consumed on desktops and laptop devices. The world has changed. AdSense has not. If you call that broken, then yes, AdSense is broken.


1:07 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I believe mobile is a major reason for a revenue decrease for certain high quality web publishers.

They changed something significant a week ago, about 27th May. Until then my mobile earnings were fine and increasing, since then I can only describe it one way, an almost total collapse with everything down, not one day has equalled my May mobile average, in fact the last FOUR days combined haven't averaged a May day!

Looking at other metrics within various sites, my largest site since 27th May has only exceeded an average day once, my second biggest site only once and my third biggest site only ... once ... yep, whatever happened was not nice and why I have started to remove AdSense off some sites ... after all, why should I promote AdSense as a selling medium if they're going to screw me over like this?

Must add this, this last week has also seen actual click volume down 50%, yep a halving, again.


1:51 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

since 27th May

That was a major U.S. Holiday weekend and the end of the school year for many U.S. colleges, high schools and elementary schools. My traffic actually surged. Yours went down.



3:00 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

Thanks netmeg I've thought of that and I'm also studying a strategy to adapt to mobile.

Howyesno: my experience and thoughts exactly. I'm "ok" with cpa but so far I'm (and I can say we, many of us) are giving away lots of traffic on impressions and click basis while everything seems to be moving towards CPA.

alika: exactly what intrigues me. It seems to me as if Adsense not only has a life on its own, sometimes I can't help but think the chances are not only unpredictable, but as if someone was pulling the strings.

martinibuster: true. I suspect Adsense is being unable of handling the gazillions requests received per day to display the ads or to serve the code completely. Been thinking about it a lot, there are clues pushing me to think that way. Might sound demanding but Adsense should be able of figuring out how to serve the best ad for desktop and mobile including size, etc. Things need chance, current code should change in the short-middle term.

Huskypup: I've been reading about changes, ups and downs (mostly downs) and they respond to specific dates. Among all I could say March, April and specially May delimit the disaster dates, nothing that we have ever seen before.

I'm also wondering now about Ad blocking. Well so far optimizing for mobile seems like a good starting point. I can't figure out (as alika states) what can influence the changes, or at least what the webmaster can do to adapt. Implementing a true mobile experience will allow me to do some experiments.


3:50 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

That was a major U.S. Holiday weekend and the end of the school year

Aha, my trade directory site has been popular for many years with students, in fact some schools use it as a reference so that students don't go on a copy and paste rampage!


3:08 pm on Jun 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm going to come out and say it:
The Adsense stats no longer have any real-time relation ship whatsoever to the actual visitor numbers on your websites.

What I mean by that, is that they might show that you had 20,000 page views yesterday and 200 clicks, but those 200 clicks might be from 10am to 11pm last Wednesday and those page views might be from 5pm onwards yesterday. I do not see any correlation between my real stats and adsense anymore.


4:14 pm on Jun 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

> I do not see any correlation between my real stats and adsense anymore.

@glitterball - Stats haven't seemed 'real time' for awhile now, at least since 2011. Many of us here on this board have been noticing and commenting on how out of sync AdSense stats are with our own logs since then. Long lag times and fractured reports seems to be the norm these days.

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