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How To Recover From Smart Pricing?



12:34 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

I've been following a lot of discussions on here recently about Adsense in the hope that I can recover some of my dwindling earnings.

I believe I may have been smart priced and I'm looking for a way to recover both my CTR and CPC value.

Here's my situation...

I've been an Adsense publisher for probably about six years. In the first five years I probably made a few hundred dollars, but in September last year things quickly grew.

By January 2013, I was disappointed if I didn't reach four figures each day and my earnings stayed like that until the middle of this month (October 2013).

On an average day I'd receive 3-4000 clicks so I've got lots of data to be able to come to the conclusion that I've been smart priced.

Anyway, from October 1 both CTR and CPC gradually started to decline across all sites in my account and by October 26th my RPM was at half of what it should be.

On October 27th I had a huge decline in CTR and CPC so my RPM halved again.

I'm now making 25% of what I normally would be with the same traffic.

Am I right in thinking that this is smart pricing in action?

What can I do to improve my CTR and CPC so my RPM goes back to normal?

Some notes:

- My traffic sources and quality have remained the same.

- There have been no changes to the site layout.

- Nearly all of my ads are Text/Image, but after browsing and refreshing my pages hundreds of times over the last few days, I've yet to see any text ads. I'm sure that before the RPM dropped so significantly text ads were appearing much more often.

Thanks in advance for any advice, and hopefully once this problem is solved I can stick around and help others out.


2:07 pm on Oct 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

If you're absolutely 100% sure that your traffic quality is stellar and all other things are equal, then if it were me, I'd start looking at all the recent changes to AdWords to see if any of them can account for it. There have been a lot, particularly in the area of mobile bidding.


11:08 am on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm 100% sure that my traffic quality has not changed over the last few days or weeks and it's definitely not junk traffic.

What changes have there been? I know there was the text ads shake up sometime in September, but my RPM actually went up pretty nicely after those changes.

It has been such a significant drop from October 26th to 27th in such a short space of time, that I can only assume there has been a penalty on my account.

Some sites are affected more than others. One site is making about 60% of what it was previously, my main one is now making 20% of what it was previously with slightly increased traffic.

Today I have experienced yet another drop in CPC with 5p shaved off of yesterdays CPC after 750 ad clicks. It's now down to 40% of what it was at the start of the month.

If this is smart pricing - how can I recover from it?


11:40 am on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

One more thing that happened yesterday...

I refreshed my Adsense earnings yesterday and rather than jumping 20-30 like I expected - it went down about 15.

I haven't seen this happen ever. What could have caused this?


12:41 pm on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

Invalid activity, sounds like. I know I'm sporadically being hit by some kind of bot traffic that's clicking on ads, that I can't eve detect (and the reason I know that is because after making a complete nuisance of myself with AdSense Support, they finally *told* me that's what it was. You see sudden click activity, and then it gets taken back immediately.

But that's my issue. Nobody here is going to be able to accurately diagnose your issue. You could try asking AdSense support, and persist after you get the standard frontline by-the-book response.

(As far as AdWords changes - there have been a lot, and you'll need to research those yourself. For the display network, mostly they involve mobile bidding)


2:15 pm on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

(I assume you've also ruled out any technical issues)


11:59 am on Nov 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm not so sure it's invalid activity - otherwise that suggests that 1500 of my clicks each day for the past 12 months have been invalid but only in the last few days has Google picked up on it.

My earnings have been very consistent for the past 12 months. I know that for the traffic I'm currently getting, my Adsense revenue should be about 3.5x higher.

As far as I'm aware there are no technical issues. I've looked at my sites on desktop, tablet and mobile and in a number of different browsers.

The only weird thing is that I have both Text & Image set for almost all of my ads, but on desktop for the past week or so I've only seen image ads. On mobile I've seen text ads as normal.

And from looking at Google Analytics, while eCPM has gone down across all devices, for desktop users the eCPM has gone down most significantly.

What could cause Google to stop showing text ads to desktop users of my site? Perhaps the text ads were generating accidental clicks?

I was hoping that with the new month I'd notice my earnings go up, but it has only risen very slightly.

I'll email Google today and hopefully get some sense out of them.

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