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10% drop of my income after switching to responsive design (and ads)

Increase of my 'pages per visit'. Should I let Google decide the size?

     
9:38 am on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi.

On early Saturday morning I changed the design of all the webpages of my site, to convert them into responsive ones. Around 40% of my visits are from mobile devices, and the change triggered a 10% increment of visits (with respect to the last weekends, it may be circumstantial) and an increment of the ratio 'pages per visit', from 2.1 to 2.5, with respect to the average of the last year (this is cool and, with no doubt, a consequence of the change).

However, the income from AdSense during these last two days dropped 10%, with respect to the average of the weekends of the last years.

I switched the design of each one of the ads, to convert each one into a responsive one (I simply chose the option "responsive" within AdSense control panel), leaving them on the same placement, within the webpage, as before. As a consequence of this, Google decides the dimensions of the ads, and when you visit the webpages through a Desktop device, these ads are long (maybe 728x90 leaderboard). And if you visit them through a mobile device, they are square (maybe 250x250).

Within the previous design, most of my ads were square ones, and wondered if it was a good idea to switch them to responsive ads. I understood that it could be wise to let Google decide the size of the ads: they have more understanding of the user experience and, of course, they would try to optimize the income. However, I am not sure of that.

I would like to hear other experiences. Would it be a good idea to leave my big, square ads on the Desktop design, but leave the responsive ones on the Mobile design? Should I wait to collect more data because this is a circumstantial drop of this weekend?

Thank you very much in advance.
10:15 am on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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My vote is for more data. You're data set is too small to make any sort of judgement call at the moment. Also, from what I understand, Google needs some time to adjust its ad serving.

Whenever I make a change, I let it run for at least a week before comparing anything. Ideally, longer is better...I've done it for upwards of 3-6 months at times.
11:07 am on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In my experience, square ads always outperformed those wide banners, and it looks like you could be facing the same problem because you switched to responsive ads...

If my assumptions are correct, the solution is pretty simple...just change the default responsive adsense code from:

data-ad-format="auto"

to:

data-ad-format="rectangle"

And hopefully your problem will disappear...
12:57 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'll wait more time to collect more data and to let Google adjust the ad serving.

However, as RokSprogar observes, it may be a good idea to modify the ads. I've been browsing this Google Support webpage
[support.google.com...]
suggesting to modify the ad code to specify another size of the ads.

We can set another value for 'data-ad-format'. But, as pointed out in the thread
[webmasterworld.com...]
there are only four options ('rectangle', 'vertical', 'horizontal', 'auto'). Isn't there any 'square' option?

Anyway, there is another option, to set exactyly the ad size by using @media queries ('Specify an exact size' section of the Google Support webpage):
@media (min-width:500px) { .adslot_1 { width: 250px; height: 250px; } }
1:18 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I never test anything for less than a week, and rarely for less than two.

Also, I just recently switched all my ads to responsive (previously only the leaderboard was) used the auto data format. I had a revenue drop for about five days and then it came roaring back. Your mileage may vary. But give it time.

I tend to let Google make the decisions here. I don't have a lot of faith that they're trying to make the most money for me, but I'm pretty sure they're trying to make the most money for them (and that seems to trickle down to me)
1:39 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Like others have said give it some time. I would personally wait until you had 7 days or more of data to compare. Everyone assumes data is real-time with Google but I've always suspected a portion of it is on a delay of some sort.

I would also go with the "Specify an exact size option". This requires a little more work on your part because you have to figure out what size is going to look best on each type of device but this will also most like generated the greatest RPM for you.
2:41 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I got rid of responsive ads and my earnings went back up. 728x90 banners work well for me, responsive ads did not. I would not use them again. But your mileage may vary so you will have to decide for yourself, but I will stick with 728x90 banners. They are tried and true for my sites.
10:58 am on June 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi, Guys, I recently had my site made responsive well about 2 months ago and switched to responsive adsense and I have noticed that the CTR has dropped significantly and does not seem to be recovering! Mobile traffic is by far the highest visitor and there are still a couple of bugs with the search box toggle but still I don't understand how you make the site mobile friendly and clicks have dropped across all platforms!

fumanchu do you get mainly desktop traffic?

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:40 pm (utc) on Jun 6, 2015]
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