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Adsense is a dead horse in most cases

     
5:21 am on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Even affiliate links and of course CPA generates at least 5 times what adsense is capable to do. Some stupid Amazon links to products will give me 500% more than adsense.

I know it was different 1-2 years ago, but well, this is history. Adsense was eaten by the big Amazon monster.

If you still run adsense you might be missing a lot of opportunities with direct sales, direct advertisig, amazon, ebay, affiliates, your own products.

Also media.net started to perform better than adsense. In 1-2 years madsense will be history.

Sergey was all about his google glass and divorce,seems to me he missed the point.
8:12 am on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Nothing has worked as well for me as adsense on a pure content site. I have tried tried affiliate links, found direct advertising difficult (and it takes time, which is a cost to subtract from the revenue).
9:20 am on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Adsense still works best on my UK informational sites.

Work on affiliates is paying off however and I can see in a year or two's time that affiliates will equal or exceed Adsense on my sites if the trend continues. True, direct and affiliate ads take time but they are a primarily a one-off time cost.

The other beauty of affiliates is that I don't need to worry about the max. 3 ads allowed by Adsense on a single page. Many of my pages are very long and I can infill with affiliate ads wherever I see fit. The load time of many affiliate ads is also far lower than Adsense.
12:10 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That's simply not true. With all due respect, everyone has a different experience with AdSense. It depends on your niche, type and quality of your traffic, and how well you position your ads.

I am always surprised that people write stuff like "I'm 70% down month on month, AdSense is dead", and then it turns out that we're talking about double digit clicks per month. With this amount of data, there's simply no way for you to have statistically significant results.

@SEOPTI, if AdSense doesn't work for you, but affiliate and medianet does, good for you.
/rant
12:31 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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With this amount of data, there's simply no way for you to have statistically significant results.


Data is data and stats can be obtained from as few as 1 (one). That said there is a general decline re: adsense IN GENERAL across the web and geo locations. There is also a value drop in revenue for such traffic.

This is more akin to a saturation of market and movement of original advertisers to better presentation via other networks instead of g. And that is happening every days as advertisers discover they can do better on their own instead of using the middleman g.

Been there, done that, did it 8 years back for local adverts, but I suspect that the major brands (the really big guys) are/have learned the same.

Remember those old pulp magazines? 25% of the pages were classified ads, and by the end of their presence on newstands those were running 2c a word. :)

What has been here comes around yet again. The pulps took 40 years to get there. The internet is a bit faster. :)
1:27 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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> Data is data and stats can be obtained from as few as 1 (one).

With that much data there's no way for you to run meaningful split tests, which, in my experience, is the holy grail of yield management.
If we're talking about large advertisers, it's slightly more complicated than that. Having worked on both publisher and advertiser sides, most of the advertisers are small fish. Yes, they would go direct. But not the sharks.

To put it all into perspective, check out the adtech map and see how many middle men a large advertiser has to cut out to work directly with pubs: [displayadtech.com...]
2:14 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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If you still run adsense you might be missing a lot of opportunities with ... amazon...



Anyone know how many U.S. states where Amazon is not an option?


FarmBoy
3:22 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I agree with LuckyD that statistics of double-digit earning declines are misleading when it's referring to low earnings. A 50% drop out of a fifty dollar day is only $25 and that's not really significant because that's hobby money. It's misleading to express that drop as a percentage. I've already stated this many times years ago.

True, direct and affiliate ads take time but they are a primarily a one-off time cost.


I wish that were true but it's not. Affiliate programs do change their links and if you don't update them when they change you'll end up sending traffic without getting paid for it. Affiliate work doesn't work everywhere but it's flexible and can pay better than AdSense. Of course it will. Many AdSense advertisers on your site are arbitraging clicks for affiliate sales or working on similar margins. It stands to reason if you do the work of selecting advertisers yourself and taking a direct cut then your earnings will be greater except for difficult niches where display advertising rules.

I have been saying this for years and years. If you wish to become a better AdSense earner open up an account at a couple affiliate programs and see what the programs pay. It will educate you on profit margins, which tells you how much earning potential a niche has. Some programs pay 1% commissions. Some vary, paying 15 to 50% commissions. Fifty percent commissions of course tend to be in difficult niches and they're harder to convert- even in affiliate work there's no free money. Affiliate work is not a welfare check for the lazy the way AdSense used to be.

Nevertheless there are some good seasonal offers. For example, Amazon is offering a $10 bounty as one of their temporary offers, which is an example of how Affiliate work is not a set and forget it business as well as a pretty good offer for someone who is ambitious. There programs with other companies that offer $50 and $100 bounties but you have to work for it, so it's not for everybody. You get what you put in and affiliate work is not really a set it and forget it industry. There's a bit of work to it.

[edited by: martinibuster at 4:29 pm (utc) on Dec 30, 2015]

4:03 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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AdSense is just one tool in the toolbox. If it doesn't do the job it used to, then you add more tools.
5:25 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In my sector visitors definitely have their wallet firmly shut and show zero interest in totally on topic Amazon links and are barely interested in clicking on ads.
5:47 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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To add to what matrinibuster said, Amazon has a great set-and-forget widget, that automatically pulls relevant products and retargeting from the context of the page. It's responsive as well. Try giving it a shot.
7:38 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Adsense still works best on my UK informational sites

I believe Adsense still works best on any informational sites. In my case AdSense supplanted Amazon to an extent [as far as real estate goes] but I still have Amazon with whom I have now been nearly 18 years.

My personal opinion is to keep away from any of Amazon's widgets. To succeed with Amazon you need to have site which offers "how to" or is a trusted review site which discusses the ins and outs of "painting pink boxes blue". In both instances you include links directly to Amazon for the product you can recommend with confidence. If you host a Camera review site, you might earn more from a sale directly through Amazon than a click through with AdSense to another camera site

Duplicating Amazon pages is utterly pointless - you have to offer something "value added", Amazon aren't going to pay you commissions [now called advertising fees] for sales they would ordinarily get anyway. Amazon isn't exactly unknown, you have to drive sales to them, and for God's sake use plain vanilla simple short links. Do NOT use Amazon recommendations, also host your own images.

Anyone considering Amazon should spend time looking through the Associates Forum:

[forums.prospero.com ]
7:58 pm on Dec 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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AdSense is working fine for us, with one ad unit per page (none on mobile pages).

We earn more from affiliate links, but that's been the case for years.
1:16 am on Dec 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It really depends on the niche so without knowing your niche I can't say whether its just adsense on your website design and content. Not to mention, I feel like adsense was always supposed to be a little side money to cover hosting, etc. If that's the case then adsense is perfect for that.
9:56 am on Dec 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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AdSense is as dead as SEO.

I happily use AdSense along with affiliate programs and direct advertising. Right now, it accounts for roughly 80% of total revenue -- other types of ads don't even come close. I intend to focus more on direct sales in 2016 to reduce reliance on AdSense (and hopefully increase CPM), but not all sites will be eligible for that.
10:50 am on Dec 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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, I feel like adsense was always supposed to be a little side money to cover hosting, etc.

That is all it ever was for me. Since I started visitors have become far less inclined to click on both ads and affiliate links.
4:57 pm on Dec 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I feel like adsense was always supposed to be a little side money to cover hosting, etc.

AdSense has always covered the spectrum from "hobby sites" to big news and entertainment sites.

Also, AdSense has evolved from a "pay per click" network to an all-around ad network that includes contextual PPC ads, "behavioral" ads, broad-spectrum "big brand" CPM ads, and so on. That's why, as deuces points out, your niche is important. But it isn't only your niche: It's also your site and audience, in some cases, thanks to the availability of site targeting.

Finally, it's important to note that, thanks to "programmatic" or automated ad buying, advertisers can get a lot more bang per buck than they could five or 10 years ago. That's why even big ad-supported publishers are often struggling these days.
5:02 pm on Dec 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I really get tired of blanket statements like "Adsense is dead." It might be for some, but others still do well with it.

I feel like adsense was always supposed to be a little side money to cover hosting


I earn enough for a comfortable living. I have, though, added other revenue streams this past year so that if Adsense tanks, I'll be okay.
6:08 pm on Dec 31, 2015 (gmt 0)

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AdSense isn't dead, but it is dying each year as more and more people shift to mobile. If desktop wasn't still a major % of searches for B2C and B2B Google would be so screwed it's not even funny.

Here is my holiday season (last 2 months) recap.
Not a horrible December/Holiday season, which is my peak time of the year, compared to last year. Frankly, my biggest concern has been my bounce rate going up this year. But here are my AdSense stats, trends, analysis.

This date range is Nov 1 - Dec 30 2015 compared to same dates LY. Again, this is my peak season so it's actually the best time for me to take stock of AdSense for my site.

Overall CTR was down 18%
Overall CPC was up 15%

Desktop CTR was down 6%
Tablet CTR was down 36%
Mobile CTR was down 20%

CPC prices for desktop rose nicely, tablets and mobile CPC were flat to LY and last couple of years.

Text CTR was down 7%
Image CTR was down 23%
Rich Media CTR was down 30%

Contextual Ads CTR down 11%
Interest Based Ads CTR down 32%

Interest Based Ads CPC is down quite a bit as well.

So what are my concerns/observations?
Obviously CTR rate being down 18% is not what I'd like to see. But my CTR is still over 2%
Tablets are trending terribly; CTR down 36%
Rich Media ads...holy crap these sucked this year and are trending badly. CTR down over 30% CPC prices falling sharply as well.
Interest Based Ads are also definitely on the decline for me. They used to perform even better in terms of CTR than contextual, but CTR dropped 32% this year...that's very concerning for me and is further proof that Google is asleep at the wheel.
9:55 pm on Jan 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have three revenue streams: direct ad sales, affiliate pre-sell, AdSense. AdSense was the miracle add-on that surpassed survival level affiliate sales within months and just kept on soaring. Those early years are legendary for good reason.

Several years later I managed the first direct ad sales. As others have mentioned it was a slog of years. A decade later it is mostly renewals with a waiting list. The seemingly hopeless years of rebuff have been replaced by what is far and away the biggest slice of the pie.

Affiliate marketing simply chugs along. Yes, it takes oversight and thoughtful testing; there is no such thing as optimise and forget. But it has long been a solid consistent second place revenue producer. Especially as I'm able to have affiliate pre-sell on many direct ad pages (loverly option) and get a twofer.

And that incredible rocket AdSense? It plateaued about 5-years ago as I only run it on pages without direct ad links and as those increased the number of ad blocks decreased. However, while the AdSense percentage of revenue has decreased it has remained fairly steady in absolute numbers thanks to continually increasing visitor numbers.
Note: I have noticed the value of clicks sliding the past couple of years, fortunately to date volume and a consistent CTR has maintained the status quo.

This past year as for the past 12 I could live comfortably on AdSense alone. It is most definitely not 'dead' for me.
However, I find the stability of three significant revenue streams even more comforting than the one that made it all worthwhile years ahead of original expectations.
The optimisation of diversification. :)
5:35 pm on Jan 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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AdSense isn't dead, but it is dying each year as more and more people shift to mobile.

Our site has experienced growth in mobile, but I don't see a "shift to mobile" or a growth in mobile traffic at the expense of desktop/laptop/tablet traffic. It's more like the icing on the cake. (Mind you, the cake is still producing most of the revenue, so I view mobile as a kind of loss leader to attract people like my Millennial son who look at things on their smartphones but go to their computers when they're ready to buy a product or service.)
7:19 pm on Jan 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Have you considered that mobile might be a dead horse - when you consider the number of people walking into traffic, stepping into fountains & ponds, getting into traffic accidents, missing scheduled flights, etc. while having their face planted into their mobile device instead of watching where they are going?

Maybe there is some sort of Darwin impact on people and they are self-evolutionizing themselves.

(just kidding. well, at least partially)

FarmBoy
8:54 pm on Jan 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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AdSense isn't dead, but it is dying each year as more and more people shift to mobile.

Is Mobile Bringing About the Death of the PC? Not Exactly [comscore.com]
While there is no doubt that the growth in mobile has been dramatic, for the most part it is not coming at the expense of desktop computer usage. Put another way, most of the growth of mobile has been activity that is incremental to what’s happening on existing platforms. [emphasis mine]

[...]

The net result of is that we’ve seen a 20% overall increase in time spent on digital in the past year, which means a lot more opportunity to reach consumers and monetize content.

As EditorialGuy notes, it's more like "the icing on the cake". Except it's more and more a topsy turvy kind of cake, the icing now being the thickest layer :-) *plunders cabinets*
10:35 pm on Jan 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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In 5 years the time spent 'on digital' may increase by 300%, but 80% of the increase would be attributed to apps (which bring almost no opportunities to monetize content). So one should deduct the time spent on apps to talk about potential monetizing opportunities.
10:37 pm on Jan 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I just checked Analytics for device category:

Desktop - 73.53%
Mobile - 19.29%
Tablet - 7.18%

No my sites aren't really optimised for either mobile or tablet.
11:04 pm on Jan 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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AdSense revenue by device last 3 months:

Desktop - 77.9%
High End Mobile - 15%
Tablet - 7.1%

Is AdSense dead? I wouldn't think so.
2:58 am on Jan 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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<removed>
3:13 am on Jan 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Oooh! I love conspiracy theories! (Getting a new sheet of tin foil to make a new hat)

Buying practices, and those those who buy, have changed over the last five years. The folks with money already have what they want (mostly) or have other ways of accumulating same.

What I am seeing is a new user out there, who really doesn't have money (maybe too many student loans or can't even afford the rent in mom and dad's basement). Do not intend for that to sound ugly, just a recognition that disposable income for many (not all) under the age of thirty (30) is negligible. And ad clicking is not going to be one of their past times.

As publishers we'd all like to have the right stuff appear but markets are changing and even behavioral tracking is changing, and not always in happy directions.

Adsense is not dead. I do believe it has been neutered on both sides of the equation. Lower quality ads, and lower quality users.
9:11 pm on Jan 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The time required to manage an Adsense account to ensure sites display good ads is simply not worth it. I can't leave my Adsense account unreviewed for a few hours. Otherwise, my sites display unwanted ads for their visitors.
11:08 pm on Jan 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I can't leave my Adsense account unreviewed for a few hours.


If that's really the case, then AdSense is probably not a good fit for you.

It doesn't work for everyone.
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