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Drop in Adsense CTR

click thru rate dropping since 2015

     
7:51 pm on Oct 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've been studying my AdSense statistics due to a serious drop in revenue.
During a period when my site was stable and not changing (it's evergreen information that gets high volume), the AdSense CTR dropped from a high in 2014.

2015 CTR dropped 25% from 2014.

But then 2016 CTR dropped 55% compared to 2014. The biggest drop was around January 2015.

Traffic and impressions increased during this period. Ad placement stayed the same.

I'm thinking the quality of the ads must have decreased for some reason.

I noticed some really crappy looking ads and that frequently, all the ads on a page showed the same advert.

Also, I'm wondering if Google lost some big advertisers. I was getting a lot of ads from schools like Univ of Phoenix. I heard those schools are in trouble.

Anybody else seen a big drop in AdSense CTR?
8:26 pm on Oct 2, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Anybody else seen a big drop in AdSense CTR?


How many postings do you want to read about it? There are many, many posts here describing similar problems.
4:34 pm on Oct 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Just looking for any intelligent, meaningful, insightful thoughts on what might be behind a continuous drop in AdSense CTR.

Latest I heard was that it's because there are more and more web sites / publishers in the world, and not that many more advertisers.

But that does not explain any precipitous drops in CTR.

I'm thinking in my case the best advertisers in my segment cut back their spending.
5:29 pm on Oct 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Could be a whole host of things, most discussed extensively throughout this thread. Possibilities include, yes, more website competition. Or advertisers spending their dollars elsewhere (like Facebook). leading to fewer interesting ads. Or ads are not relevant to your content. Or you have too many ads and your visitors are ad blind and not clicking. Or Google senses that you have invalid or fraudulent clicks and is shaving them. Clicks that used to count no longer do. Maybe you have a lot more mobile traffic - most of us do - and Google is discounting many of those clicks because of "fat fingers." Or a lot of other things.
5:32 pm on Oct 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There's no *one* reason. Sure, some of your advertisers might have cut back. The rise of ad blockers. User ad-blindness now that pretty much every website out there has some form of advertising on it. The rise of mobile (who wants to click on an ad on their phone? almost nobody). Advertisers getting smarter about their placements (they can block their ads from showing on your site if your users don't convert for them) And don't *even* get me started on bot traffic. Half the traffic on the internet right now (or more) is not even human.
5:36 pm on Oct 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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You don't mention how your mobile traffic has changed over this time frame. While your ad placement may have stayed the same, it might not appear the same (at least be as visible) due to an increase in the use of smaller screens.

Also, you say "traffic and impressions increased."
Within the last year or so there was some type of change in the way Adsense counted Adlink impressions. I remember being confused about it and contacting support. I also remember posting here about it but cannot find the thread.

Anyway, if your impressions increased much more that you would have expected from your traffic rise, it might be due to that accounting change. (More impressions, same number of clicks = lower CTR).
5:39 pm on Oct 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There's also that issue where Adsense takes away the "big arrows" on your ads because their ad placement is such that it results in accidental clicks. There's a term that's used here in the threads for that although I don't remember what it is. You might check to see if there is that change in your ads. That evidently significantly reduces CTR.
11:05 pm on Oct 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I think it's fairly clear that Adsense has toughened the validation process for paying out on clicks. What was a paid click in 2014 or even 2015 is no longer a paid click today. The aggressive discounting or elimination of clicks appeals to advertisers by improving their ROI.
2:33 pm on Oct 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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"AdSense CTR dropped from a high in 2014. " You will never know unless there was something you discover that changed your ad display, traffic, or something obvious in traffic. Google will never tell you, hint to you, share background data, etc..
10:47 am on Oct 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google changed the text ads implementation in the last several days (maybe only to some publishers?)
Search for "Is Google changing the ad format again?". Not sure why the link to that page didn't work.
12:21 pm on Oct 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If you are talking about expanded text ads, that change was made a while ago. Originally it was supposed to become mandatory by the end of this month but they've extended it to January (not enough advertisers switching over, I guess)

More on it here:

[support.google.com...]
9:39 am on Oct 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If you are measuring clicks against page views then the rise of ad blockers, and their promotion to non technical users, may be significant. If you are measuring them properly against ad impressions then it would be either ad blindness or poor inventory.

With a previous site which had a lot of regular users I found that ad blindness would gradually set in. If I dropped an ad for a couple of weeks or moved it to a different location on the page then clicks would pick up again.
10:06 am on Oct 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I am talking about a change they have made on the last few days to text ads. The change should impact CTR.
I didn't manage to post a link here, as it was posted broken. Search for "Is Google changing the ad format again?" including the quotes and read the first entry on the adsense google group.
1:41 pm on Oct 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I am talking about a change they have made on the last few days to text ads.

The OP was talking about long term trends and that is what I was commenting on.
 

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