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February 2018 AdSense Earnings & Observations

     
12:19 pm on Jan 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 33 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adsense/4880340.htm [webmasterworld.com] by martinibuster - 9:06 am on Feb 2, 2018 (utc -5)


No improvements here guys, it's all dead and getting worse.

Last day of January is really pathetic :(
12:33 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Ads show on every page on our site, even pages that are new and old, with no visits. Questions for you guys.

I am thinking of adding labels to my ads with "advert". Any of you implemented this? Did it affect revenue or clicks?
12:42 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Probably this is not resource-wise question, but question of priorities.
Google hardcoded priorities from now on are:


Google
Google
Google
Google
2:00 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google hardcoded priorities from now on are:

1. Advertisers
2. Visitors
3. Publishers

That has always been the case, although I think they were a little more attentive to publishers in the early days before the program got so massive.

Advertisers pay the bills. Without visitors, there is no point to having advertisers, who, by the way, pay the bills. Publishers are kind of an afterthought. And as I've said before, if we become too much of a headache, I'm sure Google would be happy to cut us loose. Did I mention that advertisers pay the bills?
2:24 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@ember
Yes, but before Dec,2017 the gap between priorities was reasonable. Now we are totally on our own. Google doesn't care. I don't blame them. This is the market.
What I don't like is that Google provides poor service by itself and we don't have any possibility for maneuver. Google is the Internet.
For example, it just showed me the ad targeted to Brazil (portugees language and brazilian currency on the banner), but I'm far away from Brazil. Not even close)
No wonder RPM is so low, when contextual advertiser fails to provide contextual targeting.
5:40 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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K, now I'm sorta worried. Historically, February has seen better rates on my site than January but the first six days have been pretty disastrous. It's stable, but much lower than I would expect and I have a very good idea of how much rev I should be generating almost down to the day.

Interesting note is that I am seeing lower ad rates and fill across all my other partners too, not just AdSense.

I hope this is temporary.
5:48 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Also on the topic of the Ad Experience Report, my site was reviewed and it got a Status: Passing for both desktop and mobile, even though I don't even have a mobile or responsive design. The review is dated way back in the summer of 2017 though.
8:01 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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January was a disaster, but February seems to be so had, that I need to cut my expenses.
Now I have only 25% of staff I had 4 years ago.
If this continues, I'll have to accept my resignation and push the off button on the server. Is really that bad!
Keep in mind that in the glory days, my company made 3 mil USD from Adsense and now we can barely keep the server running.

So, it's not just about the small publishers, It's a systemic crisis and this is the third year and maybe the final year.
You can try to fight the traffic, change the editorial policy, improve the links and SEO, but you really have no tool against the sinking payment (eCPM)!

It's like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife
10:17 am on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The only solution to the systematic problems for publishers and content creators is for governments to force Google to pay a royalty to publishers every time they use a thumbnail or snippet of text (perhaps only allow Google to use the meta description royalty-free). The same should apply to YouTube - where YouTube should be forced to pay royalties to the artists at similar rates to tv or radio in the country where the content is being consumed.

Spain introduced a law that forced Google to pay Spanish Newspapers every time they used a snippet in Google News, and Google responded by shutting Google News down in Spain. Interestingly, the association of Spanish Newspaper Publishers (AEEPP) wants that law repealed as they claim that their members have lost 5% of their traffic since the closure of Google News in 2014.
I nearly spat my coffee out of my mouth when I read that number - they've only lost 5%!
12:21 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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No improvement folks, having very bad day :( No idea what I'm supposed to do, I'm clueless :(
12:22 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You can try to fight the traffic, change the editorial policy, improve the links and SEO, but you really have no tool against the sinking payment (eCPM)

Exactly. I counted impressions per click ratio month by month. During last year it was rising steadily and now I need to generate 20% more impressions to get same one click, comparing to Jan 2017.
Such comparison shows, that ad blockers are the tiny part of the overall problem. The only possible reason why visitors refuse to click on already shown ads is lack of interest in the ads shown. And lack of interest could be only, if ads are less contextual.

Now the question is why ads are less contextual.
I see only one possible answer. Big brands do not need contextual. They are on the CPM. Nobody is buying car after click on the ad, placed on the publisher website. Visitors click to study the product, not to buy.
Contextual is for small businesses. Moms&Pops need the tool, that allows to get customer per click.
But Google killed Moms&Pops online presence. Google expected them to be involved more in the advertising because of that, but they just left. Owner of the small store or service doesn't have possibility to waste time, discovering how modern AdWords works and also s/he can't afford to outsource management of advertising. Contextual advertising market lost its users. That's why Google is pushing $150 AdWords bonus. It was $100 not far ago as far as I remember.

Conclusion? No conclusion yet. Just thoughts.
1:54 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Economics 101
This drop in earnings is the result of simple economics. A few years back one could earn good living with relatively little effort. There was good profit to be had. At the same time anyone could create a blog or website a slap some AdSense on it. Basically there were no barriers to entry. So over time as competition increased, prices declined, profits declined.

Moreover, and more importantly, back in the print day advertisement was bought and sold based on publication or more specifically a topic. So if you sold cars you bought ads in car magazine. But this was only partially effective, because many people reading those car mags had no intention of buying cars. In a big data world ads are bought and sold based on the user. Think remarketing, where advertisers literally stalk users as they surf the web. So the role of context is much less important, but not unimportant. Think of how valuable a user suspected of shopping for a car becomes when that user visits a page about cars.

So what has that got to do with the first point?
In a world where context matters less you no longer care what the topic of a site is. People are different, there is no way of knowing what sites they will visit, but you don't care. Well you may care because any one webmaster only has one or a few sites. But Google doesn't care because their ads appear on millions of sites and the more there are sites where ads appear the less they should care. So adding publishers is good for Google, one it allows them to better track user intention, thus to sell more ads and two it keeps the price of those ads down. I assume that ad prices are elastic. That is, as prices drop buyers enter the market at a faster rate and the increased volume compensates for the drop in price, again for Google. It may also be the case for publishers but one has a more or less fixed number of impression for sale that one cannot easily expand, only through better ranking.

What does all this mean?
Easy money is gone since a long while. Replaced by a fair profit for those that kept up but that seems to be gone as well. Cut throat competition with razor thin profit margin now prevail. And now only the most efficient, streamlined and savvy publishers will survive.

Publishers are a commodity, the only way to survive is to differentiate yourself. Think of toothpaste, it is toothpaste, is toothpaste, is toothpaste, yet there are ads on TV selling us on all kinds different features and flavors. Differentiation. Don't get confused, your product is not your content it is your users. To succeed you need to attract a unique subset of users in large numbers that advertisers cannot find anywhere else, users that convert!

Good luck because that task is nearly impossible.

Class adjourned!
1:58 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Just got a reply from Google. According to them, it's all because of the new quarter I'm experiencing slight fluctuation.

Gotta wait, there's nothing I can do. Going to work on Viewability.
3:04 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Anyone having report delay ? (impressions delays)
3:19 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yep - red bar
3:26 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@MayankParma this all started in December. So it must be 4th quarter, end of year fluctuation and 1st quarter fluctuation which would leave 6 months of normalcy? I'm being sarcastic toward the adsense person's reply, not you. I think they're either clueless or don't care.
3:29 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@KaseyM , is all you sites are delayed or just some ?
3:31 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Nick interesting analysis. This will sound simplistic maybe, but I think the solution is to always remain diversified. You can have websites with adsense and other ad networks, but also add affiliate sales and sell ad space directly within your niche. Then find other income streams to supplement your websites. Keeping your eggs in one basket is never good.

Also, I think the new Chrome ad blocker is going to make things much worse for publishers.
3:35 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think the new Chrome ad blocker is going to make things much worse for publishers

With no proper tools, guidelines available - Yes.
3:44 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yesterday was the best day of the month, I seem to have increase clicks. However, I wasn't particularly good so I'm not really getting excited. I'm not holding my breath that this is going to be a U-turn with things looking better for the future.
4:13 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@deriklogov both my sites
4:16 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think the solution is to always remain diversified.

I don't know about "always remain diversified". I think that once you are well established and have good read on your users one needs to experiment to find the best monetization method. Diversification may work really well for some, but others may have more success with only affiliate links or only a subscription model. I think the key is to remain open to other monetization models and remember that markets are always changing so what worked 4 years ago may not be optimal today.
4:17 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@ everyone - yes, my google rep has said the same stuff to me as to @Myank .... it's all my fault that my earnings dropped like a stone from Jan. 22 and not the result of an algo change... good to know, right?
4:30 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Unshiny
good to know, right?

I sense sarcasm.

Seriously, I understand that it sucks to be told that there is no quick fix. But at the same time, it is one factor we know for sure is not impacting you. You can now focus on other factors in an attempt to improve the situation.
4:35 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS
Count impressions you need to get one click.
If website is old enough, with stable diversified content, means without huge ups and downs in traffic flow, then this variable allows you to see things without diging into "simple economics".
Ads prices can go up and down, traffic can fluctuate, but on the aged website number of impressions per click will not fluctuate too much during comparably short period of time.
Unless the nature of ads is changing. It could be design related or the way ads are shown or targeting. Not a lot of options.
4:35 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I diversified and added income streams after the big scare of March, 2014. I also sold my big house, bought a smaller one and paid off debts. I still have my sites but I also have a part-time job, do some consulting, freelancing, etc. I sleep much better knowing that if Adsense tanks, and it will one day, that it will not be the end of the world.
4:48 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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On the plus side, I'm hoping that when Google kick out most YouTube content creators from monetisation on the 20th of this month, then there should be a nice increase in CPC (since there will be a lot less available adspace).

On the downside, the local businesses that I talk to here (that mainly cater to tourists), have all shifted their advertising budgets to Facebook. I'm sensing that they have lost faith in getting customers through Adwords. Most don't seem to have much hope in gaining custom directly through their websites anymore either. Most say that they only have a website because they feel it would look bad if they didn't have one.
5:28 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have one YouTube channel which meets the criteria, but the one I value most does not meet subscription requirements.
It makes the most money, as one of my video editing tutorials does decent.

It's been bothering me for a while, but I don't have any legitimate ways of gaining 1k+ subscribers in this time frame.
I'm not concerned about the loss of existing income from it, but about the things I was about to do on it - which can't be monetized for now.

I bet the "Buy YouTube Subscribers" industry will see a boom this period. However, accounts that suddenly buy a bunch of subscribers now will probably get banned.
6:26 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Tbh, a Google search about earnings drop will give me a better reply than AdSense representative.

I'm also seeing a sharp drop of 56% in AdX earnings :-/

accounts that suddenly buy a bunch of subscribers now will probably get banned.

and not the ones that post suicide videos lol
6:45 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Mentat from last 45 days i am just researching on it. and recovered from this update, by crawling my ownpages from three different locations.
7:16 pm on Feb 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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For those that have contacted Google and been 'reviewed' for this Brand Safety update disaster. Do you have multiple sites or did you just them about 1 site? Wondering if they whitelist the entire account or site by site basis.
This 363 message thread spans 13 pages: 363