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Year You Made the Most From AdSense?

Love to see some data

     
6:13 am on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Which year did you make the most from AdSense?

The reason I ask is because I read MANY posts that the best days of AdSense are ... behind us.
But, then, I also know that those who are doing well, tend not to post about it. Soooo, can we get some data points, for fun?
I need to decide if I want to keep doing this. I am now getting a small fraction (1/40) of what I have achieved in the past.
(From 600 a day in 2013, to $15 a day now.) I'm trying to figure out why I am "40 times worse" than I used to be.
Esp., after jumping through all the new hoops required in the last 5 years.

I am asking each person who decides to respond, to please just give me 4 digits - such as 2013.

It will be fun to see if we can draw some conclusion, or any, conclusion at all.
I'll start.

2013 (additional comment if desired)
.
6:24 am on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Very similar experience to yours - 2013 was the best.
10:30 am on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2017 (2018 on pace to beat it by 10%)
been in since 2003 too!
11:37 am on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2010

Also, it depends since how long you are web site publisher. Let's say, you began in 2016, chances are that 2017 will be better, and 2018 again better as you are establishing your sites.

I began in 2006, constant increase of traffic sine that time, constant increase of adsense earning with a peek in 2010, then it started to decrease in similar proportions as what Sally Stitts is reporting. So in 2014, i started to diversify my sources of incomes (so after this date my adsense stats wouldn't be any more significant regarding to the OP question).

I'm trying to figure out why I am "40 times worse" than I used to be.

Lot of changes at Adsense, and in the web publishers eco-system.

For example, a LOT more publishers, means :

- budget of advertisers are spread across more sites. If an advertiser spends $100; and two sites are matching, this an be $50 for each site, if 10 sites are later matching, this would be more like $10 for each of them.

- too many low quality, advertisers are starting to be reluctant to appear everywhere without control,

- too much abuses, causing more strengthening of rules and also way to deliver ads

Another example, I guess that lot of advertisers prefer to use their budget a Facebook than on "random" publishers they barely know nothing about.

Established online businesses, no longer need to spend as much in advertising as they had to at their beginings.

Additionally, more ad blockers, more ad blindness, mobile usage, ...
2:29 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Also 2010
2:42 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2017

But that doesn't necessarily reflect on the quality of the program; I just get more traffic.

[edited by: robzilla at 2:55 pm (utc) on May 12, 2018]

2:55 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2006 for me, Google assassinated me in 2011 with their image theft, currently they seem to be demoting/removing non-US businesses from the US Google.com SERPs in my widget niche.

1/40th = 2.5%, the last few months I have just made the minimum which is about 1.5% of what I used to therefore have more or less given up with AdSense.

I have earned well into 6 figures however last year only just into 4 figures!
3:23 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If things had remained static except for the addition of, switch to mobile such a comparison would be practical. However, there have been many change impacts on AdSense such as not all niches get the same amount of the advertising pie; there are many more publishers chasing, granted, an also increasing, if not at a similar rate, ad pie; the number of said publishers are not uniformly distributed in either number or across verticals; the switch from payment on impressions served to impressions (sort of) seen; the shift away from contextual to retargeting... and a lengthy list of others.

Also, there are many cogwheels in the system that each can and do change over time: the publisher, the publisher's competitors, the ad networks, the advertisers, the traffic referrers, the visitors... each potentially impacting AdSense revenue.

That said I started with AdSense in late 2003 and it was #*$! miraculous. If ever there was a reason to simply add new pages as fast as possible it was AdSense; add a page add revenue. I slapped up so many stub pages! After which I had to systematically flesh them out, mostly done before Panda - luck in timing can be a critical component to success. I was an early adopter of mobile first design and responsive principles finishing that reinvention process by 2013.

With that background out of the way: short answer is 2014 was my best year with AdSense, several past where I expected peak because I removed it from pages with direct ad space sales, beginning in 2006. Three main reasons that it increased YoY while number of ad blocks dropped:
* my niches have enterprise advertisers with deep pockets and comparatively weak competitors.
* by designing a good mobile user experience early I grew audience and page views while recognising and leveraging the impressions scam grew mobile revenue much more comparable to desktop than others.
* by virtue of being a dominant niche player and refusing direct ad sales to a specific industry vertical enjoy being white listed by said group and paid greater than otherwise from AdSense for their access to whatever pages haven't direct ad buyers.
In numbers AdSense is currently about half of what it was in 2014. Fortunately AdSense is default ad revenue filler and hasn't been a majority of revenue since 2011.

I'm not a typical publisher, iamlost after all!
In conversations with other webdevs it becomes clear that how and when each of us respond to current or upcoming change in the cogwheels is what helps or hinders success.
The only constant is change, the only requirement is that one adapts.
Some luck doesn't hurt though.
3:34 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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But that doesn't necessarily reflect on the quality of the program; I just get more traffic.

To Robzilla's point, this discussion is somewhat meaningless unless one corrects for traffic levels.
So not accounting for traffic levels 2017 was by far my best year. But that was entirely due to a large increase in traffic. So far 2018 is the first year where I have seen a decrease in traffic and I am hoping that this will be short lived.

Now looking at impression RPM, for which traffic volume does not factor in, 2013 (my first year) was by far my best. My RPM was about 2.5 times greater than 2017. My RPM has declined steadily up to and including 2018 thus far. But 2018 is negatively biased by a dismal January where I was being impacted by the Brand Safety update. My last two month have been strong with RPM levels that I have not seen sustained since 2015.

Oddly, it appears that RPM is negatively correlated to traffic volume. Its seems that the more traffic I get the further my RPM drops, when the traffic drops RPM increases.
6:17 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My original question was intended to be "which year" for top performance, not WHY (yikes, we could write a book on that.
We all know that there are many, many reasons for drastic changes in individual performance.
Some have been enumerated above. But listing all the REASONS here was not intended.
(Length of time publisher, SERP position, indexing changes, traffic changes, mobile friendly, going HTTPS, etc.)

This was not intended to be a scientific, or even accurate inquiry - far from it. Just a "quick", "flash", "thumbnail" survey of your best year, a broad spectrum count of "best years", allowing all factors to be massively averaged.
BUT, all your comments are good. I was just hoping to avoid all the minutia, factor-weighting, opinions, etc., so that we could possibly come to some conclusions.

Such as, 2010, 2013 and 2017 were apparently very good years, for 6 people in this thread.
I know its hard data to analyze, due to all the varying conditions.
That's why I went for just "best year payout".
.
7:01 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I started with AdSense in late 2003 and it was #*$! miraculous
Absolutely. Consistent 4 figures every month for the first year. Had many lows and a few spikes since then but in general it's consistently gone steadily down hill ever since.
8:04 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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in general it's consistently gone steadily down hill ever since.

I think this (was) is what I was fishing for.
Yea, one strong confirmation.

My guess is that each publisher who went downhill did so at varying times for reasons that could support many threads.
I recall threads that screamed "OMG" in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 ...
The result always seemed to mean less for publishers, more for G. This seems to be the common observation.
10-minute disappearing clicks stood out to me the most. Frequent checkers see these every day.
$5 click, but its gone in 10 minutes.
G has redefined "invalid clicks" without telling us - no transparency whatsoever. "We need more money, we take it."
This is a very disturbing trend, and getting worse. And we don't even get to know the criteria.

We don't even get to know HOW MANY click clawbacks we get, from whom or how much. Its all secret. And gone.
Can you see how this might encourage "Fudging" when ever-increasing increasing G profit is DEMANDED by shareholders?

Sorry. Just piffed off, with no recourse. I must accept my doom, and move on to something else.
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 8:15 pm (utc) on May 12, 2018]

8:11 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The result always seemed to mean less for publishers, more for G. This seems to be the common observation.
10-minute disappearing clicks stood out to me the most. Frequent checkers see these every day.
$5 click, but its gone in 10 minutes.
G has redefined "invalid clicks" without telling us - no transparency whatsoever. "We need more money, we take it."
This is a very disturbing trend, and getting worse. And we don't even get to know the criteria.

There are no evidence that this is less for publishers and more for Google. If clicks are counted as invalid, the advertisers are not billed, so Google is not getting paid either.

About criteria, I can't remember where it was, but once, there was a detailed information about how Adsense was considering invalid clicks, which included the time spent on the advertiser's site after the click.

[edited by: Travis at 8:12 pm (utc) on May 12, 2018]

8:12 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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those Scrooge McDuck vaults in Ireland and Luxembourg aren't going to fill themselves!
8:26 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There are no evidence that this is less for publishers and more for Google.

1. I think, overall, in aggregate, publishers are getting paid less. Read here much?

2. Google profits have been record upon record.

Is G using some kind of new math (with undisclosed parameters)?
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9:22 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Increased competition between publishers could account for both 1 and 2.

Keep in mind that there are literally millions of AdSense publishers (and growing).

Also, every year about 150 million people worldwide gain access to the internet.
11:39 pm on May 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I just checked. Looks like about 2 million AdSense publishers now, from when I last checked (1 million).

I am wondering about the new 150 million. Do they have any money?
Where have they been? Poor and disenfranchised?

Ever heard about "peak oil". I think the US hit it in 1972, according to wikipedia.
How about "peak Internet"? Could it be ... 2018?

Different factors though. One is the scarcity of oil (supply), the other is scarcity of (valuable) customers (demand).
.
12:09 am on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In 2015 I was making CRAZY money. Three times more then I do now. The cpc has just gone down every year since.

I was also getting more visitors - which Google themselves stole from me! Much like redbars image problem. People donít go to your site when Google offer your content up for free.

But I still make my living from Adsense so canít complain too much.

Was 2015 when the mobile revolution peaked. Something changed that year for me. So thatís my top year.
12:20 am on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hod dang, leebow. I wish I had your secrets. I am VERY impressed. And jealous. If I give you a bunch of cash, can we ... never mind, sorry. (On the other hand, we have private email here. Give me a suggestion that doubles my income to $30 a day, and ... what can I do for you?)

Jealous. D@mn jealous. Impressed. Very impressed.
I CRAVE your awesome secrets.

You gotta be a good guy, or you wouldn't be rewarded so well. Thank you very much for your response.
.
1:32 am on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2017. I started in 2010. 2017 will be my peak adsense year by choice, as in 2018 I am moving heavily towards Adx and Header bidding. So adsense will shift from 80% of my income to roughly 40%.

Sally Stitts, I'll private message you, if you are looking for advice I can take a quick look at your sites and see what actionable opinions that I could provide.

Competition is always tough, I am also facing new competition in almost every niche I cover. I have lost quite a bit of traffic, but that's life. So I am doing everything possible to maintain my edge. The key is to read why and how things are progressing, and learn to survive and even prosper through those trends. With that said, given the current market environment, if I stop moving forward, I'll probably be replaced by other guys by next year. Business is tough.
4:58 am on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Started 2006. Rpm roughly constant since 2008, earnings increase each year due to traffic except big falls in 2012-2013 due to panda/penguin which took two years to recover from.
2018 Adsense likely to be less than 2017 due to GDPR (80% income from Europe) and brand verification (coverage down few % on historic levels)
(Adsense mid xxx each day).
7:55 am on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sally Stitts - this is the truth - there are no secrets! :-)

The honest truth is what you read all over the Internet (but nobody wants to believe)...

Make great content, that people want - get high visitors and the money follows!

I could write a book with what Iíve tried over the years - trying to make money with Adsense. I started in 2005 - From 100s of long-keyword-blogs, to game arcade sites, in the end the site I started as a HOBBY - one I could work on without thinking of it as work was the one that eventually let me quit my job.

I think the real problem today vs when I started, I did a lot of backlink building with directories, link exchanges, etc, trying to increase my page rank.

Iím not sure that works anymore - You need initial visitors to snowball to get more visitors (telling their friends, linking to your site, etc)

If you look at your site through a visitors eyes - and think, ďyeah, Iíll bookmark and come back to this siteĒ - your doing right.

Personally...

2005 - I started my site.
(People try to skip this part - I spent the next 5 years working on my site, adding content, every day - Friends and family who Iíve tried to help start their own sites, wanted the money NOW. Start a blog today. Quit job tomorrow. It takes work! They all gave up before a year.)
2010 - I was earning enough to quit my job. More then my old job was paying.
2011 - I was making 3x more a year then I did at my old job.
2015 - when my earnings peaked - every day with Adsense - I was making what I used to make in a month at work!
2018 - Iím still making a years money every month with Adsense. Itís a big hit from 2015 - but itís still a dream amount.

It makes me laugh in the monthly Adsense post on here - people saying ďI earned $5 yesterday - today itís only $4 - adsense is broken!Ē

Itís all about the visitors - until your getting 1000 visitors a day, donít check Adsense. In fact - see the Adsense as a bonus - the goal is to get as many visitors as possible. Then the money will sort itself out.
8:41 am on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Almost consistent year on year increase with 2017 being tops.
9:16 am on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am wondering about the new 150 million. Do they have any money?
Where have they been? Poor and disenfranchised?

It's a mixed bag -- some of them will, some of them won't. I assume it also includes teens getting their first smartphone, for example. Even if just 10% has money and uses Google, that's still a fair bit of additional revenue.

Ever heard about "peak oil". I think the US hit it in 1972, according to wikipedia.
How about "peak Internet"? Could it be ... 2018?

Probably not 2018, but it won't take too much longer in the developed world. Globally, however, we're not even at 50% of the population having internet access, so we're still looking at a few decades of growth ahead.
2:02 pm on May 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Since people are expanding on the topic rather than just posting years...

...it would be wrong to assume that Adsense earnings declined just because visitors or CPC levels declined.

Of course, that was the case with some sites, when you could rank a site with a few links, an emd and some OK content. And the crazy levels of CPC in some areas did come diving down to reality as people started to become more educated about AS.

But, like myself and Travis earlier in this thread, people also started looking at alternative sources of income and becoming more educated about options that were also becoming more viable in various markets.

Remember, checking your search engine of choice will pull up the first descriptions of Adsense as "webmaster welfare" from circa 2006.
9:08 am on May 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2017 - much less RPM than 2005 but also much more traffic.
2018 would have been better still but seem to have been hit by "brand safety" issues from Feb to Apr.
9:19 pm on May 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I joined the AdSense party really late, in 2012. But I made the most in 2017, let's say average of $xx,xxx per month.
2018 looks to be trending slightly lower (~90% of 2017), however, this is not a true representation since the income from my other non-Adsense partners is probably going to be higher in 2018.
1:43 pm on May 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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oh My God you used to earn 600 dollars in a day in 2013 ? what kind of website are you running can you pls tell us hehe ?
3:14 pm on May 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2012-13 single website - Avg $US 1,600 a day - Today same site makes just over a 1/3 of that
8:12 pm on May 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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2012 for me - traffic has declined ever since due to Google becoming my competitor (and to some extent Facebook too).
This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35
 

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