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AdSense Smart Pricing (Urgent)

     
5:50 pm on Jul 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Since the beginning of July Iíve noticed a significant decrease in CPC only. I believe I may have been smart priced or itís the cause ofnseasonality in the new quarter. If it is smart pricing how long does this usually last before google does another automated crawl? Please let me know. Any advice or experience on this would be appreciated.
9:06 am on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I would think this is more seasonal, depending of the niche of your sites.

But if it's smartpricing, it depends of the quality of traffic you are sending to advertisers. You can't really control the profile of your visitors, and their behavior.

Just:
- be sure that ads are not misleading in their placement (be confused with navigation elements)
- are not too close from clickable elements (especially on mobiles, it's easy to accidentally click an ad)
- attract better quality visitors, but as I said, this is not something really in control. It might depend of the theme of your site and how visitors are finding you.
3:19 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Alright thanks for letting me know. How long does something like this last if it is smart pricing after I make the changes?
3:31 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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And if it just seasonal, when should I start seeing an increase again?
6:31 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If it's due to seasonal changes (and I would agree that it most likely is), it usually rebounds by the third week of the month.
7:12 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Alright thanks for letting me know. Iíve just never seen a drop like this. It started on July 1st and itís been freaking me out. Trying to find all the information I can
8:22 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Also, planets are aligned:

+ new quarter
+ 4th of July being in the middle of the week, (so the whole week is slow)
+ World cup of Soccer
+ Heat
+ Summer vacations
9:41 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What sort of drop are we talking about here, percentually?
10:04 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Percentual drop, we are talking around 40 to 50% since July 1st
11:52 pm on July 8, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What are your opinions on this drop?
9:37 am on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Could be lots of things, it's hard to tell unfortunately. It can be very site-specific, but 50% does seem a bit steep for seasonalities. Since you only really control your side of the equation, I'd first focus on the checklist Dimitri posted and make sure you're providing a good user experience, not sending too many accidental clicks, and not having any technical issues. Then think about the type of visitors you generally attract, what their goals might be, and whether or not that aligns with the goal of advertisers to sell products or services. If everything looks OK, you'll have to ride it out for a little while (at least a couple of weeks I'd say) to see if things bounce back.
9:51 am on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Additionally you can "try" to :

- decrease the number of ads on your pages,
- display adsense ads only to countries that your site is targeting in priority. For example, if you site's primary target is the USA (or more generally English speaking countries) , you can try to display ads only to visitors from USA, Canada, UK, Australia.

These are just random thoughts.
11:28 am on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Alright thanks for letting me know. This all happened on July 1st which leads one to think itís seasonality but it also happened after recovering from a double click penalty, which was also lifted on July 1sf. Do you think that has something to do with it? Since then I have added a lot of space in between content and ads, added advertisement tags to my ads and removed ads. Should this help?
12:28 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The changes I have made have caused the double click penalty to be lifted which tells me that invalid activity and accidentals clicks are down. Now Iím just waiting to see what is going on with CPC. I have made even more changes since then, such as removing ads and adding advertisement tags above all of my ads
3:14 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps you should have mentioned the penalty ;-)

Although I'm not familiar with a "double click penalty". Google notified you of that?
4:02 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Iíve had this penalty before and recovered from it without a problem as have many others. There are even threads all over the internet about this ďdouble clickĒ penalty. It usually goes away after 1 to 3 weeks. But once it does everything in your account should be normal if youíve made the correct changes. Google doesnít notify you of the penalty, but there are certain ways you are able to tell. Most people I talk to think the drop is seasonal but it just seems so low right now. If it is smart pricing, it will take a couple of weeks to see a difference if Iíve made the necessary changes?
5:12 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It usually goes away after 1 to 3 weeks. But once it does everything in your account should be normal if youíve made the correct changes.

I have trouble seeing the logic in that statement. If Google is penalizing you it is because your site is receiving an "unnaturally" high number of clicks. If you then correct the penalty, as you have, then the number of clicks you receive should drop significantly, as there are no, or at least far fewer, "unnatural" clicks occurring. To claim that everything goes back to normal suggests to me that either your layout changes had no impact or the impact was insignificant in terms of the penalty.

AdSense is rumored to apply penalties quietly and progressively. If you have been penalized before with the "double click" penalty and things returned to "normal" and now you have been penalized again a second time and now after attempting to make more changes your penalty is getting more severe, this could suggest that all your changes have had no impact, or that finally your changes have made an impact and you are now experiencing the "natural" state. The later is the more desirable state as the former could signal far more drastic penalties to come. But all this is speculation, because without any formal notification you really have no way of knowing anything for sure.

The changes in RPM, CTR, CPC your are experiencing could simply be extreme market changes. So far today my RPM is running at 1/4 my average, I've had a few really bad days this month, followed by normal or good ones. So again, there is no way to Know for sure.

What are your stats saying, how is your coverage? Is your CTR similar and stable across all ad-units/pages? Are you seeing different areas of your website being impacted more or less?
5:24 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Multiple people have dealt with this ďdouble clickĒ penalty even more than 5 times and when I say normal, I mean CPC, after making the correct changes, if you do, CTR will obviously not be as high. The changes did have an impact because with this penalty if they donít, Google will once again give the double click penalty within another day or two until it is properly fixed. And I agree it very well could be a combination of things with the new quarter and market changes as well. I think I am seeing a slight increase today but it is still low and too early to tell. CTR is low but similar all across my sites and coverage is as usual for me which is around 95% or so.
5:29 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Hearing so many other people talk about low earnings this month also makes me really think it could be simply because of all that so going on this month. Itís just hard to tell. I also have a business AdSense account and the numbers are even much lower than usual on that account and it never seen a penalty so itís hard to tell.
8:55 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh, it's the one where users have to click twice to follow an ad link, I get it now. And it's probably a thin line between many accidental clicks and poor quality traffic, so I wouldn't be too surprised if you were seeing the effects of smart-pricing. But who knows. Post back in a couple weeks with an update, always good to know.
9:19 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I believe if anything it must be some amount of invalid activity because this penalty only happened after I placed an ad right above a native ad widget. My traffic itself hasnít changed much in over 4 years and Iíve never run into a smart pricing issue before. Iím hoping itís just seasonality with all of the major changes considering other users are seeing rough RPMs as well. Today I am seeing an increase in CPC throughout text ads by around 30% and animated image ads still have a decent CPC but rich media ads and image ads are too low. I will post back in a few weeks and give an update.
9:23 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Also Iím not sure if anyone could help with this, but my rich media ads CTR seems to vary greatly at times. From .2% all the way up to 1%. Does anyone know why that may be?
9:41 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Do you have enough rich media ad impressions for that to be statistically significant?
9:46 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Yes. Around 25,000 to 50,000 rich media ad impressions daily. The CTR just seems to vary so greatly. With image ads itís almost always low and with text ads itís somewhere in the middle.

[edited by: Grapetimes at 9:51 pm (utc) on Jul 9, 2018]

9:48 pm on July 9, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I also just got a $2 text ad click where all of my other clicks have been significantly lower than that, which Iím not sure is normal if youíve been smart priced. It nearly brought my RPM up 10 cents alone. So Iím not sure what is going on.
9:34 am on July 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Was your $2-click on a contextual ad, or personalized one ? I think that personalized ads may be less subject to smart pricing since they are, supposedly, well targeted to the profile of a particular user.
5:07 pm on July 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Iím not sure. I am seeing a slight increase in CPC today through text and image ads, but rich media ads are still very low. Hopefully things will continue to pick up throughout the week. And isnít smart pricing applied to the entire account when it does happen regardless of ad type?