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September 2018 AdSense Earnings & Observations

Is Terrible the New Normal?

     
6:34 am on Sep 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 8 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adsense/4913911.htm [webmasterworld.com] by martinibuster - 9:16 am on Sep 3, 2018 (utc -5)


1st September is terrible.
7:12 am on Sept 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Grapetimes, yep, on desktop there are much more Open/Visit site text ads comparing to Aug.
11:04 am on Sept 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This month looks as though it's going to be very similar to last month. CPC is fairly decent most days as is page RPM. Today page RPM has started off at £7 and I've had three clicks at 63p per click. Obviously, that will drop, I know that. But it could be a decent day if I could get a good number of clicks. It seems it's just the clicks that are letting me down. Traffic is as much as it was three years ago, however, the majority of traffic does come from mobile users and I think that's where I'm losing out. I just don't think people bother much with ads when they are scrolling down a small smart phone screen.

I'm just looking at "served ad types" and I can see that display/HTML5 has brought me just over 46,000 impressions, and 70 clicks in the last seven days. The next best is "text" which has brought me 5746 impressions, and 64 clicks. However, earnings for text is half that of display/HTML5. If I understood the difference between the two ads then maybe it would be evident as to why there is such a difference in earnings when there are almost the same amount of clicks. Mind you, it looks as though the text ads perform better than display/HTML because I've and half of what I have with text with just 5746 impressions, that's a big difference between 46,000 impressions. So basically, if I could work out a way to increase the "text" impressions I could be in the money again.
4:15 pm on Sept 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If you want text ads only, you can go on your Adsense account and do the following:

My ads -> Content -> Ad units -> Edit ad type (under each of your ad units) -> Text ads only -> Apply ad type

Do those steps for each of your ad units and your site will only show text ads. However, I wouldn't recommend it; the algorithm Google uses tries to maximize clicks by showing text ads to users it thinks will click it and multimedia ads to others. Nevertheless, you might want to test "text ads only" for a day or two to see how it goes.

Moreover, in my experience, text ads only do well in conjunction with image ads because there is auction pressure from image ads to "induce" higher bids on text ads. With "text ads only" that pressure is lost and you'll receive lower bids as a consequence. You can use codes to display text ads an X% of time and keep adjusting it until you find the sweet spot. If you'd like, I can try finding the code for doing that, I saw it on the forums here somewhere. This approach is essentially a manual implementation of Google's algorithm (a very basic version of it).

In summary, I'd recommend you stay with the status quo, but if you'd like, there are two other options you can try: changing to "Text ads only" through your Adsense account, or using code to display text ads a certain percentage of the time.
5:24 pm on Sept 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS - may be it's not exactly penalty, but those Open Button ads are for sites that are having a lot of invalid clicks. I'm seeing mixed ads with Arrows and Open Button. After many months of tests, I can confirm that arrows are increasing the CTR/RPM a lot. Anyway, it's out of my control as I've tested a lot of things with no way to keep the arrows , so just left it as it is.
6:26 pm on Sept 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I donít believe itís a penalty either, I am seeing the open buttons on every site I visit. Iím seeing a mix of both arrow text ads and open button text ads now.
6:54 pm on Sept 10, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It seems to me that AdSense has changed their algorithm on how they detect invalid clicks (i.e. they've broadened the definition of an invalid click). We've been losing the Nessie arrow more frequently over the past few months, despite making several changes to our websites in an effort to reduce invalid clicks. What's really annoying is that these penalties are being applied to all websites in our account rather than just the offending ones.

We also started noticing the text ads with the open button over a month ago. At first, they were simply added to the rotation with the regular text ads but now they appear to be taking up 100% of our text ad fill. Performance has completely tanked. I'm trying to get confirmation if this is a penalty for invalid clicks.
3:47 am on Sept 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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as traffic drops, so does the quality of your AdSense ads served up


Since when?

but those Open Button ads are for sites that are having a lot of invalid clicks


I have few invalid clicks and am seeing Open buttons on some of my sites. Again, it doesn't seem to have affected CTR. I don't think it is a penalty, rather just Adsense testing new options.
5:48 am on Sept 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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It is more than likely Adsense testing different text ad styles. If it were the official new style of text ads there would be an announcement on the Adsense like there was when it was previously changed. Does anyone know how long experiments like this run with Adsense?
4:43 pm on Sept 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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RPM fell off a cliff today. CTR is also down.
5:13 pm on Sept 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@ember - How do you know if you have few invalid clicks? I ask because I believe that there are invalid clicks that are not included in the clawbacks of the transaction reports. Google tries to automate click invalidation as much as possible so clicks can be invalidated at different stages. Some ad clicks appear to be invalidated almost instantaneously so Google doesn't even need to process a clawback. Without going into too many details, I've come to this conclusion because we've been hit with invalid click penalties during periods when our clawback ratio was significantly lower than other periods.

What's not clear to me is if and how these invalid clicks are included in the performance reports. Do they still count as clicks? Do they count as impressions with no clicks? Are they completely excluded? What about the clicks that were invalidated at later stages? Consequently, looking for things like a spike in CTR may not reliably indicate invalid clicks. I've tried to do some digging but Google is understandably and frustratingly tight-lipped.

While the new text ads do look more in line with the aesthetic of today's web, they are performing far worse for us than the normal text ads with arrows. If this is indeed an experiment, I hope that this doesn't become the new standard.
9:33 pm on Sept 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Has anyone else heard anything new about these open button text ads?
1:28 am on Sept 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I commented previously that I rarely have issues with AdSense itself, simply Google Search. For unrelated issues I had reason to compare the past 3 months [91 days] with the previous 91 days. Results?

PV +7.09%
Clicks + 4.06%
EPC + 26.68%
Earnings + 31.82%

AdSense still paying the Bills, with a good sop for coffees left over.
1:37 am on Sept 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@wobwobs, I guess I don't know definitively that I don't get a lot of invalid clicks. But my end of month clawback is always minimal. On obsessive days when I check Adsense a lot, I rarely see clicks taken away (of course they could have been deducted and then replaced by valid ones without my knowing). I have a healthy CTR - always have - and often think I'm going to be penalized, but it doesn't seem that I ever am (knock on wood). My clicks usually line up with statcounter. So all that makes me think I don't have many invalid clicks. I'm careful with my placements, which I think helps.
5:24 am on Sept 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Invalid clicks are counted as clicks, but any amount you have earned because of these clicks is waived off (it is mentioned somewhere in adsense docs). So your CTR will be nearly same, but your CPC and RPM will fall.
4:02 pm on Sept 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@dartttt - Thank you, that's very valuable information.

@ember - Our clawback ratio is low and trends downward as we've been making an honest effort to reduce invalid clicks. Still, we get the occasional invalid click penalty. Although I can't say that this was definitively the cause, one of the times we received a penalty was while we were testing out a new format that produced a significant increase in CTR. You would think that our clawback for the month (on the transaction report) would be much higher than usual but that wasn't at all the case. That said, it's certainly possible that Google's algorithm made the decision to penalize us based on a relatively small sample size that ultimately got lost in the monthly totals.
4:52 pm on Sept 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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So your CTR will be nearly same, but your CPC and RPM will fall.


Our epc and rpm are fairly steady.
5:05 am on Sept 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In the last 3 days, the CPM and CPC were good.
Good in a sense that when you fall from heaven, you are happy to eat some mushrooms.
12:19 am on Sept 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Text+display is the optimal setting. There was a time when text only was best, as display under-performed our custom native styling but Google has made improvements over the past couple years.
11:04 am on Sept 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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If you depend on a huge, faceless, multi-national corporation for the bulk of your revenue, you need to revise your business plan.

(Or engage in massive spamming and black hat techniques. Not a good choice, either.)

Google does no evil. They just support the wrong causes.
6:23 am on Sept 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I find it strange that there is no conversation or talk about Googleís look to the text having open buttons rather than arrows.
10:51 am on Sept 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Last three days were good here as well, Mentat!
1:14 pm on Sept 15, 2018 (gmt 0)

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These last few days have been all over the place for me. Some being average and some being slightly lower than average.
5:49 pm on Sept 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Very quiet around here, so the thing are going well :)
5:55 pm on Sept 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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No news good news... So far this month has been pretty average, but the last few days were below normal. It's too early to tell whether this is a trend or just normal fluctuations.
7:09 pm on Sept 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Steady here as well. Midway through September is down about 3% from August but the summer's winding down for some sites so I expected some drop off. Overall, up 18% from this time last year - so that's good. October will probably be the groin punch.
8:56 pm on Sept 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Earnings down 33% from last year, conclusion, AdSense diabolical however RealWorld business is great with very few genuine business enquiries being driven by any search engine, my global industry has returned to the 80s/90s of trade fairs ... they are booming!

Some are actually sold out months ahead with waiting lists, I haven't seen that for many-a-year.
7:53 am on Sept 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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My earnings have crashed significantly over the last 3 weeks or so.
Mainly because my site is having technical issues resulting in a few hundred 404 errors.

So, can anyone help?

The problem is primarily a change in my tag archive pages URL structure. This appears to have changed recently on its own.

The tags are intact, but Google's indexed links have a different format: [sitename...] .com/?tag=an-example/page/2
While my site has: [sitename...] .com/?tag=an-example&paged=2

I haven't made any recent changes to my site URL structures or edited any permalinks.
I also have Wordpress and plugins set to manual updates. So I don't think anything has updated itself recently.

The reason I have it all set to manual is because I faced a similar issue two years ago, where a pagination plugin or w3 Total Cache changed my entire site's URL structure.

Any thoughts? Again, this only affects the paging URL structure of tags.
6:56 pm on Sept 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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September RPMs are trending lower since 9/11. These are not normal fluctuations.
9:00 pm on Sept 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Weíll start of sept started off good - picking up like previous years sept (as school traffic goes back)

But... this week is seeing earnings 15% less then last week - with same number of visitors - just a much lower ctr - so out of my control - but somethingís changed.
9:58 pm on Sept 19, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This month is actually looking pretty good compared to what has happened thus far. It has been a terrible year so far. RPM is trending. Typically the last quarter is the best, so this may be the pre-cursor to that or maybe I am just being delusional.
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