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January 2019 AdSense Earnings & Observations

     
11:30 am on Jan 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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2018 was a goodish year, with a record December month.
2016 and 2017 were hellish years for me.
I hope that 2019 will be at least as good as 2018 was, but as always the first months of the year are "hibernation months", so let's see how horrible January 2019 will be.
11:02 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone else see this pattern:

Site gets a surge in traffic from content going viral or increased search traffic > Adsense massively overreacts and takes away genuine clicks and/or smart prices you > you end up with less earnings at the end of the day than if traffic had been stable.

The last few months have had me tearing my hair out with Google. For years I've had a CPC of around 20 pence a click and coverage of about 98%. But since March my coverage has fallen to about 75% and my CPC has been around 10-15 pence. It's now fallen to about 2 pence a click during this algorithm update, and I've watched Google subtract large chunks of earnings from my account today.

I've never ever had a CPC of 2 pence a click. I'm not competing on new serps, the extra traffic is from existing serps that I used to earn a good income from, where I've now regained traffic I lost earlier this year.

Could the shape of my ad units be at fault? I changed my design about four months ago to use three medium/large rectangles instead of two horizontal banners and one vertical banner because I simply couldn't figure out how to comply with the new adsense policies if I had a horizontal banner above the fold. The change seemed to improve things at the time, but perhaps that was just temporary? Do any of you have experience with changing ad unit shapes?

What I don't understand is why they can't tell the difference between real and fake traffic, particularly as they're the ones sending me the extra traffic?
11:35 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The January lull is starting to get better for me.
11:40 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Up about 12% from a disastrous January 2018
which was down 25% from 2017. I got killed with the mid-December 2017 algorithm update.
11:58 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Same here, December 2017 was murder on my numbers. This year has been much, much better - though clawback for December 2018 was the largest in my history : /

January 2019 is looking waaaay better than January 2017 - but you never know with how much clawback will take away at the end of the month; makes this real-time reporting meaningless to an extent.

It's always something : /
10:03 am on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@broccoli - CPM/CPC was badly hit last year + coverage shrinkage + clawback.
SmartPrice is very aggressive, but in my experience, it depends on the geolocation of the visitors.

If you have a surge of Indians (no offense) => bad for you.
If the surge is from US/Canada/UK etc => good for you...
12:57 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hope this is not againt TOS of the forum..
I need you advices, N.B, your analysis about this data from my adsense
[imgur.com...]
3:06 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In January, CPC is to low
3:36 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Might be the wrong thread, but is there anyway to over come the 'learning' process when you set up a campaign. I need the ad going live immediately...?
3:42 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@BushyTop You probably need to be on the Adwords page, not Adsense. :)
3:45 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@kasey whooops
3:48 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@broccoli
Site gets a surge in traffic from content going viral or increased search traffic

There are two possible explanations:
- First and in my opinion the least likely, based on your description of Adsense's reaction it could be that they are seeing the traffic as not being valid, scrappers, bots, or purchased.
- Second, the more plausible scenario. When content goes viral it typically does not get the same level of engagement. Many users are clicking on the links to your page because their friends sent them a link, not as a result of "genuine" interest. They check it out real quick and move on, this isn't bad it is just a result of going viral. Many more people do ultimately engage with the content then would normally but the percentage of people seeing the content vs engaging with the content drops. As a result page views rise sharply but CTR drops, the total number of clicks go up as compared to a normal day. Given the rise in page views relative to clicks all the metrics get skewed, CTR, RPM and CPC but the revenue generated is more than normal just not what you would have expected had you taken your typical day's RPM and applied it to viral day's page views.

The above can be further compounded if the viral traffic is originating from a location that does not generate as much revenue as normal, say traffic from India vs the US. A sudden surge in traffic from India when your typical traffic is US/UK will send all you metrics into a tail spin. This isn't result of some sort of penalty, it is simply that the mix changes. I fundementally disagree with Mentat comment above.


If you have a surge of Indians (no offense) => bad for you.
If the surge is from US/Canada/UK etc => good for you...

There is nothing bad with a surge in traffic from India (given that it is legitimate users and not bot traffic).

Say on an average day one makes $100 a day from US/UK traffic based on on 50k page views (RPM = $2) and $5 a day from Indian traffic, based on 5k page views (RPM = $1) . The combined RPM for all your traffic will be $1.91. Now you get a 10x surge of Indian traffic, the resulting RPM will be $1.50. "Bad for you" right? No, wrong. because you still earned an RPM of $2 on the US/UK traffic so your $100, but instead of earning only 5$ from India, you have earned $50 that is $45 more than normal. Sure the metric have all dropped but the money in you pocket increased and ultimately that is all that really matters.
3:58 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@lakybel what is the issue. Is it the "couverture" or "coverage"? or the discrepancies in the CTR figures that concern you?

As for "Ad request CTR" and "Matched Ad CTR" (demande et correspondant respectively) I have no idea what these metrics represent and how they differ from plain and simple CTR.
8:06 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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There is nothing bad with a surge in traffic from India (given that it is legitimate users and not bot traffic).

The problem with traffic from India, from an Adsense perspective and in my experience, is that it pays very little. India is the second highest traffic source for me, on both my website and my YouTube channel (the US is the highest, but India is never far behind). And yet, ad revenue from visitors from India amounts to just 5% of what I earn from US traffic. I have nothing against India and mean no disrespect. Everyone is welcome on my site. I'm just pointing out that while traffic numbers from India are always high, ad revenue from it, in my experience, is incredibly low.

Now that could just be because of my niche, and may just be my own experience.
9:29 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS the issue is that I got some traffic but click is low, for exampel 1000 pageview = 10 click or less. CTR is less than 1%

about thoses metrics ( matched ad ctr ) and ad request ctr, me too, I have no idea about them ..by the way , Thank you
9:33 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Cralamarre , I have a blogger's friend from INDIA, he told me that his earning are low from traffic indian, even he has a niche with high competition their, his clicj is about 0.10$==> 0.50$ ..
10:34 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@cralamarre if the marginal cost of servicing Indian traffic is lower than the revenue generated by it then it is turning a profit. I'll take the profits without complaining thank you. Typically, the marginal cost of additional traffic is zero, so every penny earned is profit. I realize that for some that may not be the case and the additional bandwidth required may come at a cost but that is a different situation.

This said I certainly would not be targeting an Indian audience at the detriment of of high paying regions such as US/UK/CA/AU, but people from India are welcome to consume my US content and click on my ads.
11:59 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@NickMNS, that's a positive way of looking at it, and I don't disagree. It's just disappointing at times, seeing so much traffic from one location earning so little while a similar amount of traffic from a different location earns so much more.

But, it is what it is. As long as US traffic keeps paying the bills, then everything else is gravy.
4:22 am on Jan 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Cralamarre, as long as it pays more than bandwidth usage, don't forget that Indians create referral links too, so that might count for something. On the other hand, from experience, this traffic also comes with its disproportional share of copyright infringement problems.
3:58 pm on Jan 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I get a lot of traffic from India. It has increased lately, but it's not worth very much. Here's a true story. I was contacted by Media.net a few years ago. They threatened to shut down my account because of the quality of traffic that I was receiving at the time, specifically from India and Pakistan. I pointed out to the contact person at Media.net that that felt kind of discriminatory and unfair to me and the people from India who were visiting my site. Here's the best part: the person who represented Media.net was Indian.
6:08 pm on Jan 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Mentat @NickMNS @Cralamarre

Thanks for the thoughts guys.

My overall earnings per day peaked as my traffic went up earlier this week, then literally halved.

I suppose my traffic did go a bit more international just before I got hit, but only a tiny bit, the vast majority of it is still US and UK/Commonwealth/Europe. I did notice a brief increase in traffic from Russia (uh oh!) so perhaps there was a clickbot running around the site, although I couldn't find it.

I'm pretty sure I'm being smart priced. I hope it will settle down once this endless update is over. 2 pence a click for a vastly improved page on the same serp that was earning me 20 pence a click this time last year is ridiculous when the site at the top of the serp has a terrible page and gets premium ads.
6:35 pm on Jan 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I let my traffic from India grow organically. I donít promote it anymore because thereís no money in it. Although I use Google Ads, I always block India and low revenue countries. I think because of this my income is better than last yearís income, even though my traffic is lower than when I was promoting in India.
8:22 pm on Jan 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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On my sites I serve different Adsense ad units to each country tier.
12:09 am on Jan 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I believe I have been hit with with the double click penalty, should it go away after I fix my site and within 2 to 3 weeks?
3:52 pm on Jan 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Things have slowly been improving as January goes on, but today even though I'm getting a good amount of clicks, CPC is really low, anyone else affected by this?
3:46 am on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In many countries of the world, Monday is "back to school", so this can be a factor.
It's almost half of the month and things aren't really picking up.
11:25 am on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Had an absolutely stellar day on Sunday, 57 clicks at around 18p a click. Not sure why that happened, let's hope it doesn't all be taken away at the end. I don't often get hit with any penalties so maybe it was just my lucky day
11:51 am on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Not sure why that happened


Maybe it's something to do with the forthcoming Oscars ? Arghhh !.!.!
2:02 pm on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Red funny you should mention the Oscars. A few years ago when I had my big 300 gallon aquarium I set up a live streaming feed which will streaming my tank over the Internet. I put a post on my forum with the heading along the lines of "watch a live stream of my Oscars". Something like that, it was a long time ago so I can't remember the exact post. Anyway, in those days I was obsessed with statistics and I was always checking how many hits I had. When I checked how many hits I've had the next day showed 10,000. I couldn't quite understand what had happened to begin with but then I realised it must have been to do with the Oscars which had been on the previous evening. People have been looking for a live stream of the Oscars because my website does quite well with that one word Oscar or Oscars my website must have been fairly close to the top of Google and hence the hits that came through on that one day.
3:03 pm on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Is it time for some new fish breeds, I can just imagine a Bafta?
7:05 pm on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I might do an experiment and create a thread on our forum in the off topic section talking about the Oscars and put in a link to their live feed but make sure the heading of the forum post reads something like "watch Oscars on live feed". You never know, it might bring me some extra dosh.
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