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March 2019 AdSense Earnings & Observations

"Google clawed it all back. I knew it was too good to be true."

     
2:16 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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System: The following 6 messages were cut out of thread at: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google_adsense/4934778.htm [webmasterworld.com] by martinibuster - 2:58 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (utc -5)


Well, looks like the big improvements I saw in the days leading up to Valentines Day were all for nothing. Google clawed it all back. I knew it was too good to be true.
2:26 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It seems as if February was the new January, specially the last few days or week. But RPM was down marginally from January and down only a little more than 10% since December. So pretty good all in all. Unfortunately I continue to see a downward trend in traffic and that is really not good.

As for the "net" clawback it was actually negative, again. That is my balance is more than my estimated earnings, by pennies. Officially there was a tiny clawback, but the finalized earning reported where more than the estimated, likely by about one click. I suspect this may have to do with timezone differences between the balances.
2:41 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Even with the clawback, and the shorter month, my February earnings were still a bit better than January.

What's strange is that all the improvements I saw just before Valentines Day were from the UK, where I've been earning very little since switching to non-personalized ads. Yet suddenly, in the days leading up to Valentine's Day, my UK earnings were surpassing my US earnings. I knew it had to be some sort of glitch.
3:14 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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If I compare Adsense with for example header bidding for the month February:

Ad Impressions: 9 to 1
Earnings: 2 to 1

Conclusion: Adsense is getting less interesting with the month. Other networks show a raise in CPM through the years and Adsense a decline.
4:49 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Even though finalise earnings are just a couple of quid shorts of triple figures the clawback wasn't as much as I have experienced in the last two months which was good.

Today has started off very well, can't see it lasting now.
5:45 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I had it confirmed via email from my Adsense account manager that I had indeed put too many clickable things next to an ad unit seeing higher than usual numbers of what it believes to be invalid clicks.

The bot put some kind of click penalty on the ads and even though I have undone the damage I have to wait for the bot to rescan it a few times and see the invalid click ratio has decreased. They believe it could take anywhere up to a month to return to normal.

I have been advised to move away as many clickable links as possible to help the bot, which I am doing. Due to the penalty for the last week or so I was down £600 this month from January.
8:29 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So what's the distance that's needed from ads and clickable units? And how can you measure it with the browser?
8:41 pm on Mar 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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So what's the distance that's needed from ads and clickable units?

I'm not sure, but likely far enough that the content is out of the view of the ad. In which case, you now violate the policy about there not being sufficient content to show the ad. LOL....
1:30 am on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Clawback for February was vicious, a tick over 7.2%. I've never had it that high before.

March is traditionally my best month for both traffic and earnings so let's see what the weeks ahead bring. Can't say I'm hopeful though.
8:06 am on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The first day of March, 20,000 MORE page views than the previous Friday and $18 less in revenue. Crazy. Page RPM dropped 33%. I hope this is not an indication of what March will be like. This industry is changing rapidly.
11:20 am on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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February was short and low on revenue.
The clawback was a little bigger than expected.
1st of March was terrible.
5:43 pm on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Clawback for Feb: 0.5%
The main clawbacks happen on real time.
6:26 pm on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It was on desktop where I had a long vertical unit to the right. I had clickable social media buttons nearby and when I added more buttons it triggered the penalty. The read more on the post preview was also aligned right on the main page and I had an untitled clickable link below. "Tom" gave me a whole list of suggestions to solve it and they all involved labelling and making more space between the ads and every other clickable link. They have told me it will take around a month for the bot to trust me again.
7:47 pm on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Clawback was about 0.3% for February.

Earnings so far for March are 60+% up on the same period last year. I suspect that is because the weather in the UK was terrible last year at the beginning of March and my niche is weather dependent. But, even so, it's put a smile on my face.

Apparently we we have storm Freya arriving in the UK late Sunday evening so that will probably reduce earnings for March to about the same level as last year. It's all a roundabout.
11:29 pm on Mar 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Gracie is Tom a member here? I'm also curious if my links at the website are to near my ads... but a billion dollar company like Alphabet (Google) doesn't have a tool to check :'-) Unfortunately it's all very vague how much the distance should be from content and links to ads and I've only found something about Flash games and distances.
12:49 am on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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but a billion dollar company like Alphabet (Google) doesn't have a tool to check

I believe that it is intentionally left to be ambiguous, as there are many ways to, (for the lack of a better term), promote unnatural clicks beyond moving elements close to each other. I expect that they don't want to get into a situation where someone has met some arbitrary distance metric but is still getting an unusually high click volume, they then penalize the account for the high click volume but then get dragged to court. Essentially leaving things ambiguous, means that it is matter of "judgment" for which that have sole discretion. This of course sucks for us publishers as it impossible to know if one's page layouts are okay or not. But as with all things AdSense, it is "take it leave it".
2:07 pm on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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"Tom" was the person who responded to my support email. He just said to add labels and create as much space around ads as possible on desktop view. What p'ed me off the most was that there was no policy violations on the account. How many other people are on these secret restrictions that they know nothing about?
3:26 pm on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Gracie that's the point and I've no idea how I can get in contact for a review... Maybe half of my clicks are counted as false but I've no idea.

NickMNS, I believe it could help the revenue of both publishers and Google so there's not much benefit for Google to be vague about that. I could ask for a review at the product forums. But than there's someone who thinks to know it but still isn't sure.
8:40 pm on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Iím sure I was told by someone spacing should be 2x <br> (Break tags), or 2 line-heights, or 2.4em from content
9:41 pm on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Have you got paid for Jan?
9:46 pm on Mar 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Paid on the 25th Feb. UK
5:54 am on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Paid - Bank Transfer on 22.02.19

The first 3 days of March were the lowest of 2019 for me (YET).
9:18 am on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Well I am new here on this forum , its first time I am posting here as I had drammatic drop in my earnings in Jan and Feb . Had to google for possible reasons . I see a lot of people complaining about it .

Here are my observations so far ,my adsense account is 1+ year old .

Out of 3 niches I see almost same trend (RPM) as it was last year for Jan . Wherease for one particular which is my main source of earning it dropped dramatically to more than 60% affecting my overall earnings . CPC , CTR and RPM all affected . I just hope its temporary and march brings some good news .
12:08 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Leebow and others, I've opened a new topic about the distance between ads and links/content to avoid penalties and increase revenue:

[webmasterworld.com...]
3:15 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Why CTR is so low in March? Also February was very low. Only me?
4:01 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@fellow+ same here ..CTR dropped in feb and march seems to be same story.
4:08 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yes, is very low unfortunately in U.S. :(
4:30 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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And same here in Western Europe.
4:54 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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He did put a lot of emphasis on labelling the ads too. Even if you just add some text that says Advertisement.

My click through rate has tanked because they have to click twice on the ads now for them to register and most don't bother as it makes the ad look spammy.

I had to email for help to find out what it was, the email link is quite hidden. You have to click on the ? and scroll down to the bottom. If you have it available I would send them an email to find out what has happening as I had absolutely nothing in my violations to say I was being penalised and could have gone months just thinking it was a bad month.
6:23 pm on Mar 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I had massive clawbacks a couple of months ago which amounted to basically all the earnings on one site. The culprit was that I had removed old content and some visitors were still coming to my site from Google on the old pages and being redirected. Google adsense apparently doesn't like this.

Make sure that if you remove a url from your site or redirect it that you also remove it from Google. They'll still crawl the old one and find the redirect but they won't send a visitor to an old URL and smack your earnings silly.
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