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The New Display Ads killed my RPM/Revenue

Is it possible to force text ads somehow?

12:41 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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In true Google style, they had to turn everything upside down for the umpteenth time this year. They decided that removing the text-only option in display ads is best for all of us. In 10 years, image ads have never performed well on my website. I despise the new creative limitations, the ugly grey background that surrounds the tacky display ads, and my RPM/CPC/Revenue are down at least 50% since late June (especially on desktop devices).

Link ads have also performed very well for me, but now they appear in all lowercase type. I suppose I can live with the lowercase format for link ads, but I am wondering if there is a way to "force" text-only for display ads. I am seeing other websites that seem to have mostly text ads, but those websites could be using Ad Manager or some such. Heck, I don't know... it's all so damn confusing now that I'm on the verge of giving up on Adsense altogether.

After reading through their confusing documentation, I am left with more questions than answers. I guess my primary questions for now are:

1) Google brags about the benefits of AMP units, obviously intended for AMP pages, but I'm wondering if AMP units can be used on traditional html pages and if they really do have performance-enhancing properties that might help boost revenue.

2) Somewhere in their nauseating documentation they claim that text-only ads can be achieved to a greater extent by using in-feed ad units. Can in-feed units be used on standard posts/pages (does it even matter)?

If any of you guys can offer some tips/suggestions/clarification, I would really appreciate your help. Like many of you, I am fed up with the continuous turmoil, coding bugs/glitches, unnecessary platform changes, etc., that Google feels to compelled to inflict upon us a few times each year -- as our livelihood suffers.

On that note, I hope everyone is having a wonderful Thursday morning :)

10:03 pm on Aug 22, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Sympathy post ... left adsense years ago. Generally stay out of these conversations since I have nothing "new" to add, but at the same time observing to see if/when I might return. No "I feel your pain" platitudes, rather, "this sucks!"
4:56 am on Aug 23, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I guess this is what is happening to me. As of 24 to 48 hours ago Adsense ads have tripled in size. They are "responsive" ad units which worked well for quite a while. I have no idea what they changed, but the ads are obnoxiously big. Have any of you seen the same issue?
9:02 am on Aug 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The display ads are very large, at least in terms of unit dimensions. However, the actual ad shown is about half the unit dimensions used on the page. In other words, there is a display ad that appears to be about 768x90 or perhaps up to 110px tall, typically with a white background, but surrounding this ad is a very large area with a grey background approximately 100px on all sides of the ad. All tolled, the unit covers a portion of the page about 900-1000px wide by about 250-300px tall (desktop). RPM is atrocious.

Prior to late June, my display ads (usually text ads) had RPMs greater than $15. Now, the RPM is holding in the $3 to $5 range. Ads are irrelevant to the page content, and I no longer see any way to allow advertisers to bid. My display ads have always had two or more custom channels assigned to them, and each custom channel performed well. Granted, multiple channels for any given ad unit was probably unnecessary, it was how I set things up back when I was first learning how to use Adsense and I was always reluctant to remove any for fear of losing bids associated with them). Each custom channel performed differently, some better than others; but then, earlier this month, all custom channels began to show the exact same performance values across all performance metrics (same RPM, CTR, etc). Clearly custom channels are no longer used for bidding purposes and may even be completely obsolete at this point -- or there could be a glitch causing a loss of bidders associated with some channels still linked to my ad units. Unfortunately, there seems to be no way of forcing competitive bidding, or forcing ad formats that have always performed best on my site (i.e., text ads).

I have emailed the Adsense team twice now, asking for clarification as to why my ad performance took such a tremendous nosedive in late June (on/around June 28) and another nosedive on/around July 24. I received a response on both of those emails, and both replies focused on website traffic (ad impressions) using a small 3 or 4 day dip at some random point during a two month period as an example. They went on to explain ways of increasing website traffic, as if I was a complete novice, idiot, or both. In reality, my traffic has continued to increase over the past three months and just reached new record highs this month. Thus, traffic and ad impressions have nothing to do with my 50% to 75% drop in revenue, but the evidence that I submitted seemed to be completely ignored.

And as for my link ads now showing all lowercase text seems like a glitch that I am noticing on all websites that I visit. Inside my Adsense account, the examples of link ads that are shown continue to use capitalization, but when the link ad code is placed on my site, the text is lowercase... yet another ridiculous factor likely causing a drop in performance.

Between the innumerable indexing bugs and the ridiculous Adsense platform changes, I am left wondering if a new crop of completely incompetent programmers have been hired at Google over the past 18 months.
12:05 pm on Aug 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Same issue here, damn

I hope the G algorithms need time to learn or something and will adjust in the next few weeks...
7:06 pm on Aug 24, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@crobb305 - Thank you for the feedback. I guess I'm getting too old to care. Retired some years ago and did some technical websites mainly as a hobby until 2004 when I planned to close my websites and someone told me to try adsense (as a hobby it was just costing me too much of my own money). It did very well until around 2013- 2014, enven had quite a few $100,000+ years - then - Well, Google in general has dived. I haven't even used it for search for several years now.

I never did much with SEO, but in the early days I did follow Dan Sullivan so I'm not a novice to all of this. My oldest website is 24 years online. But, I haven't followed the trends much as I do what I have always done - Made websites for people, not for ad placement. I remember at one time the adsense people were even sending me mockups of what they proposed as far as ad placement on my websites, and it was always obnoxious in my opinion and I always ignored them.

I'll probably just close my websites in the near future and enjoy my retirement. I have no desire to play their games.
11:33 pm on Aug 27, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Elsmarc. You and I largely mirror one another across all those areas.