Unexpected earning drop in Adsense until I did this
Hey everyone. I had an earnings drop with Adsense recently that had my wheels spinning. I think I figured out the problem and wanted to share my experience with those people who are using it.
Early last week my earnings dropped overnight almost 50%. I thought it was an anomaly but it continued for two more days. It was then followed by a very high earnings day and then followed by two more extremely low days. I noticed that my average CPC for this period had increased a good 25% but my CTR was way down.
I started doing some investigating, including checking my site in different browsers to see what ads where being delivered. I began to notice one particular ad which was not really unrelated to my niche was being displayed quite often in my highest earning spot for my site. Though it was related to my niche, I started thinking that if I was a reader who came to my site, it really wouldn't be an ad I would be that interested in.
I then went to the ads review section in my Adsense account to see what ads where being served. I found that the same ad was at the head of the list for the highest % of impressions of all the ads. My guess is that this company was outbidding everyone else for various keywords related to my niche and thus was showing up quite often. This theory would explain the increase in CPC and the decrease in CTR if my thoughts were correct about readers not being that interested in it. So with this information in hand I decided to block this ad and see what happens.
Results? Well it's still early, but for the past three days now my Adsense earnings have come back to what I consider normal levels. Yes my CPC has gone back down, but my CTR has come back up. It just goes to show (in this example anyway) that having a high dollar CPC ad served to your site doesn't always mean you will make more money. I will trade in the higher CPC ad for multiple ads that don't pay as well but have a much higher CTR.
I also learned that it's a good idea to review the ads being served to my site in order to evaluate what kind of impact I may feel that they will have with my readers based on the % percentage of impressions. Unfortunately, we as publishers do not know which ads are successful and which aren't, but we can use the tools in Adsense to experiment a little with the ones we feel are the bad eggs.
Shea, great thread! Goes to show it does pay to go in the Ad Review Center from time to time and do some investigating.
I did the same thing a few years ago. The leaderboard ad had a period where the market leader in the industry was being outbid by a poorer competitor, and it was causing readers not to click. Why they were outbidding a superior company baffles me, since all they were doing is spending money to show off their bad service and annoy people.
I blocked them in the ad centre and now the market leader and preferred provider of the service is showing in the prominent leaderboard position at the top of the site again.
Last edited by Darren; 05-17-2014 at 02:33 PM.
Well so far after 4 days things seem to be back to normal. Actually, revenues are a little better than normal. The ironic thing about the advertiser is that I was turned down by them at Commission Junction. I thought they would be a nice compliment to the Adsense advertising at the time. Six months later they turn up on my site through Adsense outbidding everyone and I had to block them. Funny how things work that way sometimes.
I used to make money from an advertiser as an affiliate but then they closed the program and moved to Adsense. I suppose they figured out they could play less to publishers that way.
Don't forget that just because you may be seeing adverts for certain products, that doesn't mean everyone will be saying the same advert. For instance, the ad unit located in the first post in this thread is displaying prestige watches. The chances that you are seeing the same adverts are very slim. Why am I seeing watches? Because I am a watch collector and I often visit different watch websites, so they tend to follow me around when I visit different websites.
That's an example of ad retargeting, Ironside, and it happens a lot. I'm not certain but I think that there's nothing you can do about altering which retargeted ads get shown?
As for adverts shown varying from person to person, place to place etc (geo-targeting) - aren't there tools we can use to simulate what different people might see? It's been so long since I used them, I have no idea if they work any more - let's see if I or anyone else can remember them?
Might be useful to gather a list.