Tag Archives: AdSense

AdSense Earnings Drop During the Day

Over the last year or two, I’ve moved a lot of my efforts and focus to my more passive income type earnings online, versus just concentrating on my online freelance writing business. One of the facets of making money writing online is advertising. The simplest online ad system is Google AdSense.

AdSense Earnings Adjusted Same Day

Google’s AdSense program has a lot of moving parts. However, recently, I’ve noticed an uptick in a certain quirk related to earnings.

First, Google adjusts your earnings as an AdSense publisher all the time. The most noticeable adjustment occurs every month when your “Estimated Earnings” is converted into the actual earnings they are going to pay out to you. On the second or third day of a new month, Google will post the actual amount you are getting paid. This number is almost always smaller than the estimated earnings you have been shown all month long. For me, it’s usually a pretty insignificant amount, a rounding error, really.

falling adsense earningsDuring the month, if your ad clicks are particularly worthless not converting well, you may be “smart priced” which is a fancy way of saying that the amount you are getting paid per click will be lowered. This keeps advertisers from trying to cut off certain publishers and potentially costing Google revenue. There is no notification that you have been smart priced, nor is this really something talked about on the publisher (AdSense) side. It’s actually something more readily mentioned on the advertiser side (AdWords). Either way, it’s real and it happens, but it usually requires comparing time frames to see it happen.

Honestly, I don’t really have a lot of experience with Smart Pricing. Either it’s been happening to me from the very beginning, or it just doesn’t happen to me enough for me to notice.

AdSense Earnings Dropping Intraday

What I haven’t seen a whole lot of, in my experience, has been Google adjusting your earnings in real-time, or within the same day. However, lately, I’ve started to notice downward earnings adjustments on some of my accounts.

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To begin, let me just admit that I check my AdSense account a lot. Honestly, I probably check it too much. On the other hand, it’s so easy to just make a quick click in between projects, phone calls, or meetings. I don’t take the time to necessarily drill down into the data, but I do like watching the amount of money I’m earning online go up and up. I also use channels, ad groups, and site by site reports to keep a rather detailed eye on which sites are making what money, and when.

Which brings me to today’s issue.

Recently, I’ve noticed that sometimes a particular website will report something like $67 for the day so far. Then, 30 minutes later, when I check the same channel on the same website, the earnings will have dropped to something like $53. The RPM will have dropped too. Again, I haven’t drilled into this phenomenon a lot (yet), because this is when I’m supposed to be earning money online by doing other stuff, but it would appear that the CPC has been revised downward, not the number of clicks.

What is odd about this is the time frame. I’ve never seen these almost real-time adjustments before. Typically, you either get a lower CPC and you never really notice it unless it is less than previous days, or they adjust your earnings down at the end of the month. I’ve never known Google to lower your earnings midday like this.

I’ll have to do some more digging, I guess.

Has this happened to anyone else? Am I finally being smart-priced, and this is just how it looks? Has Google updated the way AdSense works so that it make quicker, smaller adjustments during the day rather than bigger. all at once adjustments at the end of the month? 

Leave a comment if you have thoughts.

 

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AdSense CPC Variations

Assuming you already have quality content and some decent traffic, one of the easiest ways to make money writing online is to add AdSense advertising to your websites.

There are a lot of websites and resources out there that explain the basics of how AdSense works. First, you sign up with Google. Then, you add some code to your website. Finally, you profit. Or something like that.

AdSense Quirks

What is harder to find is information about the many quirks of AdSense. For example, if you load your own website, you won’t see the same ads that new visitors to your website see. Google uses cookies to track users (including you on your own website) and tailors the ads to both content and your browsing history. That is why sometimes a Overstock.com ad will seem to follow you all over the internet displaying items you recently viewed. In order to get a truer idea of what visitors to your site might be seeing, make sure to use Privacy Mode or Google Incognito Mode to cover your cookie tracks.

One of the most maddening quirks of AdSense is the variability in how much money you earn. Some things end up making sense over time. For example, your website may earn more money on weekdays and less on weekends, or vice versa. But some things just don’t ever seem to make much sense.

Your Google AdSense reports offer a lot of information about your ads. Click the Performance Reports tab to get detailed information. A graph at the top charts your earnings. A click or two and you can also chart your PageViews and clicks over time as well. Beneath that, a chart lays out even more data.

Where you’ll find one of the most puzzling AdSense quirks is in the CPC column. CPC stands for cost per click and it represents the average amount each click paid on a given day when a visitor clicked on an ad. It’s no surprise that not all ads pay the same amount. However, over a large enough pool of traffic, you’ll find that your CPC tends to stay around a certain amount, with some moderate variation.

quirks in adsense graphicFor example, a website might have a CPC of $1.11 one day, and $1.18 the next, and so on. What gets really weird is that one day, your CPC will be $0.71. There will be nothing really obvious in your analytics or in the AdSense reports to say why. I’ve found that these anomalies occur on different days of the week, different days of the month, multiple time per month, or not at all. There really seems to be no rhyme or reason for it.

What other AdSense quirks do you see? How have you tried to figure out what is going on?

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Third-Party Ad Networks Data in AdSense

For most of 2010, I wondered whether or not to allow third-party ad networks in Google AdSense on my websites. I decided to carefully ad the different ad networks a couple at a time and then determine whether or not they seemed to have an adverse effect on my AdSense earnings. That was a tricky proposition since the traffic to my websites fluctuates based on numerous factors, including having fairly substantial drops on weekends and holidays.

Finally, in May of this year, I enabled all third-party ad networks for AdSense and since disaster never struck, I just went with it.

AdSense Performance Metrics

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but Google recently added an “Ad networks” report to the Performance Reports section of the Google AdSense online tool for webmasters and publishers. The results show that it may all have been much to do about nothing.

According to my Performance Reports, Google AdWords network serves the overwhelming majority of ads across all of my websites including my freelance writing blog and personal finance blog.

The November report shows that 92.6 percent of all the Ad requests served on my websites were filled by Google AdWords. The second biggest ad network serving ads for my sites was Adnetik US, which accounted for just 2.8 percent of all ads. In third place is the Google: Invite Media ad network followed by Rocket Fuel, both with about 0.5 percent of ad requests. A partial report for the first 12 days of December shows approximately the same thing.

In other words, despite enabling all of the Google approved third-party ad networks out there, less than 8 percent of all my ads were served by ANY third-party ad network. Furthermore, no single non-Google ad-network accounts for even 1 percent of ads, so adding and removing those networks onesie-twosie really is not a good use of my time.

Unblock Third-Party AdSense Networks

As it turns out, I was blocking 163 AdSense ad networks because I did not enable new ad networks to be permitted automatically on my websites as they were approved. Based on the statistics outlined above, I have changed to allow all third-party ad networks and to automatically allow all of the new ones as they come online as well.

With the new Performance Reports “Ad networks” option, I should be able to see hard data about whether any 3rd-party ad network is showing up enough to have any effect, and if so, whether that effect is good or bad.

Ironically, Google was rather secretive and guarded with information regarding the third-party ad networks when it rolled out the program originally leaving many writers, such as myself, worried about how their inclusion in our AdSense enabled websites would affect our advertising income. Many, just like me, chose to be overly cautious despite Google’s numerous statements, both official and unofficial, that the new third-party AdSense networks would have a minimal, beneficial effect on our AdSense income. Now, with more, instead of less, disclosure, Google is getting what it wanted from web publishers like me with full implementation of the new ad networks.

They could have saved themselves, and me, a lot of hassle by being more open up front.

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Google Analytics to Protect AdSense Earnings

Like most writers engaging in the enterprise of writing to make money online, I use Google Analytics as one of the ways to track how much traffic comes to my various websites and articles, and just as importantly, where they come from. Like most things Google, Analytics is a free utility offered to any webmaster with a Google account and it runs relatively fast based on a small snippet of JavaScript code that you load onto your webpage. If you use WordPress, there are dozens of Google Analytics plugins for WordPress that you can use.

In addition to tracking visitors to your website and showing you how they get there and what they do once they arrive, there may be another undocumented benefit to using Analytics on your websites.

It seems that some members of various Internet Marketing forums recommend that you install Google Analytics on your legitimate websites using AdSense as a way to protect your AdSense earnings. Google, of course, only offers Analytics for “free” because they get something back out of it. Not only do you get all of those stats and data, but so does Google thanks to the tracking script webmasters so willingly place on every webpage on their websites. That same data can be used to exonerate you in the event that your AdSense clicks look fishy.

Google Analytics Proof of Legitimate AdSense Earnings?

Assume for a moment that Google’s AdWords program (the advertiser side of the AdSense program) suspects your website of something shifty in regards to AdSense. Without Analytics installed, the only thing Google AdWords can rely on is the data that comes in with AdWords (which is not insubstantial). However, if there might be another explanation, Google could also check the data it receives from Analytics as a way to either corroborate reports of nefarious conduct, or, in the case of good writers trying to make money writing online, as a way to exonerate your efforts as a AdSense Publisher.

There is no proof that Google does or does not use Analytics for this purpose, but since you need to do something to track your visitors and your progress building traffic and passive writing income, you may as well install Analytics anyway.

Of course, if you’re a scumbag, you might want to uninstall Google Analytics right away.

 

 

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