AdSense Earnings Down?

Up for some, Down for others

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There’s word around the Webmaster World forum that publishers have been experiencing a sharp decline in AdSense earnings over the past month. There’s been little consensus, lots of possible explanations, but nothing you might call conclusive.

A small poll at Search Engine Roundtable (43 participants as of this writing) shows just over half reporting a decrease in AdSense earnings, the other half reporting that things are on the level or increasing.

It’s hard to say that’s a representative sample with just 40 respondents, but it does match a bit with the reports at Webmaster World: some are losing, some aren’t.

Many plausible explanations have been proffered without any real, thorough site examinations, as no URLs have been given by those complaining. The center of conversation though, has been around Google’s "smart pricing," and whether that is the cause of lower returns on ad clicks.

AdSense Earnings Down?

An ad’s cost-per-click is determined by a number of factors, according to the AdSense blog’s explanation:

"More than conversion rate goes into determining the price of an ad: the advertiser’s bid, the quality of the ad, the other ads competing for the space, the start or end of an ad campaign, and other advertiser fluctuations."

Keep in mind also that Google has the leader in CPC inflation rate, also.

Google denies that clickthrough rates affect the price of an ad click, though they don’t go into how much weight is put on user action beyond the click, i.e., sales completed, forms filled out, engagement on the site that follows. Google describes smart pricing this way:

"Google’s smart pricing feature automatically adjusts the cost of a keyword-targeted content click based on its effectiveness compared to a search click. So if our data shows that a click from a content page is less likely to turn into actionable business results — such as online sales, registrations, phone calls, or newsletter signups — we reduce the price you pay for that click."

But observers are right also to note that the higher quality the site, the higher likelihood the publisher gets high quality, costlier, better-converting ads. AdSense Publisher Support pretty much says so, reminding publishers that content is king:

"[Smart pricing] leads to higher payouts for publishers by drawing a larger pool of advertisers and rewarding publishers who create high quality sites…. The best way to ensure you benefit from AdSense is to create compelling content for interested users.

"This also means driving targeted traffic to your site — advertisers don’t gain as much ROI when paying for generic clicks as they do for quality clicks that come from interest in your content. Good content usually equals a good experience for user plus advertiser, which can be much more valuable than CTR."

So, this is Google’s usual stance: create some relevance and we’ll help create you some revenue.
Things like that have added to the cynicism in the aforementioned forum, as one member notes the lack of examples to test, and, without naming names, notes that some complaining members’ sites are nothing to write home about with potential quality problems like:

  • Obviously made for AdSense (which implies lack of content)
  • Too many ads, including unrelated ads (lack of focus on content, lack of central theme)
  • Confusing layouts (not end-user focused)

Webmasters also reported conversations they had with the Google AdSense team, who told them the sharp decline likely has to do with advertiser budgets, many of which would understandably be tightened after the holiday crunch, and perhaps even more so during economic uncertainty.

So recession in the economy might mean recession in your AdSense take-in, too.

An interesting frustration was also presented. Google’s smart pricing, according to forum members applies account-wide. A webmaster with many sites but one AdSense account could experience a hit on all of his or her sites, instead of just one or two. This brings down the revenue potential of the more popular sites the webmaster owns.

The suggestion, then, is that Google adjust so that smart pricing affects individual sites and pages, rather than targeting an entire account.

AdSense Earnings Down?
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  • Guest

    yep the second to last paragraph is the kicker. as I increased the number of sites/channels in my adsense account my earnings per click on my most popular channels began to decline to the point where my overall earnings are flat eventhough I am getting more overall traffic and clicks

    My response – remove adsense from almost all of my sites except those with highest CTR. Soon I will remove it from all of my sites(just working replacing revenue). I am sick of the Google Game!

    Google won’t feel my exit, but I wonder if more impactful others are starting to think the same way I am?

  • http://www.quenet.org/ SEO Canada

    I’ve seen my revenue nearly halfed over the last 3 – 4 months.  Looking at my stats the average click is now worth around 10 centers per click (I used to average around 30 cents), I’ve even seen days where I’ve only had two for the day at time of checking and they’ve totally 1 cent.  If I had to wager Google is paying out around 5% of what people se their click budget to.  On a side note Google was up 51%  Q407 vs Q406, I somehow doubt they’ll be able to duplicate that without cutting us down to 2.5%!

    Great post!

  • http://www.profitimo.com Justin Lim

    on one of our sites, we have been getting alot of traffic from Google but since mid-january, there was a sudden drop in traffic by about 75%. It’s pretty drastic. CPC conversion gradually decline from mid-january from 5% to 2%. I really think the smart pricing has something to do with it.



  • http://christianpoetry.org Jerry Hoffman

    The income from my site has been cut by at least 75%. I’ve never been dependent on them for the income and am seriously thinking about removing the ads from the site since they now just seem to be taking up space.

  • http://Directory.com.au Ernest Goldberg

    what goes up must come down even AdSense, but its depend much on the content of the ads and if it catches sufficiant interest for someone want to find out more info. So simple blame the advertisers for boring uninterested Ads.

  • http://www.3dsmaxresources.com/ 3ds Max Resources

    Same is the case with my site, I have observed that the ad revenue from Google adsense has dropped too much. Thanks Jason for the post.

  • http://deyura.inmarket.biz/ DeYura

    Well, if one says that GAS earnings dropped he is wrong.

    Havin’ a few sites with AdSense ads I place bigger AS ads in place of old smaller ones. And as G says I can place tree ad units on a page instead of two. Plus links unit also can be placed at the same time.

    So my overall income RAISED!

  • http://arseman.com Arseman

    I use (amongst others) AVNADS on arseman.com, and i have found that my revenue has fallen with this saite, as well as with my non- adult sites..

    However, I have noticed that some adult ad agencies seem to produce better results (than Adsense) when I trialled them on my other (non- porn) sites (they don’t just do porn, and nor do I!) , so maybe the other players are starting to be able to compete..?




  • http://www.HollywoodAgency.tv Max Davids

    Yes searches have shifted to politics due to the end of elections. Instead of searching for a car users are looking for news on Hilary Clinton. Let it pass and we will go back to normal. The economy is very low and it is a heavy subject that is receiving lots of new focus from Internet users.

    We have recorded traffic down, ad sense down  and conversion rates down on over a dozen clients in various industries.

    Hope this helps !

    Max Davids
    Hollywood Media Agency


  • http://www.boxsch.com Guest


    I started to notice a drop in December, 2007.  I thought it was something I did to the site.  I even tried to rearrange my ads.  No luck.  Google has been irritating me.  This smart pricing is BS and now whatever they did it has cut my earning even more.  What I don’t understand is how can I on one day get 150 click and make $ 35 and on the next day I get 100 clicks and make $100. 


    Google needs a competitor a real competitor. 

  • http://www.industry2industry.com MA Wells

    For us, Google AdSense has become a non-earner. We started our site to give the industrial community a one-stop resource for industrial products and services. We had hoped that our AdSense program would help defray some of the cost of the site, but that has not happened. We haven’t received a dime from Google since last April (2007) and are seriously considering starting our own PPC program and dropping AdSense.

  • http://www.agenotes.com Robert

    I’m reminded that many years ago a reporter was interviewing J.P. Morgan and asked him what he predicted for the stock market. His answer: "It will fluctuate. It will fluctuate."

    My experience with AdSense has certainly been that revenues will fluctuate. I did better last month than the previous month. This month so far isn’t looking all that promising. That’s just the nature of the beast.

    Those who rely on AdSense to clothe the baby really should look to other effective ways of monitising their sites. In the long run, developing affiliate revenue will far outstrip AdSense in most cases. Just my experience.


  • http://www.grantsalert.com Joe Mizereck

    Big drop last month.  Haven’t got a clue why.


  • http://www.teenchallengeexposed.com Michael Kincheloe

    The last two weeks of January were dead. Zip. Nada. In the short period of time that February has been around, the numbers are creeping back up. Let’s hope they creep up some more.

  • http://www.lukelive.org Luke Nichols

    Google,  years ago, accused me of click fraud and stole all my earnings,  all the while,  receiving the free ads off my website traffic.  So, now,  they won’t give me an Adsense Account.  But, they don’t mind me getting an Adwords account, where I can pre pay my money to them.

    I’m afraid that’s the way of corporations today.  To think they grew off the backbone of hard working Americans, from small beginnings, and then, exponentially grew to they are cruel,  cold,  calculating lovers of profit more than the people that helped them get to where they are,  is mind boggling.

    Welcome to America:  The United States of Corptocracy.



  • Guest

    Revenue has been UP in January by about 50 to 75%.  Thought it was the winter effect, more people holed up inside surfing the net.  Will see if it continues into the spring.  I have dozens of information sites and have been adding more.

  • http://denijane.blogspot.com deni

    I have seen a decrease in the income from Google. It started when google decided that clicks from traffix exchanges shouldn’t be paid. After that I get even less clicks, but those that I get are even less paid. I never earned enough money with Adsense to start with, but the fact is that I got 99% of the money in my account for the first 3 months of the account and since google changes its policy even when I get clicks, they are worth pretty much nothing.

    What I did is that I removed Adsense from some of my sites. I didn’t remove it from all, but I will probably when I have the time, because it’s useless. For me Google is acting unfair- the idea of publicity is to make people aware of a product. You should pay per impressions, not per clicks. When you want your commercial on the tv, you don’t pay per products you sold with it, but on seconds and time. Who is Google to tell us what a commercial is?


  • http://www.freediskspace.com Guest

    Yes, my earnings have gone down about 15% over the past 3 or 4 weeks.

  • http://www.freediskspace.com Myspace Resource Site

    I forgot to mention that is across all 60+ of my sites – not just 1.  The average is down about 15% and none of the sites are up in earnings.

  • http://www.freemasoninformation.com Greg

    My adsense has been on a decrese the last few months, but it hit bottom in december, where it fell to 50% 6 months earlier.  It is now on an increase, but gains have been very slow.

    My thinking was that I did a redesign in the same period, which I thought had messed me up with Google, but its been hard to track as traffic has been steady.  

    Long run, I’m not sure why its on a down turn. 

  • Adam

    I saw things go up and up in January. Best month since I started over 3 years ago. I know it fluctuates a bit, but income from adsense has risen steadily over that entire period and now accounts for 4-5 times the money I make from affiliate and other ad sales.

    I’d be a lot happier if I could get my affiliate earnings to match the adsense money as a backup though incase things with G ever went pear shaped.

  • Pacific Northwest

    What we’ve noticed is the falling impression rates as viewed by Google. 

    No, our unique visitors are not going down, nor are our pageviews.

    What we are seeing is the plethora (and "handy" Firefox plug-ins) of new ad blocker software.

    This is what I observed in just the last two weeks:

    1.  Got a new computer for my kids.  Was checking some of my sites on it a week later and noticed that all of my Google Adsense ads were not showing.

    My 13 year old had installed ad blocker software.  "It’s great!", he said.



    2.  Visited our new library.  Great new huge computer section.  Guess what is blocked.  Yep, advertisements.


    3.  Just saw my mom and dad.  Went downstairs to check email and websites on my dear ol’ mums Mac.  (Running OS X.)  Guess what.  That’s right, somehow she had ads blocked as well.


    We are busily working on replacing Google Adsense.



    • http://www.ridgebackpuppies.com Rhodesian Ridgeback Puppies

      It seems to me that the ads could be embedded in the page or some such thing. Perhaps G needs to find a way to serve up the ads so that blockers will be deleterious to more than just ads. Eventually, if the overall experience is trashed by using a blocker, then the blockers will get shut off.

  • http://www.moxie-drive.com/articles/article.php/05-09-2006SEO-for-Adsense.htm SEO For Adsense Maniac

    My Adsense income hit a new record yesterday.  I think it is due to changes in demographics and the population that is surfing the internet.  I would expect that the surfer population would go down close to the Superbowl…

  • http://www.mountain-lodging.com Karl Baldwin

    www.mountain-lodging.comBoth of my website earnings are down since December, 2007. The same decline occurred last year even though the number of page impressions, clicks and the Page CTR didn’t change. Additionally, my website has remained at the # 1 position on Google for 9 years for my best 2 & 3 key-word phrases. That’s just plain fishy.

  • Guest

    I gave up on AdSense since September last year. Had enough seeing my daily revenue continuing to fall every day. I was down from making $1800 per month to a little less then $400. It got to the point were it was no longer worth my time (good quality content sites with 25% return visitors rate). 

    I removed AdSense from all my sites and replaced by cbprosense.net (CPA) and value click (CPM) networks. Works great together. My income has climbed back up to approx $2000 per month. 

    AdSense has become a losing battle. Forget it! 

    • Gail Nobles

      That’s great! You have done the right thing.

    • http://www.profit-play.com Trevor White

      Hi. Can you tell me how to get the CPA and CPM ON MY SITES ALSO?

      Thanks, Trevor White

    • Guest

      This message looks like adsvertisment. I’v tried ClickBank before and earned zero. Check cbprosense.net traffic on Alexa. It falls.

      • Guest

        …You earned nothing with clickbank??? you obviously didn’t "try" it the right way..

  • http://www.irishviews.com Jordan McClements

    Here are my last 13 months earnings.

    Jan 2007 – 215

    Feb 2007 – 271
    Mar 2007 – 377
    Apr 2007 – 375
    May 2007 – 525
    June 2007 – 524
    July 2007 – 755
    Aug 2007 – 811
    Sep 2007 -1091
    Oct 2007 – 668
    Nov 2007 – 815
    Dec 2007 – 519
    Jan 2008 – 558


    Traffic has more or less steadily increased for me over the months apart from Dec when it decreased a bit.  Jan has had a LOT more traffic than Dec but only slightly more earnings.

    After the ‘clickable area’ of ads was decreased , CTR went down – but earnings did not noticeably (they were already on a  downward spiral I think)…

    I think it is definitely worth investigating alternatives!



  • http://pestprojoe.com Pest Pro Joe Pest Control

    I wasn’t seeing a return on my adsense ads so I turned off all the content match and am sticking with strickly Google searches.  Unfortunately, I feel that adsense has the most risk for click fraud.

  • http://pestprojoe.com Pest Pro Joe Pest Control

    I turned all of my site match content off.  I found most of the sites that were directing traffice through this venue were cybersquatters.  Further, if someone wanted to do click fraud this would be the place.


  • Patti

    The last few days in Dec to the first couple of days in Jan I experienced a huge jump in daily revenue without much change in my click-throughs or traffic. It tripled.

    Then it dropped way down to less than half of the amount before the jump and there it still sits. Like $80 per day dropped to less than $30! With MINIMAL change in my views or clicks!!

    I am down to less than half my earnings now and looking elsewhere because Google’s playing games.

  • http://www.continuingeducationlinks.com Kels

    My consistent reductions of Adsense income have stretched over 4 months.  I have removed adsense from lower perfoming sites & blogs which appears to be a legitimate issue. I rarely trust that my traffic is not clicking my google ads, however there is not way to monitor…

    • Guest

      there is a script that i have in my possesion that will tell you EXACTLY which ads people have clicked and on which page,which exact ad,how often, plus time and dates.

      you upload to your server, then you ad a bit of code to the page where your ads are, 500 pages, ad 500 bits of code

      you login to your back office of the script and hey presto, real time results

      interested then email me


      comes with full instructions

  • guess

    I learned about adsence early on when I lost 600 with 0 return by forgetting to deactivate  my content ads in google adwords.

    I then learn about the little potential for anything but spam and fraud.

    So I never really started and I would not click on those ads because the look like spam me, in fact I have stopped al PPC ads and to tell you the through it hasn’t hurt me, on the contrary I was wasting time and money. 

  • http://www.wildscapes.net Susan Sharma

    I agree with Pacific Northwest post that more and more people are now using ad blockers.  Social networking sites based on a theme (like our Indianwildlifeclub.com) attract limited traffic only and earnings are nothing to write about as it is.  But the proliferation of ad blockers has put paid to whtatever expectations we had!

    Also blocking hunting ads or adult ads seem to affect income drastically.  Any comment or suggestion on how we can aspire to get some income?

  • Cindy

    I am very new to the whole adsense thing.I started only in Jan 2008.However,i noticed i’ve the last 4 days that my adsense payouts have halved.I kept thinking that i must have done something for that to change so drastically.The funny thing is that i increased my pages from 4 to +- 900 and added some adword campaigns.My click through rate for adwords have increased,but my adsense clicks have halved?

    Then i noticed something.I go into my websites a couple of times during the day and noght and noticed that the google ads are not displaying on my pages.I check into my control panel to make sure that the adsense codes are there and i discover that although the code is there,it is greyed out(like invisible code).When the google ads are being displayed,your adsense code is now "black" again.

    "Someone"/"something" is causing our google ads not to be shown on our pages?What’s going on?Any answers?








    • Ed

      A question for Cindy…

      Forget about the AdSense – how did you manage to increase the number of pages from 4 to 900 in 2 months?!!!


    • http://www.betsyanne.com Elizabeth Sheppard

      Maybe your settings are on “no popups” or “no ads” or something. It has not happened to me before, but I have heard of it happening to others when they are surfing. People are complaining that people are not seeing their google ads, because people have their settings adjusted not to see them. Hope this helps.



    I relized that some tme adsense do not count’s Clicks on our site , which vistor click’s on our site. I also relized that they paid us on 32 click’s just US 1$ , it is so strange , Adsense is doing also farad with us & down click rates also. Adsense click’s rate down day by day.

    Am I write ? please reply


    • Guest

      I agree

  • http://www.bscsoftwares.com Sasa

    In January on similar number of pages and clicks I earned just about 10% from what I earned in December. So I expect that google changes something in ravenue politics in their "smart system" or they have some big problem on some other side.

  • http://www.digitalnasties.com Guest

    I seen my revenue cut by over 2/3 in the last two weeks.

  • http://www.thehotdogtruck.com hotdogman

    Content IS king. I see so many crappy sites with adsense plastered all over them, it’s a wonder they don’t get shut down. I have oodles of content that people want to read. I know what is working and what isn’t and I constantly tweak what’s working an d dump what isn’t.

    My adsense revenue is going steadily up, about 20% per month since September!

    Make a site people want and they WILL CLICK!

  • Guest

    I observed drop in income. Please check your ads are active or not as it happened with me. One day I opened my account and noticed that my image ads were shown inactive but they were showing on my web site. So be careful.

    I do agree with the comments of Guest above:

    Google needs a competitor a real competitor.

    Take care


    • http://www.micronichefinder.net Micro Niche Finder

      Well, I know this might sound a little to amateurish for you guys, but I moved some ads around and added doubled up on a certain area of the pages and my adsense income doubled!

  • http://rehcs.inmarket.biz/ Rehcs

    Oh well, try to put REFERALS instead Ads in your page.

    Some referals pays up to 30 USD for registration or something.

    I doubled my income in a last two month ))))


  • http://www.trueafrican.blogspot.com Guest

    many people find is hard too make income from adsense this days

  • Guest

    My impression: Google decides that one given Website deserves for instance 600 U$ a month. If you get much more than U$ 20 in a certain day, Goggle will pay you less in the next days, so your daily average will come to the U$ 600 at the end of the month. I may be wrong, but this is my impression.

    • Guest

      I have to agree with that. As a rule if I have good earning on a particular day for sure expect a very sharp fall the next day after, even if I have more clicks.

    • Laurel

      Yes, in the past I have noticed that.

      My daily earnings in the month will start off quite high, but after I reach a certain $ limit, say around the 20th or so, the cost per click suddenly drops. The net effect is that the earnings are capped at around $1000 per month. The stats for the first couple of weeks of the month suggest earnings should be much higher, were it not for this "approaching end of month" adjustment.

  • Ned

    Take my case for instance, about 120 clicks daily and average daily earnings about $5. Is this smart pricing or what?

  • http://aoleonthemartiangirl.com Anime Girl

     My traffic has been doubling about every three months, and yet my google adsense earnings have only slightly increased – basically flat.  I am looking for good alternatives.  Let me know if you discover any!

  • Guest

    Regarding the comment posted on 02/02/08

    "Anyone who claims to have his/her Adsense increase in the last 90 days either 1.  isn’t paying attention, 2.  is deliberately misleading others or 3.  just opened his account and started with zero."

    One of our sites is a niche site online since 1996. Our Adsense revenue has been increasing during the past year and we are now averaging $131.00 per day during the past 4 months. We do not get tons of traffic, perhaps 100,000 visitors per month, but the information we offer matches perfectly to what some advertisers in this particular niche market are looking for. This particular site is generating the vast majority of the revenue.

    The increase seem to come about after we changed the location of our Adsense ads in late September, utilizing the 300×250 on the left side of pages (above the fold). Perhaps you should try this to see if helps increase your revenue. Prior to that date we were averaging $115.00 – $120.00 per day.

    Hope this helps.

  • http://greatpuppydogs.com puppies for sale

    I love it when people talk about some new ad agency getting involved in the market place. This would be a great thing. But how many times have people talked about it? Lots. And how many tries? Some.

    I know one thing for sure. Everyone is greedy – Each of us is looking out for our own pocketbook. But, if as a group of 5000  people got together and donated 100 -200 bux to create a new company  to create a new adsense – it could be done. The problem: Everyone is greedy. Few people can stand back and say, ok Max – heres my hundred, I like your plan, now Go to town!

    I think there is strength in numbers, and I know it could be done if everyone focused not only on his own well being, but also on the well being of others. Create a company with one objective: Advertising

    • C-Dog

      Hey "Puppies For Sale", concerning your quote, "But, if as a group of 5000  people got together and donated 100 -200 bux to create a new company  to create a new adsense – it could be done", you caught my attention…. I’m listening. Get back to me with specific details on this idea proposal. You just might be on to something there.

      • Guest

        Please let me know if you hear anything more on this idea.

    • Guest

      Now how would that work exactly?

  • Guest

    I Was using Adsense and paying for google ads, I did not make any money on adsense, or google ads, So now i have changed to someone else, who is not as big as google, but i am making more money. my advice is to forget Google and go somewhere else.


  • http://www.direito2.com.br Ruben Zevallos Jr.

    Well… I did not see any decrease of my earnings… all my web sites are making more money than ever… so… I do not think there are any problem…

  • http://redwolf.myweb.absamail.co.za/ Nadine

    I was optimistic about adsense because of the way it was sold to a forum where a Google consultant spoke.  But what I’ve noticed and what has been conveyed to me by my visitors is that some if not most of the ads are utter rubbish, pyramid schemes and irrelevent to my page content.

    My earnings were never much as I’ve recently started and I thought I lost revenue because of my server, but now I’m wondering if it’s got something to do with the crappy ads Google shows.

    I’ll leave the ads on my site cause it costs me nothing, but if I find a better option, Goodbye Google.

  • http://myweb.absamail.co.za/redwolf Nadine

    Through the comments here I’ve checked on my account and found that my alot of my ads are inactive yet still appear on my site, is Google using free advertising with us now?

  • http://www.littleabout.com little

    It all started with the new format from google adsense the one that had active links on the title and the url the description section is now in-active, so the users now have to click at particular positions for valid click. Google did this to control accidental click.

    I guess not too many accidents happening now :-(

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