So your website is a success story. Over time, you’ve built a reputation and created so much awesome content. Traffic increased exponentially, as did your AdSense RPMs. Your revenues doubled from month to month. And just as you begin to gloat about your blog profitability – it stops.
Your traffic may be growing, but that lovely climb up in revenues month after months? Slows to a halt and you’re left confused in a revenue plateau of frustration. Or worse – your AdSense revenues are dropping.
First of all, don’t panic. We’ve seen this happen more than once. You are not alone. Also, we know why this happens. And what you can do to remedy the situation, pushing those growth numbers back into the green.
Why does AdSense revenue hit a limit?
There can be many reasons. Some of which are more obvious than others. Some of these are covered in Google’s (rather cumbersome) troubleshooting page for drops in revenues. Others we’ve observed working with numerous client blogs.
- Ad blockers – If you’ve been reading our blog, you should know just how big an impact ad blockers have on revenues. However you spin it, rising ad blocker usage all over the world is hurting publishers who are just trying to get paid for their hard work creating content.
- Banner blindness – The human brain has been proven to be the best ad blocker in the world. We’re used to being bombarded with ads so we often mentally block them out and don’t even look at them. And if we don’t look at them, we don’t click them.
- Low conversion rate – Clicks are nice, but most advertisers want to sell things and make money. So many of them track conversions through Google AdWords and if the clicks don’t convert? Google penalizes you. One of the ways is…
- Drop in CPCs – Low conversion rates for advertisers are just one reason for lower CPCs for publishers. CPCs can be affected by the geographic location of the audience, seasonal fluctuations and a number of other factors.
- Difficulty in mobile traffic monetization – You probably see it in your analytics reports: you’re getting more mobile traffic on account of desktop web browser traffic. And mobile traffic is hard to monetize with those tiny screens and clumsy user fingers creating accidental clicks that don’t convert.
- Technical bugs & issues – The cause can be technical. As simple as that. If you’re not the webmaster of your blog, this is a good time to poke your tech guy. If you are – we’ve got you covered too so keep reading.
- You’re a “one trick pony” – You’ve found that one AdSense setup you think works and any attempt to change it seems to just hurt.
So what should I do to break my AdSense rut?
The tips below are a collection of steps you can take to try and reclaim those AdSense revenues. Not all of them are right for everyone. For example, let’s say you checked and discovered that a significant percentage of your traffic is blocking ads.
That means you need to focus on that. On the other hand, if you’re not losing money to ad blockers? Good for you! Now check what else needs optimizing. We’ve got plenty of tips and ideas.
- Monetize ad blocking users – Now you’re thinking: “Hang on! Isn’t that a contradiction?”. Not really. You can still monetize these views with alternative ad networks like PageFair or install a plugin that asks users to turn off their ad blocker while browsing your site. You can find more useful strategies in a post I wrote about fighting ad blockers.
- Find the sweet spots by testing – Every website, audience, content type and niche have their own sweet spots. And they’re fairly individual and hard to pin-point. These “sweet spots” I am talking about are a combination of ad types, placements, color schemes, ad sizes etc. on a page. All these variables affect RPMs and the level of attention (and clicks) ads get from users.Finding these spots can be hard when the testing process is done manually (unless you’re a multi-armed bandit). That’s one of the many reasons we created the AdNgin platform to begin with. To make the process of A/B testing for maximal AdSense revenues as simple and effective as possible for publishers.
- Optimize your traffic sources – Some traffic sources and types create more revenue than others. You can see which audiences click and convert, and most importantly where they come from. Check your Google Analytics under “Behavior” => “Publisher” => “Publisher Referrers”. There you can see which traffic source is giving you the best performance in AdSense (and other) revenue.Invest more time and money in promoting your content in the places that send you money-making traffic. And of course – always look for more traffic sources that click.
- Cater to advertisers – Imagine if you could pick advertisers the way advertisers pick publishers in AdWords. That would be pretty sweet, wouldn’t it? Well, you sort-of can (and more on that later). You can attract more advertisers and create more demand and competition for your ad inventory.How? By managing your content like a stockbroker, you can create posts and pages advertisers will fight to appear on. You can also attract additional advertisers and increase RPMs is using AdSense custom channels.
- Tweak your CPC – Every click counts, and you should make the most of it. There are many ways to nudge that average CPC up across your site, and we’ve listed a whooping 15 of them.One method, which is almost like picking advertisers, is using the AdSense review center to block badly performing ads. In any case, you should check out the whole list of 15 tips to increasing your AdSense CPCs. I assure you that at least one tip there will be something you never thought about before.
- Single out the mobile – I won’t even tell you at this point that optimizing for mobile is a must. This is a tale you’ve heard before. But from a revenue perspective, it’s not just about making the content fit on tiny screens. It’s about optimizing for revenue and user experience.One of the ways to improve mobile traffic value is pagination. And since we like to share what we know, we’ve written about how you can recover mobile revenues with pagination.
- Diversify! – Mixing and matching revenue streams is important. If you’ve maxed out your potential revenue on AdSense or if your users are simply tired of the same old ads? It’s time to try something else! You can monetize your mailing list.Try affiliate marketing. Heck, try selling some of your inventory on RTB networks. You can always go back if it doesn’t give you enough of an increase to be worth it.
- Technical Obstacles – Sometimes the only thing stopping you from making more money is a little checkbox somewhere, or a bad function in some code.We’ve compiled an exhaustive FAQ for AdSense issues and glitches (with solutions!). Among the most important tips is checking your Webmaster Tools for errors scanning your content.
The last two tips are for those wearing the big boy pants. If your website has grown to attract thousands of unique users every day, you are probably selling some of your inventory directly. But if you’re currently monetizing unsold inventory with AdSense, here are two options you should consider.
- Check out AdX – Google’s DoubleClick Ad Exchange is sometimes referred to as AdSense “premium” and it’s aimed mainly at content sources with massive traffic.There are quite a few differences between AdX and AdSense, but the main ones are the ability to block advertisers, have 5 ad units per page and have more granular analytics in AdX. In addition, you can literally pick your advertisers on AdX, which may in turn increase your overall revenues. If you have enough traffic, of course.
- Build a private marketplace for your inventory and sell at a premium – If you want to get even more serious about making the most of your page views, you can build a private marketplace for your inventory (more on PMPs).
A PMP is different from a public ad exchange as it gives you much tighter control of who advertises on your website, and how much they pay.
CPMs are much more competitive in a PMP because premium advertisers are competing for the highest quality ad inventory on very reputable digital properties.
This will ensure you’re getting the most out of every ad displayed.Don’t get us wrong. If you’re lucky enough to have advertisers fight for your inventory that’s awesome. But we’ve seen this happen too often with publishers who have high demand for their ad inventory.They focus only on their direct advertisers and forget to leverage their ad networks. That’s a mistake.What you want to do is “programatically waterfall” your advertisers to get the best CPM for any given ad impression.Explaining the process of creating a PMP and waterfalling your advertisers deserves a post of its own just not today. In the meantime, if you’d like to learn how to do it you can contact our team.
Get off the couch – passive income is a myth
Slapping on some Google AdSense code on your website and sitting back to watch the profits stream is a glorious dream. In reality, you need to keep working and optimizing to stay ahead of the pack. Or the revenues with plateau then drop. With the tips above, you already have a head start.
Did we stupidly forget the mention the most important tip on AdSense optimization? Please let us know below.