What Do You Do When Your Adsense Earnings Plummet

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Since Christmas I’ve seen a hefty drop in my Adsense both the CTR (Click Through Rate) and CPC (Cost Per Click) have fallen resulting in the CPM reducing more so. I was expecting a downturn after the Christmas season but the drop is more dramatic than I’ve experienced in previous years. Looking around forums it seems I’m not alone in this as many others are also seeing a slide, this is likely due to January being a slow time of year for many sites and retailers and could also be influenced by how the world markets are at the moment. So what can you do about it?

With Adsense fluctuations like this are the nature of the game and when you see a drop it’s often a good time to reflect on your business model and what you’re doing.

It’s always a good idea to diversify your income streams, this could result in increasing your overall net income but more importantly it gives you less dependence on any one source. Daniel over at Daily Blog Tips did an excellent post explaining 28 ways to make money from your blog though most are relevent to any site. (Daniel likes using numbers in his titles sorry Scott).

Another thing to consider is not the sort term but your long term earnings. To maximise Adsense revenue for your current traffic levels you need to lose as many visitors as possible to a paying ad, if the ads aren’t paying as well as before why not use that site real estate to advertise your own site rather than somebody else’s. What I mean by this is get that visitor to be a regular reader, you can do this by pushing a newsletter, bookmarks, RSS subscription etc. You’ll lose out on ad revenue in the short term but in the long term you’ll have more readers which means more revenue. Scott did a cool post on this last year, Increase Your Traffic by 300%.

One change I’ve made which has improved earnings which I think is coincidence (but you never know with Google) is to update the code in all my units to allow server side control, that way I can change colors, Channels, etc from my Adsense control panel without having to edit code.

It would interesting to see how you are getting on so I’ll finish this post with a poll (if you’re reading this via our feed you need to visit the site to vote) and if you have seen a drop in earnings are you accepting it or being more pro-active?

What's happened to your Adsense Earnings since Xmas
View Results
About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.


  1. They say some retailers make 50-60% of their sales in December which is crazy, looks like you were in the middle of that storm Al. Not being involved in products before means my earnings are pretty much the same without the highs or lows.

    • I agree, the products involvement is key. I have some sites that focus on less sexy products that aren’t really prone to holiday fluctuations, and those sites are still going strong. It’s my consumer product sites that have dipped a bit.

  2. I’m not talking a huge amount of cash, but my main site made 30% less in January with a comparable traffic level.

    • I saw a decent increase in traffic in the runup to Christmas which has now dropped back to about the level it was in October, however earnings have fallen more than that. Funnily enough my daily average now is more consistent :)

  3. I’ve definitely noticed a significant downturn on a few of my sites. :(

  4. I’ve just begun my journey, armed with inspiration from SMM.

    I have made 5c in February so far, so I guess I have seen an increase since January (when I made 0c).

    But I’m positive.. With your tips, I now have a site that gets 40 unique / day after 27 days online with SEO as the only marketing tool.

    Beeing a beginner, it’s pretty enjoyable to see that kind of progress. I have still alot more to learn, which is what makes this so fun to do.


    ::m - just waiting for the clicks

  5. The adsense earnings dropped also due to some changes on Google´s side. For example, since december (or so) only clicking on ad title and URI works (compared to the whole blocks in the past).

    Seasonality also matters. E.g., people look for things around “roofs” a lot in summer/fall, winter usually means a drop in this industry.

    As ads do not convert as good as in sommer, the advertisers want to pay less which results in CPC reduction…

  6. Traffic is still climbing for me. Last month was the busiest month with just short of 250,000 page impressions and this months looks like it will be 300K if it keeps up.

    However, adsense went from being in the $30-$50/day mark dropping down to just $11 for a day a few weeks back. This was both CPC and CTR that about halved each making earnings about 1/4 of what I was seeing in November/December.

    What I first did was use the competitive ad filter (I found a post from last April or May by Al which spoke of a service to create a list). Immediately the CPC doubled (which took the cost per click back to where it was before the huge drop).

    I tested a few ad layouts but found what I am using now seemed to work best. Over the last few weeks the CTR has been gradually increasing again and earnings are not what they were in December, but they are what I would expect them to be at this time of the year.

    I feel a little more confident in adsense again although I am looking at alternatives now. Adsense accounts for about 60 - 65% of my income at a rough estimate.

    Something interesting to note is that I also saw Chitika earnings drop to about 1/3 of what they were in December and very early January. I made a few changes to those ad positions and I am at about 2/3rd’s of what I was earning in December which seems to be about what I expected.

  7. I believe that there is an impact due to reduced consumer spending in the UK and US relating to the credit crunch at the moment. I think advertisers have less to spend, so its hitting adsense earnings.


    • That could explain a few things. With my site it was a drop in earnings per click and click through ratio. I fixed the low paying clicks problem with the filter, so it seems that money is still there from advertisers as I now see no difference over the past 1.5 or so years on what I earn per click.

      However, if people are spending less due to all the credit problems then they are probably not going to be in the mindset to click on ads, so I think that’s where the problem is. People are just not interested in buying at the moment and do not click which means we do not earn.

      Hopefully with the small interest rate drop a few weeks back it will encourage more people to spend. I have seen a slow rise in CTR over the last 2 weeks which is good.

      • I don’t think people are less likely to click, I think the less competitive adword market (due to the credit crunch) has led to lower payouts per click.

        I have an old “how to make money site”, which has recently been doing really well with adsense. People want more money at the moment, in the wake of the crunch!


        • It appears that it all depends on the subject of the site then. If it’s product based then it seems CTR has dropped (which it has in the case of my site) and if it’s service based (like how to make money) then this has people more interested right now.

  8. As an alternative/addition to to adsense, is anyone using adsdaq cpm. It’s the first time I’ve used a cpm programme. Seems to be OK at the moment.

  9. I can’t really comment since I have only started using Adsense since early January, but I did notice a little dip in the past few days. Have made some cash today though so perhaps it was nothing more than a blip.

    I am interested in diversifying income streams, so I’ve signed up with Yahoo to see how that goes. My sites are low traffic at the moment though so I can’t really identify any real trends as yet — I look forward to the day when I can!

  10. I’ve got a feeling that a lot of it has to do with a drop in clickable regions in the ads. I’d like to change as many of my ads as possible to graphics, to cover the entire region. I’ll let you know if that helps.

    • I tested this and saw a drop on image type ads and a drop when using text only ads. The best performer for me was leaving it as a mixture of text and image.

      I noticed that there were a lot of cheap looking image ads which I doubt anybody would click on. Also with my type of site I was seeing the same ads over and over. There didnt seem to be enough inventory.

      It worked well for Markus Frind of plentyoffish though, but I saw results get a lot worse when testing.

    • I hardly noticed any change when the click able regions came in, it will of hurt sites that rely on accidental clicks (likely what was intended).

  11. Unfortunately I was banned a while a go :( Fortunately there is more money in the affiliate market :-)

  12. Adsense was okay in January but February is killing me. ctr has been abysmal. Maybe I should move it or change it.

  13. My sites have been hit as well =(

    It’s hard out here for a pimp, lately. :)

    Now that Google’s smacked down TLA, PPP, etc. there’s no surefire way to at least make a few hundred per site per month. You need to have monster traffic these days, it seems.

  14. I have noticed that before Christamas best is to rely on affilaite links (sell actual stuff) and after it just go back to adsense, as the people get to fed up and lazy so they just want to click and browse 😛

  15. Well, after recieving much less visitors the conversion rate went op dramatically.

    Strange and until now unexplainable :)

  16. I’m having the same problem, both CTR and CPC have dropped a bit, it results in a lower eCPM.

    I hope when Bush will leave the white house, the next president will recover the american economy for a better dollar -> euro conversion and a better CPC.

  17. Thank you for advises Al! I tend to have a lot of projects at the time, so they seem to compensate each other (as you wrote about diversifying the income streams).
    But still decrease is evident.

  18. Scott/Al - i’m looking to launch a new blog using wordpress, any tips on how to make sure it’s SEO ready and also any plugins’ etc, that i should add?

  19. It’s equally important to remeber not to do anything brash, sometimes a bad day is just that, a bad day.

  20. Does anyone think it is still worth trying out anything with adsense? would it be worth putting it on my chicken ark website?


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