What To Do When AdSense Earnings Drop

17 Jan

FrustratedWell here it is the middle of January and I’m just now getting around to creating my first post of the new year. Hope everyone has been enjoying the new year! I’m thankful for such a wonderful and beautiful family and great friends all around. I’m also thankful for the very mild winter so far!

Well I have made an effort to show my AdSense earnings to everyone every month.  Since the change is minimal, I won’t record a video this month (see previous month’s videos if you’re interested), but I’ll tell you that the increase was just over $40 from November and I finished December at $551.37.   The month was an AdSense roller-coaster that went straight down by month’s end.  The first two weeks saw my earnings higher than they have ever been, hitting the $40 mark twice.   I had a few $30+ days as well.

But then…  along came mid-December and the earnings took a dive straight down.  I expected this a few days before Christmas but my decline started around the 15th and just seemed to get worse.  I did what any worried AdSense patron would do.  I started checking all of my sites to see if they were de-indexed (Go to Google and type site:yourdomain.com to check this and make sure results show or you have a problem!).  Everything checked out there.  I visited all my sites to make sure AdSense was still showing on them.  Check.  I visited a few AdSense forums and discovered many who were complaining of the same thing.  Since it seemed to be happening to others more than usual, I decided not to worry.  All in all, December saw my best earnings since beginning my AdSense journey in the second half of 2010 so I was still very pleased.

Along came 2011…  Christmas just ended and I was certain online shopping wasn’t going to pick up too quickly, so I still wasn’t in panic mode.  I was correct.  My pages were getting considerable less impressions every day than anytime since the beginning of October 2010.

After the first week of 2011, my impressions picked back up but unfortunately, earnings did not!  Okay.  Now it was time to let a little panic set in.  I had to figure out what was happening.  Since the impressions were back, it was simply a matter of determining if the CTR (click-through-rate) of my pages had declined or if that number was the same and my problem was attributed to the amount of money I was earning per click.  If you’re new to AdSense or haven’t yet started, you should know that Google has a very nice control panel and it’s pretty easy to see some very in depth statistics.  In my case, I still had the same CTR and it appeared that many of my clicks were now earning about 35% of what they had been the last few months.  I think I would have much rather seen the CTR rate down, as I could optimize for that.

So now that I knew the situation, I needed a solution.  Enter the AdSense Competitive Ad Filter.  As a publisher, you have the right to block competitor ads from being displayed by adsense.  For the first time, I paid very close attention to what ads my sites were displaying and I noticed several that seemed to be following me from site to site.   MFA or “Made for AdSense” ads become easy to spot as they typically have a pretty catchy title and a spammy feel to them.  You definitely want to stop these ads from showing on your website, as they steal clicks away from your higher paying ads.

There are websites that will do the work for you as well, but I haven’t used them so I can’t give my nod of approval.  I think that by paying close attention to your ads being displayed and your daily earnings, you can collect a good list of blocked sites.  I plan to work this new system for a while and then simply try turning it off for a week to see if there’s a noticeable difference.

The results thus far?  In the last three days, after applying over 80 urls to my ad filter, my earnings have jumped back up to about 75% of November clicks!  I feel November to be a more accurate representation of what click earnings should be.  December is obviously seeing a lot of bidding wars.  However, I am at almost the same rate as October was paying so perhaps Christmas really was the reason for the great (and fast) earnings I saw the last few months.  I have no proof that my changes had anything to do with this.  Just lucky timing?  Maybe.  We will see over time with a lot more testing.

Overall, I’m not disappointed.  This month will likely be a couple hundred (or more) less than last month but I am still making a few hundred to sit on my couch, watch TV and “play” on the computer.  Smile  More importantly, I’m moving forward with learning new things that will continue to help my AdSense earnings.  I knew the upward trend wouldn’t continue every month (despite secretly hoping it would!) and I feel confident that just as I see some low earnings in AdSense, there is coming a time where this last AdSense check will look minute in comparison.

Let me know how your AdSense earnings are doing and what you have seen as a result of the holidays.  I’d love to know!



Amy Kastner is a Web-Designer who is passionate about design and helping others.
You can usually find her on twitter.



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  1. Dale January 19, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    My adsense revenue for Jan. 2011 down significantly, over 50%. I think the higher paying advertisers are bidding less and it will increase as they get their ad budgets lined up for the new year. HOPE! Dale

    • Amy January 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      Thanks, Dale. I actually found your comment a comfort! It’s kind of nice to know I’m not alone (not that I wish low earnings for anyone). I do hope you’re right, as well. I’m thinking that the end of January might start seeing things get back to normal. Taxes refunds and Valentines Day shopping is just around the corner! Smile

  2. Nick February 3, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    My adsense earnings were also down in January compared to Nov and Dec but I think it is because people were off of school or work the end of Nov for Thanksgiving and the end of Dec for winter break. During those times I had big spikes in adsense earnings. That did not happen in January. I guess I might have to wait until spring break.

  3. Amy February 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

    Nick, I’m thinking you may be right. I thought I would see more of a difference once February got here, but it’s remaining right on par with what January did. All in all, I won’t complain. I paid my very hefty utility bill last month thanks to Google.

  4. Nicholas April 10, 2011 at 7:19 am #

    Yes my graph shows a similar picture and yes I ended up doing exactly what you did and went through the competitive Ads route. I found that voucher code companies and price comparison companies are over exposed on websites and they have a low click through rate from niche sites, I blocked these and good ads resurfaced, real relevant useful ads to the surfer and my revenue came back. I now need to keep on top of this! Current monthly ads revenue is an average of 120 dollars but aiming for a little more! Nice blog.

  5. Amy April 11, 2011 at 5:56 am #

    Thanks, Nicholas. As an update, I removed the ads filter this month (as a test) and I’m still gaining and am actually having a pretty good month over all. I’m not sure if it wasn’t just the time of year! I’ll know more next year.

    Glad to hear that you hit the 100+ mark! For me, that’s when things really started taking off.

  6. Chuck Ferraro August 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    Great article! I too am interested in all aspects of internet markting.