The beginning of the end of Adsense?

James Ryan Jonas

I wanted to call this article “The Death of Adsense” but some guy back in 2006 wisely used that title already for an ebook.

In any case, I think we’re just talking about the same thing: that right now, it is very tough to earn decently from Google Adsense to the point that some webmasters will soon see the end of their relationship with this online money-making program.

Why is this so?

Decline of Adsense income , CTR and eCPM

If you are an Adsense publisher, just look at your Adsense earnings in the past few weeks. How many of you saw an increase in Adsense income assuming stable page impressions and ad clicks?

Not me. Page impressions and ad clicks were almost the same compared to the previous months but earnings are down by 50-60%.

Last week, I also wrote about my friend’s problem in Google Adsense where his income suddenly dove from $21.35 to $3.61 — in just one day.

We’re not alone. Site owners posting on WebmasterWorld are reporting the same. A few excerpts:

HuHuFruFru: I dont get it! First the CPC went down and now the CTR! March 5th & 6th showed the lowest CTR in TWO YEARS! And today there is no difference! eCPM is just awful.

Lame_Wolf: Saturday 7th was the worse ever day for me. Almost 50% below baseline.

StarryEyed: Mine too – my click thru rate has never been this bad. Impressions seem normal. What is going on?

Indeed, we ask: what really is going on?

Possible factors causing the downtrend

No one has the absolute answer (except for Google perhaps) but in my opinion, here are some factors causing this income downtrend.

  • 1. The economy. The recession is here, employees are being laid off, companies are cutting costs. What great way for firms to further save money is to reduce advertising expense, especially their spending on online advertising. This obviously causes a reduction of online revenues for Google which translates to lower income for us Adsense publishers.
  • 2. The MFAs. If firms are not advertising, then who does? Probably the MFAs or the Made-for-Adsense sites which do not really sell anything or give useful content but rely on traffic so they can earn from Adsense. They advertise through Google Adwords in order to get more visitors but do not pay a lot for the clicks. That might explain why ad earnings and eCPM in Adsense are really low nowadays.
  • 3. Google itself. Who here knows the actual revenue sharing percentage between Google and Adsense publishers? No one. So if Google decides to lower our share in that revenue scheme, who would know? To retain more earnings and to keep value for their shareholders, Google is probably reducing the revenue allocated to publishers.

Again, these are mere hunches. No one really knows the actual reason why most Adsense earners are seeing their CTRs, eCPMs and incomes go down.

Goodbye, Adsense

What we do know, though, is that a lot of people are becoming more and more disappointed and, sooner or later, a lot more will bid goodbye to their hopes of making money online with Google Adsense.

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.