Google Engineer Explains Why Your AdSense Earnings May Drop

Jan 31, 2012 • 8:34 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google AdSense

Google AdSenseGuillaume, a outspoken Google AdSense engineer, has spent a lot of time replying to complaints about pricing in a Google AdSense Help thread.

He goes through why a site may see a reduction in the dollars they make per click even after the estimated earnings are a certain price.

Of course he posts the "Smart Pricing" video:

But he also adds a lot of detail about how the AdSense pricing algorithms 'think.'

From a technical point of view, the question is ill defined. Google does not "consider traffic from social media sites" to be anything. Instead, quality is an intrinsic property of the traffic:

1) Invalid clicks. Google examines individual clicks and impressions, and tries to figure out if they are valid or not. A source of traffic is not low or high quality because Google considers it is, but the reverse: Google's algorithms try to reflect the quality of the traffic by detecting invalid clicks accurately.

2) Conversions and smart pricing. Are users genuinely interested in the ads they click? Are they generating conversions to advertisers? Again, Google does not decide in advance that a kind of traffic is high-value. Instead, Google measures the conversion rate, and applies Smart Pricing accordingly.

There might be patterns emerging from this, for instance related to social media sites. As an engineer, I have no idea. Personally, I believe that there is no such general rule, all depends on the specific case of each publisher.

I think that trying to correlate general problems and disconnected symptoms with rumors or the experience of a few other publishers who are probably very different, then extrapolating what could have happened, is not a successful approach in general. Instead, publishers should try to understand their own traffic in isolation. Measuring, gathering facts, looking carefully at reports (like I did with all accounts I looked at so far) works better, because it does not rely on statistics. Most of the time, the questions of the publisher can be answered by a report showing a peak or an anomaly. (Then the problem is often that publishers think or hope that their traffic is high quality, and refuse to admit that it may not be the case all the time, and that the problem is not Google's fault but their's.)

If you have been hit by something like this, I strongly recommend you read the Google engineers posts in the Google AdSense Help thread and see how you can change your content and traffic to drive better quality users to your site.

Forum discussion at Google AdSense Help.

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: January 30, 2012


Raymond Jayman

01/31/2012 01:57 pm

Uploaded by InsideAdSense on Sep 9, 2010 on YouTube, hmmm, something smells fishy here!

Barry Schwartz

01/31/2012 01:58 pm



01/31/2012 02:49 pm

because those news are older than one year. 


01/31/2012 02:49 pm

I've summarized his answer: "We need more money to meet Wall Street's quarterly expectations so we take it from you and from advertisers."

Barry Schwartz

01/31/2012 02:53 pm



01/31/2012 03:08 pm

So, you should post new stuff I didn't watched 1000 times now if you still want me subscribed to your feeds. Or at least, do not place such "news" in the feed.


01/31/2012 04:13 pm

This reminds me largely of the PageRank algorithm and it underlines what many people (still) don't understand. Conceptually, using an algorithm like PageRank is better than making assumptive quality scores like anything on a .edu site is of higher quality than a .com site. (like so many people believed for so long).  If the .edu site is of higher quality, it will naturally get more incoming links and will naturally end up ranked higher. Likewise if it isn't of higher quality, it won't. The PageRank algorithm removes the need for other quality criteria because it automatically includes them as a function of human nature. They're basically applying the same concept to adsense. Rather than assume traffic from X or on X type of site is low quality, they actually measure the quality.  

Barry Schwartz

01/31/2012 04:15 pm

The comments are new from the Google engineer. I posted the video for people who did not see it. I like that you only post here when you have negative things to say.  


01/31/2012 06:33 pm

If you don't like the comments, then disable them.

Rahul Gupta

02/01/2012 07:12 am

This is really helpful. Mine adsense earnings are also dropped from the last few weeks or so.


02/02/2012 02:11 pm

Billion dollar company and there is no way to call you?  What are you hiding?  I have to wait years for you to make a lame stupid video!  When you want to take people's money, you have a call center for adwords.  But screw publishers? Boy do I wish I lived close to your headquarters...


02/09/2012 03:59 am

That actually sounds like horse@@@, Barry you should stop sucking at google's tit, is no good

Ahmad Awais

02/16/2012 05:05 pm

This is a serious decision.


02/16/2012 05:40 pm

Google and their "Don't be evil" bullshit are heading for a fall. The FTC is definitely looking into some of their practices. As for being transparent...they never have been and never will be ...they skim money from publishers accounts daily and then again at the end of the month all under the guise of invalid clicks. Unfortunately mosy human beings are stupid sheep and will continue to use Google even though they have invaded your provacy and sold your personal information.


05/21/2012 01:28 pm

YouTube partners feel the pinch as Google Adsense revenues plummet further!

Webmaster Zeal

05/22/2012 10:53 am

adsence is only for cheating publisher. i hate this ..

Rudy Prasetyo

04/05/2014 02:42 am

Google love Advertisers and hate Publishers!

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