This and last week we reported issues with Google reporting up to date stats. Many publishers felt that Google had a major reporting delay and they were very concerned. Typically, it turns out to be nothing and the numbers tend to update themselves over time. But this time, it was a little different.
Google admitted to a bug in the AdSense contextual targeting system that returned irrelevant ads on publisher sites. Typically, Google AdSense ads are relevant to the content on the page, but something went wrong where Google's contextual targeting went off. On Thursday of last week at 2pm (PST) a bug for "approximately 10 hours" triggered these issues. The issue was resolved by Friday morning, according to Google.
Google admitted that non-contextually targeted ads may result in lower earnings and impact your earnings for those ten hours. Google said:
You were still credited for all valid clicks and impressions on the ads which appeared on your sites, but this bug may have impacted your overall AdSense for content revenue if you had visitors to your pages during these hours. Please note that because we're unable to determine which ads would have been viewed or clicked on by visitors to your sites in the absence of the bug, we will not be manually adjusting yesterday's earnings.
The big question was, was this a reporting glitch or were these publishers that severely impacted by the relevancy issue?
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.