NEW YORK, NY – Anyone who develops website properties can tell you that the best website business you can possibly have is one that isn’t completely dependent on search engines and has a true following. However, there are two factors at play here; one, being, if your site is only receiving traffic from search engines, Google in particular can put a very real-hurtin’ on you in a minute; the other, point two, is that if your site doesn’t have direct advertiser relationships [real customers] and you are monetizing your site entirely with Google AdSense (what most publishers use), this can be very unpredictable, as many have seen and learned over the last year.
AdSense Revenue Declines
As far as Google AdSense, there have been countless reports of lost revenue, either declines, or missing impressions beginning this year, 2018. This became un-mistakenly clear to me personally in May, when I saw near half of revenue virtually disappear on a large publisher client site, while at the same time, colleagues in the industry asking me if I had happen to know what was happening with Google.
It started back in November of 2017 when Google began to roll out changes for its “Brand Safety Initiative” (but most did not notice due to holiday flux). This was not something Google was particularly vocal about either, there was no ‘official’ information on any Google domain or Google blog, only sporadic reports in news. I did receive at least confirmation via AdSense support that this was indeed happening [rolling out], but words were few while responses carefully crafted. [I’m sure if I would like to be entitled to support in the future, exact verbiage need not appear here].
Outside of the Norm
These changes (which I suspect) were not ordinary algorithm updates, they were updates based on pressure from Google displaying ads near extremist content. In a nutshell, Google was getting their ass kicked with declines in ad spend by US companies pulling ad campaigns.
Google responded by going on a hiring spree of content reviewers and building software and tools to improve this. They also changed the way ads work on pages that have not yet been crawled by their content filters. If you have noticed a change in ad impressions verses page views, you’re very likely suffering from “missing revenue”.
There have also been significant changes from both implementation of ads.txt and something called lazy-loading ads which makes ads below the fold not appear or load unless a user has scrolled to that portion of the page (bye-bye CPMs).
Cause for Confusion
This creates a lot of area for confusion [or willful mistakes] and it also makes me wonder how much ad revenue Google could potentially have the opportunity to collect from it advertisers, while not pay-out to publishers due to discrepancy; a rightful margin of error so to speak. While all of this will improve Google’s service, I do not feel it is out of line to question whether this could be an earnings opportunity in the interim.
It took me a great deal of time to figure out what in the world was going on and there is still plenty more I haven’t yet figured out, but I am working on it. However, I discovered a mediation tool that will not only improve your earnings, but create more competition for your inventory – while at the same time, helping you better comprehend your earnings through advanced reporting.
If you are receiving more than 10,000 unique visitors per month (That’s the minimum requirement), I recommend you sign up and begin using it. Their support people are extremely supportive during the setup process and their system will help you better monetize your site while potentially increasing your bounce rate and time-on-site through sophisticated user experience machine-learning.
If you do have a large site and a lot of traffic you can sign up and then email me and I will try to get you the same rep I have who has been extremely helpful during the setup process.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Searchen Networks Inc. and Internet Advertising Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, authored a ‘how to’ book called ‘‘Mastering Your Website’, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy company Searchen Networks®