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Google Adsense Smart PricingDoes the business/publishing model of your website rely on Google Adsense for monetization? Have you noticed substantial dips in revenue lately? There are a couple causes for these recent decreases in Adsense publisher earnings and actionable steps you may take to reverse this.

Google Adwords Smart Pricing

Google is trying to make the system as fair to the advertisers as possible so as not to kill the golden egg that provides over 90% of their revenue. They now adjust the price paid per click by the advertiser based on the likelihood that a referring website (publisher) will bring in sales to the advertiser. Jenstar revealed some great information explaining Google’s smart pricing:

Google’s smart pricing feature automatically adjusts the cost of a keyword-targeted content click. So if our data shows that a click from a content page is less likely to turn into actionable business results – such as online sales, registrations, phone calls, or newsletter signups – we reduce the price you pay for that click.

She also shared some communication with an actual Google Advertising rep.

  • Smart pricing affects an entire account. It is not on a per page or per site basis.
  • One poorly converting site can result in smart pricing impacting an entire account, even sites completely unrelated to the poorly converting one.
  • Smart pricing is evaluated each week. So removing ads from sites you suspect are converting poorly could result in seeing an adjustment to a higher smart pricing percent in as little as a week.
  • Smart pricing is tracked with a 30 day cookie, so you could be rewarded for new conversions that saw the initial click from your site up to 29 days earlier.
  • Image ads are also affected by smart pricing.
  • With smart pricing, an advertiser could end up paying less than their minimum bid, which would theoretically include the minimum bid price available, meaning publishers earn less for even the minimum valued clicks.
  • Conversions for smart pricing publisher accounts are tracked by those advertisers who have opted into AdWords Conversion Tracking

Lower Bids in Google Adsense’s Content Network

Few advertisers in their right mind use Google’s content network. It is turned on by default for all new Adwords programs, and I have never been able to get it to convert – not once… ever. I’m not talking about clicks for this site either. I used highly targeted ads for very specific consumer products that convert for me like gangbusters otherwise.

There may be some industries where a site-targeted ad may produce good numbers, but a good portion of Google’s publisher inventory is junk. Fortunately Adwords advertisers can now bid separate prices for their keywords on the search and content networks. That number is growing every day as publishers become better at blending the ads into the content. The website visitors may still be in the information-gathering phase and may not even realize they are clicking on a link to another site.

Google Adsense Still Works for Publishers

I still believe that Adsense is one of the best solutions for the average publisher. The Yahoo Publisher Network Beta program has given me some good results lately, but I can see where the quality ad targeting (or lack thereof) may leave many smaller, ultra-targeted niches out in the cold. Google Adsense still has the deepest ad inventory, greatest flexibility with their ad serving system, and is extremely reliable with their service and payment.

Want More Information About Maximizing Your Website’s Revenue?

If your company (big or small) has any questions about how you can squeeze the most value out of your content as possible, contact me today for a revenue review.

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