Jen has just posted information about Adsense that will be of interest to publishers using it across multiple sites. The crux of it being that Google’s ‘smart pricing’ can actually not only impact one of your sites but all of them. In short – if you have just one poorly converting site in your collection of sites it can drag down the performance of your other sites.
Jen reports on a conversation that an Adsense consultant had with a publisher who was considering switching to YPN. The consultant revealed a number of things including:
- 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.
I find this information both a bit disturbing (as someone with 20 sites that each perform at different levels) but also illuminating (it could explain why some of my sites seem to perform better and worse than others that I know who blog on similar topics). To me this just seems crazy – while I see the need for smart pricing on a site by site basis – I can’t work out what the sense of it is across different sites which will always perform at different levels in terms of traffic levels and conversions for advertisers for such a variety of reasons.
The frustrating thing that I find with Adsense is the lack of knowledge of what is going on behind the scenes. While I understand that they can’t reveal everything about their algorithms and processes (or they’ll be abused) I find that there are an increasing number of times when I feel completely confused and frustrated by them.
It seems with every new feature that they bring out that their system gets more and more complicated. Every new feature adds another variable that could impact earnings – this is now getting to a point where I find it very difficult to track what impact the changes I make are having. Perhaps this is a result of my adding new blogs to my business which complicates things further – but to hear this news today leaves me incredibly frustrated with the system that is increasingly becoming a mystery to me.
I get the feeling that those in the Adsense team are increasingly frustrated by the system also. I have a number of contacts at Adsense who seem somewhat hamstrung by what they can and can’t tell me. I’ve also had conflicting advice on a couple of occasions recently. For example one person told me that section targeting would help with my ad relevancy – another told me that it could be the reason my ads had been less relevant recently.
All I know is my Adsense performance continues to be significantly lower than it was a few months back, that ad relevancy is very poor and that pricing fluctuates from day to day by up to 20-30% with no changes being made at my end.
I’m very much looking forward to seeing how YPN performs when they finally let non US publishers in on the action and am in the process of deciding whether I might actually give some of my prime Adsense positions over to other ad suppliers like Chitika in the lead up to Christmas which should be a time that Adsense shines – but looks like being a time when Adsense flat-lines, or even worse goes into decline.