If you have a website that makes consistent money from Google Adsense, then you’ve likely had the experience.
Your site is humming along, making regular income. Then one day you login to your account, and something seems wrong. The income you’ve earned so far that day seems way too low.
You start to dig into what’s going on. The first spot is usually Google Analytics to see if there has been a huge drop in traffic to explain the lower earnings. If there has been a fall in traffic, that will immediately answer your question about why your revenue dropped. In our experience, however, that’s rarely the case.
Instead, we’ve found that Google Ad revenue can be frustratingly erratic. Looking at our own passive income website, during just the past month we have had days with an RPM (revenue per 1,000 visits) ranging from as little as $13 to as much as $42. This is all without us making any changes to the site, and with more than 1,000 pageviews each day.
In other words, even with consistent traffic, we’ve seen Google Ads swing wildly in their payouts. If it’s happening to you, don’t panic. It’s just (frustratingly) part of the system.
That doesn’t mean you should immediately chalk it up to “Google being Google.” Before you do, there are some steps to make sure that your peaks and troughs in earnings are typical and not a symptom of something larger.
Google Ad Check #1: Google Analytics
As mentioned above, the first spot we always check is Google Analytics. Specifically, we start off looking for a traffic drop. Assuming there is no traffic change, we then move on to look at the most visited pages on the time period with lower earnings, comparing it to the pages during a typical earning period.
Since different pages will naturally see different revenue rates, having a page with less money-making potential receive more visits hurts your RPM.
Google Ad Check #2: Correct Ads Showing
Our next step to figuring out why we are seeing low revenue is to check the ads themselves on our website. Google serves either contextual ads (ads served based on your site’s content) or interest-based ads (those based on content the visitor has viewed around the Internet). Sometimes, these ads can simply deliver some funny things that don’t really fit with the page or your browser history.
If you are familiar with your site and the ads that run, you can usually tell quickly when ads are out of place and unlikely to be clicked. This could be due to the fact that Google simply doesn’t have more relevant advertisers to display on your page. In fact, we’ve found that our earnings are typically higher at the start of the month, when new budgets are in place for more advertisers. As those ad budgets are drained, we’ve seen our earnings sometimes fall.
(Note: If you find ads from weird categories are showing, you can turn them off. Sign into Adsense and then click “Allow & block ads” at the top of the page.)
Google Ad Check #3: Webmaster Tools
As a final step, we like to check Webmaster Tools. This free tool from Google is a site checkup that will tell you if there is an issue with your site. It’s a longshot, but if there is an issue with your site that keeps ads from displaying — such as high website response times — it will appear here.
Bottom Line on Google Ads
Unfortunately, we’ve found earnings from Google Adsense to vary day to day. It’s best not to stress too much about it, but keep an eye on things. If your drop in earnings is over a longer period, such as weeks or months, it could be to seasonality of your topic (fewer advertisers during the “off season”) or simply lower performance of Internet advertising in general. As the growth of ad-blocking software grows, the potential for earnings with traditional web advertisements is going to be handicapped.
Have you seen a drop in your Google revenue? Did you figure out the issue? Let us know in the comments below.