No more Google Adsense ads on my website – at least for now

For several years now, Google has shown ads on my website and when someone clicked on one of the ads, it shared with me some of the revenue it earned.  For some time now I have had the impression that the Adsense revenues have been in decline – mine, not Google’s. {grin}

So, earlier this week I analyzed the performance of my Adsense account and concluded that it no longer made sense to show these ads.  This post discusses my analysis and the role of Excel in it.

The data from Adsense system included, on a month-by-month basis, information on number of ads shown, number of clicks, and revenue (for me, not Google).  It also included derived information such as the revenue per click, called Cost-per-click, or CPC, and the conversion rate (clicks/ads shown).  Of course the last two are easily computed from the first three data items.

Before going further, it might help to understand the different drivers of Adsense revenue.  I thought of 3 key elements:

1) The kind of ad Google shows.  It has to be relevant to the website visitor.

2) The number of times a website visitor clicks on an ad, and

3) The amount that Google pays me for the click.

Interestingly enough, the website owner has no control over any of those elements!

OK, back to the Adsense data.  Google Adsense has an option to download the data in CSV format.  So, after downloading into Excel, I “normalized” the data so that all the numbers for January 2006 were 100.  This had two effects: one could look at large numbers and small numbers in the same visual space, thus making trend comparison easier, and it masked the actual data.

[A technical note.  The month column included the start and end date of each month, e.g., 2006-01-01 – 2006-01-31.  So, I added a new column to get a month as Excel understands it, using the formula =DATEVALUE(LEFT(B4,FIND(” “,B4)-1)), and formatted it to show only yyyy-mm.]

Next, I created a PivotTable and PivotChart showing on a month-by-month basis the number of views, clicks, and revenue over time.  Since Google provided data for two products (Adsense for Content and Adsense for Search), I filtered the PT to show only Adsense for Content.

As Figure 1 shows, the views (in blue) have gone up while the clicks (in red) and revenue (in green) have dropped.  So, this makes it evident that item 2 above (number of clicks) has not fared well over the years.

Figure 1

Out of curiosity, I decided to check if the revenues-per-click (my share of what the advertisers paid Google) had changed over the years.  As Figure 2 shows, item 3 in the list above (the amount Google paid me per click) remained steady until early 2009, dropped in 2009 and the first half of 2010, rose in the latter half of 2010 to 2.5 times the 2006 level and remained steady through 2011.

Of course, since the total revenue continued to drop, it must mean that the drop in the number of clicks was far greater than the increase in the CPC.

Figure 2

To test item 1 in the list above (relevance of ads), I checked 3 pages at random.  The results were, frankly, surprising.  Given Google’s reputation of delivering accurate search results, I would expect website ads to be related to the website content.  That, amazingly enough, was not the case.

On a page that explains supply and demand curves, there were ads for power tools and plastic enclosures.

Figure 3

On the TM AutoChart page there were ads for “Find Autos Near You” and project management software.

Figure 4

And, on the TM Randomize Slideshow page there were ads for Google Chrome, Microsoft Private Cloud, reverse look up of cell phone numbers, and a network monitor.

Figure 5

I am sure the relevance of the ads to the website content must make sense to Google’s Adsense algorithms but it surely escapes me.

In any case, I decided to pull the Adsense ads, at least temporarily.


4 thoughts on “No more Google Adsense ads on my website – at least for now

  1. well, to be honest i never click on any website ads. i refuse to give google a penny, i hate that company, although i do feel bad for the website owner.
    i stopped using google search a long time ago, too. i don’t want them to know anything about me or what i do. and when i did use it, if i hovered over a link and it wasn’t a direct link to a website (ie, had an adsense or some 100 character url), i never clicked it.

    i know it doesn’t do you any good, just stating my practices.

  2. Seems like you could analyze which ads are having the most success on your site and approach those companies directly.

  3. Hi,

    Great analysis, but I must point out, google personalises the ad’s not just to the page but to the user (depending on some of their settings). I find that if I do consistent searches for a while I end up with add relating to those searches far more frequently than other ads. Had you been looking for power tools recently ;-)

    Also when you set up the ads with Google you can define detail about where they are placed & whats on the page etc, which in turn effects the advertisers that decide to bid for a place on your page.

    If you set up an adwords or and advertisers account you can find a lot fo information which will tell you how much the advertisers pay, which in turn gives you more control over point 3.

    I’m no expert, its just what I’ve picked up dabbling with it for my wife’s site.


  4. The question for me is what is the return on not having the ads compared to the return on having the ads. Way back when I thought that having ads would make me hate any given website. Today I realize that I hardly look at the ads. So, from my point of view, you not having ads means nothing to me. I see no benefit in you not having ads, and you not having ads does nothing for me wanting to see your website over seeing another. [I like your content, I’m coming whether you have ads or not.] But it seems to me that you are giving up a (small) revenue stream. So, with ads you get money, without ads you don’t. If these two aspects were all that mattered to me as “the provider” then I’d stick with the ads.

    For your Decision Analysis and Resolution process, you could set up an Excel spreadsheet with weights for all the various factors… but right now for me it is:
    (Revenue of ads) * (weighting factor 1) + (Impact of ads) * (weighting factor 2) = (Benefit of ads)
    Since wf2 is, for me, 0, the way to maximize the right side of the equation is to have ads.

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