Can’t Remember The Last Time An Adsense Click Paid Well?

Are you one of those Adsense users who gets 4-5 clicks a day and only makes 21 cents?

Courtney Tuttle writes about Adsense smart pricing.  If you are displaying Adsense on a site that doesn’t have a higher click through rate (CTR) than 3%, you are at risk of having Smart Pricing applied to your Adsense commission. Smart Pricing is a system that Google use to ensure good value for their advertisers. It is estimated that your Adsense commission can be reduced by up to 90% if you are in the smart pricing category, so if a click paid out 40c to a normal user, it will pay out 4c to a user who has been smart priced.

I had been using Google Adsense on Pingable for a few months with very little success. I had read about how hard it was to get clicks on ads in blogs that are about blogging, but I had no idea how much I was actually sabotaging my Adsense account. And yes, it affects all sites in your Adsense account not just those that have a low CTR. Apparently it’s easy enough to get removed from the Smart Pricing category, you just need to either improve your CTR, by optimising your ad placement, or remove Adsense from those sites all together.

So what can we take from Courtney’s article:

  • If you have a blog about blogging, social media, SEO, don’t use Adsense, the CTR will most likely be very poor. People who read these sorts of blogs, don’t click ads.
  • If you are displaying Adsense on a site that has a lower CTR than 3%, remove Adsense from those sites.
  • If a large portion of your traffic comes from social media sites like Digg and StumbleUpon, displaying Adsense is a bad idea, not only will these users not click your ads, so many of them won’t, and it will lower your CTR to the stage that if you do get a click it won’t pay well. You could also control who gets ads with different plugins to only show your ads to search engine visitors.
  • Place Adsense on sites that typically get a lot of search engine traffic, this traffic is most likely to click ads.

Optimising Adsense Placement

If you decide to use Adsense on your site, it is worth considering optimising your ad format options. Many publishers like the big rectangle, mainly because it works! It gets very good CTR. The 250X250 square, has almost the exact same look as the big rectangle, but it shows three ads instead of four. This means that you give your visitors fewer options to choose from (but not too few) and they may decide to click more easily. You also eliminate the 4th ad which would be, on average, the lowest paying of the four.

If that doesn’t work out for you, you can try using two 234X60 ads stacked on top of each other. If you use background colours that blend together, it will give a similar appearance of a 250X250 box, however, it will only display two ads in the spot. You want to be mainly displaying the higher paying ads, so if your users do click them you get a decent payout, yet you still want to give readers enough options, if you have too few ads, there are no options, and they will be less likely to get clicked. If you have too many options you are more likely to be displaying ads that pay out less.

Once you are sure that your site has not been smart priced you can optimise performance by lowering the amount of ads (using the above technique) that are being displayed if you find that some of your clicks are still paying poorly.

34 thoughts on “Can’t Remember The Last Time An Adsense Click Paid Well?”

  1. Pingback: Make Money Repository » Blog Archive » Can’t Remember The Last Time An Adsense Click Paid Well?
  2. Good advise. I’ve been aggravated for ages to get clicks between 0.01 and 0.04 only when I get about 50 clicks a day, so much that I planned to remove adsense totally. I’ll try the “less ads” method to see how it goes.

  3. @ Rob: As far as I know, there is no official way to know, but I would assume that if you have a CTR below 3, and none of your clicks are paying out at better than 10 cents that you are probably being Smart Priced.

  4. Hi Simon,

    Your post made me to think andif you redesign my weblog Adsense arrangement once again. Thanks!

    You are absolutely right. when you place too many ads on your webpage the number of impressions will be higher and so you will get paid less for each click. I experienced this in both sides:

    When I added three ad units on all the pages, although the number of clicks went up, the revenue went down and visa versa.

    The more ads, the less payment.

    Best regards,

  5. Thanks for that post, does that mean that if my CTR on one website is lower than 3% my account will get listed in smart pricing, alrhough other sites of mine get 30% ? Or only the lower CTR site will get smart priced? In other words, can one site effect my whole account?

  6. I have over 50 adsense/affiliate sites and two extremes come to mind. A car insurance site pays $1 – $1.50 per click and a music download site pays $.03 cents…

    I find it all depends on the niche and optimizing your tags to attract the highest paying ads.


  7. @Make Money Online: Yes I believe it does! Your account is smart priced, so all sites. I am not a pro on the topic, so I would check out Courtney’s blog for more info. Cheers.

  8. I dont know but with my personal blog site I seem not to get much with adsense. People just don’t click on my ads despite that they were displayed in a favorable place. 🙁

  9. @ Simon – Thanks, I think that might be the case for me. I’m going to weed out lower performing sites from my account and see how that goes.

  10. I wouldn’t go that far ChiQ. But I think that if you have a lot of traffic, and none of your visitors are clicking on your adsense ads, that is not such a good idea.

  11. I have a pretty low click-through rate (about 1-2% overall) and none of my sites have particularly numerous clicks. However, I often get clicks valuing at 30 cents to a dollar.

    Am I on the “Smart Pricing” list?

  12. Hi there,

    It’s sad to see that such a powerful and easy money machine Adsense get such a bad reputation. I think the key here is to get >3% … One example. I have site that gets some visitors (~500 uniques a day). The funny thing , just through an Google image search. I have placed two 250×250 ads in there and get a >3% CTR. These are visitors who just want to visualise stuff and not reading a lot of text, and well, still above 3%. this website makes me $3-5 a day. I thought: I can do better and put A LOT OF different advertisement on. pay per click, referrals, all sorts of things. All VERY related to the site. Guess what…nothing has topped a $3-5 a day income…I got some results but Adsense is far better than any I have seen. Maybe there are programs out there better than Adsense but I stick with my $1400 income a year from this particular site.

    All the best for your sites…

  13. I don’t know Frederick, doesn’t sound like it, but I am no expert.

    @Thomas: Thanks for the detail of your experience Thomas, very interesting to hear. I have found my Adsense income has gone up considerably since removing it from this blog. I only have it on one page on here now, a page that gets a lot of Google organic traffic for a money related topic, and using the large box and placing in the article, and I am seeing much better results.

  14. Great article, I’ve been looking for the answer to the $0.01 question for a few weeks now this has really helped me out.

    So from this if you get an ad channel with no clicks on the same page where an ad channel is performing well are you best to remove the poor performing ad channel quickly to stop it lowering the price of the others?

    Frederick – you’re not on the smart pricing list you really know it when you have 2 clicks at 0.01 and it’s still only 0.01 not 0.02

  15. Pingback: Can’t Remember The Last Time An Adsense Click Paid... [ Pingable ]
  16. I am confused. I compared two of the days that have almost the same CTR(~1.6) and I got one that pays 0.02 cent per click and the other one pays 0.10 cent per click.

  17. I’m sick of such articles. They don’t tell anything really useful and all comments say “oh, great! you did it!” but actually those people write such comments only to promote their crap sites.

  18. Thank you, at least I think I know why I am one of those people making 21 cents.

    I was beginning to think that big paying clicks didn’t exist.

  19. Great post on smart pricing. I found once they find your site they look for all of them so watch your adsense earnings and adjust the sites to help stop it.

  20. Yes, you are right.. i m facing the same problem . I am having horrible adsense reports each day.. Can you please let me know how can i increase my traffic to 500-700 uniques per day??? It will help me alot .. please, I am looking forward to hear a positive answer that can help me. I am really in need of some help..

  21. You can also restrict google from listing images on your site. This way you do not get image search engine traffic that has very low ctr.

  22. I never knew about smart pricing, maybe as i have enver experienced it. Maybe i shouldl ook at some of my sites ctr in more depth to make sure this doesnt happen.

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