Google Adsense eCPM; Down in Recession

Since the beginning of April, I’ve seen a decrease in Adsense revenue on the sites that I run. Normally I don’t get that much per months, but there has been a significant drop from one day to the other. Since April, the revenue has come down.

So, naturally my hypothesis is that this is due to the economy being in a slump. Lower Adsense revenue can actually be due through multiple factors;

  1. Lower Ad spend by advertisers, which results in lower max cpc’s per Ad
  2. More advertisers blocking Adsense content network in search for higher conversion
  3. Google’s squeezing publishers, paying out lower percentage of the CPC to the website owner.

Lower CPC in Adsense

For the last year, I have not really seen a drop in CPC on the sites.


As you can see, CPC stayed within a bandwidth for the last year. No significant drop that could have caused the drop in Total Revenue.  (graph shows 7 day moving average of the CPC)

Looking at the eCPM of the impressions that were served:


Clearly, I don’t have a CPC problem, but an impression problem. There goes my Hypothesis. I guess I’m not such good strategist after all.

Google Squeezing Adsense Publishers

In these dark economic times, it’s becoming harder for every company to satisfy shareholders.

Now imagine you are Google, very successful in the past couple of quarters, but struggling finding new ways to grow revenue. One source of revenue growth could be to take a larger share of the revenue that is shared with Adsense publishers.

Looking at today’s early Adsense reporting, my thoughts are going in the third direction. Just check the average cpc on the placements pointed out in the image below:

Updated: Image reoved as it is against T&C's of Adsense to display CPM or CPC's.

Can somebody please explain me how it is possible earning just $0.01 with 4 clicks, when a minimum CPC of at least $0.01 is necessary to even start a campaign?

So much for webmaster welfare as an extra source of pocket money!


  1. Satollo says:

    When you start a campaign with adwords, you set 0.01 ad minimum CPC. This is YOUR cost as advertisers. Google get 0.01 from you, and split this value between: taxes, publishers and him self.

    So it’s really possible to earn 0.01 with only a clic. I’m wrong?

  2. Dennis says:

    Actually, most of the CPC per keyword do not hoover around a pricing of $0.01.
    Only a couple of brand owners are able to buy their own brand keywords for just $0.01.
    So it’s more likely that any CPC would be higher than at least $0.05.

    As I showcase the fact that 4 clicks only had a revenue of $0.01 combined, this means that the majority of the spent on those clicks went into G’s pockets.
    I don’t know the allocation of the % that goes to Google and what I receive. This is a black box for all small publishers that use Google Adsense on their sites.

    My hypothesis was that it could be the case that Google is squeezing more out of the current revenue stream that goes through the content Adsense network, by giving less to publishers. It’s simply keeping more of the ad spend on the ads for themselves…

    Anybody seen this in their Adsense account?

    Since my average CPC stayed rather flat over the last year, we can say that this hypothesis does not hold true for this particular case. I’m interested to hear what other Adsense publishers have seen in their accounts.

    Still, making just $0.01 with 4 clicks is a poor revenue outcome!

  3. Rex says:

    My Adsense earnings have been down too. BTW, you might want to blot out those CTC and eCPM values. It’s against Adsense TOS to display them.

    1. Dennis says:

      Thanks, will block these.

  4. Nikki says:

    I have noticed a significant drop as well. Last year I was averaging about $6.86 eCPM. This year my average is a pathetic $3.79 eCPM.
    It sure is discouraging when you’ve spent the last year working to build your site up, but even with the growth, you are making the same as (or less than) you were the previous year.

  5. Dennis says:

    Just keep creating quality content. If the recession is over, you will start earning more again.
    As long as you focus on creating quality, your readers will know how to find you, and advertisers will follow.

    Google Adsense is not the best way to monetize in a recession. You might want to try to leverage some affiliate programs as well.

    Just out of interest, can you send me your site url through the contact form?

  6. Hi, just want to share with you that yesterday I got 4 clicks and earned only $0.01. Therefore I believe that Google had taken most of the portion of earnings. Too bad.

  7. I also believe that Google has taken a larger percentage on the ads. A very large percentage, in fact. Otherwise how to explain. I bought placement ads on my own site from adwords at average $1.99/click (Singapore Dollar), but receive only 8cents/click (about 10 cents in Singapore Dollar) from my adsense for the same site.

    That’s a 95% cut from Google.

  8. Scott says:

    Thanks for a great article, what is a typical AdSense eCPM for a decent mid-tier publisher (news, content), any thoughts?