Decreasing Click Rates on AdSense are Intentional

SMS Text

After a recent ComScore report indicated that the paid click rates for Google AdSense had dropped 12% year-over-year, and 7% from last December, Google felt the need to comment.  According to Google, the decline is intentional and due to some quality initiatives that the company has taken.  Not surprisingly efforts to reduce click fraud and other accidental clicks have affected the company’s stock price.

Speaking recently at the Bear Stearns Media Conference in Florida, Tim Armstrong, Google’s president of North American advertising and commerce, said that the recent decline in paid clicks “was intentional on our part”, and would result in “a long-term benefit for our business”.

Initiatives to reduce accidential clicks, such as changing the clickable area of the ad to include only the title and URL, as opposed to the entire ad area, have resulted in fewer clicks.  However, in theory, this should result in a higher number of conversions, as well as increase the advertisers return on investment.

Perusing the various big webmaster forums, I’ve noticed more than a few threads about the drop in clicks and earnings, and publishers are understandably concerned.  Although it may take some time, hopefully when advertisers have more confidence in their online advertising investments, they’ll be willing to put more money in their advertising campaigns, and be willing to bid more for desirable keywords.  This, in turn, could help turn things around for publishers as well.

Similarly, stock holders are also less than thrilled, which is evidenced by a nearly 15% drop in share prices since the publication of the ComScore report.  Similar to the plight of publishers, while revenues might decrease in the short-term, the hope is that in the long-term things could turn in their favor.

Subscribe to SEJ!
Get our weekly newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!
  • John

    Hi Julie
    I would not buy Google’s arguments completely for two reasons.
    #1. As internet literacy is spreading fast, people are not clicking on AdSense blocks as they used to few years back. I think this resulted from low quality control from Google’s advertising team – who let SEMs market Adwords which would take clickers to a site remotely related to it. Also people being more web savvy, they know how to find a targeted website er than ever. So they don’t have to click an over optimized ad-block.

    #2, Google’s war with webmasters (which is indirectly with SEO firms really) is not going to get more Google fans. Many webmasters are disregarding Google and its importance – specially after live came into the picture though it still has thousands of miles to go.

    It would also be interesting when and if Microsoft and Yahoo deal comes off. Lots of exciting days ahead and I reckon 2008 will see lots of big cyber WARs and will define the web for at least next 10 years.

  • Seo Expert

    I agree that users are internet savvy now and adsense is a much smaller source of income for many publishers, but it’s hard to disregard Google or its importance as a whole. They still provide SERPs that are very relevant to your searches.

  • Houston SEO Company

    Click fraud is a terrible problem my company was told by an employee of an seo firm that they were suppose to click on 5 of our ads a day. they had 30 employess… I stop using adsense and adwords.