One of the key criteria most niche marketers look at when building AdSense niche sites is CPC or cost per click and obviously the higher this number the better. Quite often you would have picked a niche, saw a great CPC figure, done your competition analysis, built your niche site and yet when it comes clicks payday you are only getting a measly 50-60c!. Even worse, in some case you may not even be making a single cent per AdSense click. Sounds like you? Are you also wondering why you are being paid this minuscule amount even though you did your due diligence with keyword research and were expecting a lot more for your clicks?
In this post I will attempt to dispel some myths surrounding AdSense CPC and what you can do to get the biggest bang for your buck from every click.
Let’s start with that magical number called CPC:
If you already know this then congratulations but trust me, many newbie and even experienced marketers don’t! The data shown by the AdWords keyword research tool in the CPC column is what the advertizers are bidding to get on the first page of Google search network and not your website which by default is part of the AdSense display network. If you are using a paid keyword research tool, then this data tends to be notoriously inaccurate as most tools only refresh this data every so often.
As a rule of thumb you should only expect to get about 25% of the maximum CPC shown by Google keyword research tool. To correctly estimate the CPC for your chosen keyword in the display I would suggest that you read my post on using the contextual targeting tool which provides a much better average CPC across the display network of sites.
The second common myth associated with the visible CPC data is that all advertizers on an average are paying the same cost per click across the display network. Remember, the AdWords quality score system also applies to the display network and some advertizers are paying as little as $0.01 for their ads to show up on the display network even though the overall average may indicate a much higher CPC.
I have personally had clicks for $0.09 on my sites even though my researched CPC for a given keyword was much higher at $5.09. This can be quite frustrating as you may be getting hundreds of clicks on daily basis but still earning no more than $20-$30.
To get around this problem you can use a simple strategy which was originally shared by Mervik Haum in his AdSense Insider Secrets WSO last year. This strategy essentially enables you to block URL’s paying an extremely low cost per click from your website completely.
I will share an example using one of my own niche sites to demonstrate how you can implement this strategy to great effect.
I built this site approximately 3 months ago and my research showed that I should be earning on an average $3.00/click for a reasonably competitive keyword and yet I have received clicks as low as $0.09 on a regular basis. There could be another reason for this low figure which I will discuss in the next section but I decided to take the strategy I mentioned earlier for a test drive and see if I can remove the low paying advertizers from my site.
Here is a screenshot of my AdSense account from a few days ago:
To find the correct URL’s for ads being displayed on your site, you can use a simple tool called the AdSense Sandbox. Essentially this tool will show you the advertizer URL’s for a given region without having to click on your own ads (which is not recommended).
I suggest that you always use custom channels for your ad units which can make it somewhat easier to pinpoint where the cheap clicks may be coming from. Once you have the list of advertizers from the AdSense Sandbox tool, you can do a detailed CPC analysis using a couple of handy web tools. These are:
While both these tools for most part are paid tools, you can still use the free features for the purpose of this test.
In this example I used ispionage and I decided to investigate an advertizer domain called www.MyPCBackup.com., Copy and paste the URL into ispionage search bar, hit search and then head over to the “Ads” tab to look at the results. You can straightaway see some of the keywords this advertizer is targeting and maximum associated bids. Ad number two on the list is showing CPC bid of just $0.05 this advertizer is offering for that particular keyword!
Once you have the URL for such a low paying keyword, you can simply copy and paste that into your AdSense block URL box to prevent the ad unit from showing up on your site. I suggest that you be very selective with this list as you can see that the same advertizer is also offering some high bids for related search terms and for that reason I don’t recommend blocking the URL at a broader level.
You can also the same strategy to find some pretty juicy keywords by simply sorting the results based on CPC (the higher being first).
Once again it is wrong to assume that any CPC figure based on your research is likely to yield the same CPC for every click on your site. Google also offers its advertizers something we call the “smart pricing” option. Smart pricing can affect any website on the display network. So, what is smart pricing? Google’s sophisticated algorithm can also perform conversion tracking through a group of ads from any website on its display network.
If it deems that a given site is yielding poor conversions or CTR for its advertizers, it will automatically reduce the cost per click for sites deemed to be of lesser value for its advertizers. There is very little you can do about this except focus on providing extremely engaging and high quality content for you readers, this can include informative and unbiased products reviews. This is more likely to convert visitors to buyers for advertizers, making you, the AdSense publisher less vulnerable to smart pricing.
As you can see there is a lot more to the magical CPC number than meets the eye. If you only own a handful site then I would suggest doing a quick site audit of all your sites to ensure that you are getting the most value from your clicks. At the end of the day this can be difference between earning $30/day and earning $100/day from the same amount of traffic!
What do you think?
Have you also noticed discrepancies in your final estimated earnings per click from what you were expecting? Please share your thoughts and comments below.