It's a little shy of two months since Google
integrated Adsense and Analytics.
I've been playing with the various report possibilities and am excited
about what we will be able to learn from this.
Notice I said "will be able to learn". It's still too early
to draw a lot of conclusions - there is just not enough data yet. In
this period of time we've served up half a million page impressions,
so there are some lessons ready to be reaped, but overall it's
just not a long enough time to judge by. That's why this is
called "Part One" - this subject will need to be revisited over
time. I think six months might be good for Part Two and then
another look perhaps after a year.
One note: Google is paranoid about advertisers disclosing anything
more than gross revenue. Almost certainly this is because some
publishers get better deals than others and Google doesn't want
us comparing our rates to other sites. Therefor: Any and all information
below that indicates click-through-rates, page views and income is
completely fictional. I've made up figures strictly to demonstrate
the kind of information you can get from Google Analytics. These
figures are not real. I'll be reminding you of that again as
we get into the details - this is all "sample data".
Diving into Analytics
Probably the first place most of us would look is the "Adsense"
menu under "Content":
That doesn't tell you a lot more than your old Adsense reports would
have. It does have some details lower down about Top Adsense Content and
Top Adsense Referrers, but those are almost pointless this early on. For
example, the page at my site that earned the most money in the past month only
had seven more clicks than a page that earned not even one twentieth as much.
If I add up the revenue from the next 9 highest click-through pages,
that total is about the same as that highest page, so that page is way out of
average - it could be it will always attract the highest paying
ads, but with only two months to go by, I can't really say. I can't
glean much from sorting by CTR or eCPM either (click on column headings to sort).
Pages with very high CTR/eCPM haven't seen enough activity in two months to
know if they will always generate a good CTR or eCPM. Pages that have
drawn a lot of visitors haven't necessarily generated much income.
It's just too early to draw conclusions.
However, there are some things we can see now. If you click on
Traffic Sources->Direct Traffic, you'll find an Adsense Revenue tab
has been added to this. You'll find the same thing for Referring Sites
and Search Engines. For example, that might tell me (remember, all
figures are bogus) that 7,000 visits came directly here and earned
$20.00 in Adsense revenue. If I looked at Referring Sites, that
might be 5,000 visits and $25.00 in revenue. But Search Engines
could show 100,000 visits and $470.00 in revenue. If we do the
math, we can quickly say that Search Engine traffic generates
the most money, but isn't as much per thousand as Referring Sites.
Direct Traffic is obviously the worst. Again, though, there is no
point now in sorting by CTR or eCPM - there are just not enough data
You'll find the Adsense tab anywhere in makes sense. For example,
in Visitors->New vs. Returning I can see that New Visitors represent
95% of Adsense income. As they represent 84% of visitors overall, it's
plain that returning visitors aren't heavy ad clickers either (although
that could be just because I don't run ads in the middle of the newest pages!).
You can find other oddities.
- IE browser users generated more than
50% of Adsense income but only 30% of overall visits.
- Comcast brings
the most money but is in second place for number of visits overall.
- Dial-up users don't click as often as broadband users.
stats that probably are reasonable to trust after two months and a half million
Trusting the Data
If you have a low traffic site you can't infer a lot from these
reports. However, even with quite a lot more traffic, you'd be rash to jump to
firm conclusions just yet. We've only had these reports for two months and those
two months happen to have coincided with an economic downturn. My Adsense
revenue isn't down a great deal - it seems to be holding at 80% of norms, but
as overall traffic is up 15% to 20%, the true picture may be that it is off much more.
The difficulty is that we're in a very unusual situation right now. Web advertising
didn't exist at all when we last had an economic recession, and this particular
situation is completely different than anything we've ever experienced anyway.
How can you draw any sort of conclusions from any data?
I don't think we can. All the rules have changed and all bets are off. If
this had been available last year, I'd probably be willing to dive in a little
deeper and make some guesstimates. As things stand now, I don't trust
I am, however, always interested in hearing YOUR opinions. Are you
using Google Analytics new Adsense integration? Do you think you
have learned anything new? How do you plan to put that knowledge to use?
-->Analyzing Adsense performance with Google Analytics (Part Two)
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© 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence