Google Adsense Cost Per Click Variation on Same Site

Why does the Google Adsense cpc or cost per click vary so much from day to day on the same site?

Keyword research is an essential part of building any website. If you are building a website with the intention of monetizing it using Google Adsense advertising, the CPC is a very important part of finding keywords that are likely to result in a reasonable return from the advertisements you place on your site.

But why do those clicks vary so much in value when visitors to your site find something of interest in an advertisement and click to find out more? It is not an easy question to answer but here are a few suggestions for why you may have noticed this phenomenon on your own site(s).

  • 1. If your Adsense account is set up to ‘allow interest based ads’, your site will not only be showing advertisements based on the content of your site, it will also be showing some ads which are personalised to the visitor viewing them and which are based on that visitor’s interests and recent web viewing history. So, for example if a visitor has just viewed a site on leather armchairs and your site is about curtains, instead of showing all advertisements based on types of curtains and blinds, you could find some that are relevant to anyone interested in leather armchairs – and of course, you will not see these, they will only be shown to the visitor for whom they are relevant.

    This can work for or against you. It is possible that the visitor has just viewed a site where the keywords cpc is worth a lot more than on your own site – or it could just as easily be the other way around. The question of whether or not you display interest based ads on your sites showing Adsense ads is difficult because you have to make the change globally, you cannot pick and choose sites that will show these interest based ads – it’s all or not at all!

  • 2. Another factor that can affect the cpc values you get is the geographic location of the visitor to your site as they may come from a country where there are no high paying advertisers.


  • 3. Another factor is ‘smart pricing’ which is something I need to do more research on but my initial findings seem to suggest that if your site is pretty new, Google needs to work out how valuable to its advertiser, a click on one of their adverts from a visitor to your site is likely to be. So, my understanding is that, if you send high quality visitors who are really looking to buy and are not just the web surfer equivalent of a ‘tire kicker’, Google is more likely to reward you with ads with a higher cpc. In a nutshell, it seems that the higher the conversions (or sales) from visitors coming via an advertisement placed on your site, the higher your earnings will be.


  • 4. The type and size of an advertisement and the position of a particular advertiser’s link on any given advertisement will also have an effect on the cpc. Generally, Google really help you out on this, advising you on the most popular sizes for advertisements to place on your site (as well as the position on the page to place them in) – it stands to reason that the more popular a size of ad is, the more likely that there will be advertisers in competition for a place on that ad. In addition, if your visitor chooses to visit the advertiser who has the number one spot on an advertisement, you will get a higher payment for that than if your visitor had clicked on an advertiser whose link is at the bottom of the ad.

Adsense Cost Per Click Variation over a two week period on a site

adsense cost per click

Of course, the cpc we get from the Google Adwords Keyword Tool is really only a guide to what Adsense publishers might expect to receive from adverts on their site targeting any given keyword phrase. Another useful tool that also gives an indication of the cost per click you might expect to get, it the Contextual Keyword Tool that Google supplies (also found under tools when you are logged into your Adwords account).

I hope that this article has gone some way to explaining the cost per click variation earned by Adsense publishers on sites displaying Adsense advertisements.

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