The real reason behind the sudden drop in Google Adsense impressions


Picture[1]-The real reason for the sudden drop in Google Adsense impressions-Rvich Magazine

When using Google Adsense (Google Ads), the most anxious situation that may make you feel the most is not being able to immediately answer why the ad performance suddenly changes. Along with this doubt, there are also constant questions from leaders or customers, who want to know the reasons for the decline in web page visits or sales revenue. All these factors combine to create a stressful environment.

Based on my ten years of experience with Google Adsense, the biggest realization for analyzing sudden performance changes is that in-depth research is needed. Over time, it’s no longer enough to just look at “low-dimensional” labels to see the performance of your overall Google Ads campaigns. You need to dig deep into what’s actually going on with your Google ad groups and get down to the nitty gritty details. By analyzing four or five declining ad groups, you can usually spot a pattern.

Google’s official explanation for the sudden change is:

If your ads or keywords aren't getting the impressions you expected, the reason could be simple. The number of times users search for terms related to your keywords and whether your keywords are effective in triggering your ads (as opposed to your competitors' ads) will affect the number of impressions your ad receives. Constant changes in web traffic, customer behavior, and web content can also cause normal fluctuations in your impressions.

Advertising decisions made by competitors may also affect your impressions. The number of impressions your ads receive may change each time a new competitor enters the market, or if your current competitor changes the content of an existing account. For example, your biggest competitor might have raised its bid, preventing your ad from showing on the first page of search results and causing you to receive fewer impressions. Many ad impressions come from ads that appear on the first page of Google search results, so if you raise your bid, you can increase your chances of showing on the first page and get more impressions.

Temporary events may also have a larger impact. For example, holidays or hot news topics can have a huge impact on the number of impressions and clicks you receive! Advertisers promoting decorations and holiday plants may experience large changes in the number of visitors to their site around the holidays. This is also the case when a popular celebrity endorses a clothing brand; in this case, the advertiser promoting the brand may receive more impressions.

Scenario 1): Are you experiencing worse CTR at the same time as your click volume is lower?

One of the most common things that happens when you experience low click volume is that your click-through rate also drops. You basically have two metrics that affect your clicks:

  • your click-through rate
  • your impressions

In this case, if your CTR also dropped, we'll investigate 3 reasons for the drop in clicks:

A) You change your Google ads

If you changed your Google Ads settings when your clicks were decreasing, this is usually the reason. Many advertisers don’t take this into consideration when creating new ad variations.

The process for testing ads in Google Ads is exactly the same as regular A/B testing. You need a control ad that tells you whether your new ad performed better or worse than your baseline. I often create ads where I think testing them is a waste of time. They are obviously better written, but I still decided to test them. A few times I was proven wrong and I was able to quickly pause new ads and resume our previous campaign performance.

If you have recently changed your ads and are subsequently experiencing lower CTRs, I recommend restarting your old ads and testing to see if there is an issue with the new ads.

B) Google ad ranking dropped?

If, on average, your ad ranks at 2.3, but suddenly finds itself at an average position of 3.2, you'll see a sharp drop in clicks. As your ranking in Google drops, your click-through rate will drop a lot.

There could be many reasons why your ad's position may be declining while you're receiving fewer clicks. The most common reasons are:

  • Your competitors raise their bids
  • Your Quality Score drops, causing your Ad Rank to drop
  • You have lowered your bid

Depending on the reason behind the drop in click-through rate, you will need to start different tasks.

If your clicks start to drop, your competitors will simply start outbidding you to the point where you can no longer defend the same ad position, resulting in lower clicks.

Don't lament when your boss or client screams for more clicks. They may not be able to get a fuller picture of why you lowered your bid. Typically, you can explain to them that you've lowered your bids, or that your competitors have become more aggressive and have plans to make more money from AdWords.

C) Competitors have better ads?

One reason for low click-through rates is that competitors start promoting aggressively. If you're selling the same product at roughly the same price and offering the same benefits, you'll undoubtedly be subject to fluctuations in click volume depending on how aggressive your competitors' promotions are.

If your CTR is dropping and your click volume is declining - remember to use the ad preview tool to search for your keywords and determine if your ad is still the most engaging on the page.

Scenario 2) Your CTR is the same as usual, but your ad clicks are still down

If your CTR is the same as usual but you're getting fewer clicks, it could be because of one thing: fewer impressions.

There could be a number of reasons why your impression count is low, but here are some of the most common:

A) Seasonal

Seasonality is an important area in many industries. Even businesses that are seasonally “proof” will experience fluctuations in interest in their products throughout the year.

Backpacks sell really well during the “back to school” season, and toys see a huge increase in demand around Christmas (as do almost every other consumer product).

Before you start digging into your Google Ads campaigns, investigate whether seasonality is causing your visibility to be lower. Impressions are just another way of saying "searches," so when impressions go down, searches for your keywords also go down.

B) Modify keyword matching type

If you change your campaign's match type strategy or just change a few of your primary keywords, your impressions will fluctuate.

Let's say you paused all broad match modifier keywords and instead opted for more phrase and exact match. In almost all cases, this will reduce your account's overall impressions and thus your click volume.

Again, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. This is a very healthy strategy to implement if you spend your budget on more relevant search terms by choosing to focus on phrase match and exact match. If you also see a drop in conversion rates, then further adjustments are needed.

C) Pause certain keywords

This may be obvious to some, but if you've recently paused certain keywords, you'll also see fewer impressions. I've seen clients and junior Google AdWords managers simply not understand why their clicks were down.

A quick visit to the Change History tool in Google AdWords revealed that some high-volume keywords have been suspended. When you're experiencing low clicks, it can be easy to jump to some more complex questions, but sometimes the answers are right in front of you.

D) New negative keywords

Once you start adding negative keywords to your AdWords campaign, it's easy to add negative keywords that are too broad. Negative keywords that are too broad can block searches they are not intended to block.

If you're advertising a health store that sells juicers, you might see searches for Omega Fish Oil. To ensure that you never receive clicks from searches for omega oils, fish oils, etc., you add negative keywords.

E) Lower ad quality score

Another reason for fewer impressions is a lower Quality Score. You might still have the same CTR, but your overall impressions have dropped due to lower Quality Scores for multiple keywords.

The lower your quality score, the higher you need to bid to maintain the same position as before. If your quality score drops enough, you'll start to see keywords below your first page bid. This means your keywords will only show when other advertisers have exhausted their budgets, or when Google rotates some of its current advertisers in order to show a more diverse set of ads to repeat searchers.

If your Quality Score is low, there are a few things you need to do to restore your original Quality Score. However, the first thing you need to check is whether you have the right framework for quality score success.

Scenario 3) High click-through rate but decreased click volume

A) Your budget is spent too early

If you've recently increased your Quality Score or bid, you'll likely receive a higher ad position and, therefore, a higher CTR.

As your click-through rate increases, you actually start getting more clicks earlier in the day, thereby hitting your budget before the end of the day. This typically occurs when bids increase beyond what the budget can accommodate.

Let’s say you previously paid $1 per click and hit 100 clicks per day on a $100 budget. After raising bids for certain keywords that generated conversions below your target CPA, your average CPC is now $1.20. Therefore, you can only budget 80 clicks. Depending on your CPC increase, you may see a big change in click volume.

B) Have the keywords you got clicks on changed?

Continuing with the previous example, let’s take a deeper look at how improving your Quality Score means fewer clicks. In the next example, we assume the following:

Keyword A has an average Quality Score of 3/10. Rank 6.0 25 clicks per day and $5 CPC = $125 spent
Keyword B has a Quality Score of 7/10, average. Position 2.1, 200 clicks per day, and $1 CPC = $200 spend

A total of $325 was spent on 225 clicks. Your budget is exactly $325, so you won’t be able to finish it all in one day.

Let's say your Quality Score for keyword A improves to 7/10. Keyword A has more competition than Keyword B, so you'll see a higher CPC for Keyword A even though its Quality Score is higher.

As Keyword A's Quality Score increases and the bid remains the same, Keyword A will reach position 2.0. This means your click-through rate will be higher. You can easily expect to go from 1% to 10%. As a result, you'll get 10 times more clicks than before.

However, we still only had a budget of $325. Before we get the majority of clicks from the $1 CPC keyword, we now have to evenly distribute clicks between the $1 CPC keyword and the $5 CPC keyword:

$325 = $162.50 per keyword

$162.50 / $5 = 32 clicks

$162.50 / $1 = 162 clicks

A fee of $325 now suddenly equals 194 clicks. Clicks dropped 14% simply because our quality score improved. I bet you didn't see this coming.


Whenever your Google Adsense performance changes, it’s crucial to dig deeper into what’s actually going on. By taking the time to analyze your data, you can often uncover hidden reasons why your campaigns may be underperforming. Once you have this information, you can take appropriate steps to improve your Google bidding performance.

In the meantime, we recommend that you continue to monitor your ad performance. Google Instant may have an impact on overall impression levels, either increasing or decreasing them. But since this feature helps users search for terms that better match what they're looking for, it should improve click quality. This will improve the overall performance of your campaign. Therefore, it is important to pay close attention to advertising performance and adjust strategies accordingly, which will help you better utilize the Google Adsense platform to improve business results.