WordAds Review 2018

One year ago, my blog reached the minimum traffic requirement of WordAds and the advertising platform added my blog to their program. Starting October 2017, I was able to display ads on my blog and earn part of the generated income. At the beginning, I was very excited. However, after few enthusiastic months, I soon realized that I will not be able to earn lots of money using WordAds. Sure, displaying adds earns some money, but compared to my regular salary, it is negligible.

Review: One year of WordAds

In this post, I want to revisit my first year with WordAds and share some experiences and observations that I made throughout the last year. Especially, I want to report some general points, such as how the income reporting and payout works, and discuss some issues related to traffic.

How does WordAds report earnings?

Once I was accepted to the program, a new “WordAds” button appeared on the sidebar of my dashboard. The button leads to a page that reports your monthly earnings together with the number of ads that WordAds served your viewers. Until September 2018, WordAds reported these figures on a monthly basis. Thereby, the figures of one particular month were usually published between the 20th and 25th of the following month. In October 2018, WordAds introduced a new feature, the company incorporated the ads and income reporting system into the Jetpack package. More precisely, WordAds added a new tab on your stats page. That is, next to traffic and insights tab, now one also finds a tab called ads that reports the number of ads displayed and the income generated on a daily basis. In my opinion this represents a huge improvement. Finally, once you accumulate 100 dollars of income, WordAds sends you the money to your PayPal account.

How much does WordAds pay?

How much can one earn with WordAds? While these seem to be very important questions to many bloggers, I am just not the guy to ask. WordAds is the only source of revenue that my blog generates—I tried the Amazon Affiliate program, but it didn’t work—. In order to make a living out of blogging, my blog would need to generate millions of monthly page views each month. Currently, I am having a few thousand. Hence, if one seeks earning advice, there are many blogs out there that propose fantastic strategies to earn money with blogging. In this post, I prefer to focus on some simple statistics. The average CPM—earnings per thousand impressions—was 0.685 (October 2017-November 2018). That is, displaying thousand ads generates on average an income of 68.5 pennies. Averaging 3 ads per view, I roughly earned 2 dollar per 1000 views. However, throughout the year the average CPM fluctuates considerably. The following table display the average CPM for each month since I was accepted to the program. Note that, the average CPM was high during between November and April and dropped during the summer month. Up to this day, the average CPM did not recover from this dip. The fluctuations in CPM might be driven by various factors. For instance, a different composition of traffic—US traffic pays more than traffic from other countries—and a different willingness to pay—firms paying for ads pay more during certain periods than during others—are probably the most important factors explaining the fluctuation in CPM. If time permits, I will try to examine in greater detail what factors drive these fluctuations.

MonthAverage CPM
October 2017
0.54
November0.89
December0.96
January0.78
February0.74
March0.71
April0.71
May0.69
June0.55
July0.46
August0.58
September0.68
October 2018
0.57
November
0.67

The average CPM does not only fluctuate throughout the year, but also within a week. The table below reports the average CPM for each weekday. One can see that the average CPM varies substantially between the different days of the week . The average CPM is lowest on Tuesday (0.57) and highest on Saturday (0.72).  However, note that, while the table above uses monthly data that was made available since the beginning of my WordAds affiliation, i.e. October 2017, the following table displays estimations that are based only on information from October 1, 2018 onward. Nonetheless, even though I have only a limited amount of data points for each weekday (between 10 and 11), the construction of 95% confidence intervals—based on a t-distribution—indicates that the CPMs are statistically different from each other. 

DayAverage CPM
95% Conf. Intervals
Monday0.64[0.59,0.70]
Tuesday0.57[0.50,0.63]
Wednesday0.64[0.57,0.70]
Thursday0.66[0.54,0.77]
Friday0.64[0.53,0.74]
Saturday0.72[0.60,0.84]
Sunday0.66[0.54,0.79]

What factor possibly reduced traffic and income?

During the last year, traffic on my site slowed down considerably. Additionally, also the average CPM decrease during the year. In the reminder of this post, I will mention some possible factors that can explain the decrease in traffic and average earning. Besides the fact that I started displaying ads during the last year, a couple of additional factors might have potentially reduced traffic and income on my blog. First, AMP was activated on my blog. Second, I changed my theme. Finally, GDPR came into place.

Displaying Ads

The sole fact that I started displaying ads on my blog probably already reduced traffic by its own. The reason being that ads slow down the loading speed of a page. It is well known that search engines punish long loading times and decrease the rank of site that take a long time to load. Thus, displaying ads might have led search engines diverting less traffic to my site. This is what I actually observe, my average google-rank decreased considerably during the last year.

AMP

AMP might be an additional factor that could have caused the slowdown in traffic on my blog. I do not remember exactly when, but at some point AMP was activated on my blog. AMP is a library that translates web pages into mobile pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously. The advantage is obvious, AMP pages load incredibly fast. Hence, search engine rank improves as loading time decreases. Unfortunately, AMP is very bad in parsing latex code. And, as I use a lot of math in my posts, most of my posts look very bad when AMP transformed. Hence, even though AMP decreases the loading speed of my blog posts, I am pretty sure that it also increase my bounce rate. Thus, on December 16, 2018, I decided to no longer use AMP.

Change of Theme

In August this year, I felt that my old theme was outdated. Thus, I changed the theme of my blog. I switched from the theme twenty ten to twenty fourteen. I am not sure by how much this change influenced the visibility of my website, but I suspect that a new theme comes with a different loading time and different custom settings. Hence, bots and crawlers will have to newly evaluate at least part of my blog and SEO ranking will drop temporarily.

GDPR

Finally, in May 2018 the European Union put the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into place. The law basically aims to give control to individuals over their personal data. Importantly, from a bloggers perspective, GDPR considers cookies as personal data. The reason being that cookies can identify an individual. The issue with not using cookies in advertisement is it that ads cannot be personalized. Hence, companies’ willingness to pay reduces substantially as they cannot select their audience as precisely as with cookies. Thus, even though GDPR does not reduce traffic on your site, it still decreases your income per ad displayed in the European Union and other countries that implemented GDPR. GDPR might also have reduced the average CPM on my blog. The following figure plots the monthly CPM over time and shows the average CPM before and after GDPR was introduced. Unfortunately, I cannot attribute the decrease in the mean to introduction of GDPR. The reason being that also the composition of the viewers changes significantly during summer. I would need a lot more data to clearly identify the effect of GDPR on ads revenue.



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17 thoughts on “WordAds Review 2018”

  1. As someone new to WordAds –post GDPR– this was really helpful and showed a more realistic view for me. Thank you for the candid numbers and I hope there will be a follow up at the end of 2019! I wish you much site traffic and lovely days!

  2. May I know what’s the ratio recorded in jetpack as in number of pageviews for the month vs the data recorded in wordads?
    I know the number will be smaller in wordads so I just want a ratio to estimate the actual cpm of the pageviews.

    1. Hi! I guess you are interested in earning per pageviews. When writing the post, I though for a minute if I should compute that ratio. I rejected the idea, because I thought of it as a subjective measure. That is, it depends on the number of ads that one puts on a site as well as on the number of viewers using adblockers. Hence, I though it was not very informative. I will include a graph like that in my next review.

      But, to answer your question, my guess would be that on average I earn roughly 1$ per 1000 page views.

  3. Very interesting. Thank you for your honest opinion on WordAds. I was completely unfamiliar with them but thought I’d give it a try.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of ads which means I may wind up taking them down. A bad experience for anyone coming to my site would settle my mind on the matter.

    I wish you nothing but the absolute best in the future!

  4. Hello, if you don’t mind me asking, how long did it take for your CPM to change? I average around 100k views a month, but my cpm has been at 0.01/0.02$ ever since I’ve started using wordads, and it’s been like a week now. So, is it normal to wait that long to get past that number?

    1. Hi!

      No, I do not mind at all. Unfortunately I cannot tell you the exact figures, as back then numbers were only reported on a monthly basis. However, my blog was accepted to the wordads program on October 20th, 2017 and in the first month I averaged a cpm of 0.57. That is, in the first 11 days my average cpm was 0.57.

      I visited your site and I noticed all the slots for ads, so they are definitely on. However, all the ads that I saw were wordads ads. That is, if no advertising company actually bids to put ads on your blog, then wordads will fill the slots with some wordads/wordpress related stuff. Apparently, at the moment, this appreas to be the case for your blog as noone was willing to pay in order to show and ad to me as a visitor.

      Currently, wordads appears to experience some problems. My average cpm of January, February and March drop by 50% compared to the previous 3 month, i.e. October, November and December. Jon Burke, the Ads Lead at Automattic, mentioned in a blog post that an (important) advertising company paused their relationship with wordads, meaning that this company currently isn’t bidding to display wordads ads and that blogs should expect some drop in cpm (see https://wordads.co/2019/02/14/understanding-wordads-earnings-fluctuations).

      Finally, the wordpress.com forum is usually a good source of information (https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic-tag/wordads). Generally, if you have any question regarding wordpress and/or wordads, you will find decent support there.

      Hope this helps!
      Best, ad

  5. Wanna say thanks for this, I am in the process of manually moving my Wix site ( pretty bad) to wordpress. I had literally just signed up with Chitika when 2 days later they sent an email saying they were stopping business! ( timing is everything πŸ˜› ) so i was lookign for alternatives. I am worried that adsense wont accept me as it will look like ( maybe) the site is too young even though the domain is 18 months old so i thought about word ads, my site only got about 5k views before but that was wi who always fair poorly in SEO and google searches, so trying to polish the content and drive that number up! Thanks for the info its somethign to aim for

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