AdSense earnings drop after moving to HTTPS / SSL

Here are the results of moving the entire site to HTTPS / SSL. Surprisingly, the HTTPS migration didn’t have a negative impact on my page loading speeds. My website is loading fast despite what other people have to say about the impact of HTTPS on page speed.

This was the good news, the bad news is that my AdSense income is taking a huge hit. The HTTPS migration appears to affect my RPM rates and is hurting my AdSense income badly.

After a week or so, I had a warning in my AdSense account, announcing me that my current earnings are much lower compared to my daily estimated ones. Being a new warning (never had that before) I thought is just another bad day or a temporary auction issue. But it wasn’t, after few more weeks my RPM started to drop, as well as my income.

Right after noticing the AdSense earnings drop I did some quick searches, to see if other publishers are experiencing the same issue. After a few searches I was able to find reports, some of them trustworthy, about users that are experiencing real issues with their AdSense income after migrating to HTTPS.

The reasons behind AdSense earnings drop

Okay, there are affected publishers, but why and what’s the real reason behind that? Having a closer look at Google’s AdSense ad code support for SSL answer on AdSense Help Center (which I read before switching to https), I’ve tried to find what’s behind this statement:

HTTPS-enabled sites require that all content on the page, including the ads, be SSL-compliant. As such, AdSense will remove all non-SSL compliant ads from competing in the auction on these pages. If you do decide to convert your HTTP site to HTTPS, please be aware that because we remove non-SSL compliant ads from the auction, thereby reducing auction pressure, ads on your HTTPS pages might earn less than those on your HTTP pages.

I decided to have a quick look at the certified third-party ad vendors and after a quick analysis, here are the results:

AdWords third-party ad vendors

There are 117 vendors listed from which 88 are delivering HTTPS (SSL-compliant) ads.

So, around 25% of third-party certified ad vendors do not have HTTPS support.

Ad Exchange Vendors, allowed via the DoubleClick Ad Exchange

From 1148 ad vendors listed only 705 are delivering SSL compliant ads.

That equals to over 38% of ad vendors not offering support for ads delivered over HTTPS.

Of course, the above analysis will not clearly show the expected income drop, but will definitely give you a clue about the amount of auctioneers that you may lose. Most probably the amount of your losses will be closely related to your niche, business type and users behavior. It may be a huge drop in earnings or a hardly notable one.

Evaluating the impact on your Adsense revenue

Lots of bad news, right? Here is a good one: you can partially determine the impact on your income using the AdSense reports. In your AdSense account, switch to Performance reports and choose Ad Networks. Using these lists you can actually check if your top auctioneers are SSL certified.

In my case, the revenue from Ad Exchange Vendors was insignificant. Lucky me, I can exclude those 38% advertisers from my losses.

Unfortunately, there is no way to determine the impact of 25% of AdWords third-party vendors on my income. I couldn’t find a way to segment the Google AdWords network, by third-party vendors, in my reports. If there are ways to do that, let me know or leave a comment!