I've been seeing a lot of videos on YouTube and a lot of posts on X about "invalid traffic." Creators are upset (and rightly so) that their channels are being hit with invalid traffic and YouTube is having their CPM rates plummet.
I talked to one guy who was making $80-100 a day in ad revenue to now making $8-12 a day overnight. That's roughly $2800 a month to $300 a month.
Yea, that sucks to say the least.
It's also unfair.
But what are you going to do about it? It's reality and you must move forward.
I feel for creators who this has happened to and it's a reminder to build an actual business. If you're relying on ad revenue as your primary income source, you're in a very vulnerable position.
One change and poof, your income is gone.
It reminds me of my internet friend Matt who wrote this back in 2020:
In it he covers how he must get his revenue away from Amazon Associates. He was way too reliant on this one income source because, well, it's easy. Post content, link to stuff, collect money, done.
Similar to ad revenue. Publish content, runs ads, collect a pay check.
He went from earning $283,086.82 from Amazon to that amount being cut by 60%, or another way a whooping $176,929 decrease. His total gross revenue was $371,892.78 in 2019 so this is nearly half his income gone.
Why? The Amazon Associates program cut his commission from 8% to 3% which is why his revenue dropped.
Since then he's launched digital products, physical products, got more aggressive with email marketing and built up his Swim University YouTube channel.
Fast forward, he made over a million dollars in 2023.
Oh, and ad revenue from the Swim University YouTube channel was only $50K of that million:
Invalid traffic is not a bug first off
Before I continue, YouTube invalid traffic is when systems at YouTube detect fake traffic hitting your channel and videos.
It's a problem because advertisers are paying to display their ads and instead of having their ads be displayed in front of actual human beings, they are instead being watched by bots.
As such, advertisers are wasting money (and borderline being defrauded) on their ad spend. If you as an advertiser don't get a return on your investment, you're also not going to run ads on YouTube.
YouTube's solution to this (since they seem to have no real solution) is to penalize their creators by decreasing the quality of ads, lowering the CPM and refunding the money that would have gone to the creator, back to the advertiser.
In short, build a business so you're making money and have ad revenue as a "nice to have, bonus money." If you were making $50k a month from something else, you would not lose sleep if your ad rate dropped from $80 a day to $10 a day.
Ad revenue is a drug
Making money from ads is easy, it's similar to Amazon Associates because you don't have to do anything other than create and publish content, then wait for that content to rank.
No marketing, no email funnel, no creating products, no running ads yourself, no tracking, no testing, no customer support, no copywriting.
It's a drug that keeps you lazy and comfortable, instead of trying to build creative ways to help your audience and earn an income.
Take this as your warning, get to work on multiple income streams. One audience, multiple ways to make money.
Come up with a service to provide, products to sell, courses, ebooks, a coaching offer, physical products and keep ad revenue where it should be - As a bonus income.
YouTube invalid traffic is your powerful reminder to build an actual business.