If you’re a YouTube creator or an online business owner, you’re likely no stranger to the occasional challenges that come with managing your channel. Recently, many creators, including myself, have encountered an alarming issue: a significant drop in revenue attributed to what YouTube terms as “invalid traffic.” So I’m going to delve into this problem, share personal experiences, and discuss potential solutions.
Watch video: YouTube’s Insulting “Invalid Traffic” Problem
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UPDATE: as of Oct 5, 2023 my RPMs are back up to normal and have been back for about a week. This was about 6 weeks after the initial drop. Follow me on X for updates.
The Drop in Revenue: A Common Dilemma
In the last 90 days, many of us have seen an unexpected drop in our revenue graphs. This sudden decline caught my attention as well. Upon further investigation, I discovered the ominous message notifying me of ads being limited on my videos due to invalid traffic. It’s crucial to understand that this isn’t a bug, according to YouTube. Instead, it’s an issue that’s affecting creators across the platform. Let’s explore this further.
Understanding the Invalid Traffic Problem
Back in August, I noticed a drastic revenue drop and suspected a glitch. After consulting with fellow creators, I realized it wasn’t an isolated incident. This prompted me to reach out to YouTube support for answers. They explained that invalid traffic refers to activity that doesn’t come from genuine users with real interest. However, the challenge lies in pinpointing the exact source. This ambiguity can be frustrating, but it’s a situation many of us face.
The Frustrating Experience with YouTube Support
After explaining my situation to YouTube support, they told me it could be automated or incentivized traffic from third parties, traffic boosting services, friends or contacts, letting playlists of your videos run all day long, or announcing to your viewers that they should watch or click through on ads and certain videos to boost ad traffic. I told them I wasn’t doing any of those things. They encouraged me to fill out a form for suspicious activity, which I did promptly. After a month I reached out to them again, and they still didn’t offer any solution. This echoes the experiences of numerous creators who’ve encountered the same issue.
The Community Speaks Out
Upon digging deeper, I discovered I wasn’t alone in this struggle. Many creators, some with substantial followings, voiced their frustrations on social media platforms. It’s evident that this problem extends beyond individual channels. The lack of transparency and dialogue from YouTube’s end is concerning, leaving creators feeling unheard and unsupported.
The Waiting Game: A Frustrating Reality
Creators have shared various theories on what might be causing this issue, but the consensus is that the solution lies in waiting. Some people have had their RPMs (revenue per mille) down for 2 months, and then they go back up at like the 2 month mark on the dot. Some people, it’s been 3 months. Other people have been up and down since November 2022. This really highlights the need for a more proactive approach from YouTube. It’s disheartening to witness views, watch time, and subscribers increase while revenue plummets.
Conclusion: Moving Forward
So I’m going to post about this, and then I’m going to let it go. Because the the truth of it all is, I’m not interested in building a YouTube channel. I have a business, and my YouTube channel drives traffic to my business. I’m interested in helping other people make YouTube drive traffic to their business. So if ever a case could be made to create your own revenue streams, I’m saying create your own digital product, course, program, offer a service, consulting, 1-on-1, any type of offer that you have full and total control over regardless of the platform that you’re on. If ever the case could be made for that, it’s this.
Update November 2023
Here’s a little update about my “invalid traffic” problem. About two days after I originally published this post, my revenue magically went back up. And I was not expecting the invalid traffic problem to be resolved within just a matter of days of publishing my video complaining about it. But I do want to share what I did. Not because I think that something I did made the problem go away, but just because people keep asking.
When I created the video addressing this problem, I just felt like I wanted to let my audience know this was happening because my audience are fellow content creators. I also wanted to vent my frustration, and then let it go. I felt like I needed to make a video, so that I could just let it go and not be mad anymore. And that’s what I did. I walked away. I just kept creating videos and monetizing my other revenue streams, but I have had people ask for an update.
So I felt like, I owed you one. But I want to be very clear. I don’t think there was something I did to make the situation resolve itself. I think it resolved itself on its own, I guess. But on August 12th, my revenue dropped. A few days later, I noticed I had that notification that “you have invalid traffic on your channel.” I chatted with Customer Service. Are they people or robots? I’m not totally sure, but nothing helped the situation, so I made a video about it.
And on September 29th, I logged in and noticed that I had a little spike in my RPMs. I still had the notification that “ads have been limited on 1 or more your videos due to invalid traffic.” So my RPMs went back up, but I still had that notification. And I had it there for a couple of days after the fact. And then 10 or 12 days later, it was still up, and it has been up at the normal RPM levels ever since. Again, if you want the exact details about how I approached Customer Service and how this whole thing came about, go watch my original video. So one of the things that I did, because the person I was chatting with recommended that I fill out the invalid clicks form again, even though I had already completed it.
I did submit that form again. And I also asked ChatGPT for help in formulating a response that would lead to a favorable decision on the part of YouTube to basically reinstate my account. This is all assuming there is an actual human being looking at these things. And I honestly don’t know if there is. So I did submit that 3rd form. The other thing I did, which made my blood absolutely boil that I even felt like I had to do this, I posted a notice to my own audience where I politely asked them to stop sending invalid traffic to my channel. This is so dumb.
There’s no reason why this should have somehow triggered the situation to resolve itself. But 2 days later, it did. I even had ChatGPT help me craft this statement that I posted, and I posted this on my YouTube community page. I just kind of felt like I needed to do it so that if there was a human kind of looking at my situation, they might go “well, she is trying to tell her audience to stop sending the invalid traffic.” Which again is like, YouTube, you know that’s not what’s happening. There are a couple of people that responded to my tweet on the day that my RPMs went back up.
It said theirs are also back up, but a majority of the people that I was communicating with. weren’t. And I haven’t seen any big updates on this topic since. I kind of hoped that my RPMs being reinstated, and having the notification gone meant that YouTube was putting a human being on this problem and going in and fixing it for people. So it’s been about 6 weeks since mine has been back.
And if you’re currently dealing with the invalid traffic problem on your channel, and you haven’t done any of the things wrong that they accuse you of doing, I think what you should not do is spend your time and energy trying to figure out how to solve it. Because I really don’t think there’s anything you can do to fix it other than maybe just copy what I did and see if it works. But don’t go in and turn off embedding on your videos. If you have your YouTube videos embedded in your own blog or your own website, don’t turn that off.
That’s only gonna hurt you, and that doesn’t appear to have anything to do with this problem. I didn’t touch my embedded videos, and my RPMs came back. Don’t remove affiliate links from your video description. That hasn’t been shown to be an actual issue in this whole entire problem. Again, I didn’t remove any of my affiliate links. And don’t give up on your channel either. I can see the case for holding back on content. Because why would you publish content on platform that has literally told you, “We’re not paying you. Sorry.”
I think for most people, RPMs are going back up. The notification is going away, and so not posting is really only going to hurt your channel in the long run. And there are so many other ways to monetize your content and your expertise. And you could take all of the energy that you have in trying to solve the problem on your channel or even find the root of the problem, and put it into other ways of monetizing your content. Like promoting your course or program, or working with or promoting products and services and software through affiliate marketing.
These things might not bring your revenue up right now. But down the road, over time, it’ll end up helping you in the long run. I appreciate you coming back to see my update on this. I appreciate your support. For those that are new here, I appreciate you coming in as a new person and sticking around.