15 Proven Adsense Alternatives that Make Money (Earnings Screenshots)

Proven Adsense Alternatives

UPDATED June, 2017

This post is based on extensive personal testing and use of many ad networks on my largest B2C niche site which currently receives over 2.5 million monthly page views.

With this level of traffic, I’m able to quickly test ad networks and determine whether they’re worth using.

Below is my list of 15 top Adsense alternatives or ad networks for additional incremental revenue.

IMPORTANT:  While I generate plenty of revenue with the following ad networks, nothing comes close to generating the amount of revenue Adsense does for me.  That said, I reserve the best ad spots on my sites for Adsense so I’m sure if I placed Media.net ads in the Adsense spots, Media.net would perform better than it does currently… but I highly doubt Media.net would out-earn Adsense.

IMPORTANT:  I still use AdSense; however, AdSense earnings are fairly small part of my overall revenue these days (approximately 20% which is astonishing… but it’s thanks to Media.netMonumetric and affiliate promotions.

This isn’t some regurgitated list of ad networks which you can easily find by searching Google yourself.

This list is based on a wide variety of ad networks I’ve tried.  Some I continue using while others not any more, but I include them because they may be good for your to try.

Most importantly, the set of ad networks and options below are a diverse set of advertising options.  In other words it’s not a list of ad networks that all use Ad Exchange.  Instead, each ad network below offers something unique.

15 Best Ad Network Options Other than Adsense

1. Media.net

I love Media.net (read my review here).  They offer terrific ad customization resulting in high ad conversion and the RPM is decent.  The ads are link units that look fabulous and come in many designs.  Often they look like menu navigation with text links.  These units can get an excellent click through rates in many niches (not all niches, but many).  It’s a contextual ad network in that the keywords in the ads are based on the sites’ content.

You can place up to 3 ad units on a page.

Overall, Media.net is a little more lenient about placement than AdSense… although they do have a terms of service you must be familiar with.  Like Adsense, Media.net (and all quality ad networks) will not tolerate garbage traffic and click fraud.

Since starting with Media.net, I’ve consistently increased my revenue with them.  Here’s a recent earning screenshot (just to show you can actually earn decent revenue with their ad network.

Just as you need AdSense approval with AdSense, you must also apply and be approved with Media.net.

=> Click here for Media.net

Media.net Earnings May 2015

Media.net update:  In November 2016 they’re rolling out in-image ads.  I’m in their beta program to see how they perform.  This could be an exciting additional offering.

2. Monumetric (Formerly The Blogger Network)

Updated info:  Monumetric is now my highest earning advertising network.  I’ve been working with them for most of 2016 and the results have improved throughout the year.  They are very progressive in new ad concepts.  For example, they provide desktop/mobile sticky ad units which earn ridiculously well.  This ad network is a serious alternative to AdSense.

Monumetric (read my Monumetric review here) is my most recent display ad addition to my sites.  I rolled them out slowly.  It didn’t take long to realize this ad network means business.  The revenue they generate for me is excellent.  I still don’t fully understand how they do it, but they have some excellent advertisers in their network (in addition to Ad Exchange).

Monumetric pays on a per page view basis instead of a per click basis.  This is great, especially since their CPM is reasonably good.

Here’s a recent earnings chart from Monumetric for my bigger site. While it’s not a fortune in revenue, keep in mind this is purely incremental revenue from sidebar and footer ad placements.

The Blogger Network Revenue

=> Click here for Monumetric

3. Ezoic

Ezoic is a different ad network concept altogether.  I’ve been working with them for quite a while and am very impressed.  Read more about Ezoic here (my very recent and upated Ezoic review).

Ezoic is a certified Adsense publisher.  Ezoic in a nutshell manages and optimizes your ad placement.  Their software for testing ad placement is amazing.

They provide Ad Exchange ads which you can set up to split test with your AdSense.  The split testing features are amazing.  Moreover, via Ezoic you can have 5 ad units on your site instead of the usual 3 permitted by AdSense.

Currently, I’m using Ezoic for mobile (AMP).  It takes several weeks for Ezoic to conduct testing.  In fact, testing never ends, but the first several weeks is when the system really tests a lot of ad placements and layouts.  As it does this testing, it rules out poorly performing layouts.

You can optimize your site for revenue, bounce rate and/or page views.  I choose to focus on revenue.

At the time of publishing this post, I’m still in the initial testing phase with Ezoic, but the results are very, very good.  I’m certain I’ll be sticking with them for a long time… even if I use both their layouts along with my own ad placement.  Testing is over.  I’m happy with their results especially since they rolled out many new features which I discuss at length here.

I believe you do need an AdSense account in good standing in order to work with Ezoic.  If they accept your site into their system, I suggest embracing the opportunity.  Just be patient during the first few weeks because the revenue won’t be great as the system starts its testing… but it doesn’t take long for revenue to climb.

Generally, Ezoic states its system can significantly increase a site’s ad revenue through extensive testing, sometimes up to 200%+.  While I didn’t enjoy a 200% revenue increase, the revenue they can generate along with the split testing can help.  Moreover, I like the fact that they are a very knowledgeable sounding board for ad placement ideas.

If you use display ads on your site, I suggest giving Ezoic a shot.  However, don’t pull the plug on day 3.  You need to commit to letting the initial extensive testing run its course.

New Ezoic Info (November 2016):  Ezoic is launching an AMP (accelerated mobile pages) app that will turn your mobile display into AMP for Google search engine visitors.  This is very exciting.  Ezoic is in the process of setting me up with this.  Moreover, Ezoic will monetize the AMP pages, which isn’t so easy to do since you must create AMP specific ads in AdSense.  I will cover this in more detail once it’s up and running on my site (any day now).

=> Click here for Ezoic

4. Criteo

Criteo is the newest ad network I’ve added to my B2C sites.

What I love about Criteo is you can set a RPM floor so that you’re guaranteed a certain RPM.

Currently I have 2 Criteo ads on my site.  One is placed to display if it generates a higher revenue than one of my Media.net ads.  The other is an ad on its own that will only display if it meets the RPM floor I set.

I set fairly high RPM floors for both units.  It’s only been 2 days, but already the results are very impressive.

=> Click here for Criteo

Criteo Revenue May 2015

5. GumGum

Specifically, I use GumGum image overlay ads.  These are ads that display banners at the bottom of images.

My B2C niche sites are image-rich, so GumGum is a perfect ad network to add to the site.

You can choose how aggressive the ads display such as 10% of images, 20% of images and so on.  I go with 12% to 15%.  I don’t want every image to have an ad on them.

The one issue with GumGum is you need to have a minimum of 500,000 monthly page views in order to have an account.  If you get this traffic volume and have images on your site, I recommend you give them a shot.

=> Click here for GumGum

GumGum Revenue May 2015

6. Amazon CPM

UPDATE:  Amazon dropped me from their CPM program.  I don’t think they like image-rich sites.  That’s what they told me.  It’s too bad because it was a good earner.  If you can use them, I recommend that you do.

Amazon now offers an ad network that operates different than its affiliate program.

The Amazon CPM ads are ad units (up to 3 per web page) you place on your site.  Revenue is generated on a strict CPM basis, which is great.

I believe you still need to be invited to the Amazon CPM ad network.  To find out if you’re invited, log in to your Amazon Associates account and look for a large banner about the CPM ad network.

While you won’t get rich with Amazon CPM ads, they offer great incremental income (read my detailed Amazon CPM Ad Network review here).

Their biggest issue currently is the fill rate.  Seldom do ads fill higher than 50% for me.  Therefore, it’s important to include a backfill (either another ad network or some banner that offers site navigation… the key is to backfill with something otherwise you end up with a blank white space).

Here’s a screenshot of recent revenue from Amazon CPM ads:

Amazon CPM Ad Revenue May 2015

7. Spoutable

UPDATE:  I’m not using Sortable, but if you want to monetize exit intent, they’re a good option.  I prefer an exit intent opt in form these days so I don’t have Spoutable ads.

Spoutable is a new ad network and it’s a very smart concept.  Essentially, Spoutable uses exit intent technology.  When a visitor indicates they are leaving the site by placing cursor on the browser address bar, the Spoutable ads pop up.

Spoutable ads are in the same format as native ads.  Basically they promote other content much like Taboola and Outbrain ads.  This is good because the ads are promoting other interesting content… not hard-selling something.

The engagement is quite high.  I think the ads look great.

Currently, Spoutable is on an invite-only basis, but you can apply here.

Here are some recent earnings I’ve had with Spoutable.  Revenue fluctuates somewhat, but that’s common with many ad networks.

Spoutable Ad Revenue April and May 2015

Note:  Currently I’m testing Spoutable by turning them on and off to see if they cannibalize other ad networks.  I don’t think they are, but I always do this testing with new ad networks.  Overall, the revenue is decent.  If you get an invite to use them, I suggest you test them as well.

=> Click here for Spoutable

8. EngageBDR

EngageBDR invited me to place some of their ads on my site.  They offered a very high RPM so I gave it a shot.

The revenue these ads generated was awesome and it was based on a CPM basis.  That said, I know their ads generated a lot of clicks… and if those clicks didn’t happen on my site, EngageBDR would have ended their relationship with me.

However, I’m no longer running EngageBDR ads on my site because their ads were slowing my site down.  They were gif format.  They tried to fix the issue, but it wasn’t fixed.  I had readers complained about site performance, so I removed the ads.  I didn’t like removing the ads because they made a lot of money, but I can’t sacrifice user experience for the sake of revenue to the degree these ads did.

I’m including EngageBDR in this list because I think you should give them a shot if you can get into their ad network.  Perhaps you won’t have the same site issues I did.  If you don’t, you can make a lot of money with them… in fact if your site performs well for them (i.e. you generate a lot of converting traffic for them), these ads could exceed Adsense revenue on an RPM basis.

=> Click here for EngageBDR

I ran EngageBDR ads for a short time (March 12 to March 31) – here’s what they earned:

EngageBDR Ad Revenue March 2015

9. Taboola

Taboola ads are native advertising ads.  These ads link to popular and enticing content.  You’ve likely seen them on other websites… they’re the ads that follow “From the Web” or some similar phrase.

Taboola is an ad network I don’t use much.  It’s one I haven’t had a great deal of success with.  However, I’m including Taboola because I have publisher colleagues who generate a great deal of revenue with them.

For some reason Taboola ads don’t work all that great in my niche.  But they do perform well in many niches, so I suggest you give them a shot.  These ads have a relatively high CTR and with a lot of traffic, can generate some great revenue.

Typically these ads are placed in sidebars and below content.  You should also definitely test some in-content placement as well.

FYI, Taboola isn’t the only native ad network.  There are many of them.  Too many to list.  Outbrain is another popular native ad network, but you need millions of monthly page views in order to place Outbrain’s ads on your site.  Taboola doesn’t have such a high threshold.

=> Click here for Taboola

10. Vibrant Media

I used Vibrant Media’s in-text ads for several months.  I earned $7 to $10 per day.  It wasn’t much.  I don’t use them any more; however, I’m including them in this list because I think they’re worth trying.

The reason they didn’t do well for me is because my B2C sites are image-rich.  The text is much less important.  Since Vibrant Media’s in-text offering is focused on in-text links, I’m not surprised they didn’t do well for me.

If your site is rich with text-based information and you get 500,000 monthly page views, I suggest testing Vibrant Media.

=> Click here for Vibrant Media

11.  RevContent

RevContent is in my view the most progressive native ad network.  They have some amazing ad options, especially for mobile.

I tested them quite a bit.  I love them, but unfortunately they weren’t a great fit for my niche.

That said, I think every site that uses ads to monetize should try RevContent because if it is a good fit, they can make you a ton of money.  I’ve seen revenue from colleagues and it’s very, very high.  The revenue CPC can be excellent in certain niches.

=> Click here for RevContent

12. PowerInbox

I’m currently using PowerInbox to monetize my email newsletters.  If you can’t seem to generate much or any revenue with your email newsletter but have a good number of subscribers, give PowerInbox ads a shot.

PowerInbox provides native ads that you can insert into your email newsletter.  They’re fairly engaging and their algorithm adjusts over time so that it serves ads your readership responds to.

The ad units are horizontal and vertical units (called stripes).  You can place one, two or more stripes in your newsletter.

I’m getting $7 to $14 RPM from these units which I’m happy about.

=> Click here for PowerInbox

13. Skimlinks

I’ve known about Skimlinks for years.  I tried them out earlier this year, but unfortunately pulled the plug too early.  Recently I reinstated Skimlinks and am happy I did so.

Skimlinks is a monetization platform that turns all links to merchants in their network into affiliate links.  For example, if you place a link to Amazon.com, Skimlinks will turn that into an affiliate link.

3 Main reasons I use Skimlinks:

Skimlinks is an affiliate marketing tool turning links into affiliate links sitewide.

You might be thinking, why would I choose to pay a middle person a part of commissions when I can insert affiliate  links directly on my site and earn more.  It’s a good question.  There are 3 main reasons I use Skimlinks:

  1. Convenience and Efficiency:  I have writers produce most of my content.  They place links to various merchants.  By using Skimlinks, I don’t have to go back into that content and place my affiliate links.  Moreover, I don’t have to apply to dozens or hundreds of merchants because Skimlinks has relationships with something like 20,000 plus merchants.
  2. Higher commission rates:  Skimlinks has negotiated higher commission rates with some merchants so even though Skimlinks skims some money off the top, the net commissions to me can be higher.
  3. Reporting:  While Skimlinks reporting could be improved, the reporting is super convenient and I can see which web pages on my site generates the most affiliate commissions across all merchants very quickly.

The main reason I use Skimlinks is with so many writers on my sites creating links to merchants, it saves me a ton of time because I don’t have to go back and insert affiliate links.

Am I making more money with Skimlinks?

No, but I’m not making less.  My affiliate commissions have always fluctuated, but overall my affiliate revenue remains about the same.  Therefore, I love the convenience of using Skimlinks.

Also, I do not set Skimlinks to override existing affiliate links.  I only have Skimlinks turn non-affiliate links into affiliate links.

=> Click here for Skimlinks

14. Amazon Native Ads

Amazon native ads are a performance-based advertising program.  Basically Amazon provides you code which generates attractive product grids you can place anywhere on your site.  If your site content revolves around topics for which there are physical products available, these units can perform very well.

In order for you to earn revenue, a site visitor must click a link or image in the ad and then purchase something at Amazon from which you earn a commission.

These units are available and can be created in your Amazon Associates portal.

15. Infolinks

I recently gave Infolinks a try.  I love their platform.  I like some of their ad offerings, but I’m very happy with my current ad mix and since my sites are image-centric, the text link ads didn’t really do well.  I do think, however, if your site has plenty of text that Infolinks is worth trying.

Infolinks is popular ad network.  Their claim to fame is turning text into link ads on your site.  They aren’t affiliate links like Skimlinks; instead, the ads pay per click.

Since then, Infolinks has expanded its ad offerings to include the following:

  • Intext:  These are the ads that put them on the map.  Basically Infolinks turns keywords on your page into hyperlinks.  When a visitor hovers the cursor or finger over the link, an ad pops up.
  • Infold: These are pretty obtrusive, but can earn well.  It’s a large ad that appears from the bottom of your site.
  • Inframe: These are gutter ads.
  • Inscreen: These are pop up ads.
  • Inarticle:  These are link units you can put pretty much anywhere on our site.

I’m considering running their inframe ads again.  I don’t have these types on my site and so it’s a unique offering that may add some nice incremental revenue.

=> Click here for Infolinks

One Other Ad Network to Try (if you can get approved)

If you can get approved, try exponential (formerly called Tribal Fusion).  I think that is would be a very good alternative to AdSense.

I applied to exponential (when it was called Tribal Fusion) and was denied.  This was about 2 years ago, so maybe I’d be approved now… I don’t know.  They talk a big talk and it seems they do perform well.  However, they are very, very difficult to be approved for.  They have a 500,000 monthly page view threshold, strict website quality requirements and they require that you place their ads above-the-fold.

If you can be approved, I think you definitely want to try Tribal Fusion.  One day maybe I’ll be approved for one of my sites.

If you’ve been banned by AdSense, you definitely want to see if you can get into exponential.

My Current Fleet of Ad Networks And Exact Placements

Fill in the form to reveal my current fleet of ad networks, two twists, plus exactly where I place the ads.

Thanks for requesting my current fleet of ad networks and the unique configuration.  Here’s what I’m doing currently which is outperforming everything I’ve done.

My current (as of June, 2017) fleet of ad networks is:

There are actually 2 twists to my set up.  they are:

1. Criteo with Media.net and AdSense as backfill

Criteo is designed to display only on a percentage of page views.  They display to visitors who have shown an interest in some commercial purpose via browsing habits such as visiting e-commerce websites.  It’s basically a retargeting network.

What this means is Criteo advertisers are willing to pay a higher CPM because the ads are displayed to a more lucrative audience who are more inclined to buy something.

What I love about Criteo is you get to set the floor CPM for each ad unit.  This means you can maximize your earnings per ad spot by setting Criteo to display if the payout is $X.xx per 1,000 page views.  I typically set it $.50 to $1.00 above what AdSense and Media.net pay (based on past performance).

Overall, Criteo displays about 25% of the time on my site yet earns a bit more than half of what Media.net pays.  I strongly recommend you incorporate Criteo into your ad-supported website.  Even if you don’t have an AdSense account, the Criteo/Media.net combo is very good.

2. AdSense Link Ads Twist

The next twist with my ad display is using AdSense Link ads.  The Link ads are ads that look like menu buttons.  In order for you to earn money, visitors must click both the ad as well as a link on the following landing page.  It’s a two-click payout.

Now before you close this page because you think revenue will be pitiful if people must click twice, keep reading.  I used to not use them either because they performed terribly.  However, in 2016 AdSense redesigned the units as well as the subsequent landing page.  The new design is fantastic and the click through rate (i.e. getting two clicks) is really high for me.  In fact, it was so high when I first implemented them in early 2017 I had to move them below the fold to avoid any “accidental click” penalty from AdSense.

And it’s not just me.  I shared this with a coaching student and he too ended up with such a high CTR rate that he had to move them down (and he’s in a totally different niche).

TIP:  I suggest you implement the Link Ads via the Better Ads plugin because they offer various sizes that AdSense doesn’t.  For instance, the 715 px wide unit displays in two rows of buttons, which garners a lot of clicks.

Again, if your click through rate is really high, move them down a bit.

One HUGE advantage of Link ads (other than the revenue):  A final huge benefit is that since I’m using link ads quite a bit, the one remaining regular AdSense ad unit I have in the sidebar avoids the “nessie arrow” penalty on the text ads.  Yes, AdSense currently runs a “nessie ad” penalty which is triggered if the click through rate on text ads is too high.  What happens is the arrows in the text ads are removed, which hurts revenue.  Now that I garner way more clicks on link ads, it deflects clicks on the text ads and so the nessie arrows stay in place.  The result is the highest click through rate.

My current ad placements:

Desktop:

  • Below title:  Media.net 728×90 (Criteo incorporated)
  • After paragraph 2 (below featured image so it’s below the fold):  715px AdSense link ad
  • Top Sidebar (below 5 recent post titles):  300×600 AdSense ad (Criteo incorporated)
  • Below post:  600×250 Media.net
  • Bottom of site:  AdSense Link ad

Mobile:

  • Below title:  Adsense mobile ad unit (leaderboard)
  • After para. 2 (below featured image):  Media.net 300×250 (Criteo incorporated)
  • Bottom of post: AdSense Link ad

The above placements are the most lucrative.  You can pepper more units within your content if you so wish, but they won’t perform as well as the upper and bottom units.

Comments About Using Multiple Ad Networks

One of Ezoic’s recent updates is that they now permit you to run ad networks in addition to Ezoic.  When I first used Ezoic I could not use additional networks that participated on Ad Exchange (such as Media.net).  That was a huge problem for me because Media.net has always been such a great revenue source.

However, in 2015 Ezoic completely revamped their platform and now permit me to use Media.net and other ad networks in addition to Ezoic.

It’s a balancing act when adding more ads to any web page.  You want to avoid cannibalization of your higher earning ads.

This why it’s good to test new ad networks one-by-one to determine how additional ad networks impact overall revenue.

The reason the above mix of ads works well as an Adsense alternative or in addition to Adsense ads is they offer unique features and operate differently.  For example, GumGum enables you to monetize images.

Media.net ads perform very well in content and below content because the ads look like navigation options.  Amazon CPM ads work great because you can place them anywhere and earn on a strict CPM basis.

More is not necessary more.  Less is not necessary more.  It takes testing.  Every site is unique.  What works well for me may not work well for you.  Nevertheless, the above list is a set of proven ad networks that you can test.

Even if you discover only one additional ad network that works well for you, the 6 minutes it took to read this list was time well spent.

Adsense Compliance

As far as I know, all of the above ad networks are fine to use with Adsense on a web page.  Please note that I am not a Google Adsense employee and so I don’t know for sure… however, I’ve no issue incorporating the above ads on my site with Adsense.  I just ensure the ads aren’t placed next to Adsense and I ensure the ads do not appear in a similar style to Adsense ads.

How to choose the right ad network(s) for you

If you still have an AdSense account, you’ll probably include AdSense units on your site because it undeniably will earn money very well relative to other networks… but I suggest testing additional ad networks.  Even though AdSense lifted the ad unit cap, it’s not a free-for-all … in fact I recently learned how many AdSense units was too many on one of my niche sites.

If you don’t have an AdSense account anymore or are waiting for AdSense approval, don’t sweat it.  There are many other great networks and ad varieties you can use to generate revenue.

I’ve tested and used many ad networks over the years.  I get proposals every week to use a new ad network.   Here are some tips on choosing the best networks for your site(s):

Be judicious:

It takes time to add code and test new ads.  Therefore, don’t feel you have to jump and work with every ad network that contacts you.  Check out their units and ask yourself: “will these ads look good on my site and could they do well?”

You’ll also want to ask what are some of the higher CPM rates other publishers with them earn.  I ask this immediately.  If they reply $2 or less, I’m not interested.  If they say $5 or more, we’ll talk.  I’ll then inquire which types of ads are generating such CPMs.  If the ads are insanely annoying, I’ll decline.

Test slowly

When I test a new ad network, I don’t just stick the unit in the best spots.  I put the units below the fold and see how they do there.  I realize they won’t earn a ton there, but if they do well there relative to other networks, I’ll keep working with them.

Minimum Payout

I NEVER choose an ad network based on minimum payout.  That’s kind of lame feature to promote.  Don’t get suckered by the lowest a low payout threshold.  What you want is to look for ad networks that will pay well per 1,000 visitors.

FYI, a payment threshold is how much you must earn before you’re eligible to receive payment.

Are the ads unique?

I like unique offerings.  In fact, I like ad diversity on my site. That’s a big reason I work with multiple ad networks.

These days you can put ads anywhere at almost any time.  When choosing ad networks, think about what each offers for your site and where they’ll go.  That said, you don’t want so many ads on your site that visitors can’t read/view/watch your content.  It’s a balancing act.

Here’s a list of the main types of ads (a website advertising glossary) available for a website.

  • RPM: Revenue per 1,000 page views.
  • EPMV: Ezoic’s preferred ad revenue tracking metric.  It stands for “earnings per 1,000  visitors”.
  • CPC: Cost per click. It means you earn money when an ad is clicked.
  • CPM: Cost per 1,000 ad impressions.  Some ads pay per impression.
  • CPA: Cost per action:  You earn revenue only after an action is taken subsequent to the ad click.  Example is someone fills in a form or buys something.
  • Contextual ads: Ads which are based on the website content.
  • Link Units: Text link ads.  Usually a list of keywords linked to a landing page.  You usually don’t earn until a link on the second landing page is clicked.  I wrote about Link Units in detail here.  Ad Networks that offer these are AdSense and Media.net.
  • Pop-under ad: These units are large ads that show up when you close a website/window.
  • Pop-up ad: These are units that pop up on top of a website.  The trigger can be time-on-site, percent down the page or clicking something.
  • Text ads:  These are text-based ads.  Many networks offer these.  They’re standard fair.
  • Image/rich media banner ads
  • Interstitial: These are full page ads that appear arriving to a site and/or when clicking to another page on the site.  They’re very intrusive, but can earn a lot of money.
  • Native: These are ads that promote regular content.  They’re classic clickbait and go to long-form content pages.
  • In-text advertising: These are ads created from words in the text.  An example is the Infolinks network.
  • Performance-based Advertising: These are ads that pay based on some performance threshold, usually affiliate links that pay a percent of the ensuing sale of something.
  • Mobile Ad: More and more ad networks focus on mobile ads.  Ads are smaller for mobile and may behave differently.  There really aren’t a lot of placement options for mobile ads yet ad networks continually scramble to come up with a big mobile earner.
  • Gutter ads: These are ads that are placed on the left and/or right of a website in the gutter space.  They can be sticky, which means they float down the page as a visitor scrolls down the page.
  • Sticky ads:  A term used to describe any ad unit that sticks or floats down the screen as a visitor scrolls down the page.
  • In-image overlay ads: These are ads that appear on top of images.  GumGum, Vibrant and now Media.net offer these units.
  • Video ads: Video ads are growing in popularity.  These can pay really well.  Essentially they’re commercials.  Some are more informative while others are blatant sales messages.  There are many formats for these units such as full video players provided by the ad network as well as in-banner video options.  Video ad testing alone can be big job.
  • Lead Gen Forms: There are ad networks which provide leadgen forms you can place on your site.  If a form is filled out, you get paid.  These are restricted to specific niches.
  • Fly-in: These ads fly in from the side or bottom.  They’re kind of annoying but can pay well.
  • Anchor ads: Anchor ads that stick to the bottom of the screen.  They’re most popular on mobile devices, but you can get them for desktop and tablet.

Should you use an ad optimization service?

If testing and setting up ads drives you crazy, you can opt to go with an ad management service.

An ad management service handles all ad monetization.  Their fee is usually a percent of the revenue generated.  If you’re inexperienced with ad testing or can’t be bothered doing it, using an ad optimization service can dramatically increase your ad revenue.

What do ad management services do for you?

They’ll test many things in order to achieve the best RPM such as:

  • Site layout
  • Ad placement
  • Ad networks
  • Types of ads/ad format
  • Ad color and design
  • User experience

All of these factors go into ad optimization.  Because there are many variables, there are many, many configurations that can be tested. I explain more about site layout and ad optimization here.  If you don’t use a service, these are variables you’ll want to test as well so that you maximize the revenue from each ad space on your site.

Examples of ad optimization services:

Ezoic:  Ezoic offers full management (via software) as well self-directed options for ad placement.  I’m a big fan of Ezoic because they work with a lot of ad networks, their testing capabilities are terrific, they’re progressive with mobile and their reporting is fantastic.  FYI, for mobile I’ll be using the full layout tester platform with the AMP module very shortly.  I think this will be huge.

AdThrive:  I’ve never used AdThrive, but I’ve read good things.  I’ve seen some impressive revenue numbers from them.  Moreover, I’ve seen sites that they manage and I can say from my experience, they know where to put ads so that they generate good revenue.  While I haven’t used them, I think they would be worth trying out if you don’t like testing ads yourself.

IMPORTANT tip for using ad management services:  Some ad management services will want you to sign a long term contract.  I would not do this unless the promised money was mind-blowing.  However, and this is the kicker, extravagant promises means the number of ads and annoyance level may be very, very high.  If you commit long term, you may lose control over this, which is something I don’t think I could give up.  The fact is some types of ads can (or will shortly) hurt SEO (i.e. interstitial ads). In my view, ads that hurt search engine optimization aren’t worth it at all unless you really don’t care about search engine traffic.

=> Click here to learn where I actually place my best earning ad units (free report).

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80 Comments

  1. sen says

    Are you still on ezoic? How is it now and why did you blurred out visit traffic in screenshots.

    1. sasiveer says

      I tryed many ad networks but low cpm but i’m seeing good cpm rates with adotize.com

  2. Jon says

    I switched from Ezoic to another ad management service, but will now split test the 2 starting any day now to compare apples to apples. I blurred out traffic in screenshots so RPM can’t be calculated. It’s against Adsense TOS to share information that can divulge RPM.

  3. Jeff B. says

    First thank you for your write up. I found it very helpful. There are lots of top 10 lists etc… out there and you just never know which are real reviews and which are just marketing specific Ad networks. Question for you… I have a unique situation. I produce robust weather map widgets which are on 1000s of sites. For years I used Adsense. One issue I am having is that the content is not on my personal website… it is all over the web including many local market TV stations. So when I apply to Media.net I get rejected because they only ask one question and that is what is your website. I have that issue with many networks. Right now I am using Criteo. And the CPM’s are actually very good. The issue is I need a backup network because criteo is filling only 60% of my inventory. Wondering if you could recommend a good back up network or way to monetize our maps. We really have huge traffic (260K yesterday alone). Thank you! Jeff

    1. Jon says

      Hey Jeff, sounds like you have a fantastic business going. That’s awesome. Yes, Criteo is great but it’s designed as backfill as you say. Sorry, I don’t create widgets like you so I don’t have the issue. You might contact native advertisers like Outbrain and Taboola. The CTR can be excellent, although CPC is lower than Adsense. I’m sure with your traffic, they’ll interested.

  4. amit shah says

    I want to earn with fb pages.. I dont have website.. Which network is gokd for me..

  5. Brilent says

    Hi thanks for information!!!…..for my site i’m using advizual ad network ads seeing good result with them.i’m happy with this network

  6. Eric says

    Jon – Thanks so much for all the valuable info you provide! I have follow so many of your suggestions and have been very pleased with the results. I can’t thank you enough.

    The most recent, I started testing Ezoic on one of my sites. With the management services you’ve tried, have you given them certified access to your Adsense account? I’m not sure that it’s necessary for them to optimize their ads. It feels very uncomfortable.

    Thanks again! Keep up the great content!

    1. Jon says

      You’re very welcome Eric. Yes, I gave Ezoic access. I had no issues. I think the point is to compare Adsense performance vs. Ezoic. I’m not sure if it’s optional. You can certainly ask.

  7. Eric says

    Thanks for the response Jon. Also, while I have limited data so far, I’ve seen great results from Ezoic.

    1. Jon says

      That’s great you’re getting great results with Ezoic. I think it’s a great platform even though I’m currently managing Adsense and Media.net on my own right now. I think it’s important publishers test, test and keep on testing. You never know what’s going to be the best solution for revenue and user experience.

  8. Jason Young says

    If you’re going to add Ezoic to this list, which isn’t really an AdSense alternative more like an optimization platform, then I’d definitely add: https://www.adngin.com it’s much easier to use alternative.

  9. Laria Rionel says

    Was there a period of no income with Media.net? I signed up thinking they didn’t have a traffic minimum and was earning for the impressions for the first week, then my rpm went to zero and has been like that for the past week even though the impressions are increasing. My traffic is primarily from the US… Anyone else have this issue?

    Some say to give them like 2 months to “optimize” the ads… Soooo… I am confused and my account manager isn’t answering me anymore. I’m getting disappointed

    1. Jon says

      Hey Laria,

      That’s strange. I think Media.net works better in some niches than others. I also think you need quite a bit of traffic to generate a decent income with Media.net. I get excellent results with them, but I know not every site gets the same performance.

  10. Johnie says

    Hi Jon,

    Great blog. I stumbled upon your writings looking for commentary on which site was better to advertise with for my own company taboola or crieto selling eye wear. I wanted to create those ignoring banner ads that follow you and the guy over at crieto said he wanted 5k a month so I said no thanks I’ll learn on my own. However it sounds like you guys are making income from the traffic with out a purchase. I’m sorry I’m a little behind the class but is there anything you can DM that would catch me up to speed I’d certainly would like to have that dual revenue.

  11. Ryan says

    Spoutable is a scam. We ran their exit pop with 60,000 pageviews and tested the pop from multiple IPs – were always hit with an impression. In the end they credited us with less than 600 total impressions which make it obvious that Spoutable is scrubbing a ton of impressions (“unit views” they call them) from their publishers. For our traffic they credited us $3.74 which is extremely low for a full-page exit pop. Stay away from the guys at Spoutable.

    1. Jon says

      Thanks for your feedback Ryan.

  12. Dennis says

    Hi, thank you for that awesome article, I was wondering when you talked about Criteo and Media.net that you configured them to display if it generates a higher revenue than the other one. My question is, How and where did you configure this? are you using an Adserver? or did you use a plugin?
    Thank You

    1. Jon says

      Hey Dennis,

      I just tell Criteo what CPM floor to set. For example, if I determine my Media.net ad generates $1.50 RPM (for just that ad unit – this info is available in Media.net reporting), then I tell Criteo to show ads only when I’ll earn at least a $1.75 CPM. Criteo takes care of the coding. Criteo is great for squeezing a few extra dollars out of specific ad spots.

  13. Infinix says

    Great post. I recently started using media.net together with AdSense. Looking forward to see how things will turn out.

  14. Frances says

    Hi – I get your emails but the work involved in getting all this up and running is overwhelming – we have a highly technical business that requires a lot of time to manage – my question is: what are the best methods to get targeted traffic? Maybe we should hire someone to do it but I don’t know anyone in that business. I know my business but I don’t know yours! Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    1. Jon says

      Hi Frances,

      It is a lot of work. I’ve been at it for years and I still work hard. I’d put more time into Fat Stacks but my niche sites take up a lot of time. I’m not complaining because I love publishing them but if you already have a good thing going, I’m not sure this is a good endeavor to tackle unless you have 20 hours per week to get it rolling or a huge budget to hire people.

      I’ve never hired anyone to buy ads. I do that all myself.

  15. Tim Martine says

    I’m totally fed up of requesting adsense and finally i decided to use alternate ads like adbrite and Chitika. Right now i am good with Chitika ads. Chitika provides decent ads like google ads.
    This is really amazing post. you have listed the best alternatives of adsense. Thanks a lot for sharing this post 🙂

  16. Rinkesh says

    So, I just applied for Criteo and while I tried to set minimum CPM as 4, it said “CPM must be greater than 0.01 and smaller than 2”. Isn’t that too less? I normally record average CPM of 4. So, why should I go for 2 when I am already getting around 4.

    1. Jon says

      Talk to your rep. I’ve set floors at $3 to $5.

  17. Brenda Smith says

    Indeed a Great post.

    But according to me, none of the adsense alternative can give the revenue as much as Adsense can give. I haven’t tried all the above alternatives but I tried infolinks and I had worst experience with it. After having huge amount of traffic, I was able to make only 100-200$.

    Because my blog was banned by Adsense. If this wasn’t happened then that traffic can surely make around $2k+.

    That’s why infolinks is far away from Adsense in terms of generating revenue.

    BTW Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Jon says

      Give The Blogger Network a try. They have great advertisers and the revenue can be decent. If I were banned by AdSense, that’s what I would start with.

  18. Kiran says

    Hey Team,

    We are using two platforms one Criteo and OpenX, along with Ad Sense. Criteo team is saying please keep the Delivery type as Standard ASAP, Rather then Price priority. As we kept OpenX as price priority for RTB Purpose. Do suggest if we keep Criteo as Standards either it will impact the RTB Waterfall system ?

    1. Jon says

      Hey Kiran,

      I don’t use OpenX so I can’t really answer this with any detail. What I do with Criteo is 2 things. First, I have 2 Criteo ads with no backfill and set a floor CPM which is pretty low. Second, I have a Criteo unit in a premium placement with Media.net backfill. I set this Criteo unit about $.50 higher than the average Media.net rpm. That way I earn more than Media.net with Criteo when Criteo displays.

  19. Steve says

    Great post and very useful informations. Dear brother Jon can i use this Ad network with French content?

    1. Jon says

      Hey Steve,

      Just ask them. I’m not sure.

  20. Basil Ita says

    Thanks for this great information. I have AdSense already on my site, I was thinking of adding another but I don’t really know the network that will accept me since it’s an entertainment and news website. Please, do you know any? Thanks

  21. Anna says

    Thanks Jon a lot for sharing the info about Adsense alternatives. I actually have a blog and I have been applying for Adsense 2 months now but seems hard to get it upgrade to non-hosted then. I am not sure how much the traffic volume that will satisfied those Ads networks that you’ve mentioned ?

  22. Zak says

    Different ad formats or networks with unique advertising clients are critical to creating ‘incremental revenue’ with each ad placement, so the variety in this list is great! Additionally, we’d suggest http://www.addplay.com which is a Sponsored Games platform and a unique monetisation channel for publishers (ps. i’m a co-founder).

  23. software gratis says

    i have small blog, and i want to be publisher to, but all of them minimal requirement is 100k view a mount

    that made me sad..

  24. Sandile says

    Hello there.

    I recently launched an image sharing blog (www.planetgag.com), I want advice on which ad network should i start with since my site is pretty new?

    Thanks

    Sandile

    1. Jon says

      Assuming it’s AdSense compliant, I’d use AdSense. I also use Media.net and Monumetric on my site. Together the 3 ad networks perform well for me.

  25. Sophie says

    How much could a website make if we have 40 millions pageviews per month? Say use Media.net??

    It’s unbelivable you can make 14531.58 dollars with only 3.5 million pageviews.. Quite unbelievable.

    Thanks for your article, this encourage me to try some another alternatives rather than stick with google doubleclick and adsense.

    1. Jon says

      I’m in a very high-commerce niche so advertisers pay well.

      40 million monthly page views is amazing. As to how much you’ll earn depends on many factors such as which country your visitors come from, niche, ad placement, etc. It’s really amazing how RPM varies across different niches. I have one site I purchased where RPM is dismally low no matter what I do.

  26. Jack says

    This post would be much more helpful if CPMs and fill rates are mentioned as they are the only important metrics when measuring performance between partners. The revenue numbers are pointless as you could be getting 10,000 pageviews a day or 500,000 pageviews.

    1. Jon says

      Good point Jack. When I get some time, I’ll update that… but one problem is advertisers such as AdSense do not permit publishing that information. The point of this post is to set out AdSense alternatives that work for me and so they may be a good option for other publishers. I’m not prepared to risk ad network relationships by publishing information they don’t wish me to publish.

  27. Viri says

    Hello John! I really love your post, right now I started working with Spoutable, but there is something quite strange about them that I feel is not right, have you ever been pay by them? Can you tell me if they are truthful or if its just a scam? I will be looking forward to your answer. Thank you

    1. Jon says

      I’ve been paid on time and in full every month I’ve used Spoutable. They’re very legit.

      1. Viri says

        Hey john thanks so much for your answer! Glad to hear that because I am having great results with spoutable right now and I was a little afraid that they will be a scam. I will be looking forward to recieve my first payment to see how it goes 🙂

  28. Julie Schrier says

    Hello,

    I am looking for a secondary Ad network which I can use with Google Adsense for some extra Income from my Micro Niche sites. All my sites are Adsense based micro sites, but I have a big confusion, as i have been reading few reviews of different ad networks around the web and base don all the reviews, I am confused between, Infolinks, Revenuehits, Bidvertiser & Chitika.

    So, according to you, which one should I use to get the maximum from my micro niche sites traffic?

    My traffic is a mix from all the countries, also do let me know, which advertiser works best for which country?

    1. Jon says

      Hey Julie,

      I would give Media.net and/or Monumetric a shot. Those are 2 networks I currently use in addition to AdSense.

  29. gudtalent says

    Have been running media.net ads on my blog sidebar and below post for almost two months now and yet to make up to $50 and have made over $4000 with adsense..
    Still wondering what the problem of Media.net ads is. Is there anything am doing wrong?

  30. aron says

    Media.net has been terrible performer for me, I’m pretty there is nothing wrong with my placement i.e below feature img and side bar. But out of 132,089 impression I got ZERO click… Adsense on the other hand, got me 412 clicks out of 400,000 impressions.

  31. brian says

    Hi Jon,
    Do you have a resource on the process you do to split test(do you use an optimization plugin). I have your course but maybe I missed where you explained that process

    1. Jon says

      Hey Brian,

      You can try Ezoic to split test your ads. They have the best system I’ve used. Otherwise, I just play around on my own and see what happens. I enjoy staring at my sites imagining where good ad placements would be.

  32. Adrian Homels says

    Hi Jon,
    I was just wondering since you have a very successful website, do you think that visitors today are less prone to clicking on ads, than compared to few years ago.
    And how important do you think is the ad placement on the page for ad conversions.

    1. Jon says

      Hey Adrian,

      I’ve lost my Nessie Arrows on Google ads and yet I’m doing okay with AdSense. I think the ads are really good, but I also think it varies niche to niche. In some niches, ads don’t get clicked. I think it’s more to do with demographic than niche though.

      Ad placement is super important. It can make a big difference. Above the fold is best.

  33. David Gonzalez says

    Nice to see that there are some reliable PPC alternatives out there. With so many people getting their AdSense accounts disabled (sometimes for no reason), it gives me peace of mind know there’s some other options to fall back on.

  34. Jon says

    Hi Jon,
    I read the “Display ads secrets” which is great ! You mentioned that you use content.AD in the middle of posts – is this only for internal content to increase page views? What sort of widget are you using in this location (2×3)?

    Are you using AMP in mobile devices? If so then what do you do with all ads – do you have any special code to integrate them?

    1. Jon says

      Hey Jon,

      I’m not using Content.ad right now. I turn it on and off and experiment with it in various locations. I’m using Google Matched Content right now, which is much improved in appearance since it was launched.

      I’m in the process of setting up AMP. I have the AMP plugin and Yoast Glue for SEO and AMP plugin. My developer (wpcurve) is currently double checking everything to ensure it’s working.

      As for AMP and ads, once it’s working well, I will see what it looks like and then see what kind of ads can be placed on it.

      I have a hunch Google will give preference at some point to AMP so I’ll use it or at the very least try it.

  35. Jeremy says

    Man and I thought Adsense was the only player in the game, google should take note and maybe ease on their terms a bit!

  36. salo says

    hi Jon,
    I am currently testing ezoic, I have one media.net article and planing to start testing monumetric (upon your recommendation). It seems all this interactions are complicated, how do you pull it off? can you write a post about this? also what are the best native ads for sites with less than 300k visitors? any help welcome, you site has helped me a lot to improve my earnings, Thanks!!

  37. Gaurav Verma says

    Great list of AdSense alternative. But AdSense is the best ad network for blogger. Thanks for mention for ezoic AdSense publisher.

  38. vannguyen says

    I am using Spoutable and I hope they are not a scammer. I will re-view here about this ad

  39. Shawn says

    Is there a way to monitize with ads placed in transactional type website emails? Is there a network for this … I don’t believe adsense or DFP supports this and I know there are technical considerations with serving javascript. Have any experience with this?

    1. Jon says

      Hey Shawn,

      I use PowerInbox ads in email newsletters. They’re native ads but earn pretty well on an RPM basis.

  40. Mickel says

    Hi Jon,

    What ad network do you recommend for a website with how-to tutorials for tech-related topics such as computer and internet use, smartphones and apps, converting and editing videos, burning and ripping CDs and DVDs, social media and more ?

    I’m already using Adsense and I’m also promoting software (affiliate marketing).

    I also have a MediaNet account.

    Website has about 100 000 or more page views a month. Visitors worldwide, but mostly from the US, England, The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Belgium and India.

    1. Jon says

      Hey Mickel,

      I think you have the 2 best ones on your site. Tech niches don’t do well with display ads, so I’ve heard. Tutorial sites are hard to make affiliate sales because most people have the product already. I think you’ll have to work to optimize AdSense as best as you can. That said, there may be some smaller ad networks that serve tutorial style sites better… but I’m not aware of any.

      1. Mickel says

        Hi Jon,

        Thanks for your reply.

        I tried a few network, but most of them gave me crappy ads and some take too long to load.

        But:

        I’m also earning from affiliate sales – even on my how-to tutorial pages (It’s all about the way you offer software 😉 ). See, I include reviews about related software on big how-to tutorial pages (software that I get for free from software companies).

        For example: On my page “How to Rip DVDs to Your Computer’s Hard Drive – 6 Ways” I’ve made 6 tutorials on 1 page. 3 ways using paid software and 3 ways using free software and also one review where I explain that some paid software will give you better quality, more speed and much more options and that paid software can also rip copy protected DVDs (most DVDs you buy in a store are copy protected).

        So people search for something like “how to rip DVDs”, land on the page and think “Hey! there’s an easier and faster way to do this by using this software” 😉

        I have many pages like this – also with wikipedia menus (like you use on your pages).

        So affiliate marketing still earns me between 100 and 200 dollar a month – I know, it’s not much, but it’s still extra money each month.

        It’s all about promoting it right.

        So even on how-to tutorial websites you can earn money with affiliate sales.

        But you’re right about “Tech niches don’t do well with display ads”. It’s because most tech savvy people know about ads and probably also using an ad blocker.

        Anyway….

        Thanks for your information.

        I will keep using Adsense, MediaNet and affiliate marketing.

        1. Jon says

          Hey Mickel,

          If you do a lot of tech tutorials which can attract traffic fast, those won’t generate much revenue… but it’s good for traffic and on-site metrics. But, people aren’t looking for products or anything to buy so ads and aff links will perform badly. I think if you publish more commercial intent posts, they will perform better with aff links and ads even in the tech sphere… but you definitely want to do an affiliate push whenever possible on buying intent content because that should out-earn ads by quite a bit.

  41. Bayo Golding says

    Hi, i really enjoy your submission. i want to setup a coupons and deals website, my question now is ”what ads network will be okay for my coupon and deals website”

    1. Jon says

      Hey Bayo,

      I can’t say for sure since I’ve never run a coupons site. Sorry.

  42. Lilyan says

    i use Tribaladnetwork for my site.I earn a decent revenue.It is a good Adsense Alternative.

  43. Niki says

    Hi
    Thanks for this Great post… I had AdSense account but they disabled it because of invalid clicks, and I never clicked on my ads by myself or telling to others to click( i made an appeal, but 99% I think that they will decide it ) … I am beginner i have a website only for 2 months and I am so disappointed … I tried with Infolinks but they denied. I am waiting for the response of others but I don’t have big hope. Because some ads networks looking for original posts. I have 320 posts which 200 are originals, but others are with source …
    Do you have some advice for me, what should I do?
    Thanks

  44. Tricks Foorti says

    Hello, very informative and briefly mention by you.? but you need to describe what’s the requirements of those native ad networks ,Thanks.

  45. Naija Sam says

    I must say personally infolinks and chitika is a no-go-area. Though I have a small blog with 35k+ monthly PV yet neither of the networks canget $1 it a shame. Bidvertiser pays well for such traffic $13 if all junk formats are allowed but if restricted to banner alone I got $4 (d only prob with bidvertiser is sneaky redirect which made good kept flag my blog more than 3trice) I dropped bidvertiser but none have helped fill the gap (revenuehits causes my blog to be out of 1-3 Google search page, exoclick zero revenue serving comiclike banners, popads promotes nothing but its own ads, clicksor worst generating interstitial for every actions on d blog, viglink rapidly slows blog loading. Only god knows ad network that will come to aid of small blog and serve them quality ads (shareaholic only gives my blog the quality ad I love to see but pay don’t come for d few clicks)

  46. Mike says

    Nice review but from the look of things adsense is still the best option for those who dont have upto half a million pageviews per month. I guess the more the traffic the more one can apply for more adnetworks most especially Media.net and i heard content.ad pays alot as well.

  47. David says

    Thanks for this much information…
    i think media.net is more good then the others…
    i am used this for my blog and earn very good..
    Thanks again..

  48. Techbmc Blog says

    Thanks very much for the information you gave here.

  49. Ravi Raushan says

    how much traffic i need to apply in revcontent or taboola ? any reply will be help full

  50. ammar says

    Hey Great Article , i have one question . can i apply for media.net while having google adsense running on my site?

    1. Jon says

      Hey Ammar,

      Yes you can. I run both on my sites.

  51. siful moni says

    I have tried several times for google adsense and got rejected. I started affiliate marketing then. Now I have got adsnese and start doing both.

  52. Rotimi Oceans says

    Hi Jon,

    I applied to criteo and for over two weeks now. there has been no reply from their end. was your experience similar? How long do criteo take to consider applications. the site in question is a health and fitness site with over 500,000 monthly page views.

    Thanks

    1. Jon says

      Hey Rotimi,

      that sounds like a long wait. I’d reach out again.

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