Are there ad networks better than Adsense?
When you’re starting a website it can be simple to just throw some Google adsense on there and forget about it. But sometimes Google’s Adsense isn’t the best option to monetize a website. If you have a different type of traffic, or heaven forbid you’ve been banned you’re going to need an adsense alternative.
I’ve been exploring various ad networks over the past few months on several of my websites. Some out of curiosity and some out of necessity. It’s a good thing too because during my ad network trial I received an email from Google telling me that NoSwearing.com would no longer be allowed to show Adsense ads due to excessive profanity (what do you expect from a swear word list?) I’m still exploring other networks that will run on that site, if you know any please list them inthe comments.
Use Multiple Ad Networks & Default Bids Like A Pro
Even if you’re happy with your current ad network, you can take advantage of the minimum CPM and alternate/default ad settings many networks offer to maximize your ROI. If you’re making $0.48 CPM on adsense, then put it as the default ad of of a different network and set that network’s minimum CPM to $0.50. That way, you’ll always show the more profitable ad network and maximize your earnings. I’ve been using this strategy for almost a year now, and it’s greatly increased my average CPMs on the sites that use it.
(tl;dr – I chain Lijit to adbrite to casale/adsense)
Here’s my top Adsense alternative ad networks:
Cost per Thousand Impressions – CPM ad networks
pros: quality ads, high cpms, paypal minimum $25 payment
Sign Up For Casale
Lijit is a new player in ad networks having recently burst onto the scene. In addition to ads, Lijit can also provide you with demographic information about your site. I strongly suggest you try it out – you can learn a lot from the demographic information. I’ve been using Lijit on several of my websites and I love the CPM rates. I just wish they had a higher fill rate for US ads. Another great thing is that they actually serve international ads (although at much lower CPM rates.) Lijit lets you set a minimum CPM for ads if you want and will show ads from another ad network if they can’t meet your CPM. I use Lijit as the first option in my chaining strategy on several sites.
pros: demographics, high CPM, default ads, paypal
cons: low fill rate
Sign Up For Lijit
Note: As of 2/1/2012 Adbrite is closing. I’ll miss them, mostly because I enjoyed using their service as a kind of ad server.
Adbrite is a good catch-all default. They accept pretty much any website and they have various formats of ads – including interstitial ads. They don’t quite pay as well as Adsense but they do have a good fill rate. The best feature of adbrite is the ability to set your default CPM payment and have Adbrite show other ads if it can’t hit that default. I use Adbrite like an ad server. I set the minimum CPM to 1 cent higher than my other ad network averages and put that other ad network as the default. That way, my website is always showing the highest paying ads. This gets even more powerful when you chain it with other ad networks like Lijit. (I chain lijit to adbrite to adsense/bidvertiser or whatever my default is.)
pros: easy to get into, good variety, set pricing, has default ad tag option, interstitial ads
cons: lower eCPM, pays by actual check.
Sign Up For Adbrite
Pay Per Click (PPC) Networks:
Until I tried them I had never heard of Bidvertiser. Bidvertiser is unique in that they not only pay for clicks, but pay an additional bonus for conversions. They also offer a toolbar option but I hadn’t played with that. When I first started with bidvertiser the eCPM rates were unbeatable. Lately, they’ve dropped off a bit but I think that’s just due to my profanity laden site. – it can’t hurt to throw them into your rotation. Feel free to leave a comment here.
pros: good eCPM, conversion bonus, paypal with $10 minimum
cons: reporting interface could use work, 72 hour reporting delay for conversion revenue.
Sign Up For Bidvertiser
Chitika keeps rolling out new options. They started out with the product suggestion ad but that never performed greatly for me. Now though they’ve got regular text ads as well as an innovated “whitespace” ad that shows in the dead space of your website. When I put Chitika on NoSwearing.com it had a better eCPM than adbrite but didn’t compare to Adsense. Using the whitspace ad though allowed me to include more than 3 ad units on a page and provided an additional revenue boost.
pros: additional formats compatible with adsense, pays by paypal, behavioral ad options
cons: lower eCPM.
Sign Up For Chitika
Cost Per Action – CPA ad networks
I’ve only played with one CPA ad network. Other suggestions include Commission Junction, ShareaSale, and ClickBank but I’ve never been a fan of CPA ads. If you’re a good affiliate marketer (which I’m not) then there IS potential with CPA but I just haven’t gone that route. What I like best about Epic Direct is that you get an account manager who gives you his IM and Email and will help you find offers for your site.
Sign up for Epic Direct