Are there ad networks better than Adsense? (Updated 3/21/14)
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 from adsense you’re going to need an alternative ad network.
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 NoSlang.com would no longer be allowed to show Adsense ads due to excessive profanity in the dictionary. I’m still exploring other networks that will run on that site, if you know any please list them in the comments and after I’ve tried them out I will include them here.
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 casale/adsense)
Here’s my top Adsense alternative ad networks:
Note: I’ve actually used every one of these networks on my sites, and am ONLY recommending the ad networks that I’ve seen success with.
Cost per Thousand Impressions – CPM ad networks
pros: quality ads, high cpms, paypal minimum $25 payment
Sign Up For Casale
Lijit was recently bought by Federated Media, which is good news for their ad inventory. 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. I’ve also expored doing some basic IP detection and replacing some other networks with lijit for non-US users.
pros: demographics, high CPM, default ads, paypal
cons: low fill rate
Sign Up For Lijit
I have a couple of sites that have foul language on them and most ad networks won’t accept sites with swear words or adult content. That’s where JuicyAds comes into play. JuicyAds is mainly for porn sites, but they have an “adult, non-porn” category which works out great for sites that don’t want porn but can’t use typical ad networks. They let you set your pricing and have lots of options. The payouts are low, but for sites with no other choice due to their content, the ads aren’t bad.
pros: Lots of ad formats, customizable price ranges, accepts adult content sites.
cons: Backfill ads needs a URL, not code.
Sign Up For JuicyAds
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 just signed a new deal with Yahoo and I’ve seen a nice increase in ad quality since then.
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