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Best Online Ad Networks For Website Publishers [2020]

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What ad network should you use to earn money from your website traffic? Having built dozens of content websites during my time in internet marketing and receiving millions of visitors, I’ve tried a fair few ad networks. My favorite by far is Ezoic, which I wrote a comprehensive review of (linked) and have earned thousands of dollars with. I’ve also tried AdSense which pays decently but was much worse than Ezoic for me (due to lower payouts, slow approval times and non-existent support), and a number of subpar networks like Media.net (made nothing), Propellor Ads (made nothing), Info Links (made nothing) and popads.net (completely antiquated in this day and age).

Make no mistake, there is a huge variation in different ad networks, and I’ll bet most will be a waste of time for you, paying mere cents per every 1,000 visitors and serving completely rubbish ads that have nothing to do with your site content. That’s why we’re publishing this page — to help you make an educated decision on what ad networks you should sign up for and try, and avoid the vast majority of ad networks that are essentially useless.

In 2020, based on my own experiences, research and comments from different internet marketers (see below), I believe these are the best ad networks to consider:

  • Ezoic (see our Ezoic review and case study as linked above. Recommended to have at least 10,000 visitors a month)
  • AdSense (Google’s ad network – by far the biggest, but far from being the highest paying for many, and with zero support. No traffic requirements)
  • Mediavine (User comments for this are outstanding, there are many reports of it making far more than anything else, and people often rave about its support. Minimum of 25,000 visitors a month)
  • AdThrive (Excellent reputation, like with Mediavine, but with the highest requirements at 100,000+ visitors a month)
  • Monumetric (Lesser well known than the above, but some publishers have had great results with it. 10,000 visitors a month requirement, like Ezoic)

These are the only ad networks I believe are worth signing up for or even considering at the time of writing.

To help you get a better idea of the best ad networks, we put out a query asking for internet marketers to comment on their recommended ad network(s). Here’s what it said:

For a website publisher with significant traffic, what ad network would you recommend to monetize traffic other than AdSense? We’ve used Ezoic but would like to hear about others, especially any you’ve personally used that paid a good rate. Examples of other networks are MediaVine (apparently can pay a very high CPM, but has high requirements), AdThrive, Propellor Ads, Adsterra etc – if you’ve used any of these with any success we’d like to hear from you. Please share your experience, the more detail the better. Would like to hear what kind of earnings per 1,000 visitors you got from them and especially if you can share the site URL you tried them on.

Below are the submissions we’ve received so far, which largely recommend Mediavine. If you have a website with decent traffic and have tried any ad network that you’ve got good results with, we’d like to hear from you — submit a comment and we’ll publish it.

The link to our website is https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com.

We have run Mediavine ads on the above website for approximately 18 months and have been extremely happy with the results. Their traffic requirement is a minimum of 25,000 sessions but it is lower if applying for a second site. Pre-coronavirus, we were earning an average of $25 per 1000 visitors.

The customer service of Mediavine is a fantastic with very quick response times and they also provide a lot of customisation options that allow you to easily customise how the ads appear on your site. There is also a huge focus on site speed and there are number of settings that you can use to ensure the impact of running ads is minimal in terms of initial page loading.

--Michael Rozenblit, The World Was Here First

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#michael

I've been with Mediavine since February 2018 and I absolutely love them. My main site on Mediavine is Two Drifters, twodrifters.us.

Mediavine is popular among bloggers I know, and so when I qualified for Mediavine (25k monthly sessions) I never even considered working with another ad network. Mediavine is incredibly helpful, offering tremendous support that goes above and beyond what's required of them. They've helped me troubleshoot problems on my site, and are constantly providing ways to support their publishers and help us make more money.

I highly recommend.

Unfortunately, numbers are down across the board because of what's going on right now. Before the pandemic, in normal times, I was earning just under $20 per 1000 sessions (as an average for all of 2019).

I've also just gotten a 2nd website onto Mediavine this month.

--Amy + Nathan Hartle, Two Drifters

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#amy-nathan

I'd love to chime in about some different ad networks publishers can turn to outside of Adsense or Ezoic. There are two alternate networks I have used personally, and I'm more than happy to share screenshots of my earning dashboard as well to help add some authority to the article.

Network 1) Monumetric

Monumetic is an ad network that has a 10,000 monthly pageview requirement to join. This is by far one of the lowest page view requirements for a high quality ad network, making this an excellent option for small-medium sized publishers. While onboarding time with Monumetric can be slow, the increase in RPM many publishers see may be worth the wait.

My website is in the finance niche, and when I switched from Adsense to Monumetric, my ad revenue increased by an astounding 400%. Granted, my Adsense ad units probably weren't optimized fully, but regardless, my average session RPM with Monumetric was approximately *$10.50*. With more aggressive ad placement, $15-$20 RPMs were also possible.

Monumetric onboarding took more than a month and a half. However, support was timely, and early hiccups with ad placement and aggressiveness were handled within 48 hours by the support team. Overall, Monumetric helped my blog reach a steady $500 in monthly profit at around 15,000 page views.

Network 2) Mediavine

I made the switch from Monumetric to Mediavine one I reached 25,000 sessions (the minimum requirement for Mediavine) and am I ever glad I made that decision.

Mediavine is tough to get into due to monthly session requirements and their quality standards. However, the boost in RPM for publishers is definitely worth it.

With Mediavine, my finance website went from $10.50 session RPMs to an average of *$25*. Additionally, Mediavine's onboarding was incredibly smooth, and their ad tech is simply untouchable.

A complaint I hear frequently about platforms like Monumetric is that they bloat your website. In contrast, Mediavine works with SEO in mind since Mediavine started out in digital publishing. They understand how to implement top-tier ad tech to prevent your site from bloating or providing a poor user experience.

Ultimately, Mediavine is the ultimate combo of revenue-boosting ads and a great tech foundation. Mediavine pays net 65, and there is no referral program. Other than these two points, there is absolutely no downside to using Mediavine.

--Tom Blake, This Online World

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#tom

I am Mike Scarpignato, the founder of RVBlogger.com and I have used MediaVine and AdThrive, both with great success.

However, if you have over 100,000 page views a month AdThrive pays a higher rate per 1000 page views in my experience.

When I originally set up my website in December of 2018 I didn’t use AdSense because I heard it was difficult to set up and the RPM was not very good. I read quite a bit about the different ad networks and learned that MediaVine and AdThrive are the best. So I made a plan to hire MediaVine when I reached their minimum requirement of 25,000 page views a month and then switch to AdThrive when I reached their minimum requirement of 100,00 page views per month.

I reached 25,000 page views in March of 2019. I applied to MediaVine and was accepted right away but it took a few weeks to complete the paperwork and get them set up on my website. MediaVine has excellent customer service. Anytime I ever had a question or an issue that I needed resolved they were there to handle anything I needed.

I began running ads on my site with MediaVine from April 22, 2019 through August 14th, 2019. Over that time period my website had 444,133 page views and earned an average of $21.23 per 1000 page views.

In July of 2019 I reached the 100,000 page view plateau and applied to AdThrive. I was also accepted immediately. They began running ads on my site on August 15th, 2019 and I am still working with them. From August 15, 2019 through March 31, 2020 my website has received 812,539 page views at $24.63 per 1000 page views.

AdThrive is really great to work with. They have outstanding customer service and they handle all of the on boarding. They also have a robust dashboard so I can track all of my earnings. But, what really sets AdThrive apart is their ability to track revenue and RPM by individual page URL. Therefore, I can see which article topics pay the highest RPM. This is great because since I can see which articles pay the most I can plan to create content related to those topics that have the potential to earn a higher rate of return.

Both MediaVine and AdThrive are awesome to work with and I highly recommend both ad networks.

--Mike Scarpignato, RVBlogger

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#mike

The best ad network I been a part of is Mediavine. I was in Monumetric and Gourmet Ads before and they did not pay as high. I was able to meet the requirements of Mediavine in January and officially joined at the end of February.

With Mediavine I have a $12.64 RPM currently, which is much higher than the other ad networks I was with.

The support with Mediavine is awesome as well. If I ever have a problem, I can reach out and receive a quick response. Mediavine also gives you guidance on how to increase pageviews and so much more.

--Becky Beach, Mom Beach

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#becky

I have been a member of Mediavine's ad network since October 2019, and I am not exaggerating when I say that they have perhaps the best customer service I have ever seen. They are so great to work with. They are very helpful when it comes to tech questions, and they are very prompt in responding to emails with questions or feedback. In addition, their rates, from what I have heard from other bloggers, are comparable to AdThrive, but their threshold to apply to their network is much lower. AdThrive requires a minimum of 100,000 monthly page views (and they never got back to me after I reached that threshold and applied to their network, actually), but the minimum page views for Mediavine is only 25,000 per month.

I was originally with Media.net, and even though they are a good company, the amount they paid was much less than what Mediavine pays (I think Mediavine probably pays 8 to 10 times what Media.net did). Mediavine's rates fluctuate according to the season, as probably all ad networks do, but during December, for example, they paid $30 or more per 1,000 page views. Even in January, when companies typically cut ad revenue, I still received about $20 per 1,000 page views, on average. Right now, with the COVID-19 economic downturn, their rates are around $11 or $12 per 1,000 page views, but that is understandable, as rates have likely been slashed by just about everybody in the current economic environment.

However, another cool thing about Mediavine is their loyalty program. For every year you are with them, they add an extra percentage point to your rates, up to 5 percent.

In summary, I would recommend Mediavine to anyone without reservation. They are awesome!

--Stacie Heaps, Families for Financial Freedom

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#stacie

I use AdThrive as my ad network provider and they are fantastic. Not only do they have decent analytics in their dashboard, but they also have a Wordpress plugin that makes it easy to turn off ads on specific pages.

The support with AdThrive is fantastic. They are very attentive and engaged. AdThrive will often email me bringing up tracking issues or any problems with how ads are appearing on my site before I even notice an issue! They are also great about regularly sending updates and suggestions on how you could improve your ad revenue with special ad options, video ads, different placements, etc.

With AdThrive I currently have $9.20 RPM.

--Meg Marrs, Life Health HQ

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#meg

Our portfolio of websites uses a diverses range of monetization forms, but ad revenue is one of the best sources. It's very stable and very passive. That's why getting the most out if it so important for us. We're currently using Ezoic and are very happy with the payouts. The CPM we get is comparable to what we would get with larger networks like MediaVine or AdThrive. However, we've noticed page speed to be more of an issue with Ezoic than with other ad networks.

Looking at hundreds of websites for due diligence, and keeping track of CPMs we've come to be following internal ranking: MediaVine, AdThrive, Ezoic. For websites that go beyond 500k sessions per month there's other options and it might start making sense of thinking about going straight to AdExchange instead of through a managed solution like the ones mention before.

--Denny Putsh, Hitting The Golf Ball

PERMALINK: https://outwittrade.com/best-ad-networks#denny

Katie Holmes

I am the lead editor of OutwitTrade and an accomplished data analyst, writer and internet marketer. I was motivated to help to build up this publication after being frustrated with most review websites being obviously biased, wrong, or which didn't seem to even test the products they were reviewing. Now, I spend 20+ hours every week reviewing products, conversing with our contributors, and reaching out to different companies.

Before joining OutwitTrade.com I had several years of experience in online marketing, advertising and SEO before also working as an analyst at Hertz for over 2 years.

In my spare time I like drawing, creating music and reading. 🙂

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katie-holmes-sydney
Twitter: https://twitter.com/outwit_trade
Katie Holmes
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