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Bloggers are you trying to make money with your blog? And you’ve heard that some bloggers are making tons of money by having ads on their site. In this episode, I’m getting real about the best ad networks for bloggers and stick around to the end because after we cover everything, I’m going to give you my very best advice on when and how you should put ads on your blog. Okay.
Transcript of The Best Ad Networks for Bloggers
Hey there, brilliant blogger. This podcast was created to answer this simple question. How do I make money with my blog, where I’m making consistent income month after month after month without wasting time on strategies that aren’t going to work anyway. I’m Adriane AKA, your blog vis BFF. And this is The Blog Biz Podcast. Welcome to the show.
Alright guys, today, we’re going to cover a pretty controversial topic. I think it’s controversial. Anyway… ads, Dun, dun, dun. (I’m such a weirdo) Specifically, we’re going to be talking about ad networks, and don’t worry because I’m going to explain the difference between ads and ad networks in just a minute.
I’m still laughing at myself that I was such a weird second ago. Episode two: you’re already getting to know me so well. Okay.
So if you’ve recently launched your blog and are thinking about using ads as a way to earn passive income, then buck on up, cause this is for you (again, I’m a weirdo). Okay. And then I also want to say if there are any topics that you would like for me to cover or that would help you make money with your blog, let me know on The Blog Biz Podcast page. Or you can always just DM me on Instagram @brilliantblogger, because I love chatting and meeting you and making new connections.
So let’s dive on right in.
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What is the difference between having ads on your site and actually being in an ad network?
So this is a really great distinction that you should understand before we even get started with any of this.
An ad really can be anything. And, and by this, I mean, you can create – if you have affiliate products, you could create ads for them. Not always, but in instances you can create ads for the affiliate products that you have. A sponsored post could be an ad. If someone comes to you… if a brand comes to you and says, I want you to write an entire post about my brand, or a product, or whatever, or maybe write a review on a product, something like that, that’s a sponsored post.
And they would give you money for that. That is technically an ad.
You might also just an ad could just be a paid mention. So same thing, if a brand comes to you and says, mention my brand, mention my product, my whatever, and it’s just mentioned, that’s also an ad.
And then those things sort of go under the umbrella of what would be considered a native ad. And when I say a native ad, what I mean is that it’s something that really just sort of fits in with the rest of the content on that site. So a native ad would be like, as you’re scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through Instagram and you see it looks like a post, but then you look close more closely at it. And it says, sponsored posts. That’s a native ad.
So if you’re creating ads for your own affiliate products and they kind of look like everything else that’s happening on your site, or you’re writing a sponsored post because you’re posting anyway. Or if you mentioned something in a blog post, those are all native ads.
So ads can really, like I said, ads can really be anything, but what we’re specifically talking about today are ad networks, advertising networks.
You essentially “sell space,” quote, unquote, sell space on your blog to advertisers through a third party. And that third party is the ad network.
How do ad networks for bloggers work?
Okay, so first and foremost, you need to understand that you are considered a publisher when when we’re talking about ad networks. Or we’re more talking about other things when we’re talking about maybe affiliate networks or whatever.
Blog and publisher, blogger/publisher could sort of be used relatively interchangeably in this specific instance. One does not necessarily equate the other, but in this, in this instance, when I say that you are a publisher, that means you as a blogger because you are someone who publishes content on your site.
So as a publisher, you have launched your blog. Let’s assume that you already are to the point where you’ve already launched your blog. Because if you want to be in an ad network, you have to have a blog already.
Your blog is essentially like real estate. So you’ve got this digital real estate, which is space on your blog, where advertisers can display their products, their services, their their message, whatever it is that they’re trying to promote. And they can do this in general in two different ways with an ad network.
Ad networks are displaying these product services messages, because you’re giving them digital real estate on your site. Ad networks are going to display in one or in one of two ways in general, it’s either going to be cookie-based or contextually based.
Cookie based ads
If they are showing cookie-based ads, that means like, have you ever gone to, let’s say Amazon, and you’ve searched for a pair of tennis shoes. And then you leave Amazon site and you go on Facebook or you go on Instagram or something, and magically those same hair of tennis shoes are in your timeline or in your newsfeed,
And then in the case of an ad network, they can access those cookies, which is why sometimes when you go to… oftentimes when you go to websites, because it’s starting to become law in certain places in the United States, and it is the law in Europe, they require your users to consent to cookies.
So advertising networks use your cookies and they say, oh, you searched for tennis shoes. So we’re going to show you ads with tennis shoes in them because they understand that’s what you’re already looking for.
And so you’re more likely to make a purchase that way. So it’s kinda, it’s smart. It’s a little creepy, but it’s smart. I’m not gonna say it’s good or bad. You can make that decision for yourself.
Contextual based ads
The other way though, is contextual based ads. So this means if you are blogging about – maybe you have a blog that’s based on how to get picky toddlers to eat. And so all of the ads that come through are going to be focused on food, kids, parenting, stuff like that, because they understand that your site and your posts are relevant to these topics. And so they literally read your site and they show people ads which would make sense based on what you’re writing about, because they make the assumption that if they’re on that site, then they must want that type of content because why else would they be on that site? Right.
I think you should make up your mind for yourself, which one you think makes more sense. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that because you should make up your mind on which you think makes more sense.
I do have an opinion on it, but I think my opinion is ultimately irrelevant because what’s going to be good for someone is not going to be good for someone else. And this is simply not one size fits all. There’s a lot of grey area in here, and ultimately there are benefits and, here are pros and cons to both, for sure. So it’s all about your personal preference.
So how do ad networks work?
Now the ad network, in addition to determining the way that they show ads on your site, the ad network is going to act as a broker essentially. So they communicate with the advertisers and they set rates with the advertisers, what the advertiser is willing to, to be seen on your site, or to have other goals that they set based on, actions that are taken on your site.
And then they pay you as the publisher. So they act as the intermediary on negotiating rates. You don’t really get a say in that. Not always. Sometimes you do get a say in it in a way, but the, for the most part, they, they negotiate the rates. And then they pay you directly as the publisher. So they do all of the work for you on the backend.
Really, joining an ad network is truly passive income.
If you have traffic coming through your site, you can make money with an ad network. So if you’re like, well, this sounds intriguing, then let’s talk about how you can get paid with an ad network, because this is also important to understand.
How to make money with an ad network
So there are four main pricing models that I’m going to talk about today. There are a couple other pricing models that I’m not going to mention because they’re really, really uncommon.
These are the things you’re going to see the most. And really the first two are what you’re going to see more than anything. And the other two are just slightly more common, but not super common.
CPM = cost per mille
So CPM is the most ideal pricing model, in my opinion. And probably the most common when you get into some of the larger ad networks – or rather, some of the more exclusive ad networks.
CPM stands for cost per mil.
And that means the cost for how many thousand visitors are on your site. So when you are getting paid via CPM, then that means for every thousand visitors, you’re automatically going to get paid X amount of dollars.
They don’t have to click on anything. They don’t have to buy anything. They don’t have to do anything except show up to your site and scroll on through it. And you are going to get paid for that traffic.
CPI = another way of saying CPM
This is another way of saying that would be CPI, which is cost per impression.
But typically when we talk about cost per impression, we’re talking about it based on groups of a thousand people. So how many thousand people per month view your site and that gets you your CPM. So that’s why I prefer the term CPM. Some people use the term CPI cost per impression.
CPC = cost per click
The second pricing model is cost per click. And so that is exactly what it sounds like. It’s how many people actually click on that ad.
This is more common with ad networks that don’t have much required. They don’t have much in the way of traffic requirements.
When you have a CPC cost per click, you’re relying on your people clicking on ads in order to make money. So it’s a little bit more of a challenge to make money this way, because most people don’t click on ads, right? Like how many times have you clicked on an ad on a site and how many ads have you seen? Probably that ratio is not great.
So it’s a little bit harder to make money that way.
But it can work really well for you. If you have an engaged audience and you have really high click through rates, you could, you could make money. I do know people who make money with this method,
And then the other two ways are less common, but I’m going to mention them anyway, because I think that they’re relevant. They’re not so uncommon that they’re never, that they just never happen.
CPL = Cost per lead
So CPL is cost per lead. This means it’s similar to cost per click because it’s essentially, you’re sending somebody a lead they’ve clicked on to their site and now they’ve become a lead. And you can get paid per lead.
CPL is going to be more seen on affiliate networks, where if you have an affiliate product, typically with an affiliate product, they’re going to have to actually purchase the product for you to get paid. But sometimes you will get paid CPL, which means all they have to do is click on the affiliate product and you get paid regardless because they’re paying you based on cost per lead.
That is sort of going on a tangent because we’re here to talk about ad networks, not affiliate networks, but I thought that was worth mentioning.
CPA = cost per acquisition
And then the fourth way that I want to mention is CPA, which is cost per acquisition acquisition. And that essentially is someone’s making a purchase. So you are going to get paid a commission based on someone making a purchase from the ad that they clicked on your site.
Now, the other side of that is that you’re going to get paid the most money because you’re going to get paid a percentage rather than just like a little share of something, but it’s hard to get somebody to make a purchase, right?
Like CPA, again, this is what’s more likely going to be seen with affiliate networks and affiliate marketing, because you’re typically going to get paid with affiliate marketing based on someone actually making a purchase. And then you get paid a percentage of the sale, but it can happen with ad networks as well.
So again, I thought it was worth mentioning. Okay. So that said…
How do you find the best ad network for your blog?
Guys. I want you to keep in mind a few things.
First and foremost, traffic matters. How much traffic do you have coming into your site every month? How many page views per month do you have on your site? If you have no traffic coming in, that’s going to be a whole lot different than if you have 5,000 page views per month or 10,000 page views per month, or certainly 50,000 page views per month, or more than that.
The more traffic that you get coming in on your site, the more opportunity, naturally, you’re going to have to make money with ad networks. But also the more opportunity you’re going to have to make money because you’re going to become eligible for joining more exclusive ad networks that have higher requirements – or higher traffic thresholds – for what they require.
It also is going to depend on what countries you’re driving traffic from. So, take a look at where your traffic is coming from.
If you have not already set up Google analytics, I would highly recommend doing that because it will give you all that information will give you how many page views per month. You’re getting the ability to show you where your traffic is coming from, along with a ton of valuable insight and data about your users. That will be super valuable to you in the long run and ultimately helpful to you as a business owner.
You’re trying to make money from your blog, right? And this is not… I’m just gonna preface this by saying, this is not my opinion. This is just, this is just the way the world works and the way that ad networking works.
And the way that in general marketing works is advertisers are going to pay the most for traffic that’s coming from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and so on. A few European countries sometimes will also attract higher rates, higher CPMs, et cetera, from advertisers, also.
Again, not my opinion, just the just cold, hard facts. That’s the way it works. Not the way I think it should be. But it does matter.
So if you are primarily getting traffic from Europe, then you might not make as much money. If you’re primarily getting traffic from Asia, you might not make as much money because the advertisers are not paying the premiums that they would be paying.
If your traffic is coming from the United States, from Canada, from Australia, et cetera, and ultimately a lot of ad networks value US-based traffic. There are some ad networks that say your traffic needs to be primarily based in the US to even be approved for the right networks.
But I’m getting a little bit ahead of myself. We’ll come back to that in a bit.
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Things to consider as you’re choosing the best ad network for your blog
There are some things you want to consider before choosing an ad network for your blog.
1. The setup process
So how do they expect you to put ads on your site?
Are they giving you a code that you’re going to have to install? Are you going to have to hire somebody to do the coding for you? Things like that. Technology has come a long way. And so typically they’re going to make it relatively easy for you to be able to do this.
But within their setup process, you also should consider what control you’re going to have over the display ads, because the setup process might be easy and relatively simple, and you can totally do it yourself.
But if you don’t have some tech knowledge, you might wind up having a site that looks like total spam, because you are giving them full control over what they’re actually putting on your site. Right? But if you understand a little bit better how to control the backend and the technical aspects of what’s going to actually be displayed, that’s a better situation. That’s what you want.
So you need to understand those things. What is their setup process look like, and what kind of technical knowledge are you going to need to know to have full control over the ads that are being displayed on your site? Because you want that control.
You don’t want to just let them run a muck with your site and to put as many ads as they want wherever they want and all that good stuff.
2. Customer support
You also want to consider what their customer support looks like.
If you have very little traffic and you’re getting approved for a site that doesn’t really have any traffic threshold requirements, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to get great customer support. And that’s just something that you should be aware of upfront.
It might take a really long time for them to get back to you. They might never get back to you. That’s just the way things work.
3. Their pricing model
You also want to understand their pricing model. So are they paying – is it a CPM model? Is it a CPC model?
Are they paying per impression of the ad, paying for clicks, et cetera.
Understand their average rates of pay and then understand their minimum payout threshold. So that means how much money do you have to make before they pay you. This is only something that you’re going to have to worry about when you don’t have a ton of traffic, because once you have more traffic and you join a bigger ad network, they’re going to pay higher rates. You’re going to have more traffic naturally, and you are not going to, there’s no minimum pale threshold because you’re going to make more money every month. And then you, then you would need to have a minimum payout threshold.
Anyway, I hope that makes sense.
Okay. So we’re almost getting to where I’m actually going to talk about specific ad networks, but first let’s have some real talk about ad networks. This is:
Real talk about ad networks, part one
So first and foremost, exclusive and higher paying networks want you to have a WordPress-based blog.
If you follow me, if you have heard me speak before, you know that I say that you need to invest in having your own domain.
And ultimately you should invest in having a host that will allow you to have a WordPress blog. And now I’m not talking about yoursite.wordpress.com. I’m talking about having a wordpress.org infrastructure on your site. They’re two different things.
Most exclusive and higher paying ad networks want you to have a WordPress blog. So when you hear me say things like you need to invest in your own domain, you need to invest in having a host that you’re paying every month or every year for your site, ultimately you’re going to have more opportunities to make money.
Have a WordPress based blog – don’t use Wix, don’t use Squarespace, et cetera. Then this is one of the reasons why ad networks oftentimes are going to want you to have a word WordPress based blog.
Be cautious of other bloggers recommending ad networks
And that was the first thing. The second thing is that ad networks are a tough thing to talk about because bloggers who are talking about ad networks are not being upfront with you. I feel very strongly about this. Okay?
So the top results on Google, if you go search in best ad networks for bloggers, best ad networks for publishers, and you look through the top results, typically, they’re just giving you generic pros and cons, which is not necessarily bad thing.
However, I firmly feel that they’re not giving you the whole truth (the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God). And that means that they are ultimately giving you misinformation.
I feel strongly about this guys, before you join an ad network, find people who have had experience with that ad network and find people who are not looking for affiliate payouts giving you that advice.
If you look at the top results on Google, the majority of them, if you were to click on the link and join that ad network or apply to join that ad didn’t work and you were to get approved, and then you start making money from them, the person whose link you clicked on is going to make money.
It’s not going to cost you anything. It’s not going to take away from the money that you would’ve made. So there’s no harm in clicking on those links on clicking on those affiliate links. But those people are promoting things… maybe out of the goodness of their heart, maybe because they’re genuinely trying to help you, but maybe they’re not.
They’re just lists. They’re giving you a long list of, we recommend these ad networks to join. They’re not sharing their personal information or their personal experiences in a lot of cases. But if you click that link and you choose to join based on these generic pros and cons, then they’re going to potentially make money off of you.
Note: As of this writing, Brilliant Blogger is not an affiliate for ANY of the ad networks listed, because we only are affiliates of programs we know, use, and love, and can therefore genuinely and wholeheartedly recommend.
How I’ll make my recommendations
So I’m not giving you generic pros and cons. What might be a pro for me is actually maybe a con for you. Something like CPC as a model of payment.
If I say, I think it’s a con that, that an ad network pays based on clicks. That might not be a negative for you, because you might have a super high click through rate. And in fact that could then be a positive for you, right? So I’m not going to just give you generic pros and cons. I’m going to give you some general information from which you can draw your own conclusions, and then let you know what my experience has been, if any.
And I’ll tell you the experiences of other people that I have known have had. To be upfront, I don’t have a ton of experience with ad networks because I’m not the hugest fan of this as a way to make money… for me, anyway.
So I’m just, can I give you some general information and I’ve talked extensively to other people about what their experiences have been. So that’s where I’m coming at this from. All right. So that was my little preface for all of this. Now…
The best ad networks for new bloggers
And I’m going to take a step back from that again. I want to say that my number one goal is to on your trust, right? Like that’s… my whole brand is based around being your blog, biz BFF, right? That’s my little slogan that goes in places. You would not be BFFs with me if you felt like I stabbed you in the back and gave you bad information. Or that I was not being upfront and so on and so forth.
So I’m always going to be real with you, even if it does not serve me. Just saying that like it is, and that is not what you’re going to find on the internet all the time.
And it’s something that you should be aware of, not just for ad networks, but as you move forward with your business journey in general. Okay, now I’m actually gonna move on from this.
So the best ad networks for new bloggers. When I say this, I mean, you might not be new, but you’re not getting traffic to your site yet. You typically you to move into the next tier of ad networks, you have to have about 10,000 page views per month. So if you are not getting that in, in this, in the way of page views per month, then I’m going to say these are the best ad networks for you as a new blogger. So the one that makes the most sense to talk about is…
AdSense ads, main thing about Google AdSense is that Google automatically equates with being trustworthy, right?
Everyone knows Google; everyone for the most part trusts Google. And so that is generally something that’s going to help. You know that advertisers are going to be reputable because Google is probably vetting them relatively well. And that Google is likely going to pay you on time and to be upfront with with their payment practices and all those sorts of things.
Google naturally equates trust.
Now, Google is also notoriously hard to get ahold of, right? So they don’t typically have the best customer service.
However, you can get approved for Google AdSense from day one. You don’t have to have any traffic in order to get approved for Google AdSense. It’s also relatively easy to control the appearance of the ads that are going to be displayed on your site. As long as you have a little bit of tech knowledge.
Google AdSense offers advertisers options of payment model. And so you could wind up having a CPM model on your site, but most of the, their advertisers opt for cost per click (CPC). So it might be more challenging, especially if you’re just starting off.
It might be challenging for you to make money this way because if you don’t already have traffic coming, how many people are actually going to click on those ads when you already don’t have that many people? I don’t know. If you really develop some trust with your audience and you have high click through rates, then you can make money, even if you don’t have much traffic.
But going on the typical cost per mille. So regardless of whether they’re paying you CPM, CPC, whatever, your RPM, which is revenue per mille, is typically going to be less than a dollar on Google.
Understanding Google AdSense payouts
So if you have a thousand page views per month on your site, which might sound like… Whoa. That’s maybe more than I have right now. Your payout for the month with Google [because their RPM is less than $1] will be less than a dollar. Something you keep in mind.
Google also has a relatively high payout threshold. So their payout threshold is $100 USD. So that’s like €70 or £65 or £60-ish. That’s relatively high to hit that payout threshold, right? So if you’re making – if you don’t have that much traffic – and you’re making a dollar or two per month, it’s going to take you a hundred months to get to that payout threshold. Woof. Right. That’s a long ways away.
So consider that they have a high payout threshold.
The truth about Google AdSense
Now I’m going to get fired up here. I’m looking at my show notes, I’m like, oh, I have this nice outline of all the things I’m going to talk about. And I just saw the sentence [for the next topic] and it fired me up again. Okay.
So someone said this when I was looking at other what other people were writing about with ad networks, because I do a lot of research before I put my outlines of things together. (Good idea for you as a blogger when putting your blog posts together as well. Good for SEO.)
Someone said in one of the top three search results for best ad networks for bloggers: it is usually hard to get ad sense approval. Not everyone can be as lucky as this guy over here who got approval after six months of having a site. So here are some alternatives.
And I was like, WTF. This person is lying, lying! Straight up lying to you because that person wants you to use their [non AdSense] affiliate links!! They’re making bad recommendations on top of it!
So it said something like:
Well, Google ad sense here. If you’re looking for an ad network, but it’s pretty hard to get approved. You might not be as lucky as this guy who did after six whole months of blogging. You still might not get approved. So here’s some way better alternatives. They’ll approve you right away.
That is BS, a bunch of crap. No, no, no, no!
So guys, it just drives me nuts that this person is so obviously trying to get an affiliate sale that they’re willing to lie to you.
And this is why it is just, you really have to vet what people are trying to say to you. So on top of this being bad information, it’s also a bad recommendation. Okay? So let’s talk about…
The reasons why you could get disapproved by Google AdSense
For the most part, probably most people are going to get approved for Google AdSense.
If you already have a site, a site built, if your blog is built and your site is generally operating on the up and up, it’s family friendly, it’s whatever. You’re probably going to get approved for Google AdSense. I don’t care if you have traffic or not.
You’re probably going to get approved for Google AdSense. They’re not going to pay a whole lot, but you’re going to get approved. The reasons for disapproval:
Your site could be way too new. And by way too new, I mean, it’s not built yet, or you don’t have, you know, we have a one-page site that says like coming soon or very generic information, you might get disapproved because you’re just too new. But if your blog is built, you’re probably going to be okay.
Or maybe you have no content or you have super poor quality content, or it’s inappropriate. Maybe it’s not family-friendly in general or you just don’t have any content yet. Then you might get disapproved.
If you have absolutely zero quality traffic coming in. So this means every last bit of your traffic is paid or coming from spammy bots, which sometimes is not in your control. But if you’re primarily getting really low quality traffic, then you might get disapproved.
If you want to have Google AdSense, if you are encouraging people to click on your ads, that’s a big, no-no no matter what ad network you’re on. Don’t encourage people to click on your ads. It’s also not good practice to say: by clicking on my ads, you’re going to help my family, or you’re going to help support this site. Because that’s kind of persuading people to feel like they need to click on ads. You can’t do that.
Other reasons: if your links are leading to inappropriate. If you’re linking to non-family friendly sites. If your servers go down often. If you are not yet 18, if you’re under age. You have to be 18 to participate in Google AdSense.
Now if you’ve been completely banned from Google AdSense before as a publisher, then you might get disapproved [with a new blog]. And you want to be very careful with this because if you are disapproved, then you can’t work with Google ad partners in the future, which basically everybody that we’re going to talk about in a minute, that requires that has a requirement for page views. Basically they’re all Google ad partners.
Other than that, you’re probably not going to get disapproved. And so crap information saying that, well, it’s not so easy to get approved for Google AdSense, try these alternatives.
Google AdSense alternatives for new bloggers
Now, the alternatives that were being suggested [by the other blog], I’m going to tell you what they were the alternative suggested.
Pop Ads. First and foremost was Pop Ads. And, and the person who wrote this was like, well they pay out a $5 CPM. And this is generally true from what I understand. They do pay out $5 CPM. So if you have a thousand visitors per month on your site, you’ll get $5, which is a lot more than less than a dollar… 5x more.
This really is a high CPM for if you have no traffic on your site. And it says it’s instant, it’s practically guaranteed. And it is, here’s why it is instant approval and guaranteed.
Because Pop Ads allows illegal and pornographic and other adult content sites on their ad network. And as such, your users can be shown those types of ads. If you want your users to have a good experience on your site and not have porn come through or to have other crappy adult material that should not be shown to all eyes, then I would not recommend putting pop ads on your site.
That’s just me, me personally, if that is okay with okay with you, then go for it. But I wouldn’t do that.
And the fact that that was not disclosed in that way… was a little icky. That blogger said Google AdSense might not be the greatest option for you, but you could get on Pop Ads. That site did say that they also allow illegal, pornographic, and adult content sites, but they didn’t disclose that you could be shown those types of ads if you choose to join this network.
That’s why the CPM is so high. Or the RPM is. So the revenue per mille, you’re going to get paid is high. So you could join Pop Ads. If that sounds okay to you, then you could join Pop Ads.
Note: Brilliant Blogger does not recommend joining Pop Ads, and thus is why Pop Ads is not linked anywhere on this page
So then that site also recommended InfoLinks. And now this is one that I don’t really have a problem with.
Now, they are an affiliate of info links, and they weren’t super upfront about the other two-thirds of the content on this particular post. I was not a big fan of that. And I don’t mean to be going so hard on this one particular post I saw that really set me off.
But it really does set me off when people try to give other bloggers who don’t know better – other people who are just trying to find their way in business – and give them bad information. It really does not sit well with me.
I’ve started a lot of businesses in my time and I would not have wanted, I would not have wanted to receive bad information like this, and I don’t ever want to give somebody bad information like that. So I’m not meaning to go so hard on why this was really upsetting to me, but it really was.
Okay. So InoLinks is a good alternative for Google ad sense. If you’re looking for alternatives for ad sense, then info links could be a good option for you.
They have a slightly lower minimum payout threshold. Their minimum payout threshold is $50. But they have a similarly low CPM and relatively low RPM, not really any different than Google AdSense. But if you don’t want to risk getting disapproved from Google AdSense, because if you’re disapproved, then you know, in the future, when you have more traffic, you will run the risk of not being able to get approved for better quality ad networks. Then they have a very similar model with a lower pay payment threshold. That could be a good idea for you.
I don’t personally know anyone who uses InfoLinks, so I am not aware of what the user experience looks like, but that’s an option for you
The best ad networks for small publishers
When I say small publishers, I mean that they typically have a minimum traffic requirement of somewhere in the ballpark of 10,000 to 20,000 page views per month. So if you are in that range, if you have already gotten to the point where you are about 10,000 page views per month, then you would be considered a small publisher and these would be good at networks for you.
The RPM, the revenue per mille, that you could make with these ad networks is somewhere in around the $10 range. So if you have 10,000 page views per month on your site, then that would equal in the ballpark of $100 USD per month that you would get paid. If you had 40,000 page views per month, then that would be about $400 that you get paid.
That is just a really generic RPM to throw out there. And to give you an example, it’s going to be different for everybody based on where your traffic is coming from, what’s being shown on your site, all that different stuff.
Now US-based traffic is going to matter to these ad networks, as does traffic in other places. Like I mentioned earlier, Canada, the UK, Australia, because their advertisers are looking for traffic from those countries, or they’re looking for views from within those countries.
The first ad network that I want to talk about that could be a good option for you is Monumetric.
Monumetric has a requirement of 10,000 page views per month (BB note: many bloggers with considerably higher traffic have been known to get denied).
Now I have never used Monumetric myself, but I know a lot of people who do, and basically every single person I know who has used Monumetric has had nothing but great things to say.
Manu metric has a relatively long approval process. All of their ad partners have to approve your site in order for you to get approved for the ad network. So it can take a while. I know people who have waited a couple months and they haven’t heard back yet, which is normal. If that happens to you, then that is normal.
Monumetric does not require exclusivity ,and they don’t require you to have a contract. So you could use both Google AdSense and Monumetric at the same time and see which one is better for you. Once you get to that point. If you have a high click through rate that maybe it would make more sense for you to stay on Google AdSense. That’s I think, a slightly unlikely situation, but you could technically have both on your site and see which one works better for you.
I would also recommend hiring a developer at this point to help with, or oversee the setup. Because the alternative to that is Monumetric will offer to go in and set everything up on your site. You give them access to your site, and they go and [set it up], which is not always the most ideal thing. Not that I think there’s anything nefarious about that practice or that they are up to no good. If you give them access to your site, it’s not like they’re going to do anything harmful to your site. I just generally would not recommend giving up that access.
And if you don’t understand their setup process on your own, then it would probably be worth going on Fiverr or Upwork or something like that. Just hire a developer to help you with this process.
Because they do give you the option. They can set it up for you, or you can set it up yourself.
They do also have a $99 fee to join, and you might think: I’m gonna pay to put ads on my site?? But guys, you’re going to make it back. If they require 10,000 page views per month with an average RPM of about $10. So you’ll make that money back in a month, is the idea at least in a month.
And what this does: is it offsets their costs. So they say that within the first, I think they say 90 days, that it actually costs them money to have you on their ad network. So the $99 fee helps offset some of those costs so that it balances out. Okay.
Then the next ad network that I want to talk about is Ezoic.
Ezoic also has the minimum traffic requirement of 10,000 page views per month, but notoriously, they let sites in that have less even less traffic than that.
However, almost no one I know has been satisfied with Ezoic, just to be totally upfront. I don’t want to bash anybody’s business, but I don’t know very many people who have been happy with Ezoic. Similarly, I was approved for Ezoic, and I (as a web developer) saw way too many red flags, and ultimately I walked away.
So I thought, maybe I’ll reapply for Monumetric because honestly, Monumetric is something that I would be interested in, in doing, because I’ve heard so many good things about them. Or I’m just going to wait until I qualify for Mediavine with that specific site. But I like just in general, I was like, I’m gonna walk away from this. Right.
If you are interested in using Ezoic, then I would definitely seek out other people’s opinions [who use them] because it’s a large ad network, and I’m sure other people have had other experiences.
They have a relatively similar RPM as Monumetric. Some say it’s lower. I specifically know a blogger who says that her CPM or her RPM is way higher than $10. She said it was way higher than even what she was making with Mediavine, but she’s an affiliate for Ezoic. And I don’t know how much that weighs that decision. Food for thought.
(I generally trust her. So I don’t know that there’s anything, you know, funky about what she’s saying, but I think it should be said that she is an affiliate and that is something you should be aware of.)
And then the last ad network for smaller publishers that I want to mention is SHE Media, which is a part of the BlogHer network. And so they say that they require somewhere in the ballpark of around 20,000 page views per month, but I’ve heard that people will get disapproved with 20,000 page views per month. It might be a little higher, might be a little lower, depends.
There is a waiting list a lot of times to get into SHE Media. And if you’re disapproved, there’s a waiting period to apply again. So just things to consider.
However, I have heard rave reviews about SHE Media. I’ve heard such good things about this as an ad network.
Your traffic has to be 70% female to be approved for the network, and I’m pretty sure they want mostly US-based traffic.
They also require exclusivity. So you can’t have any other ad networks on your site, and you have to sign a one-year contract with them. So something to consider that if you were to… let’s say you were to qualify for Mediavine, which has a higher threshold of rate of approval. If you still have six months left in your SHE Media contract, you can’t get out of it.
You’re not going to be able to go to Mediavine, even if you qualify. And I know some people who would have qualified for Mediavine within that time period, and by the time they’re done with the SHE Media contract their, their traffic no longer qualifies (because traffic fluctuates naturally). So just food for thought.
And to be completely honest, I’m not sure of the RPM that SHE Media makes. I was not able to find anybody who could share that information, but I’m assuming that it’s about the same as Ezoic and Monumetric. I could be wrong about that though.
The best ad networks for bloggers with more traffic
And then the last thing I want to talk about is the best ad networks for more established publishers. So if you have a considerable amount of traffic, these are generally the ad networks that most of the larger blogs will put on their site.
With these ad networks, exclusivity is typically required, which means you are not allowed to be on any other ad networks, which is fine, because you’re probably gonna make all the money that you need with them.
The first one is Mediavine, which I’ve already mentioned, and Mediavine requires 50,000 sessions per month. This is different than page views per month.
Sessions per month means that they are individual users. So page views per month is one person who goes through and they might click on 1-3 different posts on your site. And that counts for three page views, but it would only be one session.
So 50,000 sessions per month. Typically you might say you need at least 60,000 page views, but don’t even go by page views, but you would need more than 50,000 page views in most cases.
And Mediavine sort of seems to be like the gold standard ad network for bloggers. Like that’s the goal for most people.
They do have crazy high payouts though. Crazy high CPM, crazy high RPM.
I know people who have said that they gotten as much as $40 RPM. That means that if they had 60,000 page views per month, that means that their payout every month would be $2,400. That’s a far cry from less than $1 per month, right?! Or less than a dollar per mille. That is a good payout. (Not everybody on Mediavine has $40 RPM by any means)
Other thing to know about Mediavine is they were created by publishers. I think that makes them unique. And I think it makes their – they say they’re not an ad network – but I think it makes their “ad network” (I’ll put it in quotations since that’s not what they technically say they are). But I think that’s what makes it so valuable because they were created by publishers. And so they get it, they really understand what it’s like to be a publisher.
They do have a 90 day requirement that you have to be with Mediavine for 90 days because they say that it takes 90 days fully fully establish metrics for your site and to optimize it, to get the most out of it. And then after that, you’re on a 30 day contract. So any after 30 days, you can cancel it at any given point with 30 days notice.
Then AdThrive is the last ad network that I want to talk about. Ad thrive requires a hundred thousand page views per month and primarily US-based traffic, but they also have a super high CPM. Everyone that I know who uses AdThrive is super happy with them.
They make a lot of money, a lot of completely passive income from AdThrive because consider, say that they only have a $30 RPM. Let’s say they have a $30 RPM, which I know some bloggers with AdThrive have with a 100,000 page views per month, that’s $3,000 a month for just having traffic on your site. So good deal.
And then they also require 30 days notice to cancel. So they don’t require a contract 30 days notice to cancel.
Whew! All that said let’s have…
Real talk about ad networks, part two
You should keep in mind is that ad networks are probably going to make your site look spammy just in general. If you visited a site and they have ads on their site, have you looked at it and been like, wow, all these ads are so nice? They really add the user experience? (Probably not!)
No, it’s a little cluttered! It’s not always the best experience. Especially if you don’t have technical knowledge of really how to set these things up, ad networks can really make your site look like spam.
So you have to think: is the money going to be worth it is that dollar per month that you’re going to make with Google AdSense or whatever? Is that really going to be worth it? Or even if you want to go real crazy and say, sure, I’m okay with having maybe adult content on my site. And I’m going to do Pop Ads. Is that $5 per month on your site going to be worth it?
I don’t know guys. Look, I’m not going to tell you the answer to that, but I would really have to think long and hard about that myself. And I can tell you that my answer is that for me, it was not worth it.
My advice on joining an ad network
And I would wait until you – and this is just my personal advice – I would wait to hit 10,000 page views per month before you put ads on your site so that the money is actually worth it. So that you can join something that’s a little bit more exclusive. That’s going to have a higher payout, a higher RPM for you.
You don’t have to do that. You can totally do whatever you think is going to be best. But that is the advice that I give to my students in Brilliant Blogger, which is my membership to help bloggers generate consistent income with their blogs. And so that’s the advice I give them. I’m going to give you the exact same advice. I don’t care if you’re paying me or not. That’s the advice that I’m going to give you.
Also if you are looking at an ad network as a smaller publisher, I would still recommend getting help from a developer.
If you don’t understand the technical backend of things, really focus on: should I be focusing on being in an ad network or not?
If you’re just starting out, focus more on building traffic and building an audience and then learn more about affiliate marketing. I think that that’s a better way to monetize your site.
This is again, just my 2 cents. Just my opinion, the same advice that I would give you if you’re paying me for it and are in Brilliant Blogger. And there’s a whole lot more that I would give you advice on, but this is the same advice I give to my paying students. If you focus on building traffic, focus on building your audience, learn more about affiliate marketing, you are likely to get relatively similar results without cluttering your site with ads.
The best ad networks for bloggers: wrapping it up
All that said you could join an ad network today. And if that’s the choice that you want to make, I fully support that decision and, and wish you all the best in starting to make money with your site. Because absolutely is a possibility for you!
So I would love to know. What do you think about all of this? Do you think that it would be worth joining an ad network? Do you have interest in joining an ad network? Would you be interested in doing it right away or would you want to wait for a little bit higher of a payout once you have more traffic?
Let me know. I really would love to know @brilliantblogger on Instagram. Totally let me know. And if you are interested in learning more about how to make money with your blog, check out my free class, How To Make Consistent $1k Months Blogging.
In that class, I go over the three big mistakes I see bloggers making that holds them back from making money. Plus the entire $1k blog system, which is exactly what I use to start a blog and make my first thousand dollars within 60 days of launching that site, as well as make five figures with other blogs that I have run in the past.
Just to be transparent – because I fully believe in transparency. (If you couldn’t have already, if you haven’t already been able to tell that based on the rants that I went on in this episode!) To be fully transparent, you will have the opportunity to join Brilliant Blogger, which is my membership to help bloggers make money with their blog. And I have to say it’s pretty good. It’s pretty good. It’s a pretty good program.
And if you liked what you heard today, don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing. Because I would really appreciate, because The Blog Biz Podcast is brand new. If you don’t mind giving us a review or sharing and/or sharing with your blogger friends, because I would love to help them too.
Until next time have a great day guys!