Running display ads on your website is a tried and true, classic revenue stream. For some topics ad revenue can be quite lucrative, for other topics it’s simply not worth it. Regardless, the only way to find out is to build up a high traffic blog and to then test display ads out.
What is an ad network exactly?
Ad networks are business who manage ad inventory for publishers (the supply) and advertisers (the demand). They are functionally a middle man, but the value they add for advertisers is that they can be selective about what websites they allow into their network.
This selectivity allows advertisers to reach a high quality, targeted audience. The value for publishers on the flip side is a higher ad rate and less work as you don’t have to find and manage advertisers yourself. So publishers can make more money per view and click.
The whole process then becomes a hands off passive income source for publishers.
Do you need an ad network to run ads?
No of course not. You can run ads yourself. I get emails every week from companies wanting to sponsor content and videos. The advantage of an ad network is that you don’t have to do any work once you’re set up.
The ads are automatically displayed and you get paid every month on auto pilot. The only thing you need to do is maintain your website and traffic levels. The downside is that an ad network takes a cut of the profit.
Ad rate CPM
One last concept I want to touch on is your CPM rate. This rate is how much money you make from ads per 1000 views. As I eluded to earlier, some topics are quite lucrative and have a high CPM rate. A personal finance website is a good example of such a topic.
Other topics like travel or dating have quite low CPM rates so it may not actually be worth running display ads on this sort of topic.
Display adverting essentials
When dealing with display advertising, you’re going to need to know a few different abbreviations.
Cost Per Click – Abbreviated as CPC. CPC simply means how much money you make per click of an ad on your website. You’ll want to aim for a least a 1-3% click through rate.
Pay per click – Abbreviated as PPC. This is a term for advertisers, it lets them know how much they are spending on clicks.
Cost Per One Thousand Impressions – This is abbreviated as CPM. It indicates how much you get paid per 1000 views of an advertisement on your website. No clicking required.
What are the top ad networks for blogs and websites?
There are quite a few advertising networks you can use for your website and blog. The following are the top ad networks for blogs each with their own pros and cons:
- Google AdSense
- Amazon Associates
- Ad Thrive
- Media Vine
- Gourmet Ads
Google AdSense – Best Overall Network
Google’s AdSense program has been around for over a decade. It was one of the first networks where publishers were able to make a lot of money from their website and is still the default network everyone starts with.
Google AdSense is a display advertising network that will pay you per impression or click on an ad you display on your website. When you sign up to AdSense they will review your website and then approve your account so you can start displaying ads.
AdSense is not too strict about who they allow into their program. So long are your website is advertiser friendly, your account should be approved if you have minimum traffic levels.
While you can still make a good income with AdSense if you have the traffic, you’ll almost always make more by joining an ad network. Here are their requirements:
GOOGLE ADSENSE REQUIREMENTS:
- Unique and interesting content.
- You must be 18 years old.
- No minimum traffic or pageviews.
- Comply with their terms of service.
Amazon Associates – Best Product Network
Amazon Associates is a product advertising network where you can get affiliate links and earn a commission by linking to products found on Amazon. What’s great about Amazon Associates is that there almost always is some specific product for any niche.
With the Associates program you can create dedicated YouTube videos and blog posts linking to Amazon or you can choose to run display ads. Regardless, Amazon Associates and Google AdSense are classic 1-2 combo that has made a lot of bloggers and website owners a good online income. Learn more about earning with Amazon.
Amazon Associates Requirements
- Anyone with a website, blog or YouTube channel can apply.
- You first get a temporary account. Once you make sales your account is reviewed to see if you followed the rules.
- If you did everything correctly you’ll get accepted into the program.
Ezoic – A machine learning network
Ezoic is the best starter network to use if you have a smaller website that gets a few hundred visitors per day, has around 10,000 pageviews and are wanting to monetize with ads.
Ezoic themselves are not exactly and advertising network like other on the list. Rather, they act as a middle man giving your smaller website access to premium ads run by bigger networks.
Compared to just running AdSense ads by yourself, you’ll almost always make more with Ezoic on a smaller site.
Ezoic gives full control over where and how ads are displayed on your website. Want to turn off Ezoic on specific pages? You can with ease.
Lastly, with their “meditation” program you can also have ads competing with one another so the highest pay ads are always displayed.
You must be around 10,000 pagviews a month. They are not strict about this, if you’re at 8,000 pageviews that is fine. You also need to go through an application process in which you verify your traffic levels.
- You need to be around 10,000 monthly pageviews.
Ad Thrive – The Best Network For Publishers
Ad Thrive is the industry leader in the advertising space for ad networks for bloggers. They typically provide the highest CPM’s through optimizing the ads displayed on your website through a technical layout of the ads on site as well as negotiating rates that advertisers pay.
Ad Thrive is the go-to network for high traffic niche websites that are looking to monetize through ads. If you have the traffic and the pageviews and want a full time income from ads, apply to Ad Thrive.
They are on average the highest paying ad network for high traffic websites. They will continually work with your website to get your the highest paying ads to help you make the most money.
It’s difficult to get accepted by Ad Thrive. They have strict requirements and a waiting list of prospective publishers.
Ad Thrive Requirements:
- Google Analytics verification showing 100,000 pageviews or more.
- Unique content that is original to your website.
- Most of your traffic must be from the United States.
- You must not be blacklisted by Google.
Media Vine – Full service ad management
Media Vine is the main competitor to Ad Thrive. They provide a similar service but the helpful thing about them is that they don’t have any traffic level requirements. 100,000 pageviews is a lot and Media Vine is smart to know that websites can still have an engaged audience even if they are not at large traffic levels.
I would describe Media Vine as that gap for websites that have reached their peak traffic but are not quite at 100,000 pageviews a month. They are a great fit for all publishers but of course the more targeted and specific your brand is, the better.
High quality ad network that is a great alternative to Ad Thrive. Particularly if you don’t have the traffic levels to apply to Ad Thrive.
You still need to build out a proper high traffic website with a targeted audience.
Media Vine Requirements:
- Have at least 25,000 pageviews a month.
- Have a design that can fit their ad placement sizes.
- Exclusive access. No other advertising allowed.
- Original content.
Monumetric – Full service ad partner
Monumetric is a premium ad network that can generate serious cash from your traffic. If you have a WordPress website and are getting at least 10,000 pageviews a month if not more, take a look at Monumetric.
They have various partnership plans for website that get 10,000 pageviews a month all the way to millions of pageviews a month.
Some things to note. If your website is getting between 10,000 to 80,000 pageviews you’ll have to pay a 99$ setup fee. If you do in fact have traffic and are getting over 10,000 pageviews a month you can make that setup fee back in a few days.
You will also have to agree to display up to 6 ads on each of your pages as part of the Monumetric program on both desktop and mobile. Not all at the same time obviously, just in various spots within the page.
Monumetric is great for a mid range website that has a traffic from the United States but perhaps not enough traffic to apply to Ad Thrive or a publisher that was not accepted into Ad Thrive and wants a high quality alternative.
An excellent alternative ad network for medium sized websites that don’t quite have the pageviews and traffic levels to apply to a big network like Ad Thrive, but still enough traffic to make advertising a profitable revenue stream.
They are also an excellent network for large website too who want an alternative ad network.
Monumetric was known as ” The Blogger Network” before and had a bad reputation of poor customer service and displaying ads inappropriate for your brad. For example, if you’re a mommy blogger and did not want adverts for games or whatever on your site specific ads you did not want would still appear.
However, they have rebranded and I have a good friend in the ESL space who is making $30 a day with them. Lastly, on a personal note I’m not crazy about having to have 6 ad positions available on every page.
- Must have a WordPress powered website.
- Your layout must have a sidebar that is 300 pixels wide.
- You should be getting a minimum of 10,000 pageviews a month.
- If under 80,000 pageviews you will need to pay a $99 setup fee.
- Must accept having 6 ad slots on your website.
- Major ad providers must approve your website.
Media.net – The AdSense alternative
Media.net is a contextual ad network that is a competitor to the AdSense program. For too long, before advertising networks were a thing, AdSense dominated the industry. Media.net was born out of this as a way to create an alternative network for both publishers and advertisers.
The great thing about Media.net? You can use them along side AdSense on your website if you so choose to.
They are an alternative to AdSense. It’s also acceptable to use them along side AdSense on your website. So even if you’re not part of a network and wan to go solo as a publisher. You’re free to use a combination of Media.net and AdSense ads.
They are primarily a contextual ad network. This will either fit into your website or it won’t.
- Must have an established website with content.
- Your content should be advertiser friendly.
- Most of your traffic needs to be from the United States.
- Your website should not contain excessive advertising already.
Shemedia – The network for female topics
I’ve never head of Shemedia personally until I came across a few mommy blogs talking about Shemedia. It’s an odd website. Shemedia.com is an website powered by Squarespace but apply.shemedia.com is powered by WordPress VIP.
More than simply a display network, Shemedia is a full service marketing and advertising company providing custom content in the form of paid content, display ads, SEO services and live events. The requirements are not publicly stated but a general metric most platforms want to see is at least 50,000 pageviews a month.
Sovsrn – Display network with advanced tools
Sovrn is a network similar to Ezoic in that they provide a lot of backend tools to help you optimize and analyze the performance of your website and it’s advertising. They provide advertising assistance to e-commerce websites and they help you make more money from your ad inventory with their “signal” tools.
This program also has a wonderful CPM, compared to comparable programs. Payment terms are fair. It was simple to get started since you simply need to register for a few minutes and then go ahead and approve all of your websites. Please keep in mind that they have certain criteria when choosing their publishers (websites).
Another benefit I appreciate is that they provide a thorough explanation of why your website was rejected for monetization.
Professional level tools to maximize your ad inventory. They tend to have high CPM’s but again, it does depend on the topic of your website.
They are strict about who they approve, but they do explain in detail why a web property would be rejected.
Best Advertising Networks For Bloggers – Conclusion
So there you have it. A high level overview of the various advertising networks you can leverage on your blog or website once you have traffic and pageviews. Depending on your website you may make a full time income from display ads,
Other web properties leverage display ads as a revenue stream on “hard to monetize” blog posts that don’t have a direct affiliate product to promote. Regardless, when you start getting around 1K visitors a day to your website it’s a good practice to test out display advertising.