Ad networks connect advertisers or ad buyers with prospective publishing partners. Essentially, these networks hold inventory and auction it off to prospective buyers.
For a business to be successful, digital advertising and marketing are two often critical factors. However, maintaining potential ad revenue is still a complicated task for many businesses and individuals, especially when monetizing websites. Publishers need to consider several factors to maintain profitable and healthy ad revenue, such as choosing the right advertising network or managing their programmatic advertising.
This article lists the best ad networks for publishers and key points you should consider before settling down with your preferred advertising network or partner.
Top Advertising Networks
In order to achieve high quality, real-time success and growth from the monetization of your websites, you need to do more than sell ads directly to businesses. Unfortunately, finding the best ad networking platform can be a challenging task for many. Especially as advertising platforms are inundated with hundreds of new, innovative, and highly competent advertising networks. They all may seem very similar and equally inventive.
Here are the best advertising networks publishers can leverage to improve and optimize ad revenue at scale.
Although we’re not technically an ad network — we are an award-winning full-service ad management solution and header bidding provider. Header bidding is the advanced programmatic technique of simultaneously auctioning off ad units to a large demand pool of ad networks. As a result, we effectively drive competition and rates and do all the heavy lifting of integrating the best ad partners for you — more money and less work!
Using solid technology and algorithms, we can increase site speed, balance user experience, and optimize ads for a revenue-maximizing experience. Additionally, we offer publishers a variety of ad solutions — consent management platforms, ad refresh, ad-block recovery — all geared towards crafting high-performing units. Moreover, we have no upfront or hidden fees and offer contract-less business collaborations. Despite being a newer platform, we are quickly rising as a popular AdSense alternative.
- Algorithmic Real-Time Bidding
- Interstitial ads
- Friendly Payment Terms
- Lightning-fast site speed and load time
- Non-exclusive: You’re free to work with additional networks
There is little question that Google AdSense is the most well-known advertising platform among people in the online advertising space. This platform offers access to a large base of advertisers and allows most ads and ad sizes to fit your website. However, the industry-titan provides little in terms of ad support, management, or solutions.
Publishers looking to incorporate ad units on their sites typically default to Adsense, but as you’ll see, that’s not the only option out there. In fact, many Adsense alternatives are available that are much more impactful.
- Large advertising platform with a massive number of online advertisers
- Ad formats that are suitable for many sizes and types
- Completely automated ads
- Search ads
- Interstitial ads
- Display ads
- Contextual ads
- Multiple ad size adaptability
Meda.net is one of the most popular Google AdSense alternatives for both advertisers and publishers alike. Its quality reputation is a result of offering more freedom and options to publishers and bloggers. For example, it enables publishers to make use of both text and display ads. Media.net also figures out the best ad size for publishers, making their job considerably easier. The platform filters the user’s intent via relevant search keywords to provide finely targeted ads and higher ad revenue with its proprietary ad format. The minimum payout at Media.net is $100.
- No minimum website traffic
- Display to search ad formats
- Contextual ads
- Native ads
- Mobile-responsive ads
- The next-generation cross-format header bidding platform
PropellerAds is another well-known ad network that can help you monetize your website and its content in multiple ways that are unique to this platform. If your business comes under niche competition, this is the right advertising platform you should take advantage of. The major reason why PropellerAds is so successful is that it allows the publishers to segment and filter dates to show specific ad units and date ranges. Additionally, PropellerAds provides an easy user experience and transparent CPA advertising platform.
- Transparent reporting tools that allow control of your monetization
- Diverse monetization methods
- 100% fill rate
- Traditional display ads
- Click ads
- Minimum withdrawal as low as $5
- Weekly and easy payouts
- AI-powered optimization technology
Known for its in-text ad formats and intent targeting, Infolinks is one of the best ad networks for publishers. It’s reputable, content-centric, and has many trusted advertisers across the globe. This strong advertiser base includes famous brands like eBay and Amazon. The minimum threshold is $50, and payment occurs through multiple platforms such as PayPal, Payoneer, bank wire transfer, and check. Further, there are no minimum traffic requirements to join Infolinks.
- In-text ads
- Overlay ads
- Banner ads
- In-screen ads
- In-frame ads
- Display ads
As another strong ad network, Buysellads offers a wide range of options and advanced features when it comes to website monetization and ad optimization. One such reason is the lowest commission charge which enables the publishers to enjoy a 75% profit. This is something that is unique to Buysellads. Additionally, there are no minimum traffic requirements or language restrictions on this advertising platform, which is preferable.
- In-screen ads
- Native performance ads
- Sponsored content and emails
- Real-time, high-quality reports
- Multiple options for ad units
- Conversion Rate Optimization
- CDP (Customer Data Platform)
- Exclusive insights
Ezoic is a Google award-winning advertising platform for publishers. With Ezoic, you can perform automated visitor segmentation and improve your website’s traffic by leveraging its algorithms for ad units. In addition, it offers ad units and other important ad-related services that are tailored to meet your ad expectations and yield the best results for your business.
Unlike Infolinks or Buysellads, Ezoic has a minimum traffic requirement of 10,000 visits per month to the website. Unfortunately, it comes with its downsides too — you can check out some of the best Ezoic alternatives here.
- Sticky and anchor ad units
- As low as $20 minimum threshold
- Header bidding
- Real-time bidding
- Mobile ad units for increased traffic and ad impressions
- Service fee for using the platform
Founded in 2013, Revcontent is known for its extensive CPC and CPM model support. With a minimum threshold of $100, Revcontent is one of the most sought-after ad networks in the world. Additionally, this network receives praises for its high-quality service, with over 250 billion content recommendations every month. Another upside of this advertising platform is that publishers can highly benefit from Revcontent’s real-time reporting tools and speed optimization options.
However, two downsides to this network are a limited minimum daily budget and a lack of options to add multiple pieces of content at a time.
- Native sponsored content
- Google AMP
- Video ads
- 60% faster than other ad networks that offer the same ad formats
- 20% CPM revenue increase guarantee
- Granular control over content for enhanced user experience
RevenueHits was created in 2008 with the idea to help publishers monetize and get the best value for their ad space. One unique fact about this particular network that many publishers and audiences appreciate is that they only work with clean ads. This perfectly positions it as one of the best ad networks for publishers in a professional setting. However, despite this advantage, RevenueHits lacks any type of real-time reporting tool that many other competitor platforms offer.
- Unique and extremely user-friendly dashboard
- On-time payouts
- 100% fill rate
- Compliant ads
- Adblock monetization
- Collaboration with other ad networks
- Multiple ad formats
- No minimum traffic requirements
Due to its specific work in the vertical, Mediavine is more prone to partnerships with lifestyle, travel, and food bloggers. So, as a Google-certified publisher, Mediavine plays an important role in helping these content creators monetize their websites. One of the features that make this network distinctive is that it is more like an ad management platform than an ad network. To sum up, they offer more ad solutions and support than most networks. One unfavorable con is that Mediavine doesn’t support ads that AdSense disables. Additionally, it’s extremely challenging to join.
- High-quality ad units from its wide range of advertisers
- Multiple payment options that are on time
- No minimum page views and no minimum traffic requirements
- CPM revenue model
Another ad network option, AdThrive, boasts a wide range of publishers and advertisers. However, the platform has steep requirements to join and see profits. The approval process is relatively hard, as the publishers need to have at least 100,000 page views per month to get approved. As a result, it’s beneficial for larger publishers but not small to medium.
- Adthrive is a Google Certified Ad Partner
- Once joining, representatives are easy to reach and happy to assist clients
- Ad placements are intentionally delivered around site content to enhance user experience
Amazon Publisher Services
Amazon ads are rampant and emerging as strong as any other contender on the growing list of ad networks. Beginners and individuals who are already familiar with other Amazon services–such as their cloud or web services–know the rich user experience and profits they can get. As more people are automatically drawn towards Amazon online shopping and other Amazon services, Amazon PPC (pay per click) often appears as a logical selection.
- Transparent and Unified marketplace options
- No fees for publishers
- Easy to use dashboard
- Simple integration
Founded in 2007, Adcash is still a popular ad network among publishers who want a wide range of revenue models such as CPC, CPM, CPI, CPA, CPL. With its real-time dashboard and header bidding options, Adcash plays a major role in the online advertising industry. For businesses who are looking for advertising platforms with zero to minimum traffic requirements, this network is the best choice. Unfortunately, they are notorious for offering some of the lowest CPM rates compared to others that have the same features and pricing.
- No monthly traffic requirements
- Wide range of revenue models
- Real-time dashboard and header bidding options
Considerations when Selecting an Ad Network
Now that you have a clear idea on the vast variety of ad networks available, the next step is to select the best one in consideration with your specific needs. The right ad network will be quintessential in the seamless monetization of your website or another digital platform. Even if you have already employed an ad network, looking into other options may reveal some crucial features that your current network does not offer. If that is not the case, you can employ an additional ad network weighing its exclusive benefits to attain a much closer result for your business.
However, selecting an ad network is not an easy task. From the previous lengthy list of options, you might have picked up the fact that there is an abundance of ad networks to choose from. Also, the jargon and complexity present in the tech industry make filtering out the process even more difficult. You must put in time and effort to understand how the online ecosystem works. Fortunately, considering the following features can aid in choosing the best ad network for your business.
Size of Ad Network
With all things considered, a network with 20,000 advertisers will give you greater performance than a network with 2,000 advertisers. This is because a larger ad network typically has more ad inventory and more variety of ads for publishers, which ultimately results in higher revenue for the publisher. The volume of active campaigns running on a network at any given time is directly proportional to the volume of advertisers, therefore an ad network with a bigger inventory has more choices for trying to align the website ad to its content. This phenomenon is contextual targeting. Targeting is important because it indicates higher CTR rates and user engagement.
Aside from contextual targeting, a large network of advertisers covers a larger geographical region and therefore limits the possibility of unsold inventories. Also, it is necessary to keep in mind that smaller ad networks present the risk of going out of business and leaving their publishers unpaid for the last payment periods. In contrast, larger networks are less likely to face this scenario.
Another aspect to take notice of is that more advertisers equates to a higher number of bidders when it comes to ad networks that sell inventory. The increase in competition sufficiently drives up rates and means more money in your pockets! Furthermore, larger networks have more options for how to receive payment. Common payment methods are Payoneer, wire transfer, direct deposit, PayPal, and paper check.
Available ad formats are the next consideration in selecting the right ad network. Some of the popular types of ads that publishers may consider using are text ads, display ads, video ads, native ads, mobile ads, etc. All these ad formats are equipped with metrics and trackers to help advertisers determine the efficiency of each campaign. Breakdowns of the different ad types mentioned are detailed below:
Display advertisement falls under the most visual form of online advertising. These ads feature images or videos. Also, display ads will always have designated slots on a webpage. The eye-catching aspect of display ads increases user experience by attracting more viewer attention than say text ads. Display ads dominate Google AdSense and Google Adwords, but don’t have very high payouts. Cost for these ads is determined by the CPM ad network (Cost Per Mille) or CPC (Cost-Per-Click).
Video ads take the eye catchiness of display ads one step further. They boast better engagement and interactivity. Video ads can be entertaining, as an added attention grabber. Advertisers and website owners can create original video content to entertain the audience with awareness invoking videography, and also generate organic ranking on SEO as the byproduct. Expert studies predict that very soon, 80% of the internet content will be video-based, further selling this format as essential.
Native advertising is one form of advertising that is against the grain of how online advertisements are conventionally done. Here there is no effort put on pop-up ads as its strategies shy away from any straight-out marketing approach. Rather this ad format focuses on providing a solution for user problems and thereby gaining their trust. Blogs are one of the easiest tools for creating native ads. With blogs, you can have an informative conversation with your customers and potential customers and lead both of them into the sales funnel. Another advantage is that because native ads are not intrusive in nature, they have high value among the general public and ad blockers.
Since mobile devices are an integral part of everyone’s day-to-day function, including that of your customers, a responsive topology for your advertisement in the mobile space is very important. Responsive topology allows the system to format the ad to any screen type. According to a Google 2016 survey, the users of mobile or tablets have surpassed the number of users of the desktop. This proves ads compatible with mobile devices will have improved reach and better interaction with the visitors of your website.
Ad placement of a product or service that is relevant to your website visitors or qualified customers can influence CTR (click-through rate). The key here is to make use of the ad placement best practices for varying page types (i.e., homepage, service page, blog). Different types of ads need to be placed in different locations on a website, and it is important to consider user experience. Following are some of the best placement of varying types of ad formats.
Medium-sized rectangle ads – These ads can be placed in the noticeable spot at the top or at the bottom of your visitors’ desktop or mobile screen.
Video ads – This ad format can be placed at the right top of the computer screen to win the attention of the customers.
Text ads – The ad space for text ads can be placed at the left or on the right-hand side of your customer’s computer screen.
Similarly, there are several varying placement options for display ads on a website. So, it is critical to consider what is available on your website and then select an ad network that satisfies the slot with the right ad format.
Online ad networks have predominantly taken four revenue models. These revenue models are CPM (Cost Per Mille), CPC (Cost Per Click), CPA (Cost Per Action), and CPI (Cost Per Impression), all of which are further explained below.
Cost Per Mille (CPM)
Cost Per Mille, also called Cost Per Thousand, is payment based on every thousand website visitors or online surfers your advertisement has left an impression on — in other words, the amount a publisher earns for every thousand visitors. Therefore, the best CPM campaigns are designed in a way so that they are seen by huge numbers of people. Basically, the CPM rates are measured with the formula cost per impression = advertisement cost / one thousand impressions.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
Cost Per Click is another popular revenue model among website owners where the advertisers are billed based on every click made by visitors. In this model, when the budget set by the advertiser is reached, the ad will be automatically removed from the website. Pay-per-click can be calculated using cost per impression / click percentage ratio.
Cost Per Action (CPA)
The cost per action model is the low-risk revenue model for the advertisers. Here the advertiser just pays for a very specific action from the website visitors or the customers. Another name for cost per action is the cost per acquisition. Although most associate CPA with affiliate marketing, some networks do utilize it and offer high payouts. CPA is calculated by the formula where the total cost of conversion is divided by the total volume of conversion.
Cost Per Install (CPI)
CPI is a revenue model that is much more targeted towards the mobile area of advertisement. Here the payment is made by the advertiser per installation of a mobile app. Despite CPI being a straightforward model, its ROI can be influenced by country of installation, device platform, advertising network, app category, and genre. The formula for calculating CPI is ad spend divided by the number of application installs produced.
No matter what channel you use to drive traffic to your website, be it SEO or PPC, site speed is very important for rankings. One downside of PPC or ad networks is that it requires extra coding which can significantly impact your website speed. Different ad formats take different load speeds for your website. For example, video ads do take longer to load time than banner ads or other display ads. At the same time, ads in mobile apps take far less time to load. To put it simply, the extravagance of ad tech has a considerable effect on the load time and is something to consider when weighing your options for ad networks.
Irrespective of small publishers or big stature publishers, ad servers and networks help to monetize your website. However, choosing the best quality ad network takes a little more effort than what it seems on the surface. Not only because there is a myriad of ad networks available in the market, but also because there are different aspects that need consideration before choosing the right fit for your business.
Despite Google’s industry dominance, an alternative can offer more for publishers — whether it be header bidding (to drive demand), ad solutions (to limit revenue loss), or simple support (that makes earning easier).
Regardless of the ad network campaign you choose, make sure you put in enough consideration and analyze multiple networks before locking in on the right one for you. Or if you’re already using one, you can actually try out Newor Media without interfering, and see how they compare. Fill out a form to connect with our team today.