Sometimes an increase in traffic does not result in a corresponding increase in ad revenue. A major factor behind this is the publisher's inability to run the most profitable ads on their websites. The success of an ad is directly related to the performance of the ad network used. Hence, it's essential to find the right ad network to optimize ad revenue.
Global digital advertising spending is expected to reach $626.86 billion in 2023, accounting for 67.4% of total media ad spending. It means the competition is also growing. Therefore, attracting more traffic shouldn't be your only objective as a publisher. You have to make the most out of each visitor.
If you're struggling to maximize your ad profit, it may be time to explore other ad networks that offer higher profitability. With the right ad network, you can monetize your website's traffic more efficiently, ensuring that you're not leaving money on the table.
We compare the three best ad networks for publishers—Media.net. AdSense, and Publift—and let you decide which one suits you the best.
Table of contents:
Media.net vs. AdSense vs. Publift: The Full Overview
Here’s a comparison table for a quick bird’s eye view of three of the highest-paying CPM ad networks — Media.net, AdSense, and Publift.
What Is Media.net?
Media.net is a vertical ad network that connects publishers with advertisers to deliver highly relevant ads to their website visitors. It's also one of the largest contextual ad networks, serving over millions of ad impressions per day across 500,000 websites.
The ad network uses advanced contextual targeting technology to ensure the ads delivered to users are highly relevant and likely to result in clicks and conversions.
The network analyzes the content of each page on a publisher's website to understand the niche and content. It then matches the content with the relevant keywords and phrases that advertisers have bid on, ensuring the ads are shown to relevant users.
The best thing about Media.net is that it doesn’t focus on a website’s traffic visits but rather on the quality of a website.
Though it has no publicly disclosed minimum traffic requirements, websites should make sure that they serve excellent quality content and get steady traffic from countries like the US, Canada, and the UK before applying.
Media.net is designed for publishers that focus on publishing quality content. Here are some pros of Media.net:
- High-quality ads: Media.net is a premium ad network that only works with premium advertisers and ensures that all ads delivered are of the highest quality.
- Customizable ad units: The ad network allows digital publishers to choose from a range of ad units that can be customized to match their website's design. It allows different ad formats, including image, text, and video ads in different forms, such as banner ads and native ads.
- Responsive design: Media.net ads are designed for all devices to ensure a seamless user experience for visitors.
- Highly relevant ads: Media.net's contextual targeting technology ensures that ads are highly relevant and likely to result in clicks and conversions.
- Premium advertisers: Media.net works with premium advertisers, ensuring that all ads delivered are of the highest quality.
- Display-to-search ad format: The ad network also allows the display-to-search ad format which focuses on keywords. It helps advertisers to get a clear idea about the intent of the audience, so they can target their potential customers more effectively.
- Media.net marketplace: With one of the largest pools of advertiser budgets, Media.net has exclusive demand from Yahoo!-Bing network and premium DSPs. As a result, digital publishers have a chance of enhancing revenues.
- Real-time reporting: Publishers can track their earnings and performance in real time and achieve valuable insights into how their website is performing.
- Dedicated support: Media.net provides dedicated support to all its partners. The support team ensures any issues are resolved quickly and efficiently.
- US dollar payments only: Media.net offers payment in USD only. While this criterion may be okay for US-based publishers, currency conversion steps could be a bit annoying for partners and publishers from the rest of the world.
- Minimum traffic requirements: Although the network does not share its minimum traffic requirements publicly, third-party sources have reported that publishers need to have a reasonable number of visitors per month on their website. While this requirement is comparable to some other premium publisher networks, it means that smaller publishers may not be eligible to work with Media.net.
- Geolocation preferences: To partner with the ad network, publishers should have a majority of their website traffic from tier-1 countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, and similar countries. Media.net is an invitation-based network, and they can reject partnerships with a publisher if they find the quality of the traffic of the website doesn't meet their requirement.
- Lack of transparency: Finally, the lack of transparency about the network’s eligibility requirements, payment methods, and other policies is a major challenge for publishers seeking to work with it. This is quite unlike other premium publishers such as Publift which share most of their eligibility requirements and payment policies publicly for interested publishers to view.
In a Nutshell
Media.net is a great ad network for publishers that focus on creating quality content targeted at audiences from tier-1 countries.
Its advanced targeting technology and roster of premium advertisers ensure that ads are of the highest quality, while its customizable ads and real-time reporting provide publishers with valuable insights and control over their monetization strategy.
While the network may not be suitable for beginners, it is definitely worth considering for growing digital publishers attracting high-quality traffic.
What Is AdSense?
One of the oldest and most popular ad networks, Google AdSense allows site owners to monetize their online content by displaying relevant ads to their visitors. What makes AdSense stand out is its low barrier to entry relative to other ad networks. Even new publishers with relatively little traffic can join AdSense and start monetizing their content.
Google AdSense was launched in 2003 and quickly went on to become one of the most widely used ad networks on the internet on the back of its easy accessibility and Google’s commanding hold over the adtech space.
It uses a number of factors to determine which ads to display. These include keywords, page content, the user's browsing history, etc. Advertisers bid on ad space in real-time, and the highest bidder gets their ad displayed. The ad network is also highly customizable, allowing you a good degree of control over your page’s content by filtering out the ads you don't want.
New publishers often confuse AdSense with Ad Exchange. Although both are Google products, Ad Exchange is targeted at larger publishers and provides access to a large pool of ad networks. To understand how the two differ, and which one should a publisher choose, refer to our detailed post on Google AdSense vs Ad Exchange.
Google AdSense Pros
- Easy to use: AdSense is easy to set up and use, even for people with little technical knowledge.
- Easy to join: The fact that the Google AdSense network has no minimum traffic or revenue requirements makes it accessible to all types of publishers.
- Wide range of ad formats: Google AdSense offers multiple ad formats, including text, display, and video ads. The AdSense network also allows different forms of ads such as banner ads and native ads.
- Experimental features: Features, such as self-control, auto-ads, and experiments allow publishers to explore new ad possibilities. However, be careful about experimenting too much. AdSense might ban you for violating rules if you keep ignoring the warnings.
- AdSense arbitrage: Google AdSense arbitrage is a content monetization strategy that allows publishers to use paid ads to drive traffic to their websites. However, be aware that the strategy only works if the revenue from clicking on AdSense ads exceeds the cost of driving paid traffic.
- Real-time reporting: Google AdSense provides detailed reports on ad performance, earnings, and other metrics in real time.
- Customizable ad units: Publishers can customize the look and feel of their ads to match their website's design and layout.
- Large advertiser pool: As Google AdSense is one of the largest ad networks, there is a large pool of advertisers to choose from, which translates into higher bids and better revenue for publishers.
Google AdSense Limitations
- Site performance issues: While Google AdSense is great for generating ad revenue, it might be harmful to your site performance in some cases. There are instances of websites experiencing loading issues and reduced site speed with Google AdSense.
- Poor support: Google AdSense provides very limited human support. This means that there's a possibility that publishers may have to wait for days for a solution should they experience any issue with their AdSense account or ads.
- Difficult analytics: Though Google AdSense provides real-time analytics, configuring detailed analytics could be challenging for new users.
- Low revenue for certain niches: Some niches may not generate as much revenue as others, which can be a disadvantage for publishers in those niches.
In a Nutshell
Google AdSense is one of the best ad networks for publishers from every stage looking to monetize their website traffic. It offers a wide range of ad formats, high-quality ads from reputable advertisers, and real-time reporting. However, lower entry barriers also mean that access to premium advertisers is limited, which in turn has a direct bearing on publisher revenue.
What Is Publift?
Publift is an ad tech platform and Google-certified publishing partner that offers established publishers a range of tools and services to maximize their ad earnings. It has been helping publishers increase their revenue by up to 55% since it was founded in 2015.
Publift has an impressive roster of awards and achievements to support its claims. In 2019, it was awarded the Drum APAC Award for Best Sell-Side Technology for Programmatic Trading.
It was also ranked by Deloitte among the top 10 in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 rankings that recognize Australia’s fastest growing companies. In 2020, Publift was recognized by The Australian Financial Review and Statista as one of Australia's Fast Starters 2020.
Publift offers the full range of ad format options to its publishers, including display ads, rich media ads, and video ads in different forms, such as native ads and programmatic.
The platform bases its proprietary Fuse technology on machine learning and the latest ad tech to analyze data and optimize ad placements, ensuring publishers are earning the highest possible revenue from their ad unit. This makes it one of the best Google AdSense alternatives for publishers looking to upgrade to a higher quality ad network.
Publift uses advanced machine learning algorithms to analyze website traffic and user behavior, as well as to identify trends and patterns in ad performance. The company's technology platform allows publishers to optimize their ad placements and formats, as well as target specific audiences and demographics.
- Advanced ad optimization: Publift uses advanced algorithms and machine learning to optimize ad placements and formats, resulting in increased revenue for publishers.
- Programmatic advertising: Publift's programmatic ad platform enables publishers to connect with a wide range of advertisers and earn higher CPMs.
- No lock-in contract: Publift doesn’t do lock-in contracts with its partners. This allows publishers to work with any other similar network or platform at any time, helping publishers compare the services and outcomes side-by-side and decide which network suits them the best.
- Ad optimization based on best practices: Publift optimizes ads based on the best practices to suit the publisher's specific requirements. Once it's done, publishers get tags that they can include on their websites, allowing for header bidding.
- Great reporting and support: Publift not only provides real-time reporting and analytics it also provides its partners with one of the best supports. There's a dedicated accounts manager to look after each publisher. They immediately take care of any issues as fast as they occur.
- Customized and responsive ad units: Publift offers customized ads that match the design and layout of the publisher's website. Also, its ads are responsive, meaning they are optimized for different screen sizes and devices.
- Restrictive eligibility criteria: Publift only partners with premium advertisers, and as a result, sets a relatively higher entry barrier to its publisher program. Publishers must have a minimum monthly of $2,000 or get more than 500,000 monthly page views to be eligible to work with Publift.
In a Nutshell
Publift is an excellent choice for high-end publishers looking to maximize their advertising revenue. If your website meets Publift’s criteria, you could be working with one of the best ad networks that helps you connect with premium advertisers.
The network's state-of-the-art technology and its ability to provide publishers with detailed metrics means that publishers have better optimized ad placements and increased ad earnings. Another plus point with Publift is that its customized ads and responsive design make it an excellent choice for publishers who value a seamless user experience.
Media.net vs. AdSense vs. Publift—Comparing Ad Networks
Media.net, AdSense, and Publift all enable publishers to earn revenue by displaying ads on their sites. Media.net is a contextual advertising network that uses Yahoo! Bing Network to display relevant ads to users.
AdSense, on the other hand, is Google's advertising program that allows site owners to monetize their content with Google ads.
Publift, on the other hand, is a full-service ad management platform that helps publishers optimize their ad profit by providing advanced ad tech solutions, detailed analytics, and personalized support.
Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the right one depends on your specific needs and goals as a publisher. Media.net can be ideal for publishers looking for high-paying contextual ads, AdSense can be great for beginners and those who want to leverage the power of Google's ad network, and Publift can be the right platform for established publishers needing customized ad solutions and advanced analytics.
Comparing Approval Requirements
Media.net, AdSense, and Publift have different approval requirements as they target different types of publishers. Let's compare the approval requirements of the three ad networks.
Media.net Approval Requirements
- Publishers must have a website with high-quality, original content.
- The website's primary visitors must be from the US, Canada, the UK, and other tier-1 countries.
- The website's content must be primarily written in English and shouldn't have too many ad spaces.
- Though the ad network doesn't directly ask for a minimum traffic requirement, it may not accept publishers with very little monthly traffic.
- The website must comply with Media.net's program guidelines and policies.
- Publishers must apply for an account and undergo a review process before being accepted into the program.
AdSense Approval Requirements
- Website owners must be at least 18 years old.
- Publisher's website must have unique and original content.
- The website must comply with AdSense program policies, which include guidelines for content, ad placement, and user experience.
- Publisher's websites must be at least three months old.
- Though the ad network doesn't specifically ask for a minimum traffic requirement, websites with poor traffic may not get approvals.
- Publishers must apply for an account before undergoing a review process and being accepted into the program.
Publift Approval Requirements
- Publishers must have a high-quality website with original content and a reasonably good amount of traffic.
- The minimum traffic requirement to join the ad network is 500,000 unique visitors per month and a loyal user base.
- Publishers must have at least $2,000 in advertising revenue per month.
- The website must be free of fraudulent traffic or clicks.
- The website must comply with Publift's guidelines and policies.
Approval Requirement Differences
All three ad networks require publishers to have unique and original content and undergo a review process. However, there are several key differences in their approval requirements because each network targets different publishers. Media.net places a strong emphasis on traffic from the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, while AdSense does not have any specific geographic requirements.
On the other hand, Publift requires a high number of website visitors and a reasonable ad revenue, which may make it difficult for some publishers to be accepted into the program.
Comparing Ad Optimization Opportunities
Media.net, AdSense, and Publift all offer various optimization tools to help publishers maximize their ad earnings. However, the specific tools and features offered by each network differ significantly.
Media.net Ad Optimization Tools
- Ad unit customization to match website design and layout
- Advanced targeting options for contextual and audience-based advertising
- Real-time reporting and analytics to monitor ad performance and revenue
- Optimization algorithms to adjust ad placements for maximum engagement and revenue
AdSense Ad Optimization Tools
- Auto ads feature that uses machine learning to optimize ad placement and size
- Ad balance tool to manage the number of ads displayed on the website
- Page-level ads for increased ad placement options
- Real-time reporting and analytics to monitor ad performance and revenue
Publift Ad Optimization Tools
- Header bidding technology to increase competition and revenue from multiple ad networks
- Advanced targeting options for contextual and audience-based advertising
- Real-time reporting and analytics to monitor ad performance and revenue
- Optimization of algorithms to adjust ad placements for maximum engagement and revenue
Differences in Ad Optimization Tools
While all three networks offer advanced optimization tools, there are several key differences among them. Media.net places a strong emphasis on customization and targeting options, while AdSense offers auto-optimization tools and increased ad placement options.
Publift's header bidding technology stands out as a unique feature that can increase competition and revenue from multiple ad networks.
In the final analysis, where Media.net and Publift offer advanced optimization tools to help publishers maximize their revenue, AdSense is a comparatively simple platform that relies on manual testing for ad optimization. You should run multiple experiments and test many tools before ensuring the right ad strategy on this network.
Comparing Analytics Tools
Analytics tools are essential for tracking the performance of ads on your website and optimizing their placement for maximum revenue. Let's compare the analytics tools offered by the three popular ad networks for publishers.
Media.net Analytics Tools
Media.net offers a comprehensive analytics dashboard that provides real-time data on ad impressions, clicks, revenue, and more. The dashboard allows you to track the performance of individual ads and view detailed reports on your ads’ performance.
Additionally, Media.net provides insights into user behavior and demographics, allowing you to closely understand your audience and optimize your ad placements accordingly.
AdSense Analytics Tools
AdSense offers a range of analytics tools that allow you to track the performance of your ads and optimize their placement. However, the ad network may not provide advanced tools for in-depth analysis of your ad activities.
The AdSense dashboard provides real-time data on ad impressions, clicks, and revenue, as well as insights into user behavior and demographics. AdSense also offers a range of reports and analytics tools that allow you to dive deep down into your ad performance and identify areas for improvement. However, it fails to include data for units, such as search boxes and mobile ads.
AdSense may not be the perfect fit if you’re looking for advanced data and in-depth analytics to develop effective ad strategies.
Publift Analytics Tools
Publift’s analytic capabilities are one of its biggest strengths. The platform's reporting dashboard allows its partners to break down their revenue streams using a number of metrics. Publishers can also analyze overall CPM and page RPM and identify the best-performing networks.
Unlike other ad networks, publishers don't need to be very tech-savvy to figure out reporting and analytics with Publift. Everything is automated once publishers place Publift’s Fuse tags on their site or app. And in case, something doesn’t make sense, Publift’s customer support is just a message away.
Analytics Tools Differences
When it comes to analytics tools, all three ad networks offer different solutions for tracking the performance of your ads and optimizing their placement. However, there are some key differences to consider:
- Media.net offers a comprehensive dashboard with detailed insights into user behavior and demographics, which can be especially useful for optimizing ad placements.
- AdSense offers a range of reporting and analytics tools but you might need solid technical knowledge to dive deep into advanced reporting of your site's performance.
- Publift provides powerful tools to optimize and measure ad performance. These come bundled with world class support and tech-driven service which automates every step in the monetization process.
Ultimately, the choice of which ad network to use will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you're looking for a comprehensive analytics dashboard with detailed insights into user behavior, Media.net may be the best choice.
If you're fine with basic reporting and analytics tools, AdSense may be the way to go. However, if you need a powerful platform for optimizing ad performance, Publift may be the best option.
Media.net vs. AdSense vs. Publift: Who Pays Better?
When it comes to payouts, all three ad networks offer competitive rates. However, which platform pays better depends on several factors, such as your website's niche, traffic volume, and ad placement.
Media.net typically pays high rates for contextual ads, especially for websites in specific niches like finance and technology, whereas AdSense offers a wide range of ad formats and pays fairly for all ad formats. Publift supports publishers across all major niches and formats and promises up to 55% increase in publisher revenue.
That being said, payouts can vary depending on your website's niche and audience. Ultimately, the platform that pays better for you will depend on your specific circumstances, and it is recommended to test each platform to find out which one works best for your website. Let's review the payment of each network:
Medi.net does not publicly disclose its revenue share arrangements with publishers. However, some independent sources report that publishers working with Media.net can typically expect a CPM of between $1 to $1.25.
The ad network pays its partners on a monthly basis, with a minimum payout threshold of $100.
Media.net payout rates vary based on factors such as the region and niche of the website, with some regions and niches having higher payout rates than others. Websites experiencing the majority of traffic from the US, Canada, and the UK typically have higher payout rates, as do websites in certain niches such as technology and finance.
Payout rates can vary depending on a variety of other factors, so it's always a good idea to carefully review the terms and conditions before partnering with the network.
Adsense typically pays around 68% of the revenue earned from website ads. Additionally, the ad network pays 51% of the total revenue for total revenue generated from Google AdSense searches.
Like other ad networks, traffic and niche play a vital role in determining Google AdSense revenue. For instance, there's a higher payout rate for websites with primary visitors from top-tier countries like the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. Likewise, tech, real estate, finance, and insurance niches generate more revenue from ads than most other niches.
Publift primarily focuses on connecting its clients with the best-paying advertisers in the ad market. Therefore, the platform usually targets high-quality ads and high-paying advertisers to guarantee the maximum possible revenue for its partners. As such, the ad network claims to have increased its client’s ad revenue by 55% on average.
Similar to the other two ad networks on the list, the audience, web traffic, and publisher's niche heavily influence the ad earnings of publishers on Publift. The network pays its publishers via direct bank transfer in the currency of their choice with Google revenue paid at the end of every month and revenue from other networks paid every 90 days.
Finding the best ad network is no longer a two-way race between Ezoic vs AdSense like it used to be a few years ago. Publishers today have plenty of high quality options that not only offer better quality ads, but also value-added services such as world class customer support, site optimization, and above all, customization to fit the publisher’s specific needs.
This is important because a one-size-fits-all solution like AdSense may not be right for all publishers, and may unpredictably impact a website’s speed and performance. The right platform will not only customize its ad solutions to a publisher's specific needs, but also ensure that any glitches in implementation are promptly resolved.
Publift offers a full-service solution to publishers and developers with an emphasis on optimizing mobile and desktop ad revenue. The platform has helped its partners increase their ad revenue by up to 55% on average. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you optimize your inventory and increase your ad revenue.