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Beginning to think AdSense is the best ad network

     
2:50 pm on Jun 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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So I've been managing a very high volume website for the past 9 months and they hadn't tested other ad networks - probably because they weren't even using an ad server. So I recently set up an ad server and started a test with Advertising.com. I am testing 2 main placements - did not want to disrupt all AdSense placements all at once. In the 2 high visibility placements, AdSense is outperforming the ads from Advertising.com significantly.

But why?

With AdSense we run text ads which do well, but text ads aren't even an option with other ad networks correct? This perhaps is a big reason for the lower CTR and CPM's.

Category blocking and domain blocking. I would do a lot of blocking in AdSense - I'm guessing this is possible with other ad networks?

Publisher payouts: Guess they revenue share is essentially the same across all ad networks or I am naive to think this? Perhaps some ad networks just pay less to publishers? I'm thinking since we are big publisher that ad networks would want to be working with, that I might be able to negotiate better payouts? Or perhaps even fixed CPM deals?

Also, with ad network can't I simply say my minimum is say $3cpm or I don't want ANY ads to show? Is that possible?

Appreciate others' experiences with ad networks pros/cons compared to AdSense. So far, it looks like AdSense is still the better revenue option.
3:19 pm on June 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have been testing media.net now that my peak season is upon me, and I finally gave up on it, it just doesn't perform to the level that AdSense does. I think my sites do better with local ads rather than generalized or even national type advertising, and Google's got the inventory.

It's not terribly surprising; media.net uses the Bing and Yahoo Content Networks as I understand it, and I'm still in the Bing beta program and I never could get anything much out of that one either.
5:50 pm on June 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Also, with ad network can't I simply say my minimum is say $3cpm or I don't want ANY ads to show? Is that possible?


Lijit, Criteo, PulsePoint, ValueClick allow you to set a minimum CPM and then choose what you want to show if it's not met. Some of them do have a cap on how high the minimum CPM can be...which should tell you something. There are probably more but those are three I'm aware of.
1:56 am on June 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I've tried a few different ad networks over the years. Half of those companies aren't even in business today and the rest aren't worth my time. I've been monetizing my site for about 12 years now and AdSense is the best I've used. By far. I now ignore 99% of the spam I get from new ad networks wanting to make me more money ;) I like that Google pays on time as well (faster than the other guys).
3:44 am on June 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I did some testing with media.net. I tried a split test where I gave them identical spots as adsense on about the same number of pages. Adsense won most days and was more consistent. I have areas where adsense wasn't performing all that well and I kept getting really low CPC ads on those pages. So I cut the number of adsense adunit down to one and filled in the other spots with media.net. So far, I've seen an overall income improvement.

Media.net doesn't have the ad inventory that google does, as netmeg stated. But I want to see more competition, so I'm mixing in media.net ads. I couldn't find anything in adsense or media.net ToS that would prohibit this.

I tried some affiliates, but was extremely disappointed with that.

I do believe that adsense is the best option if you have to pick one. I'd rather not have to choose only one though.
3:09 pm on June 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I run everything through DFP which allows AdSense to compete with my manually entered network average CPM rates. This seems to work as a good blend of the two. I've found a few that compete well enough with AdSense in US, UK, CA, AU, and IN. Hard to find anyone that does anywhere near AdSense outside of those geos. Since my sites have a global audience it is something that I test on a regular basis.
3:52 pm on June 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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We have tried seven or eight of the alternaties, and none has come close to Adsense, so we've given up on experimenting for now. Experimenting always means lower earnings than if we had just stuck with Adsense during that time.

We get lots of those emails from reps from other companies, and I always reply to say that we will consider working with them only if our top ad placement can earn a CPM above a specific number--I give them a number slightly higher than our Adsense average--at a fill rate of at least 50% for the main English-speaking countries. They all essentially admit that this is impossible.
5:21 pm on June 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Experimenting always means lower earnings than if we had just stuck with Adsense during that time.


Ditto. I've quit trying other networks, except I do run some media.net.
5:39 am on June 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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tribal fusion is the best for me on one of my sites, it outperforms google by 2x just with cpm ads, and you can set minimum cpm there and make chain of advertisers
5:33 pm on June 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Something else to consider: AdSense has been a solid earning ad network now for a decade. I've tried other ad networks as well and most didn't come anywhere close to AdSense. For the few that did, they might experience earnings spikes for a brief period and then peter out after a few weeks or months.

I've just never found anyone to compete with AdSense -- month in, month out, and year in, year out, they've got the most advertisers, period.
3:39 am on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Media.net is not very good compared to Adsense. However what we have found is that cpm networks such as Tribalfusion and Sulvo X can pay a lot higher rates than anything else right now. Their premium cpm model seems like what advertisers really like for some reason (probably because of the good quality traffic) and if you have a solid site you should be good to go.
6:08 pm on Oct 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I really appreciate this thread. You people have saved me a lot of time. I've been curious about other ad networks but AdSense has been working well so far and I hate to change something that works.

I think inventory is one of the keys here, but I also wonder if longevity has anything to do with it. AdSense allows advertisers to target specific websites, and that should increase your RPM over time. Could the other ad networks eventually catch up to AdSense, if allowed to run for several months?
12:47 am on Oct 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

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For me, an important consideration is the fact that AdSense is international. Most U.S.-based ad networks are U.S.-centric and do a lousy job of earning revenue from the nearly 200 other countries in the world.
4:19 am on Oct 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

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For me it's been a great ad network for many, many years. I've been with AdSense now for 9 years.

This past year has been dropping month by month. Part of it might of been my traffic, but most of it seems to be the CTR has dropped way off from what it used to be for the first 8 years.

I have a tough decision to make by the end of this year whether to keep AdSense or try something else. I won't know until the next two months of earnings come in. It's been really flaky this month.