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Sulvo test run, 9/27/18 - 10/12/18

finally, a good one!

     
7:33 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've been testing Sulvo site-wide, in addition to my Adsense banners. Their system focuses on a single sticky banner, and you can choose where to affix it to your page. I chose to stick a 300x250 in the bottom right of my page, on all devices except for mobile.

This is actually working out extremely well for me! Yesterday, this one banner raised just under the same amount of revenue that 3 banners raised with Adsense! It started out raising about 1/4th the amount of Adsense, but since it was in-addition-to Adsense it was still just free money. But since then it has grown daily.

I had a few complaints from users that it was too intrusive, but after reviewing screenshots I honestly couldn't see why; the banner didn't hide any pertinent content. So I think they were just opposed to any change. I've kept an eye on traffic and pageviews, and traffic has actually gone up slightly, so no one left the site because of it.

I've also been keeping an eye on Adsense, and nothing has decreased... the click through rate is still the same, and the Page RPM hasn't really changed.

So at this point, it just seems like a nearly 100% increase in revenue!

Further, I've emailed them for support a few times, and I've had fast and helpful replies each time from David. I'm gathering that it's a small-ish company, which I tend to prefer.

It's worth noting, though, that my site hasn't been made mobile-friendly yet (I've been working on it but it's taking forever), and when I ran a mobile sticky it raised less than $1 /day. So I took that off, but it may do better for mobile-friendly sites.

They pay on a Net 60 (like most), so I haven't gotten paid yet. But I've read several reviews, and no one has had any complaints about Sulvo so I'm not worried about that.

So far, though, I can highly recommend using Sulvo in addition to your Adsense!
7:40 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Good to know. I gather from your review that your going to continue running the ads for while. Will you let us know how it goes?
8:19 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sure, I'll keep you posted. I do plan to keep it going (it's hard to turn down a 100% increase in revenue), so I can update with any major changes either way.
9:01 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sulvo made the buzz last years, with their abusive advertisers blacklist [sulvo.com...] a list of advertisers they were suggesting to disable at Adsense.
11:59 pm on Oct 12, 2018 (gmt 0)

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That's probably where I heard of them, honestly. I had them in my Bookmarks, and was going through all of my old networks in an effort to survive the ad-ocalypse (haha).

I'm also have better-than-expected success with Flipp, and I plan to try Outbrain again if they'll ever email me back. I'll update with a new thread on Outbrain if I can get it going.
1:48 am on Oct 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sulvo wants to connect to my Adsense account. That always makes me nervous.
4:44 am on Oct 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I had signed up for them a long time ago but didn't use them. I may have linked them to my Adsense account at the time, I don't recall. But if I did then nothing negative happened because of it.

When I used them this time it didn't say anything about Adsense.

This is just a guess, but maybe they use your Adsense as the passback to the bidding campaign?
1:44 pm on Oct 14, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Sulvo wants to connect to my Adsense account. That always makes me nervous.

Especially nowadays,...
2:05 am on Oct 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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FYI, today I moved my regular below-the-fold 300x250 Adsense banner to Sulvo for a test run. This is typically my lowest-performing banner, so it's one that I can risk a bad day without it hurting the bottom line too much.

The day still has 5 hours left (it's 10pm EST, and the end of day for them is 3am EST), and the Sulvo banner has made 60.6% more than the Adsense banner did all day yesterday! So by the end of the day, I expect it will be nearly 100% better than the Adsense banner was.

I plan to run it like this on one site for a week, while leaving my other sites on Adsense, so that I can compare apples to apples. But so far I'm feeling pretty optimistic!
5:17 am on Oct 25, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the updates.
8:01 am on Oct 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@csdude55 My experience with Sulvo is good RPMs but relatively low fill rates. In other words, they cherry pick the most valuable opportunities and leave the backup ad to do the rest. Are you seeing a high fill rate?
7:51 pm on Oct 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I'm not sure, the only metrics they have on their report are LLR, Earnings, vCPM, CTR, average viewable time, and viewability. How were you determining the fill rate versus backup?

So far, the average overall earnings for the below-the-fold banner has been 95.6% higher than the monthly average for the same banner on Adsense, and 79.3% higher than the same period last week. I'm going to continue the test until the end of the month, and if all goes well then I'll move all of my banners on November 1.
12:00 am on Oct 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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There seems to be very little info on their site.
What do their adverts look like.
How do you get paid.
Are there responsive adverts available.
Minimum payout / time waiting.
Do you have to remove existing adverts.
Can you alter colours.
Can you place them where you want them, rather than their AI placing them all over the place.

I'd like to know more before signing up.
1:10 am on Oct 30, 2018 (gmt 0)

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What do their adverts look like.

I'm running a sticky 300x250 in the lower right of my page, but I can choose any location. I played around with a few, and this one paid the best. So far it doesn't look any different than an Adsense banner.

I recently added a below-the-fold 300x250. I'm seeing a lot of video ads there, but they haven't slowed down the page and so far none have had sound. I've had no complaints from users, either, and they're VERY vocal about issues!

How do you get paid.

I haven't gotten paid yet so I can't say much about this one. I gave them my bank account info, so I'm expecting a bank transfer.

The default is NET60, but if you make more than $2,000 /month then you can apply for a NET14 option:

[surge.sulvo.com...]

Are there responsive adverts available.

Not that I know of... at least, not in their UI. You might could request them, but I don't generally use responsive so I haven't asked.

Minimum payout / time waiting.

The minimum is $100. I'm not sure what you mean by "time waiting", though.

Do you have to remove existing adverts.

Nope, I was running Adsense on the page with the Sulvo sticky, and now I'm running 3 Adsense banners, 1 Sulvo banner, and the sticky.

Can you alter colours.

I haven't messed with this myself, but when you create a banner it gives the option to restrict certain colors. The ? section says that they automatically optimize colors, but you can email them to request specific settings.

Can you place them where you want them, rather than their AI placing them all over the place.

That's how I'm doing it, I have them placed where I want them. I'm not sure if they have an automated option; I wouldn't like that on my site so I haven't asked.
10:09 pm on Nov 17, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I have some updates, mostly positive, that I wanted to share. I should point out that I have no affiliation with Sulvo other than as a recent client, and I'm not getting any type of commission or compensation for this. My purpose in posting is mostly because I've read so many people talk about their Adsense dropping (including me) and I think this can help.

Plus, I figure that them having more publishers will result in more advertisers targeting them, which should be good for all of us.


Payments

I had mentioned before that their default pay-out is Net 60. If you make more than $2,000 /month then you can apply for an "Advanced Payment" program. The way it works is they will pay 70% of your monthly total on a Net 14, and then the remaining 30% on Net 60. There's a 4% fee for this, which I think comes out on the Net 60 payment. Which makes sense, when I think about it... they haven't gotten paid from the advertisers yet, so they're more or less giving you a loan with the expectation that the advertisers will pay.

I signed up for it, anyway, because Adsense pays on Net 30, and if I had moved everything over without the Advanced Payment then I would have skipped an entire month of payment, and I couldn't afford that. The increase in revenue more than pays for the 4% fee, anyway.

I was approved for Advanced Payments on November 6 (less than 24 hours after applying), and I received my first payment on Nov 15. It was exactly what I was expecting (70% of my October revenue), so I have no complaints there. I lost 0.8% to "invalid traffic", but it's still much better than what I was making on Adsense.


Responsive Ads

After being approved for the Advance Payment, I see that there's an option now for a Responsive banner. It might have been there before and I didn't see it, but I definitely see it now. I haven't used it, but since @Lame_Wolf asked...


Comparing Revenue to Adsense

I moved all of the banners over for my largest site on November 7, EXCEPT for one banner that only shows up on longer pages. I didn't move it because it's a little harder to modify the code, and so that I could compare it's Page RPM with Adsense against Sulvo; eg, if I see it go up while Sulvo goes down, or vice versa.

I have a 300x250 above-the-fold (ATF) banner and a 300x250 below-the-fold (BTF) banner that only show on high-resolution screens (screen width > 900px), a 728x90 above-the-fold that only shows on low resolution screens, and a 728x90 in the footer that shows on every page. My site isn't mobile friendly yet (I've been working on a new build forever), so mobile users see the 728x90 at the top and have to manually zoom in.

I moved the 300x250 BTF on October 24 for a test run, and I'm still seeing an average increase of about 70% over what I was seeing with Adsense.

I moved the others on November 7, and I honestly didn't see a major increase on any of them for that first week. For example, comparing November 13 to November 6 (my last day on Adsense), the ATF banner saw an increase in impressions of 2.65%, and an increase in revenue of 0.03%. The quality of the banners seemed better and loaded faster than with Adsense, so that's all positive, but just not the increase in revenue that I saw from the BTF banner.

Their system also shows "vCPM" bid rates, and the highest bid for the BTF banner is almost 60% higher than the ATF banner! That's a big surprise, you would think that the ATF would have the much higher bid. When I went back to October 24, though, the highest bid for the BTF was only slightly higher than the current highest bid for the ATF banner, so I'm thinking that I haven't given it enough time for an accurate.

I emailed my Sulvo rep, and he suggested giving it more time to build history, too. I see that everything dropped a little after November 11, though (on both Adsense and Sulvo), so the longer it runs the harder it is to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

In retrospect, I should have done a more traditional A/B test, giving 50% of my impressions to Sulvo and 50% to Adsense. But frankly... I needed the money to go up FAST so I could pay the bills! Adsense has been so low this year that I've been paying bills on a credit card :-( So I couldn't afford to lose money while testing.

I'll do another comparison at the end of November to the end of October and see if these banners have increased any. If not then I'll probably still keep them with Sulvo, though, because of the quality and load speed.

The 300x250 sticky ad that I set up from Sulvo on September 25 is still doing great. I had a few complaints in the first week from users that they didn't like it, but after a week or so the complaints had stopped and I saw no drop in traffic (it actually went up a little). One of the biggest complainers even messaged me and said that it didn't bother him anymore, so that was cool.

For November, the sticky banner alone has increased my revenue by about 45%! :-D

If the rest of November stays on the same average as the first half of the month, though, my revenue at the end of the month will be almost double what it was with Adsense :-D


Comparing Sulvo to other companies I've tried

Before Sulvo, I have also worked with Baron's Media and MonetizeMore.

I have to say that I loved working with Baron's Media! They were a smaller company, and I clicked with my rep (Joe) strongly. He and I talked every day, mostly about ideas to improve revenue, but also just chatting like old friends. He sent me Christmas gifts, he would call whenever they had a new opt-in revenue stream, and I really felt like they appreciated my business.

After Joe was promoted, though, and I was given a new rep, things kinda went downhill a little. The connection wasn't as strong, and revenue started to go down. After awhile I saw that my smaller sites were having a much higher RPM than I was getting with them, so I had no choice but to move back to Adsense. Leaving them was hard, though... it felt like I was betraying my family.

A year or two later, I decided to try MonetizeMore. I saw an immediate monetary improvement with them, but customer service was definitely on the low side... I got the feeling that I was a small client for them, and they really didn't care one way or the other. After a few months I saw that Adsense was making more than them, too, so I switched back to Adsense. And I haven't heard from MonetizeMore at all, not even an email from my rep to see what happened.

Customer service from Sulvo is somewhere in the middle... David replies quickly and efficiently, and he's worked with me a lot, but on a strictly professional level. So it's better than MonetizeMore was, but without the warmth I had from Baron's. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just an observation.


Conclusion

Comparing Nov 7-16 (beginning with the day that I moved all of my banners over) to Oct 7-16, and excluding the sticky ad that was exclusively with Sulvo, I saw an increase in revenue of 29.3%. Including the sticky ad, though, I saw an increase of 231.5% (the sticky ad alone made slightly more than all of the banners combined on Adsense). Pageviews for the same period were up by 2.07% (from Analytics) and ad impressions were up by 7.8%, but it's notable that I have my Ad Balance on Adsense set to 100/62 so that excludes the Adsense banners that had no value.

If you prefer to compare the first Wednesday to the following Friday (which is how I usually do it, because I see traffic patterns that follow the days of the week), that would be comparing Nov 7-16 to Oct 3-12. Analytics shows an increase in Pageviews of 0.24% for November. Excluding the sticky ad, I saw an increase in revenue of 28.1%, and including the sticky ad there was an increase of 229.4%.

Based on my experiences with Baron's and MonetizeMore, I have no delusions that Sulvo will always be better than Adsense. I'm keeping my smaller sites on Adsense, and when I see that Sulvo is dropping in revenue while the Adsense Page RPM is up or unchanged then I'll have no problem switching back over to Adsense for awhile. I suspect that they will always have waves like that... sometimes AdX is better, sometimes Adsense is better, so you just have to keep an eye out and go with the flow.
1:57 am on Nov 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Wait, I made a mistake in my grammar... the increase with the sticky ads were 131.5% and 129.4%, respectively. So both were doubled + about 30 than the Adsense revenue:

$sulvo = $adsense * 2.315;

Including the sticky ad, though, I saw an increase of 131.5% (the sticky ad alone made slightly more than all of the banners combined on Adsense). Pageviews for the same period were up by 2.07% (from Analytics) and ad impressions were up by 7.8%, but it's notable that I have my Ad Balance on Adsense set to 100/62 so that excludes the Adsense banners that had no value.

If you prefer to compare the first Wednesday to the following Friday (which is how I usually do it, because I see traffic patterns that follow the days of the week), that would be comparing Nov 7-16 to Oct 3-12. Analytics shows an increase in Pageviews of 0.24% for November. Excluding the sticky ad, I saw an increase in revenue of 28.1%, and including the sticky ad there was an increase of 129.4%.
9:22 am on Nov 18, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thank you very much @csdude55 for sharing your experience.
 

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