The Best Alternatives To Google Adsense

Google Adsense is the go-to ad network for bloggers and publishers. It’s relatively easy to join and has low traffic requirements.

Although Google Adsense helps you start earning income from a new blog but if you’ve used Google Adsense you’ve probably already realized that there are serious limitations to this ad network, from low pay to slowing down site speed. 

In this post, we’ll be talking about the best alternatives to Google Adsense, their requirements, and how you can join them. Let’s jump right in. 

How does display advertising work?

Display advertising is one of the most lucrative ways to make money blogging. Ads allow you to make passive income from your blog while you sleep. That’s why so many bloggers hustle to get enough traffic to qualify for ad networks. However, not all ad networks are created equal.

First, let’s go over how display advertising works. That way, you have a better idea of how to use ads to monetize your blog. In a nutshell, display advertising is selling space on your blog to allow brands to promote their products to your audience. First, you have to set up a self-hosted blog, choose a profitable niche, and then write quality content that solves problems. As you write more content, your traffic will naturally grow. 

When you hit a certain traffic threshold, then you can apply to premium ad networks. Different ad networks have their own requirements for admission. Some are stricter than others. Generally speaking, the stricter the admission requirements, the better the ad network. If you’re accepted to an ad network, the team will give you a code to install on your blog. This code contains the information to allow ads to run on your site – on your sidebar, on your footer, in between text, and so on. After you install that code, then ads will start showing on your blog.  

Ad networks have partnerships with brands that want to promote their products on blogs and websites. These are known as advertising partners. Each advertising partner wants its ads to appear in blogs within a certain niche. For instance, a weight loss brand would naturally want its ads to appear on health and wellness blogs. That way, it can reach the readers who are most likely to buy its products. 

When you join an ad network, it will display ads on your site based on your niche and the needs of its advertising partners. For instance, my travel blog runs on the Mediavine ad network, which we’ll talk about later. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find many display ads for hotels, flight booking sites, and travel insurance. There are also ads for non-travel brands, but Mediavine, like other ad networks, deliberately selects niche-specific as to display. 

How do blogs make money with ads?

There are two models that ad networks use to pay publishers:

  • Pay per click (PPC)

The ad network pays the publisher for every visitor who clicks on the ads. 

  • Pay per view (PPV) 

The ad network the pays the publisher for every visitor who sees the ads. 

Generally speaking, it’s easier to make money on ad networks with a PPV model than those with a PPC model. That’s because the percentage of visitors who actually click on ads is small. Visitors will generally skip over ads unless it’s something they want. On the other hand, any visitor who comes to your site is likely to see an ad. That’s why the PPV model is more lucrative. You only have to drive visitors to your site, and the rest kind of takes care of itself. 

Why should you not use Google Adsense?

Because Google Adsense has a low traffic requirement, it’s attractive to new bloggers. Many blogging gurus also recommend Google Adsense as a good ad network to start with. I disagree. In fact, I caution bloggers against using Google Adsense.

The problem with Google Adsense is that the pay is quite low. Most bloggers make just a few dollars a month on Google Adsense. Because of that, it might not be worth it to interrupt the user experience on your site in exchange for a quick buck. I used Google Adsense for two months and made about $200, which is actually high for the network. On the other hand, I made $600 during my first month on Mediavine. When you consider how much you’ll earn, Google Adsense is simply not worth it. 

Another issue is that you need to be in good standing with Google Adsense in order to apply to higher-paying ad networks like Mediavine. If for some reason, you’re not in good standing with Google Adsense, you’ll be automatically disqualified from applying to other ad networks. While this situation isn’t common, does happen. That’s why I recommend that bloggers wait until they have enough traffic to qualify for premium ad networks that will pay them enough money to make ads worthwhile. 

1. Ezoic

  • Traffic requirement: 10,000 monthly sessions
  • Payment method: PPV

Ezoic is a small ad network that currently powers display advertising on 10,000 websites. This ad network is ideal for new bloggers because its requirements are easier to meet. It requires 10,000 monthly sessions, original content, and good standing with Google (if you previously used Google Adsense.) Once you hit the 10,000 monthly sessions requirement, you can apply to Ezoic and wait for the approval. As soon as you’re approved, the team will send you instructions to get ads up and running on your blog. 

2. Monumetric

  • Traffic requirement: 10,000 monthly page views 
  • Payment method: PPV

Monumetric is another ad network that works perfectly for those with small blogs. The company requires at least 10,000 page views per month but works with bloggers at all traffic levels. Monumetric differs from other ad networks in that it provides a unique ad strategy for your blog depending on the amount of traffic it gets. The diagram below shows the monetization strategy Ezoic uses based depending on your blog traffic.

3. Media.net

  • Traffic requirement: 10,000 monthly sessions
  • Payment method: PPV

Media.net is an ad network that manages display ads and native ads on websites. Unlike display ads, native ads match the look and feel of your website so they don’t stand out as much. If you’re looking to include ads that aren’t so glaringly obvious on your site, Media.net may be a good option. It doesn’t have a strict minimum number of page views you need to qualify. Instead, it requires a “reasonable volume of visitors,” content that is mainly in English, and the majority of traffic coming from the US, Canada, and/or the UK. 

4. Mediavine

  • Traffic requirement: 10,000 monthly sessions
  • Payment method: PPV

Mediavine is the holy-grail ad network for bloggers. Go on any blogging group and you’ll see more than a few threads about getting into Mediavine. So what makes Mediavine so special? It’s just competitive enough to get into (50,000 monthly sessions) and offers a high CPC. In evaluating blogs to accept, Mediavine also looks for long-form, original content and good standing with Google Adsense.

My travel blog has been running Mediavine ads since April 2019. Ad revenue accounts for as much as 50% of my monthly blogging income. Some blogs, such as Anastasia Blogger and Credit Take Off, make a full-time income ($5,000+ per month) just from Mediavine. This ad network can be very lucrative, and the management team takes great care of publishers. 

Mediavine pays publishers based on a metric called RPM, also known as revenue per mille or revenue per 1,000 impressions. Your RPM is determined by a variety of factors, such as the time of the year and your niche. You can also increase your RPM by enabling video ads, which are often favored by advertisers.

5. Adthrive

  • Traffic requirement: 100,000 monthly page views
  • Payment method: PPV 

Adthrive is widely regarded as the most exclusive ad network on the market. It’s also the highest paying ad network in terms of CPC. Adthrive requires 100,000 monthly pageviews to qualify for its ad management services. In addition to that, you need the majority of your traffic coming from the US, original content suitable for their advertisers, and good standing with any previous advertisers. Because Adthrive has a higher requirement than most other networks, it typically works with the most established and successful bloggers.

Which ad network pays the best?

The amount of money you can earn from an ad network depends on your traffic and your Pay Per Click or Pay Per View. That said, Mediavine and Adthrive have traditionally been the highest paying ad networks for bloggers on a Pay Per Click basis. These are the ad networks that allow bloggers to earn a full-time income just from ads. 

How do bloggers get advertisers?

Bloggers can get advertisers by applying to ad networks. Once you hit the minimum traffic numbers and other admission requirements, you can apply to an ad network. If you get approved, you’ll receive instructions to set up the ads on your website and start earning money on a PPC or PPV basis. 

Can I use multiple ad networks?

Yes, you can use multiple ad networks at the same time. While you can use multiple ad networks, this is not recommended. You also have to think about the user experience. Having ads everywhere can interfere with visitors’ ability to read your content. Your top goal is to make it as easy as possible for visitors to navigate your site and consume your content. If ads interfere with the user experience, this can lead to a drop in Google rankings and traffic. 

One more thing: if you found this post helpful, please share it!