If you want to make some extra money or boost your earnings on your website, then signing up with an ad network is an ideal way to go.
This is on top of the other options we all know and love, like affiliate marketing, direct ads and even selling your own courses or products.
The advantage of an ad network is that they have access to a huge number of ads and suppliers and can maximize your earnings per thousand visitors, way more than, say Adsense ads can ever do.
Just to be honest, right off the bat.
I own and run a range of affiliate websites and also place ads on most of them.
I have tried and experimented with Google Adsense, Ezoic, Raptive and Mediavine. And I have earned decent money with all of them, to a point.
For me right now, it comes down to Ezoic vs Mediavine. Both are top-notch premium ad networks. And each ad management platform has its pros and cons.
And that is what I want to cover in this post.
Mediavine and Ezoic have a minimum level they expect to see in terms of quality content and a decent website.
To get website approval, you will also need to be in good standing with Google Adsense, as Google Ads is one of the leading ads suppliers to both networks. However, it is not an issue if you have never been on Adsense before.
Mediavine typically takes a little longer than Ezoic to approve sites, around two weeks, with Ezoic being around a few days. But there is also the approval from Adsense to contend with, which sometimes slows things down. One of my more recent sites on Ezoic has taken over a week.
When comparing Mediavine and Ezoic, these requirements are vastly different. Ezoic used to have a minimum traffic requirement, but since mid-2021, they have dropped it. So, anyone can apply to use Ezoic ads and get approval within reason of course. You can check out their FAQs here.
Mediavine requires 50,000 unique sessions, its own quality standards and a good Google Adsense standing, as I mentioned above. They will ask you for proof from Google Analytics (GA4 as of July 2023).
They also look at most of the following things to decide if you are eligible:
They usually work with more quality blogs, with long-form content and excellent quality. So, even if you have 50k sessions, it is not guaranteed. They also typically look for a lot of USA-based traffic due to their ad placements, but I have not tried anything else with them – since the two sites I have with them are both big in the USA.
Winner: Ezoic is easy to get onto, especially when you have a smaller publisher
Many of you will wonder what you can earn from ads with Ezoic vs Mediavine. Should you wait until you get 50k sessions to get on Mediavine, or jump on Ezoic ASAP and stick with them?
It is pretty challenging to give exact numbers for ad revenue because each site differs vastly. Advertisers are willing to pay significant money for ads on finance sites, but less for obscure topics.
You will see the same things if you dive deep into the Google keyword tool where the bids on ads for specific keywords are. Product-related keywords tend to get a lot more money than informational keywords, as a general rule because e-commerce stores are fighting each other for traffic.
Generally speaking, Mediavine ads seem to pay a little bit more than Ezoic. But it is not significant enough to say they are a clear winner. After all, I am comparing different websites, with vastly different topics and content.
Looking at the last few days, you can see the average I got on one website with Mediavine was around $12 for every thousand views.
In comparison, Ezoic was around $10 per thousand. So, there is not much in it when you consider that it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.
Lately, I have seen Mediavine earn my sites over $22 RPM, which has perhaps been a result of the recovery in the last years.
A more recent screenshot from Ezoic in 2023 is below
One thing to keep in mind is how Mediavine calculates its revenue share. They start you out with 75% of the revenue, which is certainly fair and means you will earn well.
However, for every year you stay with them, they add another 1%. Up until 80% I believe. Or, if your site hits half a million views, it will go to 80% immediately.
In comparison to Mediavine, Ezoic takes a very different approach. They offer Premium ads to some of their customers, allowing you to earn more money per thousand impressions.
This is an invite-only program, although given my sites are not big traffic sites (15,000 visitors per month max), it is probably not hard to be invited.
Ezoic Ads promises that you will earn more, and they have various levels you can choose from. The only catch is that you have to pay a subscription per month (or year). Which they say will always be less than the extra you learn.
I used this service for a number of months but the earnings never exceeded the amount I had to pay for Ezoic Premium, So, for me it was a waste of time and annoying that you have to pay for the privilege of earning them more money!
Winner: Mediavine earns a higher RPM
This is one of the key differences between Mediavine and Ezoic – ad placements.
The Mediavine Dashboard gives you a little control over how dense the ads are, and to tweak a few settings such as leaderboard ads, sidebar or bottom of image ads. However, they control the majority of the ad placement.
They do give you some alternate ad options as well, such as interstitials as well as video ads. Interstitials (ie. popups between pages) earn you big money, but they are not always common (unless you get lots of page views) and they annoy lots of people.
They also have charity ads, which you can turn on and use leftover ad placements that you are not currently earning on. And, they allow you to opt out of various categories if you are not ok with showing them on your site.
Ezoic, on the other hand, is fully transparent when it comes to ad placements. They give you the exact placeholders they use and allow you to turn them off if you don’t like them.
The upside is control. The downside, like many things with this ad platform, is that it gets a little too technical for some people. I have had a lot of issues sorting out ad placements with Ezoic, and I am a programmer. So good luck to non-techy people!
The Ezoic Platform of course, also gives you control over blocking certain advertisers, categories, placements, and much more. I have not explicitly used these filters, but they are available. They also have charity ads like Mediavine.
When comparing Mediavine vs Ezoic, one of the things you will want to be aware of is how the loading of ads affects your site speed.
The Ezoic Platform takes a different angle in that they like to help you directly with a tech-focused approach. They prefer to have your site go via their DNS, which gives them more insight into the site behavior too.
In comparison, when it comes to site speed, the Mediavine ad scripts are relatively fast right out of the box. They have optimized their script to load later and be as lean as possible. However, when optimizing your site, especially if you are having website speed issues, Mediavine does not have tools built into its platform to help.
Instead, they have decided to build a WordPress Theme called Trellis. They have been testing it for over a year and it is dedicated to helping bloggers and publishers to blog easily without having to worry about ad integration. Trellis is also designed to be fast, straight from the get-go.
But you have to pay for it.
Honestly, you are always going to lose speed with ads loading, so I would recommend using CloudFlare. It is something I have tested lately and it made a huge difference!
Winner: Ezoic offers more tools and options. However, Mediavine tends to be fast out of the gate.
For me, it comes down to a few simple decisions.
If you are starting out and want more control over ads and your site.
The Ezoic Platform focuses more on small publishers. Ezoic accepts websites that do not have a specific number of page views (ie. any number is ok, more or less). So, if you are starting out it is a no-brainer!
They are also great if you like to have a lot more control over how your site runs, the overall site speed, and the ad placements as well.
If you are a more prominent publisher and want the majority of things taken care of for you.
Mediavine is for larger publishers and requires you to have a minimum of 50k sessions a month to apply. And that is also not a guarantee you will be accepted. They also look at where your traffic comes from and the quality of your content.
However, they are far more focused on the customer, probably because they have less of them to deal with. Mediavine support is top-notch, with a fast reaction time. And they take care of most of the setup process for you.
The Mediavine Dashboard is also more straightforward, easier to use and get an overview, and involves minimal tech.
They are more focused on bloggers who want all the load taken from them in terms of their website and ads and just want to get on with earning money. That is why they don’t have as many options and also have a dedicated theme to help publishers.
Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).