If you want to effectively monetize your content, you can’t rely on selling ads directly to businesses – you need the aid of an ad network to help you effectively fill your ad inventory and maximize your CPMs (the amount you earn per 1,000 visitors).
As you’d expect, there are plenty of networks that are itching to help you do this. And in this post, we’ve collected 15 of the best options for bloggers and publishers of all sizes.
All of these companies can help you monetize your content in different ways. Some go the traditional display advertising route, while others can help you insert contextual advertising links, share paid content recommendations, and more.
Additionally, we tried to include options that will work for both big publishers and small bloggers, though some of these ad networks do have varying levels of minimum traffic requirements.
Media.net is one of the largest contextual advertising networks on the Internet. That fact makes it one of the most popular Google AdSense alternatives, but it’s also just plain a quality ad network for publishers and bloggers in its own right.
You can automatically serve up both text and display ads, including an option to dynamically let Media.net figure out the optimal sizes for your site. Media.net also has a programmatic platform that you can use if you prefer that approach.
The minimum payout at Media.net is $100.
Monumetric is a publisher-friendly ad network that helps you monetize your site without harming your user experience.
In a nutshell, you sign up with Monumetric and list the ad inventory that you have available. Then, Monumetric will help you fill out the inventory with the highest CPM offers available. If you don’t want to display ads from a certain company or industry, Monumetric will also make sure that content doesn’t show up on your site.
To get started with Monumetric, you’ll only need 10,000 page views per month. But if your site is under 80,000 monthly page views, Monumetric will charge you a one-time $99 setup fee (this fee is waived if your site has above 80,000 page views).
AdThrive is an ad network that focuses primarily on bloggers and publishers in lifestyle areas such as food, home, travel, parenting, DIY, etc. While you don’t have to be in those niches to join, those are the types of advertisers that will thrive with AdThrive.
AdThrive offers all the popular display ad dimensions and even guarantees payouts — so even if AdThrive doesn’t get paid by an advertiser, they’ll still pay you. This is part of their “creator-first” mission.
AdThrive is looking primarily for US-based traffic, so it might not be the best option if you have a lot of global visitors. Additionally, you’ll need Google Analytics installed and at least 100,000 monthly page views to apply.
Like AdThrive, Mediavine is another well-regarded ad network that’s popular with lifestyle content creators such as those in niches like food, home, travel, parenting, etc. Again, you aren’t necessarily required to be in those niches to join, but those are the types of sites that do well with Mediavine.
Also, like AdThrive, Mediavine wants to build a “creator first” approach. In fact, the team behind Mediavine is also a popular publisher with properties such as The Hollywood Gossip and Food Fanatic.
Mediavine is slightly easier to get into than AdThrive – the minimum traffic requirement is just 50,000 visits per month.
Ezoic brands itself as “an intelligent platform for publishers”. What makes it “intelligent”? In a nutshell, Ezoic uses machine learning to constantly test different ads, placements, etc. to find the highest-earning configurations.
You can use drag-and-drop to set up testing locations. Then, you can choose goals and run your tests (e.g. maximizing revenue vs improving user experience, or striking the perfect balance).
In terms of ads themselves, you can actually connect to some of the other ad networks on this list to test ads from different sources – for example, Media.net or Google AdSense (the next option on our list).
Ezoic is quite accessible to join – you only need 10,000 sessions per month and Ezoic works with all content verticals. The minimum payout is also just $20.
6. Google AdSense
Google AdSense probably needs no introduction – it’s the most popular and well-known display advertising program on the Internet.
However, we’re still including it because no list of the best ad networks for publishers could be complete without mentioning AdSense.
All you do is add AdSense to your site and Google will serve up contextual ads – you can even let Google experiment to find the most optimal ad placement locations on your site without you lifting a finger.
The minimum payout at AdSense is $100.
7. Amazon Associates
Amazon Associates is Amazon’s popular affiliate marketing program.
While one way to use Amazon Associates is to manually place product links in your content, Amazon also has its own contextual advertising feature called Native Shopping Ads that lets you take a more hands-off approach.
If you use Native Shopping Ads, you’ll be able to automatically display contextual products from Amazon on your site. If visitors click on those products, you’ll earn a commission if they complete their purchase.
The downside is that you only get paid if they check out. But the upside is that you can also earn commissions on other products that they add to their carts after clicking through from your site – not just the product that was in the ad.
Amazon Associates has a very low payout threshold – $10. Just make sure to understand the Amazon Associates rules and policies, as they can be stricter than some other ad networks.
Taboola helps you monetize your site with content suggestions that appear after your site’s content – you’ve probably seen this type of monetization with many big publishers and online magazines.
You know the type of content – “You’ll never believe how this teacher saves money” or “10 foods that can make you live longer”.
Taboola is a popular option for content recommendation ads, but you’ll need at least 500,000 visitors per month to get in. We’ll also share some similar types of networks in this post, some of which have lower traffic limits.
Outbrain is another ad network with a similar monetization strategy to Taboola. That is, it helps you add the “sponsored links” or “stories from the web” that a lot of big publishers and news organizations use.
Outbrain claims that they work with “high-quality publishers, regardless of site size”. However, like Taboola, Outbrain usually only accepts larger publishers, so it might not be a great option if you have a small site.
Infolinks primarily helps you monetize your site by placing contextual ads at specific keywords in your content. Rather than adding new content, Infolinks just matches ads with existing keywords in your content. It’s not just a link, either, visitors will actually see the ad when hovering over a highlighted keyword.
Beyond this method (called InText), Infolinks also offers other types of ads including:
- Notification bar ads that stick to the bottom of the screen.
- Interstitials between page views.
- “Standard” contextual ads.
- Vertical ads that display on either side of your site if you have unused content (e.g. someone is visiting on a widescreen with white space on the sides).
Infolinks has an accessible minimum payout of $50.