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Media.net vs. Google AdSense

One of the most common questions that people ask me, especially if they're just starting a blog or website is, “Should I sign up for Media.net, or should I sign up for Google Adsense?” It's a valid question because you obviously want to make as much money as possible with your business. 

I get it and I applaud you for it because, at the end of the day, the only way to have a successful business is to make money. 

My answer to that question is always the same, and you're probably wondering what it is. In this post, I'm going to give you that answer to that and explain which ad network will pay you the most and where you'll have the most success. 

WATCH THIS BLOG POST IN VIDEO FORMAT

My Background

For those who are new here that don't know who I am, I have been in this online-business blogging area for about six years now, and in the last five years or so I've made about half a million dollars with display ads. 

I make somewhere around $20,000-$25,000 dollars a month. If you're interested, you can check out my income reports. I actually report everything there and I'm really transparent about my business.

It's not me bragging; I was losing money plenty of months, so it's just me being really transparent about the business. 

My Experience with Media.net

But anyway, let's talk about my experience with Media.net. Generally speaking, when you're looking at Google Adsense versus Media.net, I think it makes sense to compare them from my expertise because I have a whole portfolio of websites and I've tried both the platforms on all the different websites.

I know a lot of things, and I've done them at scale. Some people might say,  “I have this one website that’s done this.” Well, I have eight, so I've obviously been around the block. I've tested a lot of things with display ads because it's my primary way of making money, so I know quite a bit about it. 

PROS

Sometimes does better than AdSense

One of the pros with Media.net is that it sometimes does better than AdSense. If you research this online, some people are going to say, “Oh, well, Adsense is the way to go.” 

I actually talk about Adsense quite a bit, just because it's the bigger platform. However, in certain situations, Media.net can actually perform better than AdSense. I've actually seen that myself, so it does happen.

An account rep helps you optimize

The nice thing about Media.net is that you get an account rep to help you optimize your website as soon as you sign up for them, which is really unique. I don't know of many display ad networks that do that.

They assign you someone who is there to try to help you make the most money, which is really refreshing. It's nice to see that because other ad networks, including AdSense, don't really do anything like that, which kind of sucks. 

Contacts me frequently about trying new tests

Another pro is that they contact me frequently about trying to test new things on my websites. Some of those tests I have done have gone pretty favorably and for other tests they’ve offered I've said, “No, that's not really something I want to do.”

Generally speaking, it's nice to have an account rep who actually cares. It’s a good thing to have that human interaction. However, it’s tough for them to scale that because you're talking about an ad network with a ton of people who have signed on.

I don't know how many people every account manager is assigned to and how that works, but I will say that I've seen some really positive things from that. I just like that interaction and knowing that someone is there trying to optimize my website to make it make better.

Ads are HIGHLY contextual

Also, the ads on Media.net are different than what I've seen with other ad networks, including Adsense. That is, the ads are highly contextual.

As you can see below, I searched for some Media.net ad examples. I'd show you on my own websites, but I have people that copy me every time I share my website, so I don't do that anymore. 

This example is from Good Housekeeping, and you could see that the ads are super contextual to the visitor, because we've got home makeover ideas, living room furniture, bedroom painting ideas, small kitchen makeovers, kitchen cleaning tips, luxury home decor…You get the point. 

These are really contextual, which is a good thing because that means that the people who are on the website are much more likely to click on those ads. Frankly, if you look at the ad for Good Housekeeping, that green pretty much matches the green of their logo, so it really tricks people into clicking on the ads. 

That is not to say that you should have all your ads trick people into clicking, but as a user on their website, you probably wouldn’t even know the difference and you wouldn’t realize that it’s not part of their website. 

Good ad design

That leads me to my next point here; they have really good ad design. The example above shows a good ad design. Below, you can see some of the other ad designs that you can have, and you can adjust them however you need to. 

The ad below is for Parents.com., and as you can see, you've got all of these different little ad units that talk about positive parenting guides, family vacation ideas. They’re all super contextual, so they fit right into the website. 

Parents.com and Good Housekeeping are big brands, which is why they use Media.net. It sometimes performs better than AdSense. I think one of the big reasons for that is the ad design and how contextual they are. 

The thing is, even if Media.net doesn't pay as much as Google AdSense, the click-through rate to these ads is going to be so much higher because they're contextual and because they fit into the website. 

That's the thing that many people don’t understand—Media.net can actually be a big win because it's so contextual. The ads look so good with the website that it’s seamless. People click in and they don't even realize that they're clicking on an ad. 

More transparency account acceptance and issues

The last pro of Media.net is the fact that I feel like you get more transparency from them. If you get shut down to join their network, they will tell you why that is. You can actually talk to an account manager about different issues. 

I know a lot of people who have been on Google AdSense probably wish that they could talk to an account manager; I know I do at certain times.

However, that doesn't mean that Media.net doesn’t have any cons.  

CONS

No page-level reporting

The biggest con is that they have no page-level reporting. This is a big boo-boo on their part. Maybe they're going to end up fixing this sometime, but they haven't yet.

In Media.net, you’re not able to go in and see which pages are bringing in the most money for your ads. That's a big problem because you want to know what your top 10, 20, 30 pages are that are bringing in the most from display ads. You can look at those and say, “Okay, can I optimize these fully?” 

Maybe they do this because you have an account manager and they want to keep that data in there so the account manager can do it, but I like to have the control and understand what pages are really performing well for me. 

I’ve gone through four account reps

Since I've been there, I think I've gone through about four different account reps. Although they do give you an account rep and they can be good, they can also be bad. People have differing experiences with that.

But the churn on the account reps, from what I've noticed, has been pretty high. There hasn't been an account rep that's been with me for more than a year and a half. It's almost like they come in and they go out. 

Usually, these are individuals who are in other countries, which I know isn't ideal. Everyone's like, why can't it all be American? Well, Americans are expensive.

It's been a little difficult to establish a relationship because I've seen that there's been a lot of churn at that position for me, though I'm sure that it's like this for the whole network. 

So, that's one thing that I've noticed, but hey—at least you get an account rep, right? 

Doesn’t usually pay as much, BUT can be more

In my experience with my portfolio of websites, Media.net usually doesn’t pay as much as Google Adsense per click. But like I said, because the ads are so contextual and fit so seamlessly into the theme of the website, it's very possible that you can actually make more with Media.net if you try it out. 

My Experience with Google AdSense

Now, let's talk a little bit about Google AdSense.

PROS

In most cases, makes more money

A pro for AdSense is that, in most cases, it's going to make more money. I mean, we are talking about Google here. 

Obviously, Google is a behemoth. There are so many different advertisers; they actually have the largest ad network, so they're pretty powerful when it comes to this stuff. 

More ads and advertisers available

In most cases, it's going to make more money per click and they have more ads available and more advertisers. Also, it's easy to implement just like Media.net. 

CONS

No account rep, but haven’t had the need

One con is that you don't have an account rep at all, which is kind of frustrating at times. I make pretty good money from them, but I'm probably nothing to them, to be honest with you.

To them, 15-20K a month is nothing. They don't really care about me, which is fine. I don't really care as long as my checks keep coming in the mail. 

Never hear from them, just get payments

Another con is that I never really hear from them; I just get the payments every single month. I don't know if that's really a con, but it would be nice to have some kind of contact that would reach out and say, “Hey, I know you've been with us, let us help you optimize.” 

But again, I'm probably small potatoes to them. Though I do get the payments coming in every month consistently from Google, so it's not all that bad.

Some people don’t get approval for AdSense

Some people don't get the approval that they're looking for when they apply to join Google AdSense, they don't get the approval to join the entire platform. They might not even know why they didn't get approved. 

I made an entire video about this, which you can click here to watch. It talks about things I’ve noticed that can increase your chances of approval. 

It’s troublesome because it's like, “Okay, I want to get in. I want to make more money with myself and frankly make Google more money, but Google just isn't there to really help me.” Obviously, this is not ideal. 

Some have gotten account canceled with little notice

One other con I want to mention is that some people have straight-up gotten canceled from Google Adsense. I've heard about this more in the past, not so much recently, but people literally just get canceled because there's click fraud or something.

They didn't do it, and they don't know how it happened, but essentially Google is like, “You know what? You're done. You're out of here,” and that's it. So people are like, “What happened?” 

With Media.net, at least you have an account manager to talk to so you can figure out what's going on. With Google, you don't, which is a pretty scary thing. 

Which Network Pays More?

I know what the whole basis of this post is which network pays more and how you can make more money. Well, you're not going to like my answer here guys, but I have to be honest with you because I've done it so many different times and I know that there are different things that can happen.

There is no correct answer

My advice to you if you are considering Media.net, AdSense, or both, is that there is really no correct answer as to which one pays more because it's going to depend on your niche and the ad placement on your website. 

When I say it depends on the niche, what do I mean by that? Well, certain niches are going to pay a lot more per click than other niches. If you have a news website, that is notoriously one of the lowest cost-per-clicks that you can get. 

There's just not that much money in news websites because it's pretty general, and there aren’t a lot of people who are really focused on advertising on those websites. It might be good for some general brand exposure, but it's not really focused on anything in particular.

On the other hand, if you created a website about parenting, think about all the advertisers. In the niche of parenting, there are advertisers for baby stuff, toys, and services that can help people with their kids. 

There are a lot more advertisers looking to get exposure to that audience, so your cost-per-click is going to be higher in a parenting niche versus one that's about news. 

It also is going to depend a lot on the ad placement, so that is on you to figure out. When you are trying to put ads onto your website, you need to put them in good places to increase how much you're actually making on your website as a whole.

In order to place those display ads, there are a lot of different tools that you can use. I actually prefer a plugin called Ad Inserter. It’s nice because you could just say, “Okay, after the third paragraph of every blog post, I want you to put in this ad code,” and it'll show those ads across your entire website. 

It’s really easy to do, and I'm actually going to create a tutorial on it. I haven't done that yet, but I think I it's probably time that I do to really help you guys out. 

What Do I Recommend?

So some of you are probably saying, “Okay, this is great. I've got Google Adsense and Media.net, so I should probably test them. Now, how do I go about doing that?”

If you have over 10,000 visitors monthly, test both

The first thing I want to say is that, if you have over 10,000 page views per month, or if you're just hitting 10,000 page views per month, then yes, go ahead and test these two different platforms against each other. 

If you don't have that, don't test anything. Do not put ads on your website. If you don't have 10,000 page views a month, you're not going to make any real money. You'll make a few bucks, but it won’t really matter; it’s not worth the time. 

Placements of ads are important—A/B test in the same places and look for CPM

If you do have 10,000 page views a month, then you need to test them against each other. Now, you can't do a full A/B test. You could, but you'd have to use some advanced platform that I don't use. For example, you might say 50% of the traffic goes to AdSense, 50% Media.net. 

You can't really do that unless you have sophisticated software that does that. What I do with my A/B tests is I will put placements on certain pages. 

For example, I will put an ad placement after the third paragraph on all the blog posts. Then, I'll put an ad placement after the 10th paragraph of every blog post. 

I will put the Google Adsense code into those and then I will run that for two weeks. After those two weeks are over, I will then switch it to Media.net to see how those perform. 

Now, the key here is I have them both in the same positions. Don't change your ad layout in the middle of this. You need to basically do it and then leave it for a week or two to see how they perform against each other. 

When you're doing it, you also want to make sure that you are focused on how much they're making per thousand page views. That's really important because one may make more than the other, but you may find out that the Google AdSense version maybe had more page views, so of course it made more money. 

That's the way to deal with the A/B testing issue around display ads is just to test Google Adsense in the placements, then test Media.net in the same placements and see which performs better.

After that test, you can really roll it out to your whole website and put it everywhere because you already know it’s going to win. 

Start with this link from Media.net for an extra 10% the first three months

If you're interested in joining Media.net, I have an affiliate link here. The cool thing about this is that if you join through that link, you will get an additional 10% of your earnings for the first three months. 

So if you make $300, you'll actually make $330 using that link. Make sure that you click to sign up with that. I'd obviously appreciate that, but it'll make you more money as well. 

Use this Google Adsense link 

You can also click here to get Adsense. I don't have that cool bonus with AdSense; I wish I did, but they just don't give it to me. 

So that's it you guys; that is my answer to Adsense versus Media.net and which one pays more. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer, but trust me when I say, after doing this for so long and having a portfolio of eight different websites, there is no one display ad network that does better than the other. 

You really need to test them against each other to see which one performs better, because every website is different and you may find that Media.net can easily outperform Adsense, or you may find that Adsense simply blows Media.net out of the water. You really have to just test them and see. 


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