For many years, display ads have been my go-to when it comes to generating revenue for my business.
Since 2014 I’ve made over $400,000 from display ads which is a pretty insane number considering you only make $0.05 or $0.15 per click.
One of the most common questions that people ask me, especially if they’re just starting a blog 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.
While both of these platforms are viable solutions as display ad networks, the real question is which one is better?
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.
UPDATE: Ezoic is BY FAR the best option for display ads. At this point, ALL of my websites are on Ezoic as it’s proven to earn more money than both Adsense and Media.net.
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 tell you this to help you understand that I actually know what I’m talking about. I am one of the top public-facing figures who has had success with display advertising and many people know me for it, so I think I can help you.
The reason why I know a lot of things about display ads is because I have a website portfolio that I’ve built over time.
So, I’ve done things at scale.
While some people might say, “I have this one website that’s done this.”
I personally have a portfolio of sites and 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.
This is exactly why I now recommend Ezoic to all of my readers/followers. After testing many different platforms, this has ended up being the best solution.
My Experience with Media.net
Let’s talk about my experience with Media.net. For many, this is the second choice after Adsense. While I understand that thought process because typically Adsense has more advertisers, it’s not smart to not even try. I’ve found a few times that Media.net can outperform Adsense. It’s rare, but it does happen.
Sometimes does better than AdSense
One of the pros of Media.net is that it sometimes does better than AdSense. 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 seen that myself, so it does happen and it’s always worth a test.
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 with them, which is really unique. I don’t know of many display ad networks that do that and I know that Google Adsense certainly doesn’t.
They assign you someone who is there to try to help you make the most money, which is really refreshing.
This can also be a huge deal because sometimes, you really need a rep. For instance, at one point I was dealing with an invalid click issue on my Adsense account and was having to beg Google for some support.
Nothing. They didn’t care and pointed me to a generic email address. Media.net could have helped there.
Contact Frequently About Testing New Ideas
Another pro about Media.net 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 some tests I’ve turned down, but I applaud their proactive approach.
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 human interaction and knowing that someone is there trying to optimize my website to make it make both of us more money.
Ads are HIGHLY contextual
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. Or, they’re highly relevant to what the individual is reading. This can help increase click-through rate significantly.
As you can see below, there are some contextual examples that show you just how good their platform is.
This example is from Good Housekeeping, and you can see that the ads are very contextual to the visitor, because they’re focused on “home makeover ideas”, “living room furniture”, “bedroom painting ideas”, “small kitchen makeovers”, “kitchen cleaning tips”, “luxury home decor”…etc.
In addition, if you look at the ad for Good Housekeeping, that green in the ads matches the green of their logo, so it fits naturally into the post and increases the likelihood of someone clicking on the ads.
Good ad design
In addition, they also have some really good ad designs. The example above shows a good ad design and below you can see some of the other ad designs they offer.
The ad below is for Parents.com., and as you can see, they’ve got all of these different little ad units that talk about positive parenting guides, family vacation ideas.
They’re all super contextual, look nice, and fit right into the website design.
That said, it still doesn’t compare to Ezoic in my own experience.
The thing to understand about Media.net is that even if it doesn’t pay as much as Google AdSense, the click-through rate to these ads is usually higher because they’re contextual and fit the design of the sites.
That’s the thing that many people don’t understand—Media.net can actually be a big win because of those increased CTR’s.
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.
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.
While Media.net has a ton of pros, they also have cons.
No page-level reporting
The biggest con is that they have no page-level reporting. This is quite an annoyance when you’re trying to optimize your design for clicks.
In Media.net, you’re not able to go in and see which pages are bringing in the most money from your ad clicks. That’s a big problem because if you want to know what your top 10 revenue-generating pages are to optimize them, you don’t have the ability to do so.
I’ve gone through four account reps
Since I’ve been there, I’ve gone through four different account reps. Although they do give you an account rep and they can be good, they can also be bad. People have different 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 isn’t ideal. It’s been a little difficult to establish a relationship because I’ve seen that there’s been a lot of churn and every time someone new comes in, I expect them to leave within a year or so.
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. While it is a good platform, the biggest problem is you’ll never get any support from someone if you have issues and one day without warning they may slap you with an invalid click penalty, which is exactly what they did to me.
In most cases, makes more money per click
A pro for AdSense is that, in most cases, it’s going to make more money per click.
Obviously, Google is a behemoth. There are so many different advertisers; they actually have the largest ad network, so they have the most ad demand.
No Account Representatives
The biggest con with Adsense is that you don’t have an account rep, which is kind of frustrating at times.
Even though I’ve made $15,000-$20,000 per month with them, they couldn’t care less. I know they do provide account reps to very few sites, but these are likely sites that make $100,000k per month or more.
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, and most of the time they don’t even know why they couldn’t get an approval.
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.
Some have gotten account canceled with little notice
Imagine waking up one morning, logging into your Google Adsense account, and POOF. Your account no longer exists. Sadly, this happens to people and most of the time people have no idea why.
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 with a blog.
As much as I’d like to give a straight answer here, there is no correct answer
I know that’s not what you’re looking for, but it’s the truth.
My advice to you if you are considering Media.net, AdSense, or both, is that you need to try both.
My reasoning is simple. The revenue you make will depend on:
- Your niche
- Your Ad Placement
- Your Ad Design
- Advertiser interest
Certain niches are going to pay a lot more per click than other niches.
For example, 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 businesses that are really focused on advertising on those websites.
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 products, 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 in the general news area.
It’ll also depend on the ad placement you choose for your site and 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 prefer a free plugin called Ad Inserter.
It’s nice because the plugin allows you to put ad units across your entire blog very simply.
For instance, after the third paragraph of every blog post, you can put an ad code and the ads will then show there.
It’s really easy to do and with a little practice, you’ll figure it 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 5,000 visitors monthly, test both
The first thing I want to say is that, if you have over 5,000 page views per month, test both of them using Ad Inserter.
If you don’t have 5,000 pageviews, don’t test anything. Do not put ads on your website because the user experience is more important than the $5-$10 you’ll make each month from ads.
Placements of ads are important—A/B test in the same places and look for CPM
In other words, spend one month with all Adsense ads, then another month with all Media.net ads, and see which one performs best.
I’d be grateful if you used that link as it may end up buying me a cup of coffee for referring you.
Join Google Adsense
You can also click here to get Adsense.
This one isn’t an affiliate link, but it should be helpful for you.
Or, don’t waste your time with either of these platforms and simply join Ezoic instead. The cool thing about the platform is you can even test Ezoic ads vs Google Adsense with a 50/50 split to see which performs better.
Spoiler alert: Ezoic is going to win. At least, that’s from all of the testing I’ve done anyway.
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 isn’t one display ad network that does better than the other every single time.
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. But again, I recommend Ezoic over both of these now that I’ve been at it for years.