THE BEST GOOGLE AdSENSE ALTERNATIVES FOR PUBLISHERS

Written by Ben Morrisroe

19 Jun, 2020

Publisher Resources

If you are a publisher starting to monetise your website, then Google AdSense is going to be one of your first choices. It’s a great start to understand ad monetisation and ad tech. It’s a very popular platform, accessible and easy to set up. But at some point, publishers wanting to optimise their ad monetisation strategies will start looking at what else is in the market.

Alternatives of Adsense for diversification

There are many reasons to look for AdSense alternatives.

  • While AdSense is easy to manage and deploy, there's a chance AdSense may reject your application for an AdSense account if your content is not appropriate, or you haven't published enough content yet.
  • Google AdSense has many rules, and it has a strict policy to prevent click fraud and protect advertisers. It may be that you did something wrong inadvertently and your AdSense account has been banned.
  • You may want to diversify your income sources and supplement your ad revenue with alternative ad networks that can help you raise your eCPMs.
  • While AdSense is a great advertising network, it can feel limited. Contextual text ads may not fit your site design or layout. Other ad networks will allow you to include other ad types in your content.

It makes sense for publishers to explore other options beyond AdSense, not as a replacement, but as a complement to optimise their ad revenue. Including an AdSense alternative to supplement your ad inventory can help you put your ads' performance in context and find new ways to optimise your eCPM and revenue.

Best Google AdSense alternatives

1.Ad Exchange / AdX

Google AdX is a part of Google's offering to publishers to monetise their sites, but it's a significant upgrade from AdSense, which remains a separate product. Google's Ad Exchange offers more options to publishers, such as improved control over bidding and the option to create private auctions.

With Google Ad Manager, you are poised to earn more. The platform is specifically set up to help you with transactions related to ads, propel you to make informed decisions and expand your business scope.

With AdX, a publisher can make native, video, and customized ads. The poster boy is a video ad. Publishers offer short visual content to their target audience via Google Adx. With AdX, a publisher can arrange every ad source in a platform, monitor their progress and get relevant analytics that can help make more informed decisions.  

Ad Exchange is more robust than Google AdSense, but it's more complex too, which means it will require a bit of effort and investment to get the most of this ad network.

Minimum payout of Adx is $100.

2. Amazon Publisher Services

Amazon Publisher Services (APS), the company's cloud-based supply-side advertising technology unit, offers publishers of all sizes No fee for ssp, and a nominal $0.01 CPM charged to bidders on Transparent Ad Marketplace. According to the 2019 Advertiser Perceptions supply-side platform (SSP) report, APS has jumped to the 2nd position of the most used SSP’s, closely behind Google AdX. Programmatic buyers can choose direct or indirect contractual relationships with publishers. They also proclaim the benefits of their solution for improving UX and site speed due to less on-page code usage.

3.BuySellAds

It is a cloud market platform where publishers can put their site, and advertisers can preview the site’s stats. If the stats are impressive, they can purchase advertisement spots on the site. It is up to the publisher to accept or reject ads. However, the advice is that publishers should accept ads that resonate with their content.

BuySellAds is a virtual middleman for the transaction. The service charge is 25% of every successful transaction. Please note that a publisher’s website must have more than 100,000 impressions every month.

Minimum payout threshold for BuySellAds is $50 and can be done once every month.

4.Criteo

Criteo provides a programmatic advertising platform full of yield management options, including real-time bidding and the ability to establish direct deals, two tools necessary for an ad ops team to efficiently manage a large ad inventory.

Criteo, while a valid alternative to AdSense, is a quite demanding platform, connecting premium brands with a premium brand inventory. It has the ability to serve different ad types, like display ads, native ads and video ads. It also has the ability to go around ad-blockers. Publift uses Criteo extensively and has had strong success with their demand. Due to the large amount of retargeting campaigns conducted through Criteo, they are particularly strong during November and December around Black Friday and Christmas. 

Minimum payout for Criteo is $50 and it follows a monthly payment schedule.

5.Dianomi

If you're a publisher looking to specifically target the financial sector, Dianomi might be ideal for your needs. They run over 7 billion content ads per month, targeted at a business and financial audience. They boast an average reader income of $97,500 annually.

Dianomi places its focus on the financial sector. It is a digital native content marketing platform that creates a connection between business/financial advertisers with a target audience who double as financial enthusiasts and are looking forward to valuable content.

Ads are run with videos, articles, buying guides, as well as product information or reviews. Every campaign is run on a cost-per-click (CPC) standard.

Dianomi’s quality is evident in the partnership signed with Apple News to display ads on iOS devices. Its lead management system ensures that a publisher gets automated leads surveys, analysis for a campaign run, and relevant reporting.  

Dianomi works with over 350 publishers in the financial and business sector, including the likes of the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Bloomberg. So while their audience may be narrow, it is perhaps best in class if this is your market. That narrowed audience can translate into a better ROI if the ads are on topic.

6. EMX

Formed through the merge of bRealTime and Clearstream in 2018, EMX is a programmatic marketplace and ad network. The difference to other AdSense alternatives is their focus is on header bidding solutions which give publishers real-time control over their bidding and yield optimisation strategies.

They also provide access to direct, premium advertisers, and, as other AdSense alternatives, they offer a full-service team that can help you not just with technical setup, but with audience monetisation and performance analytics.

7.Exponential

The fact that the platform has a publisher requirement of 500,000 unique users every month might be discouraging. However, the pros outweigh the cons. The CPM ads run by Exponential are deemed one of the best in the advertising industry.

Even more, 55% of the revenue belongs to the publishers. The ad formats come in different forms as long as they are engaging.

Exponential’s focus is on creativity because it is a great way to attract the user’s attention. Also, insights gained from the audience tailor decisions made. The industries Exponential targets include some of the following: telecommunication, technology, travel and leisure, retail, education, dating, entertainment, fashion, automotive, etc.

 Minimum payout for Exponential is $50.

8.GumGum

GumGum's main claim to fame is the use of its proprietary "computer vision technology". GumGum software is capable of scanning both pictures and videos across the internet to help ensure the smooth integration of ads in places that are both highly visible and relevant.

GumGum claims their method produces 7 times more engagement with a 37% higher brand lift than the industry averages.

GumGum is an advertising company that focuses its attention on in-image advertising. The network offers a platform that allows advertisers to market their products and services using pictures. The mode of operation of GumGum involves churning out viewable contents that internet surfers can see without hassles.

Also, these contents need to be relevant to the target audience. People who come across them need to find the contents relatable.

Furthermore, these contents have to be engaging. GumGum provides an avenue for publishers to tell their stories to their customers and convert leads to sales. With images, GumGum provides visibility and engagement to publishers. There are over 600 million unique visitors to the GumGum website, thereby making it an Ad network of choice.

Publift has had strong success with GumGum in implementing their mobile sticky units for publishers which get very high CPMs due to the rich media like the quality of the ad creatives.

Minimum payout for GumGum is $50.

9.Index Exchange

Index Exchange is a global independent ad network and marketplace. They work with premium digital media companies, and, as other alternatives to AdSense, they offer real-time bidding capabilities and transparency in the buying process. They work with different ad types, including display ads in desktop and mobile, and video ads as well.

Publishers can set up their own private marketplaces with Index Exchange, allowing them more control over who can buy ads on their site.

Publishers have access to yield optimisation features, to maximise revenue from their ads. They also offer a complete suite of real-time analytics.

Publishers on Index Exchange are screened, categorised and authenticated before they can sell their ads on the ad exchange. It's one of the alternatives to AdSense that puts a higher premium on their publisher vetting process, which guarantees ads quality for both advertisers and publishers.

Index Exchange has one of the toughest approvals processes from what we have seen at Publift, but brings strong demand and is consistently one of our top 5 demand partners.

10.Inskin

Inskin is a truly innovative ad exchange as they offer, in addition to the usual offerings, some advanced assistance with layout and design. Using an HTML5 framework, they're tools can customize ads for both mobile and desktop, enrich ads with custom borders and also handle multimedia ads.

This advanced design helps ensure keeping an ad's CTA visible and guaranteeing a pleasing aesthetic regardless of screen size. In short, they cut down on the work of readying ads on your end.

Publift has found Inskin particularly effective on desktop where CPMs can be upwards of $20 when it does fill.

11.Kargo

Kargo is arguably a niche ad company whose time has come. They specialise exclusively in mobile-specific marketing. The best way to gain prominence is to understand trends and take full advantage of it. It is what Kargo does. The platform employs the services of 70 topnotch publishers in the United States and uses them to reach smartphone users in the US. The strategy is to make use of targeting like smartphone devices, location, OS, sports, food, pop culture, music, street culture, profession, etc.

Kargo has MOAT as its accountability partner to ensure nothing goes wrong.

12.Media.net

Media.net is one of the top 5 largest ad tech companies worldwide. Their strongest differentiator is that it provides access to the Yahoo! Bing ad network, which makes it one of the most attractive AdSense alternatives. Between that and other demand partners, you can achieve a 100% fill rate on your ad inventory through their ad networks.

Media.net offers several ad types, like text ads, contextual ads, display, search and mobile ads. They have some high-profile publishers, and they have an approval process as well before you can sell ads on Media.net.

They were the first ones to develop a server-side header bidding platform, which maximises yield and transparency while maintaining user experience.

Minimum payout for Media.net is $100.

13.OpenX

OpenX is one of the biggest and more complete ad exchanges among Google AdSense alternatives. It's a fully-featured programmatic ad marketplace, on which more than 34,000 advertisers have access to the ads inventory of more than 1200 publishers. It generates 1.8 trillion bids per month.

Its complexity requires having an ads ops expert in your team, but their support includes yield analysts and technical advisors. OpenX has already begun the shift away from third party cookies, by planning to create deal IDs based on data from its relationship with publishers and OpenAudience, which is then transacted in private marketplaces through a buyer’s DSP of choice.

Minimum payout for OpenX is $100.

14.PubMatic

Another premium alternative to Google AdSense. Pubmatic was launched in 2006, and currently serves 100 billion ad impressions per day and 15 trillion advertisers bid s per month.

This platform is open to independent app developers and publishers who like to be in full control of their advertising business and get the best out of them.

Pubmatic helps these advertisers boost their ROI by ensuring the ads reach their targets and garner engagements with the ads. Even better, the ads come in different formats. Pubmatic boasts of 12 trillion advertiser bids every month. It only means that advertisers with higher bids stand more chance. Also, only publishers with over 2 million page views get to use Pubmatic’s features. However, it is worth the stress because of Pubmatic record daily ad impressions of over 5 billion.     

Pubmatic has the ability to create private marketplaces, which is a way for publishers to manage access to their ad space, while at the same time giving advertisers transparency over how their ads are performing.

15. Rubicon Project

Thanks to their merger with Telaria in April 2020, Rubicon Project has become a global player in the digital advertising market, operating in TV, display ads, video, audio and mobile.

With its innovative Seller Cloud platform, Rubicon creates an independent advertising marketplace avenue for sellers all over the world to connect with trusted buyers. The platform is fully automated and provides numerous benefits for both parties to enjoy.

The cloud platform records trillions of transactions every month. Its automated platform lets top publishers transact businesses with some of the biggest brands in the world. 

Rubicon is a full supply-side platform (SSP) with its own header bidder, who also does server side header bidding. This allows publishers to use more than one ad network inside Rubicon. The ability to optimize your ad operations inside Rubicon can help you improve your earnings, but it's also a significantly more complex alternative AdSense, which means it'll require time and resources to manage it properly.

Rubicon has consistently been one of Publift’s top-performing demand partners.

16.Sonobi

Sonobi is an advertising network provider. Through their own solutions, and thanks to agreements with third parties, they have created a large and diverse inventory of ads, allowing them to offer all the standard ad formats to publishers.

Their supply-side platform allows publishers to establish deals directly with demand partners, which allows publishers to avoid 3rd-party fees. Their reporting tools are comprehensive, allowing publishers to accurately track revenue, fill rate, CPM rates and other KPIs.

As other AdSense alternatives, Sonobi offers real-time bidding solutions to publishers, and the ability to control access to their inventory by blocking buyers or a certain type of ad that doesn't match their content and audience.

17.Sovrn

This AdSense alternative brands itself as the ad network for the independent web, focusing on transparency. Their bidding options are flexible, offering waterfall bidding for small content creators, which makes it easier for them to switch from AdSense. Then they have the option to switch to server-to-server bidding and header bidding.

Sovrn offers a full-service solution in which you can completely externalise your ads operations, developing customised strategies to optimise monetisation through all kinds of ad formats.

Another key feature is the ability to open up new revenue streams by monetising your own audience data while respecting privacy and security.

Minimum payout for Sovrn is $25.

18.Taboola

If you wish to truly branch out, Taboola is an interesting choice. They specialise in native advertising and famed for amplifying brand awareness across different platforms by incorporating native placements on popular sites. Native advertising is a specialised form of advertising where the ad space content is largely indistinguishable from other articles on the site.IIf you have surfed through different web pages, you must have come across the ‘Sponsored link/video’ label.

What makes Taboola unique is the fact that you can optimise paid acquisition through page RPM and improve revenue ROI per visit. It’s audience exchange also helps drive qualified traffic to your and partner sites.

As a publisher, if you’re trying to pass specific information across to your target audience, Taboola is the option for you. Taboola can also be run in combination with other ad strategies like display advertising, meaning it is often an addition to your existing strategy with new revenue rather than a replacement.

Just like Pubmatic, Taboola has a publisher requirement of 500,000 monthly page views. However, it does not diminish the awesomeness of the ad network.

 Minimum payout for Taboola is $50.

19.Verizon Media

Previously known as AOL One, it was rebranded and integrated into the offering of Verizon Media after the acquisition of AOL by Verizon in 2015.

Their supply-side platform (SSP) manages 900 billion transactions per month. They specialize in video ad formats, but they support native ads and mobile display ads and contextual ads as well.

Verizon Media ad network offers all types of transaction models to publishers, from header bidding to direct deals, allowing them to connect to several ad exchanges and top advertisers.

20.Vidoomy

When you think of digital video advertising, Vidoomy is one platform you should think of. Publishers can make additional revenue by publishing video advertisements on their blogs or websites. It is quite easy because most of these videos are from top brands and companies all over the world.

For a publisher to be eligible. His/her site must have at least 3 million page views every month. Also, the site must have 500 high-quality, plagiarism-free articles. The advertisement formats include inText, slider, inStream,

and interstitial.  Bidding methods for Vidoomy’s contents include cost-per-view and cost-per-mile. Vidoomy has a data management platform (DMP) that collects data from website impressions and feedback. The information gathered is used to filter performances and churn out video ads based on user’s opinions.

21.Xandr

Previously known as AppNexus before it was bought by AT&T in 2018, Xandr is a complex monetisation solution that includes inventory management, their own ad server, and data-driven yield management for better decisioning processes and forecasting. Xandr provides publishers with the means to manage demand and includes header bidding technology and the ability to conduct direct deals with advertisers.

A Warning Regarding These Alternatives

It should be mentioned that most of the big networks such as Rubicon, Pubmatic, and Index, etc. will refuse to work with publishers below a certain size. So, you may have to show in upwards of at least a couple million page views to be considered. Also, consider that you will normally not want to use any of these alternatives as more than supplementary as they will typically only bid on up to 30% of your inventory.

In this light, you should not use any of these big networks as your main alternative. You can explore other networks that do not have rigid requirements.

You can, however, get access to these demand partners through monetisation partners which can add you within their accounts, allowing smaller publishers full access to the demand normally reserved for the largest publishers in the market.

Finally, you will at least need GAM to have any of these workings as they will need to either waterfall or have header bidding to get them working. Or, at best, you will have to go to a partner who can get them approved as a group and set things up for you.

Why work with a Google AdSense alternative?

It's never a bad idea to diversify your revenue stream. Working with several partners will allow you to maximise the revenue on your content and monetise all your page views with ads that are relevant to your audience.

Finding the best alternative to AdSense depends on a number of factors, such as your audience size and composition, the maturity of your ad ops team. But once you start looking beyond what AdSense can offer you will see that you will have enhanced capabilities to optimise your advertising revenue and manage yields. With tools to maximise CPM rates and advanced bidding strategies, there's still a lot you can do to drive growth on your ad revenue.

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