If you've been building a content site, one of the best ways to monetize all of your efforts is by adding an advertising network to show ads to your visitors.
One of the questions that we often get asked is “which advertising network should I start with, AdSense, Ezoic, or Mediavine?”
For most people, we suggest skipping AdSense altogether because earnings with this network are extremely low.
That leaves us with two options to examine for small and medium-sized sites (below 100,000 monthly visits), Ezoic or Mediavine.
Let's take a look at the requirements for each, how they impact the overall look and feel of your site, how much they cost and of course how much you can earn.
- Requirements for Getting Accepted
- Impact On User Experience
- Cost and Pricing
- The Results and Our Take
Requirements for Getting Accepted
Before we can get into the burning question of “how much can I earn” we need to take a look to see which of the two networks is the better fit for your site based on your size.
We are going to take a look at their requirements for acceptance and roughly how long it takes for each network to accept you.
How To Get Accepted to Ezoic
Up until recently, Ezoic had a baseline requirement of 10,000 page views per month. However, as of June 8, 2021, their official policy is that they have no more traffic requirements to be accepted into their ads platform.
This means, that theoretically sites of any size can take advantage of the monetization features inside the Ezoic platform and earn substantially more than they would with a platform like AdSense.
Even with the removal of this requirement, there are still a few things that your site needs to have to be accepted into their network.
First and perhaps most importantly, your site needs to comply with Google's ad policy and be in good standing with Google.
Essentially, your content can't feature anything that violates copyrights or is otherwise considered inappropriate (think adult content or bullying).
There may also be some additional restrictions if you cover things like politics, healthcare, or financial services.
Other than that, as long as your site is publishing content regularly and you have a way of showing your traffic (Google analytics is the easiest), your site is potentially eligible to take advantage of the Ezoic network.
How Long Does it Take To Be Approved By Ezioc
With only a few minor exceptions, anyone with an active website can sign up and be approved by Ezoic within about 24 hours.
In our experience, the approval process itself takes anywhere between 12 and 24 hours with an additional 3 to 5 hours required to implement and test the network.
If your site is built on the WordPress platform (what we recommend most people use), you can easily integrate the site by using their WordPress plug-in after your site has been approved.
This process is virtually as simple as uploading the Ezoic plug-in and connecting it to your Ezoic account by copying and pasting your account ID.
Once this is done, it can take a few hours for everything to sync up and for Ezoic to begin running ads.
How to Get Accepted to Mediavine
Just like with Ezoic, the basic requirements of Mediavine are that your site is in good standing with Google (complies with their ad policies) and has original (and ideally long-form) content.
However, unlike Ezoic they do have a minimum requirement of 50,000 sessions in the last 30 days.
It's important to note, that this is a requirement for sessions and not page views like many other advertising networks.
This is a fairly strict requirement but can be worth it in the long term if Mediavine is going to give you higher earnings.
If you'd like to check how close you are to meeting this requirement, open Google analytics look at the audience overview report.
This will give you a session count for any time period
Once you've verified that you meet the 50,000 session requirement, the only thing you need to do to be considered for acceptance is to fill out this form, which will ask you basic information about the site and can be completed in about five minutes.
How Long Does it Take To Be Approved By Mediavine?
Once you submitted your application to Mediavine, it will typically take 2 to 3 weeks for the approval to finalize.
Even though they have you submit a good amount of information about your site upfront (including rough pageview totals), expect a few emails from their team once they begin reviewing your application.
In our experience, it's not uncommon for them to ask for some additional information or clarification of things they may not understand from the application.
Additionally, as your application is working its way through the review process the Mediavine support team is likely to reach out to you with a few questions that they may have about your content or how you've implemented ads or affiliate monetization in the past.
Once your application is been approved, they will reach out to you with any last-minute adjustments that need to be made to your site to comply with their advertising guidelines, as well as any other tips or tricks.
In our experience, the entire process from the time our application was approved to the time that ads were running on the site is typically between five and seven business days.
All told, from the time you hit the submit button on your Mediavine application and ads begin to run on your site will take between three and five weeks.
While I completely understand the reasoning behind Mediavine's extensive application process, it's hard to beat being able to apply and have ads running in 24 to 48 hours.
Impact On User Experience
One of the biggest concerns with adding any ad network to your website is the impact that will have on the overall user experience.
After all, who wants to visit your site and read your content if they have to click through 50 different ads before they're able to get to what they're looking for.
Ezoic User Experience
In our experience, Ezoic can either be a complete blessing or curse, depending on your site setup.
We've had some implementations with Ezoic that resulted in a great user experience and others that we had to fight with for the entire time that we use the network.
Let's take a look at a few different factors so you can figure out which camp you might fall into.
One of the great things about Ezoic as an ad platform is that you essentially have complete control over ad placements.
Once you've been accepted into the ad network and have completed the integration steps, Ezoic will begin to test different placements on your site.
They allow you to choose from a variety of different profiles ranging from very user-friendly to the most ad placements possible and they will test a variety of placements to try to strike the balance that you are looking for.
If after this initial testing has been completed you feel like there are too many or too few ad placements on your site, you can add or subtract placements at a time inside of your Ezoic dashboard.
While the addition of any advertising network can be expected to reduce your overall site speed, in our experience the basic version of Ezoic has a tremendous impact on this factor.
Our average page load time across the sites we tested with the network increased by between six and nine seconds, which can be a terrible user experience and even result in less overall organic traffic.
That being said, Ezoic has a few tricks up its sleeve to help resolve this issue.
First, Ezoic offers its content delivery network (CDN) which helps to minimize this issue.
In our own experience, we had some issues getting this implemented, but in places, where we've successfully used it this increase in page load time, was reduced by around half.
It is important to note that if you're using an existing CDN, like cloud flare, they would need to switch entirely to Ezoic's CDN to take advantage of this feature.
The next feature that Ezoic has to help with the site speed dilemma is a feature called leap.
The leap program is free and is designed to optimize everything that you need to pass core web vitals.
If you're not familiar with this term, core web vitals are the different factors Google considers to be good metrics of overall user experience.
The leap program is designed to help you pass all three tests with flying colors and is free for users up to 500,000 monthly page views.
In our experience, this was a big step in the right direction, and similar to Ezoic's CDN was able to reduce the increased load times by about half.
It also helps clean up a few of the other sites be metrics and is worth taking a look at.
Ezoic Site Speed Accelerator
In addition to the free “Leap” program, Ezoic has an additional way to boost your site speed called the site speed accelerator.
This program is essentially the souped-up version of the leap program and is designed to speed up anything that can have an impact on site speed.
If you're on the Ezoic platform and are taking advantage of the leap program but are still having site speed issues, you may want to take a look at the site to be accelerator program as well.
However, unlike the leap program, there is a $29 monthly fee associated with the site speed accelerator program, so it probably would not be my first stop if you're experiencing speed issues with the Ezoic ads network.
That being said, in our experience, this was the single biggest thing that helped return our page speed metrics to their pre-Ezoic levels.
With the addition of the accelerator program, our total net loss in speed came in between one and three seconds, a significant improvement over the initial 6-9 second decrease.
Mediavine User Experience
Unlike Ezoic, you have significantly less control over advertising placements when using the Mediavine network.
Generally speaking, Mediavine will take advantage of five basic ad placements and you're required to keep those in place during your initial 90 day onboarding period.
If you want to make changes to any of these placements after that point or you find something to be intrusive with the way that your site is designed, you can always reach out to the Mediavine support team and they can make recommendations or changes for you.
Additionally, you do have some control over frequency (the number of times specific ads are shown) inside of your Mediavine dashboard.
That being said, Mediavine seems to do a much better job of ensuring user experience and balancing that with your potential to create earnings.
If you prefer to have complete control, Ezoic may be a better option, but if you like a hands-off approach and feel comfortable relying on Mediavine's team of experts, Mediavine may be the right choice for you.
While you can expect some change to site speed anytime you add an advertising network, Mediavine's ads are designed to minimize this.
Unlike the addition of Ezoic (where we've seen an increase in page load times of 6 to 9 seconds) our experience with Mediavine was that page load times increased between one and two seconds.
In fact, in our experience even after taking advantage of some of the paid Ezoic features designed to increase paid speed, Mediavine page load times were faster than with Ezoic.
There's a variety of different reasons for this, but out-of-the-box Mediavine is built with user experience in mind.
Just like how they limit control over advertising placements, the out-of-the-box settings for Mediavine are designed to lazy load ads (meaning they load after the rest of the page) and the entire system is built around optimizing to meet the page speed insight requirements for Google.
No need for any free or paid add-ons to take advantage of these features with Mediavine.
Cost and Pricing
Another factor that we need to consider is the “cost” of each network.
While you typically aren't writing a check to either of these advertising networks, there are a few fees associated with the use of these networks that you may want to be aware of.
Generally speaking the base fees for each network are simply subtracted from the revenue that you have earned.
How Much Does Ezoic Cost
While Ezoic does have what they refer to as a “free” tier (where they run and Ezoic add on your site in addition to your other advertisements) you can typically expect to pay a minimum of 10% of your revenue back to Ezoic.
In addition to this-based 10% fee, you may run into a few other charges, for example, if you are using the site speed accelerator, which has a fixed monthly cost starting at $29 and scaling up to $999 per month depending on the number of page views and domains that you have.
How Much Does Mediavine Cost
Like Ezoic, Mediavine operates off of a flat percentage fee, which is typically 25%.
This percentage will reduce based on the number of ad impressions that you generate and can be as low as 15%.
For most sites however this 75% to you and 25% to Mediavine is a good rule of thumb.
Essentially, for every 100$ in advertising revenue you generate, Mediavine will keep 25$ as the fee for managing your ads.
At the end of the day, this category is close to a toss-up.
While Ezoic typically has a lower upfront cost and takes a smaller percentage of revenue, there's a variety of reasons why it may actually end up costing you more, especially if you need the addition of programs like their page speed accelerator.
So now we had a chance to take a look at the user experience impacts, what you need to be accepted, and how much each Mediavine and Ezoic cost, it's time to dive into what everybody really cares about at the end of the day, how much you can make with each network.
The true answer to this question is the ultimate it depends because each network will pay out different amounts depending on the type of users your site is attracting.
The information we will give you below is based on our personal experiences across a variety of different sites that we used on the platforms.
How Much You Can Earn With Ezioc
Our personal experience with Ezoic varied wildly.
While some niches were able to earn upwards of $15 per 1000 pages, other sites were more in the 3 to 4 dollar range.
On average, we've seen earnings between 10 and $12 per 1000 pageviews inside of the Ezoic platform.
This is a good number to use as a ballpark average, but we have heard reports of numbers as high as between 25 and $30 per 1000, though we've never experienced it ourselves.
Obviously, your actual earnings per 1000 page views will vary from month to month, but this $10-$12 range is a good starting point if you're looking for an estimate to apply to your historic traffic numbers.
How Much You Can Earn With Mediavine
Our revenue-earning experience with Mediavine, so far, has been much better than it was with ezoic.
We are seeing an average revenue per 1000 page views of around $20.
One important note here is that the same site that was earning just under four dollars per 1000 page views on the Ezoic platform is earning an average of almost $19 per 1000 page views using the Mediavine platform.
While it's worth testing both networks to see which one gets you higher earnings per 1000 page views, in our experience Mediavine almost always wins.
The Results and Our Take
Based on all of the factors that we talked about above, if I have the opportunity to choose between these two platforms and had to pick one it would almost always be Mediavine.
The user experience differences and the average higher earnings make it a no-brainer in my book.
That being said, if you don't meet the strict requirements to be accepted by Mediavine, Ezoic can be a great alternative.
While it's not quite as user-friendly in the beginning, if you fall into one of their better earnings categories, you can earn very similar revenue to what you may see through Mediavine, without the sessions requirement.
I don't think you can go wrong with either network and both choices are much better than monetizing with something like Google's AdSense.