With the explosion of blogs the past two years, a common refrain is that Google AdSense does not earn the majority of website/ weblog publishers enough to buy even a cup of coffee per day (depending on where you live, of course). While I doubt there’s yet a mass migration away from AdSense, bloggers have been looking at alternatives. If you’re in that boat, here are some questions to to ask yourself when you’re choosing an ad network.
Ad Network Selection Criteria
- Are they a Google AdSense competitor?
- Can they run concurrently with AdSense?
- What types of ads do they offer? CPC, non-contextual (banner? text?), CPA, CPM, etc. Are their CPC ads contextual or non-contextual?
- Do they use standard IAB ad formats? Will whatever ad formats they’re using fit in nicely with my site’s layout?
- What are typical payouts per click, if that’s what they offer?
- How much per month can the average publisher earn? What is the range and the median earning?
- What % of ad rev is paid out by the network?
- What is the $ threshold for payout to a publisher?
- What is the payment duration? Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?
- When you combine the above two factors, how often are most publishers really being paid?
One of the CPC ad networks I’ve tried is Bidvertiser, albeit only over only a very short time last Fall. Here are my conclusions.
- Symbiotic with AdSense.
Well, if not symbotic, at least compatible. Because Bidvertiser is CPC but not contextual, I believe AdSense allows them on the same page. I’m not 100% sure of that, though, since Bidvertiser ad formats pretty much look like AdSense, with mostly the same sizes, and both Skyscrapers and Rectangles.
- Variety of categories.
There’s a fairly wide range of content categories and ads to match topics
- Ads and referrals.
Publishers can earn money from both ads and referrals.
- Small payout level.
The payout threshold is only $10, if you’re being paid through PayPal.
- Choice of advertisers.
You can pick and choose from the list of bidding advertisers for your site, by the highest CPC bids. If you set your own minimum $$ per click acceptance level, the ability to choose can be a boon. (I.e., just approve those ads which are above your selected CPC threshold.) The default setting is that an ad is blocked unless you specify otherwise.
- Improving bids.
While I’ve only tried Bidvertiser on one site, I do have a tech blog registered. Over the past year, I’ve been getting emails saying that there are new bids waiting for approval. The bids generally seem to be getting higher. I haven’t used Bidvertiser there because AdSense does “okay”, and the layout’s already cluttered enough.
- Possibly poor clickthrough rate.
I tried Bidvertiser on a single blog with 60-120 pageviews/day, over about 2-3 calendar months last Fall, with not a single clickthrough. In all fairness, most CPC advertising underperforms on low-traffic websites. Non-contextual ads can do even worse, especially if they seem out of place. It’s up to the site publisher to choose Bidvertiser ads carefully. I used it only on a poker blog, which may be a niche that doesn’t get high clickthrough for text ads. So my small case study may not be a good indicator.
- Complicated ad selection.
Not only do you have to have each website pre-approved, you then have to go through a sometimes massive list of bidding advertisers for your site. This could be a could a good thing, if you approach it properly, but I’m too busy to want to do this on more than a site or two. If you let any type of ad through, though, you will definitely end up with irrelevant ads. It would be nicer if they had something like Chitika’s non-contextual ad selection, which lets you specify ad keywords. That’s a much simpler process.
I don’t have answers for all of the questions in the criteria list above, but if you’re interested, here are Bidvertiser’s publishers overview and guidelines.
Disclaimer: This is a Sponsored Review of Bidvertiser. We have included the NO FOLLOW attribute in all outgoing links as this review is not intended to help Bidvertiser.com in their organic search rankings.