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Finding The Best Ad Network: Changing Platforms Can Increase Website Revenue by 300%

You’ve built your website, and over time, you have managed to grow your monthly visitors to a substantial and consistent number. This has naturally got you thinking the same thought we all had when we started to generate traffic. “How much can I make from selling ad space and what is the best ad network for my niche?

Unfortunately, online data is mostly limited and hard to come by, and different websites publish statistics without any relevant data.

However, here at Motion Invest, we are in a unique position where we receive data on hundreds of websites every month, and we have analyzed the data from all marketplace websites between February 2023, and August 2023 to identify some noteworthy trends related to EPMV and RPM.

What we have found is that the ad network you use can significantly impact your revenue, and some ad networks are better for specific niches. Keep reading to learn more about our study, key takeaways, and critical findings.

Short On Time? Here Are The 7 Key Takeaways

  1. Websites on Ezoic Made 50-300% More than Adsense (Average earning $6.62 vs $12.92).
  2. Outdoor Niche Websites on Mediavine Earned 1375% more EPMV than those on Adsense, 145% more than those on Ezoic, and 28% more than Raptive.
  3. The Health Niche Had the Lowest Average EPMV Across all Platforms ($8.5).
  4. The Careers/Employment Niche Had the Highest Average EPMV Across all Platforms ($25.5).
  5. Adsense Has the Highest Market Penetration at an estimated 62.91%.
  6. Sports Websites on Raptive Earn 100% More EPMV Than Any Other Network.
  7. The Average EPMV For Each Ad Network Across 13 Niches is as follows:
    • Adsense: $6.62 
    • Ezoic: $12.92
    • Mediavine: $22.31
    • Raptive: $25.69

Our Findings on EPMV Per Niche Category

Here is a table showing the average earnings per thousand visitors for each niche across different ad networks. All figures have been rounded to the nearest dollar.

NicheAdsenseEzoicMediavineRaptive
Sports$5.00$14.00$14.00$34.00
Outdoors$2.00$12.00$29.50$23.00
Beauty/Fashion$3.00$15.00$18.00$27.00
Education$2.00$14.00$30.00$33.00
Animals/Pets$1.00$9.00$15.00$16.00
Careers/Employment$17.00$16.00$31.00$38.00
Home$4.00$10.00$25.00$21.00
Technology$7.00$15.00$21.50$29.00
Food$8.00$14.00$17.00$32.00
Finance$13.00$18.00$29.00$30.00
Automotive$4.00$16.00$27.00$12.00
Health$3.00$4.00$12.00$15.00
Travel$17.00$11.00$21.00$24.00

Using the table above, you can compare different ad networks and how much each pays based on the niche of a site. Although this is a limited sample size of roughly 40 sites, it gives you an idea as to which platform you should aim to use based on your niche.

Once you get up to Mediavine and Raptive traffic levels, there are a few profitable niches that pay significantly better than other networks.

For example, in the Outdoor niche, Mediavine pays at least 28% better than any other network. Additionally, you can see that food niche websites on Raptive can earn almost 100% more than any other ad network.

These changes in ad rates are something to keep in mind when you cross thresholds such as 10,000, 50,000, and 100,000 monthly sessions.

Here is a graph comparison using the same numbers as above.

How We Performed Our Study

When websites come into our marketplace, we have access to accurate monthly earnings, traffic sources, demographics, and other key metrics. Over time, we have analyzed these websites to better understand how much ad networks pay, and what the most profitable niches are.

To conduct this study, we analyzed 13 different niches to compare EPMV across Adsense, Raptive, Ezoic, and Mediavine. For each niche analyzed, we studied between 3-5 websites over a six-month span.

We also looked at third-party studies and contacted each ad network for supplemental data.

Understanding Website Valuation Metrics

Before we jump into the numbers, we should probably discuss a few key website valuation metrics (RPM and EPMV) in a little more detail.

In simple terms, website valuation metrics shine a light on the earning potential of your website while also looking at other key elements that advertisers prioritize when choosing websites to work with.

Related – How Much Does It Cost to Buy a Website?

RPM

The most widely adopted website valuation metric is Revenue Per 1,000 impressions (RPM), which is a simple formula that many advertisers use to gauge how valuable your website traffic is.

Simply put, RPM focuses on how much your website earns for every 1,000 visits it receives. The higher the RPM, the more valuable the website.

When we talk about website earnings related to the RPM formula, that includes any earnings you make from advertisements, affiliate links, or even products or services sold.

RPM is a popular form of website valuation due to its simplicity, and it allows you or any potential website buyers to understand how much money the website currently makes and how valuable the traffic is.

Even websites with a low RPM but high traffic can be of interest to ad networks and website buyers if they see there is untapped revenue potential.

EPMV

However, RPM is not the only way that ad networks will assess the value of your website. Some ad networks focus on earnings per thousand visitors (EPMV), which, as the name suggests, focuses on the revenue generated from each unique visitor to your website.

Unlike RPM which simply looks at revenue per 1000 website sessions, EPMV accounts for your earnings per 1000 unique website visitors, which depends on several key factors, including:

  • User engagement and behavior
  • Website content quality
  • Traffic source and demographic details
  • Ad layout and density on the website
  • Mobile optimization and responsiveness
  • Audience niche and interests
  • Seasonal trends

If you are driving low-value traffic, chances are your revenue-to-visits ratio is poor, which will harm your EPMV, even if you have plenty of traffic.

RPM Vs. EPMV

For the sake of this study, we are going to focus on comparing EPMV.

We believe that EPMV offers a more accurate reflection of a website’s earning potential because it focuses on the total number of visitors, and quality of visitors, not just the impressions.

Our Analysis of the Best Ad Network for Niche Websites

Google Adsense – The Most Used Ad Network

AdSense

Google AdSense is a Google-owned advertising program that allows you to display targeted ads on your web pages and earn revenue from clicks or impressions.

It is widely regarded as the most well-known and easy-to-set-up ad network, but as a result, it does not always offer the best rates.

However, it is an excellent starting point, and most sites start on this ad network until they get up to 10,000 sessions per month when some other viable options become available.

Adsense Makes Earning Your First Dollar Easy

As we have already mentioned, Google Adsense doesn’t pay the best rates on advertisements, but it does allow you to start monetizing your website right off the get-go no matter how much traffic you have.

Google Adsense is also beginner-friendly and backed by a reputable brand. Because of this, its popularity is unmatched for new sites, and according to WebTechSurvey, Google Adsense has a 62.91% Market Penetration compared to other ad networks.

It’s not just new websites that use Google Adsense, as additional studies suggest that as much as 50% of all websites are using Adsense. While Adsense is a great first option, there is a clear drawback.

Smaller Payouts Per Niche Means Less Money in the Long Run

During our analysis, we discovered that most niches receive very low compensation through Google Adsense.

Adsense Earnings Per Niche

It is not all bad, and there are a couple of websites that do stand out, most notably in the employment niche, with a $17 EPMV, and the travel niche of $17 EPMV.

The technology niche websites also seem to perform well on Google AdSense, with EPMV ranging anywhere from $4 to $10, which is also expected, as technology and finance websites are often the highest performing.

However, certain niches perform very poorly on Adsense. The home, pets, and outdoor website niches perform the worst across all ad networks, with EPMV ranging from $1.50 to $6 Compared to $8 to $15 on other ad networks.

Based on these numbers, a pet niche website averaging 10k monthly sessions using Google Adsense may only be earning $15 per month. With that kind of traffic, this is a very paltry payout compared to other networks.

One counter-observation to this is that Google Adsense websites often have smaller audiences, leading to a lower average EPMV, and we have seen numerous sites monetized through Adsense that average more than $20 EPMV.

With that said the data from our study suggests that websites monetized through Google Adsense across all niches earn significantly less than similar websites on other ad networks. As a result, it would be wise to consider other ad networks as soon as possible.

Ezoic – The Perfect Partner For Growing Sites

Similar to Google Adsense, Ezoic is an ad revenue optimization service designed to support low-traffic websites while they grow. They have 5 different levels: 1,2,3,4 and VIP. To start in Level 1, sites require more than 10,000 monthly visits and at least $50 in monthly revenue.

As your site grows, you will be able to move up to the different levels. Each level offers several benefits and incentives to publishers. Customers are encouraged to apply to the next level as they approach or reach the requirements and will receive added benefits for continuing to grow with Ezoic. You can easily join Ezoic in a few simple steps here.

Ezoic is another ad platform that works with smaller websites, which means that the average EPMV is going to be a bit lower than top-tier networks. With that said, they do a lot to help their partners grow their earnings and achieve competitive rates in almost all niches.

Websites on Ezoic Perform Well Across Most Niches

Next, let’s look at the average EPMV from websites monetized through Ezoic.

Ezoic Earnings Per Niche

Here, you can see that the EPMV for Ezoic is above $10 for most niches, and almost all are higher than that of Google Adsense.

But why is that?

Well, unlike Google Adsense, which is run by one of the largest tech companies in the world, Ezoic is a smaller brand and is forced to offer better rates to ensure it continues bringing in new and repeat clients.

Ezoic also helps to optimize ad formats and layouts using machine learning which allows more ads to be inserted onto each page, further increasing revenue.

The Switch From Adsense to Ezoic Leads to a Significant Boost in EPMV

An interesting observation we discovered from our analysis is that 8 websites that previously used Google Adsense but switched over to Ezoic saw an immediate improvement in EPMV.

Here is a graph representing the earnings increase for those websites:

Adsense vs Ezoic Earnings Per Niche

As you can see from the graph above, all sites that have switched from Adsense to Ezoic saw a lift in their earnings and have yielded better EPMV rates, often between 50-300% better.

We have seen sites earning ~$75/month on Adsense bought from our marketplace, with the buyer then changing the ad network to Ezoic and having the site jump to $220 the next month. That is a little over a 300% increase in earnings just by changing ad networks.

You can also see from the images below that traffic was also slightly down during the month it earned more.

Ezoic’s Ad Revenue Index Can Help You Determine Potential Revenue in Any Niche

We reached out to our friends at Ezoic while conducting this study, and they were excited to share their Niche Ad Revenue Index with us.

Their data displays ad rates on different dates across multiple niches. The ad rate ranges between 1-100; when numbers move up or down, it represents directional percentage improvements or declines in the rates paid out to digital publishers as a result of advertiser competition, bidding, and market demand for digital display forms of advertising in a specific niche. Simply put, the higher the number, the higher the payout.

You can search through different niches to determine the value of your website. There are even lucrative niches listed that we did not explore, such as the “Science” niche.

Mediavine – A Great Option For Those With 50,000 Monthly Sessions

Mediavine

When you start reaching a larger monthly session figure, you might want to consider Mediavine. Designed for larger websites, Mediavine is the go-to for medium-large publishers who want to earn more from their advertisements. To join Medivine, your site needs to have over 50,000 sessions over the last 30 days.

They used to allow secondary sites below this but have recently changed their requirements and have started rejecting secondary sites not meeting the threshold of 50,000 sessions.

Mediavine Revenue Distribution Works Differently Than Other Ad Networks

Mediavine does a revenue share model. 75% to you and 25% to them. This means you receive 75% of gross proceeds paid by advertisers and networks as reported by their ad server, while Mediavine receives 25%.

Revenue share may increase from the base 75% if you meet the following criteria:

  • If your site produces 5 million ad impressions over the previous 30 days, your revenue share increases to 80%.
  • If your site produces 10 million ad impressions over the previous 30 days, your revenue share increases to 82.5%.
  • If your site produces 15 million ad impressions over the previous 30 days, your revenue share increases to 85%.

With these changes along with their loyalty bonus, your revenue share on Mediavine display and video ads has the potential to reach 90%.

You can find out more about Mediavine’s requirements here.

Breaking Down the Average EPMV For Mediavine Niches

Next, let’s analyze the EPMV of websites we have seen working with Mediavine and see how they fare across different niches. Here’s the data broken down:

Earnings Per Niche

As expected, the EPMV is much higher for websites on Mediavine than Ezoic or Adsense, as these websites must get at least 50,000 monthly sessions to qualify for the Mediavine ad network.

Websites That Switched From Ezoic to Mediavine Saw Drastic Improvement

The most profitable sites on Mediavine came from the careers/employment niche with an EPMV of $31. The same niche on Ezoic had an average website earning of $16 EPMV, so if we do some calculations we can compare how much a site would benefit from switching to Mediavine.

Ex. A site is in the career niche on Ezoic ($16/EPMV) and has 50,000 monthly visitors

(50,000/1,000)*$16 = $800

The site would make $800 per month if everything stayed the same.

Now let’s take the same site but change the monetization to Mediavine ($31/EPMV).

(50,000/1,000)*$31 = $1,550

Based on these numbers, switching a Career’s niche website from Ezoic to Mediavine would roughly increase its monthly earnings by $750.

Outdoor Niche Websites Earned Over $29 Per 1000 Visitors on Mediavine

Websites in the outdoor niche that we studied performed significantly better on Mediavine than any other platform, with the EPMV across 5 sites being $29.50.

For one website, we analyzed an owner switching from Adsense to Mediavine midway through the year, and within a month and a half, the website earned more on Mediavine than it did in six months on Adsense.

Obviously, many factors go into play with these calculations, but Mediavine has proven time and time again that they pay very well across each niche we analyzed.

Related – Looking To Sell Your Mediavine Site? Read This Guide!

Raptive (AdThrive) – The Highest Payout For Sites With Tier One Audiences

Finally, once you hit 100,000 sessions or more per month, your website will qualify for Raptive which used to be called AdThrive, an ad network designed specifically for high-volume websites.

But, there are also a few other criteria you must also meet such as:

  • Majority of traffic coming from Tier 1 Countries: Most (50%+) of your pageviews should come from Tier 1 ad network countries. These include countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Original content: Original content refers to content that you personally created. If you are heavily relying on data and content extracted from another source or are plagiarizing another website’s content, this is definite grounds for disqualification. Similarly, your content should not be excessively controversial, offensive, or contain any illegal topics.

Once on the network, they do have a great customer support team and backend dashboard tools that can help you and your site earn even more.

Raptive also has an RPM guarantee which helps if your site is earning more on another ad network. You can find out more about their guarantee here.

Analyzing Earnings Per Niche on Raptive

We expected websites on Raptive to perform well, and the numbers from our study support that. Here are the results:

Raptive Earnings Per Niche

At first glance, you might be surprised to see that there is not much difference between these figures and the ones we discovered in our review of Mediavine, but when you dig a little deeper, the data favors Raptive in most niches.

For instance, Sports websites earn significantly more with Raptive ($34.00) than Mediavine ($14.00). This trend is consistent in several other niches including Beauty/Fashion, Education, Careers/Employment, Food, and Finance.

However, that did not mean it performed better everywhere. Even though Raptive generally offers higher returns, there are certain niches where Mediavine offers better rates, such as in the Outdoors (28% increase) and Automotive (125% increase) categories.

There is no requirement for websites to join Raptive when they hit 100,000 monthly visits, and many successful brands using Mediavine don’t. If you are already making a healthy profit from ads and your website grows, why risk moving to another ad supplier?

However, with all that said, the average earnings across Raptive were very impressive and worth considering for any affiliate website.

Related – Looking To Sell Your Raptive Site? Read This Guide!

Raptive Pays Out the Best On Average

One of the key takeaways in this entire study was that Raptive paid out the highest across most niches. According to the sites we studied, the average EPMV for sites on each ad network is as follows:

  • Adsense: $6.62 
  • Ezoic: $12.92
  • Mediavine: $22.31
  • Raptive: $25.69

Just think about that for a second, a website on Raptive can make 2x compared to Ezoic, and almost 4x compared to Adsense with the same amount of traffic.

The Beauty and Fashion Niche Excels on Raptive

In our analysis, it was clear that websites in the Beauty or Fashion niche made significantly more on Raptive than any other platform. The EPMV across the sites we tracked is as follows:

  • Adsense: $3.00 
  • Ezoic: $15.00
  • Mediavine: $18.00
  • Raptive: $27.00

As you can see, taking a beauty or fashion niche website from Mediavine to Raptive can increase your EPMV by 50% with the same amount of traffic!

Final Thoughts

The conclusion of our study is that Raptive and Mediavine pay out the best, with Ezoic coming in third, and Adsense coming last. But remember, every website is going to be a bit different. With so many other metrics at play, the only way to determine the best ad network for your website is to do the research and ask questions.

We believe the information we have taken from sites that have come into our due diligence systems is a great source of data on what the best ad network is for publishers in each niche and what your potential earnings could be.

We hope that this information will be helpful to you in your search. If you have any other questions or want us to explore another niche, let us know and we will dig in and see if we can help you with some data!

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