Ad Networks for Bloggers: How to Choose

Ad Networks for Bloggers: How to Choose


Many ad networks for bloggers have similar offerings so it can be difficult to determine which one is right for your blog. But there are crucial differences between them that will affect how much revenue you can earn, your site’s health, and the user experience.

In this post, we’ll begin by going over the factors bloggers need to consider when choosing an ad monetization platform, including what type of blog you have, the strategic and technical support offered by the platform, whether you meet the eligibility threshold for the platform, and more.

Then, we’ll go over a list of 10 ad platform options, beginning with our header bidding solution at Snigel.

Publishers who work with Snigel experience a 57% revenue increase on average due to our dedicated ad operations experts and our cutting-edge AI-powered ad tech. For more information, view our case studies or get in touch.

How to Choose the Best Ad Network for Your Website

One of the first things bloggers will compare is the percent of revenue the ad network keeps for their fee. While this can be helpful to a certain degree, it’s not the whole picture when it comes to how much money you’ll earn with one ad network vs another one. Instead, what’s more important is how much revenue the ad network can help you earn overall.

For example, if Platform A can help you earn $1000 but takes 20%, and Platform B helps you earn $500 but takes 10%, you’ll make more money with Platform A ($800 vs $450) despite the higher revenue share.

So, in this section, we cover 5 factors to consider that will affect how much an ad network can help you earn.

Factor #1: Is it truly an ad network or a different type of ad platform, and which of those platforms is best for your site?

There are multiple types of ad monetization platforms with different strengths and weaknesses. All of them are often casually referred to as ‘ad networks,’ but there are significant differences in what they offer. Here’s a brief overview of the most common types:

  • Advertising Networks: Ad networks bundle ad inventory from publishers to sell to advertisers, giving bloggers less control over what ads appear on their sites.
  • Ad Exchanges: These services host direct auctions between publishers and advertisers, which gives publishers full control over what ads appear on their site. However, many are invite-only platforms inaccessible to all but the largest publishers.
  • Header Bidding Partner: A header bidding partner simultaneously auctions off ad inventory to multiple ad networks and exchanges, driving up competition and therefore bids. With a header bidding partner, smaller publishers will have access to premium ad exchanges and ad networks that they wouldn’t have been able to access on their own. Plus, header bidding partners give bloggers access to additional ad tech necessary for maximizing revenue such as ad refresh. With ad exchanges, this type of ad tech would have to come from a third-party source that you would manage separately.

For bloggers, the right ad monetization platform will often be a header bidding partner, since it gives them high control over ads on their site, access to premium ad networks and ad exchanges, and a centralized source of ad technology.

Factor #2: Do they offer ad strategy support? And will that ad strategy be custom-built for your website?

In our experience working with tons of different sites, the number one factor (after determining which platform you need) for maximizing ad revenue is a custom ad strategy.

How to monetize your site effectively with ads depends on your goals, your format, and your niche. For example:

  • Long form vs short form content affects where you can place ads and what monetization models work best. For example, short form content needs to maximize above the fold (ATF) ad space, whereas long form can leave the ATF space uncluttered and instead utilize below the fold (BTF) ad space.
  • The blog’s target audience is important to consider. For example, visitors to a travel blog are likely to be interested in travel-related ads (e.g., hotels, car rentals, local restaurants). Another example is that users in their 20s to 30s are unlikely to be motivated by ads that bank on nostalgia for the 1970s.
  • Your desired number of ads is important to consider. Some bloggers want to include the maximum number of ads, while others would prefer to run as few ads as possible (while still meeting revenue goals) to avoid overwhelming or alienating their users.

These are just a few examples of things that will affect your ad strategy — there are many more considerations. Most ad specialists gain the necessary knowledge to implement an effective ad strategy by working with tons of different websites over many years. Most publishers don’t have the time to do that. That’s why most publishers will get the most benefit from choosing a solution with dedicated ad specialists that create their strategy for them.

Factor #3: Do they offer cutting-edge ad tech that will help you make more money on your site?

In order to implement a custom ad strategy (like we discussed above), you need ad tech that can support those customizations.

Most ad tech was designed to support the same or similar ad strategies for all websites so the most that it can do is toggle various settings on or off (i.e., include margins or don’t include margins). If you want to customize the ad tech, either you simply won’t be able to or you’ll have to do it yourself, which takes advanced technical skills and a lot of time.

However, some ad stacks (such as Snigel’s) were designed to support high levels of customization. For example, with Snigel, publishers can create different ad layouts for the same web page based on where the user is located.

Another consideration is what ad formats and other ad tech the platform offers to maximize revenue. For example, video ads are an eye-catching ad format that typically return higher CPMs than display ads. However, not all ad platforms support video ads.

Factor #4: Are you eligible for the platform?

While some ad platforms will work with any client with quality content and a legitimate site, others are more selective about who they partner with. Many platforms have minimum traffic requirements; in other words, blogs must get a certain number of views each month.

There may also be other requirements such as which GEOs the platform serves (or what GEOs the majority of traffic is from), and some platforms only serve specific verticals.

In addition, some platforms offer tiers of service based on site performance, with the best tools and support only available to large publishers.

Finally, some platforms and top SSPs are invite-only (small publishers may be able to get access via header bidding partners).

Factor #5: Will you have the flexibility to use other options if they don’t give the results you’re looking for?

Monetization platforms’ terms of service include everything from the revenue share and payment methods (e.g. PayPal, Payoneer, bank transfers, or wire transfers) to minimum payout thresholds, but the two most important terms to watch out for are lock-in contracts and exclusivity clauses.

Lock-in contracts require publishers to stick with the solution for a set amount of time — often several months to a year. This isn’t a problem if you’re happy with the provider, but if they don’t provide the service you expected, you’ll be stuck with them until the contract runs out (or incur hefty fines).

Meanwhile, exclusivity clauses prevent content creators from monetizing their site with multiple platforms simultaneously, forcing publishers to rely on just one service for their ads. If the platform only specializes in mobile ads or CPC ads, then you’ll miss out on possible revenue earned on desktop or from CPM ads, for example.

This list of considerations is a great place to start, but the best way to compare solutions is to get on calls with multiple solutions and ask them detailed questions (like the ones above) and get a quote that’s specific to your site.

Top 10 Ad Platforms for Bloggers

In this post, we’ll cover key points about our top ten ad choices for bloggers looking to monetize their sites with the right ad network, ad exchange, or header bidding partner — beginning with our header bidding solution at Snigel.

  1. Snigel
  2. Google AdSense
  3. Ezoic
  4. Monumetric
  5. Media.net
  6. Infolinks
  7. Amazon Publisher Services
  8. OpenX
  9. Sovrn
  10. NitroPay

1. Snigel: Cutting-Edge Header Bidding with Expert Strategy Support

Snigel homepage: Unleash the Power of AI for Unmatched Monetization

Snigel offers dedicated ad strategy support to all of our clients. Our header bidding solution, AdEngine, provides cutting-edge, customizable ad tech that’s entirely handled for you by our dev team.

Hands-on, Highly Customized Ad Strategy Support

Our ad operations experts will create, implement, and maintain an ad strategy that’s customized to the exact needs of your website (but you’ll still have final say over any strategy decisions).

Unlike other solutions that bounce publishers between whichever customer support person is available at the time, we pair each publisher with a dedicated ad specialist. They will learn about your site, your needs, and your goals, saving you the hassle of explaining everything about your site and goals to a new person each time.

Here are a few examples of the results you can expect with Snigel:

  • DeviceTests aimed to achieve a well-rounded ad setup that not only maximizes revenue but also maintains an exceptional user experience, strong Core Web Vitals, and promotes growth in site traffic. By implementing a custom ad strategy that balanced revenue with the user experience, Snigel was able to help DeviceTests achieve 180% YoY revenue growth.
  • Weather Spark switched from AdSense in order to increase ad revenue while maintaining a great user experience. They already had strong Core Web Vitals, so it was important to maintain those while implementing new ad strategies. Within the first few weeks, Snigel started outperforming AdSense and quickly helped Weather Spark increase ad revenue by 51%.

These are just two examples (you can read more case studies here). Snigel works with all publishers to create a tailored plan that addresses their wants and needs via targeted application of ad tech rather than funneling them into one-size-fits-all solutions.

AI-Powered Customizable Ad Tech

Snigel ad tech was designed to help you squeeze the most possible revenue out of each impression:

  • AI Bidder Optimization matches the best bidder with your ad inventory, and can switch between server-side or client-side to preserve blog loading times. (Average revenue increase: 7+%)
  • Dynamic Floor Pricing uses an algorithm to automatically change the floor price, or minimum required bid, for your ad inventory auctions. This combats bid shading, which is a tactic advertisers use to pay as little as possible for ad space. In addition, our algorithm adapts to current market conditions, which increases fill rates. (Average revenue increase: up to 20%)
  • Ad Block Revenue Recovery detects when site visitors have enabled ad block and serves them ads compatible with their settings, ensuring their interactions can still be monetized. (Average revenue increase: 10+%)
  • Smart Refresh is an advanced form of standard ad refresh that cycles in new ads based on set triggers. Snigel’s Smart Refresh will serve new ads based not just on how long a user has been on a site, but also based on actions such as switching tabs, scrolling, or changing positions on the screen. (Average revenue increase: 6+%)
  • Privacy Compliance via the AdConsent consent management platform (CMP) lets publishers manage user data while following privacy legislation such as the GDPR, the CCPA, and UK-based laws. (Average revenue increase: 1–2%)

We also utilize next-gen ad formats that are attractive to advertisers (so they’ll be willing to pay more):

  • Interactive ad units such as quizzes and polls encourage user engagement; therefore, interactive ads increase revenue by up to 3%.
  • Video ad units are an easy way to attract and keep user attention, resulting in average revenue increases of 23%.
  • Adhesive ad units display large ads in smaller spaces, moving as the user scrolls to ensure they see it. This increases revenue by up to 20%.
  • Adaptive ad units automatically fill ad spaces with the optimum combination of ads. For example, if the combined bids for two small ads are greater than the bid for one large ad, the adaptive ad unit will display the two small ads. Snigel’s adaptive ad units can increase revenue by 10–30%.

Finally, all of this ad tech will be customized and implemented entirely by our team so you won’t need any technical skills to benefit from it and can instead focus on creating great content.

Access to All the Top Ad Exchanges and SSPs

To ensure only high-quality ads are served, Snigel works with top SSPs, including:

  • OpenX
  • Xandr
  • Google AdX
  • Sovrn
  • Magnite
  • Amazon Publisher Services
  • Index Exchange
  • And more!

Many of these are only accessible to large publishers (for example, Google AdX has monthly pageview requirements in the millions).

Snigel advertising partners: Transparent Ad Marketplace, AppNexus, Verizon Media, TripleLift, Rubicon Project, PubMatic, OpenX, Index Exchange, Amazon Publisher Services, Google Ad Manager 360

Bonus: AdSense + Snigel

Snigel is a nonexclusive service, which means it can be used alongside other nonexclusive ad platforms.

For example, publishers can use Google AdSense alongside Snigel in order to take advantage of CPC and CPM ads. Our ad operations experts can help you calculate whether you’d make more money with AdSense plus Snigel, or whether you’re better off with one or the other.

Who We Work With

Snigel partners with clients who bring in $50/day or have high growth potential. We serve all verticals and all blog formats.

To get started with Snigel, reach out to begin the onboarding process today.

2. Google AdSense: Accessible Ad Network for Beginning Bloggers

Google AdSense homepage: We value your content

Google AdSense is a popular ad network with no traffic requirements and click-based monetization, with an option for ad expert consultations for blogs that get 300,000+ pageviews per month.

It offers options for automatic ad sizing and placement for Google ads on both desktop and mobile, along with integrations and site kits for sites like WordPress and Blogger. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have reporting features, but since it’s non-exclusive, it can be used alongside Snigel.

Use Snigel’s AdSense Revenue Calculator Tool to estimate how much you’d earn with AdSense.

3. Ezoic: Tiered Header Bidding with SEO Tools

Ezoic homepage: Ad Monetization, Content Creation Tools & Video Suite

Ezoic has no traffic requirements for its first tier of header bidding, which is self-serve.

Bloggers can take advantage of the SEO optimization tools to improve their content ranking, and also get access to premium ads (including video ads), plus ad analytics and testing.

However, this can get overwhelming fast, especially for new bloggers, and ad strategy support is only available at higher-earning tiers (the second tier is only available to publishers who make $2,500 annually, and dedicated teams are only provided to VIPs who earn at least $200,000 annually).

Read our article about the top 11 Ezoic alternatives in 2024 for additional options.

4. Monumetric: Tiered Header Bidding for Bloggers

Monumetric homepage: Pursue Your Passion, Profitably

Monumetric’s Propel tier of client-side header bidding only requires 10,000 views per month and must be used on a WordPress or similar site.

The Propel tier does have features like in-content, video, and native ads; a reporting dashboard; and ad support and implementation (though there’s a one-time setup fee). However, it requires bloggers to host a minimum of six ad units on both desktop and mobile, plus at least 50% of traffic must come from the US, UK, Canada, or Australia. It’s also exclusive, and all tiers have a 30-day lock-in period.

Ad strategy support is only available at tiers higher than Propel; the next highest tier is Ascend, which requires 80,000 pageviews per month; the next two tiers have even more stringent requirements for high traffic.

Read our article comparing Monumetric with Ezoic and Snigel for more information.

5. Media.net: Cookieless Contextual Header Bidding + Ad Network

Media.net homepage: Are you ready to maximize your revenue?

Media.net’s Marketplace is an ad network, and it also offers a server-side header bidding solution in the form of their Programmatic Platform. For both desktop and mobile, they offer display, native, and video ads formats. Clients gain access to a reporting dashboard and are provided a dedicated operations team.

Media.net specializes in cookieless contextual ads powered by the Yahoo! Bing network such as display-to-search (D2S) ads. D2S are particularly pertinent to bloggers, since user intent is inferred from keyword searches, which is then used to inform what ads to host on the site.

In other words, this type of advertising ensures that the ads you host will match the keywords for your site.

Read our article comparing Media.net vs Ezoic vs Snigel.

Infolinks homepage: Curated Viewability & Audience Attention

Infolinks, which can be used alongside Google AdSense and Publisher Management Partners, monetizes ad units for desktop and mobile via impressions.

Bloggers may be particularly interested in their unique ad units, including directly above-the-fold ads, contextual mastheads and interstitials, ads that expand when users interact with them, in-text ads, ads that fill the additional space on wide screens, and a rotating 3D cube of four different ads called InCube.

7. Amazon Publisher Services: Header Bidding for Mid-Size & Large Publishers

Amazon Publisher Services homepage: Build, monetize, and grow your digital media business

Amazon Publisher Services (APS) offers two server-side header bidding services for desktop and mobile: Transparent Ad Marketplace and Unified Marketplace. Unified is non-exclusive and centralized, but is an invite-only solution for large publishers and has a 10% transaction fee prior to the first auction.

Transparent is a platform for mid-size publishers that lets them make individual partnerships with 50+ buyers and includes reporting and ads for desktop and mobile. In addition, APS offers the Connections Marketplace, which allows publishers to easily find ad tech vendors.

8. OpenX: Real-Time Bidding Exchange

OpenX homepage: Demand Transparency, Sustainability, and Addressability from Your Media

The cloud-based exchange OpenX operates via real-time bidding, offering a wide range of ad formats (like video). Its packaged deals target audiences specific to publishers’ strategies while its ID resolution tool allows matching of site visitors with 3rd-party data to complement its advanced targeting options.

9. Sovrn: Transparent, Premium Ad Exchange

Sovrn homepage

Sovrn is a CPM-based ad exchange with premium demand, robust analytics, and dedicated ad operations support.

It supports integrations through OpenRTB (Real-Time-Bidding), Prebid.js, Google Open Bidding and Amazon TAM, and offers tech setup and ad placement support.

Sovern also offers an affiliate marketing program that includes link creation, user-friendly comparison shopping units, and flexible monetization where users can choose whether to use cost per action (CPA), cost per click (CPC), and real time bidding (RTB).

Sovrn is one of the many high-quality SSPs that Snigel gives publishing partners access to.

10. NitroPay: Self-Service Header Bidding

NitroPay homepage: Modern Website Monetization

NitroPay is a non-exclusive header bidding service that partners with multiple top ad exchanges. It offers video and display ads, and it includes an adblock revenue recovery feature to ensure publishers get revenue even when site visitors use ad block.

In addition, it protects users from pop-ups and malware. NitroPay’s most unusual feature is that it offers a way to let site visitors pay for an ad-free premium version of the publisher’s site.

NitroPay offers multiple tools and resources for transparency. Publishers can generate detailed reports with multiple variables, custom time frames, or side-by-side comparison of ad performance metrics. Meanwhile, NitroDex displays a daily index of revenue opportunities. While they do offer NET 30 payments via SWIFT wire transfers, PayPal, or local bank transfers, their default period is NET 75 and there are fees for switching to a shorter schedule. Naturally, this assumes the payment threshold has been met.

About the Author

Ira is Snigel's Head Of Marketing. She supports our team and publishers by creating awesome guides on the latest adtech trends. Ira's background is in software development, communications, and media.

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