AdSense and Mediavine are two of the most popular ad management companies in the market today. While they both offer proven ad management services, each serves very specific audiences:
AdSense is designed for beginners looking for an ad platform that’s easy to set up and manage. It optimizes ads automatically while providing in-depth insights into ad performance. However, AdSense doesn’t offer any advanced ad technology to maximize ad revenue despite asking for a hefty share of the publisher’s revenue for using the platform.
Meanwhile, Mediavine is for seasoned bloggers looking to maximize their revenue using niche-specific ad stacks in the food, parenting, travel, home, personal finance, health, arts, hobbies, or fashion categories. It offers tools and resources to manage almost every aspect of your ad strategy via one dashboard but its analytics leaves a lot to be desired. Additionally, they require publishers to sign an exclusive, long-term contract with them.
Both services are designed to address a very specific audience but are lacking in some areas. And neither offers a truly personalized ad management experience. Which is why I included Snigel—a full-service ad management platform—in this comparison. Snigel assigns a dedicated ad expert to create and manage a custom ad strategy based on the publisher’s needs while offering real-time insights into ad performance.
In this article, I compare AdSense vs Mediavine vs Snigel on the following:
- Ad Layout Technology
- Publisher Experience
- Pricing Structure & Services
I also touch on website performance optimization, page speed impact, and traffic requirements to help you identify the best ad platform for your needs. So, here’s how they stack up:
⭐⭐⭐Revenue share model. 32% of monthly revenue for display ads & 49% of monthly revenue for search ads. Net-30 payout
⭐⭐⭐⭐Revenue share model starts at 25% of monthly revenue. 90-day initial lock-in period & 30-day notice to cancel. Net-65 payout.
🏆Free access to ad management services. 80/20 revenue share model. No lock-in contracts; cancel whenever. Net-30 payout.
|🤖 Ad Layout Technology|
⭐⭐No header bidding. Only uses Google DSPs.
⭐⭐⭐Header bidding. Focuses on optimizing site speed withlazy loading.
🏆Header bidding. AI-driven ad setup optimization. Advanced ad placement tech uses adaptive ads, super adhesive, and flying carpet.
|🌞 Publisher Experience|
⭐⭐Easy to set up but has limited ad settings and categories. Bad customer support.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Self-service platform with a vibrant Facebook community, detailed documentation, and customer support.
🏆Simple ecosystem with a dedicated ad monetization expert to create, optimize and update your ad strategy.
🏆Create custom reports to track specific metrics like clicks, page views, ad formats, and devices.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Simple dashboard showing RPM by page and site health.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Dashboard with real-time reports and an ad management expert to provide more in-depth insights.
|⚙ Website Performance|
⭐⭐⭐ ⭐Links with Google Analytics to provide insights into audience preferences.
⭐⭐⭐Resources and tools to optimize a website’s page load speed for better user experience.
🏆Actionable insights and regularly updated ad stack to comply with SEO best practices; customized by Snigel's experts.
|👮♀️ Traffic Requirements||No minimum traffic requirements||50,000 monthly sessions||100k monthly traffic|
|🏅 Best for||Small sites and beginners looking for an easy-to-learn ad monetization platform.||High-traffic content creators in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches.||Large publishers with lots of traffic that want a premium service to maximize ad earnings.|
|Get started for free||Get approved today!||Contact us to get stared|
What is AdSense?
“Friendly neighborhood ad superhero” 🏘️
Google launched AdSense in 2003 to let website owners monetize their content by displaying ads on their websites. Today, AdSense is the most popular ad management platform with over 58 million publishers.
Getting started with AdSense ads isn’t difficult at all thanks to the plethora of information available online. It supports most ad types (including display ads, text ads, and in-feed ads) with a few customization options. You have some control over the ad categories displayed on your website so that you only display relevant ads to your readers. AdSense also offers a basic ad analytics tool that, in combination with Google Analytics and Page Insights, can offer very powerful insights into your ad performance.
Small websites, small business owners, and newcomers who want to focus on creating content will love AdSense’s set-and-forget style. However, you’ll find their optimization tools and customer support very limiting as you grow.
What is Mediavine?
“For Publishers, By Publishers” 🧑💻↔️🧑💻
Mediavine does this by offering tools and ad technology tried and tested on their own websites. Their ad networks are carefully curated to cater to their select group of publishers which lets them serve highly relevant, niche-specific ads. They take great care to ensure every ad meets the Better Ads Standards set forth by the Coalition for Better Ads (of which Mediavine is a member). So, publishers can rest assured their ads don’t negatively affect the user experience and engagement.
Mediavine focuses on helping creators in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches grow their businesses while maximizing ad revenue.
What is Snigel?
"Squeeze every dollar out of your ad inventory" 💰🤏
Chris Krischnig and Peter Gallagher understood that AdSense’s generic approach was limiting the earning potential of content creators. So, they started Snigel in 2012 with the goal of empowering publishers to achieve long-term sustainable growth from their websites.. Accordingly, in 2023 Snigel was recognized as a Google Certified Publishing Partner.
Snigel’s services include AI-driven monetization technology and a dedicated account manager that helps the content creator succeed with a custom ad monetization strategy. It includes two products to get the most out of the ad strategy: AdEngine (Snigel’s header bidding solution) and AdStream (Snigel’s video ads solution). Publishers also have access to AdVantage (Snigel’s real-time interactive dashboard), or they can reach out to their dedicated ad expert if they are looking for in-depth insights.
Snigel is designed for web publishers and busy content creators who need a premium ad management service to maximize their ad revenue, leaving them free to focus on their strengths — creating engaging content, growing their audience, and developing the best user experience.
AdSense vs Mediavine vs Snigel: Ad Layout Technology
AdSense doesn’t offer header bidding, Mediavine focuses on optimizing site load speed, while Snigel creates custom ad strategies to maximize RPM using AI and advanced ad placement.
Mediavine and Snigel use header bidding technology, while AdSense doesn’t.
Header bidding is the latest in advertising technology that allows publishers to offer their ad space to multiple ad providers (ad networks or exchanges) at the same time.
Traditionally, ad spaces were sold in a sequential manner, i.e. the ad space was offered to ad providers one by one. Header bidding lets ad providers bid simultaneously, making the bidding process much faster. It increases competition and the publisher’s revenue because each ad space gets more bids.
Of the three, only Mediavine and Snigel offer header bidding capabilities.
Snigel uses a hybrid header bidding model which switches between server-to-server and client-to-server bidding models (depending on which performs better). This makes Snigel faster and enables them to generate more ad revenue since client-side and server-side can outperform each other depending on which user is visiting a website.
Mediavine transitioned to a server-to-server bidding model a few years back. But after testing some Mediavine sites, we realized they also use a hybrid approach. However, Mediavine only uses a few client-side bidders while Snigel prefers to involve more bidders to increase revenue earned.
Mediavine focuses on ensuring your ads don’t affect the site load speed.
Slow websites are a major reason for visitors to drop off without viewing your content (and ads).
Mediavine solves this problem using Lazy Loading where ads only load when users navigate to their location on the website. This ensures the bandwidth is used to load the site faster, encouraging visitors to stay and allowing you to serve them more ads.
Mediavine also offers a script wrapper plugin that automatically finds the best ad spaces in real-time. You can control where ads are displayed by inserting a piece of code to let the system know where you don’t want ads. However, adding the code manually can be time-consuming. Also, you may need to enlist the help of a web developer if you don’t have any coding experience.
Snigel offers a unique and tailored ad management approach to make the most of your website’s traffic and layout.
Every Snigel publisher is assigned an ad monetization expert who will create a customized ad strategy for the website.
The expert develops a custom approach after taking into account your niche, content relevance, revenue targets, traffic trends, and user experience preferences. This guarantees that ads displayed on your site are not only profitable but also relevant so they don’t disrupt the visitor’s experience.
The curated ad stacks are optimized using Snigel’s proprietary algorithm powered by artificial intelligence. It adjusts minimum floor prices for different ad types and spaces on an hourly basis looking at the geographical location, device, and bandwidth to mitigate bid shading.
Snigel combines its proprietary ad tech with advanced ad placement and AI setup techniques to maximize RPM.
Snigel uses advanced optimization technology to provide its publishers the most bang for their buck:
- AI bidder optimization ensures that SSPs and bidders are rotated client side or server side based on their performance. By having fewer bidders on the client side, Snigel is able to generate faster page load speeds while maximizing revenue.
- Adaptive ads dynamically adjust your ad space to accommodate ads of different sizes. For example, consider two 300x250 ads with $0.8 CPM. Snigel can fit both these ads into a 300x600 ad space of $1 CPM, effectively displaying two ads in the space of one. This brings in a higher ad revenue (2 x $0.8 = $1.6) compared to displaying just one 300x600 ad.
- Super adhesive ads are designed to display larger ads in smaller spaces. The ad moves along with the user’s scrolling, displaying the whole ad with a parallax effect. Larger ads usually have a higher CPM, increasing the revenue earned from the smaller spaces.
These features work well for publishers and advertisers. Snigel’s partners have consistently reported great experiences using them, especially because they get to use the space in more ways than one.
AdSense vs Mediavine vs Snigel: Pricing Structure & Services
AdSense has a simple yet expensive revenue share model, Mediavine offers bonuses but expects a long-term commitment, while Snigel provides a fully-managed service with advanced ad tech.
All three follow a revenue-sharing model but you need to consider a few things about their offering before making a decision:
- The RPM (return per 1000 impressions) of your ads,
- Their publisher selection process, and
- Your cut of the revenue.
AdSense’ revenue sharing model is expensive despite its bad customer service and lack of advanced ad technology.
AdSense has two revenue-sharing models:
- AdSense for content (displaying ads on your website) for 32% of your total monthly ad revenue.
- AdSense for search (embedding Google search on your website) for 49% of your total monthly AdSense earnings.
You don’t need to fulfill any prerequisite conditions to become an AdSense publisher, except owning a website. It has very simple payment terms and you can close your account at any time.
AdSense is the best place to start your ad monetization journey. But as you grow using Mediavine or Snigel makes more sense considering AdSense’s high revenue share, lack of advanced ad technology, and abysmal customer support (more on this in the Publisher Experience section).
Mediavine follows a 75/25 revenue-sharing model but only works with sites ready to commit long-term.
Mediavine uses a 75/25 revenue-sharing model where you take home 75% of the monthly ad revenue.
You need to fulfill the following minimum requirements to become a Mediavine publisher:
- 50,000 sessions in the previous 30 days (per Google Analytics).
- Good standing with Google AdSense.
- Original, engaging, long-form content (minimum 1000-1500 words).
- Publishing in a lifestyle niche, such as food, travel, personal finance, family, home & DIY, arts & entertainment, health & fitness, hobbies, and style & fashion.
Mediavine is looking for publishers who want to commit to them for the long term, which is front and center in their partnership terms:
New users have to commit to a 90-day lock-in period after which your contract is renewed every 30 days. If you want to leave the program, you need to provide notice 30 days before the extension date.
You can’t partner with any other ad management companies if you are a Mediavine publisher.
They offer a yearly 1% loyalty bonus to all thier publishers with a cap of 5%. This means your revenue share increases to 80% in five years’ time.
Snigel uses a simple 80/20 split with no hidden charges and personalized support.
Snigel follows a simple 80/20 revenue-sharing model where you take home 80% of the total monthly ad revenue.
But, Snigel requires that potential publishers meet certain requirements to be considered for a partnership:
- Minimal or no bot traffic.
- Daily earnings of at least $50.
- High-quality, original content free from copyright issues.
- A minimum of 100k monthly page views, with over 20% from tier 1 GEOs.
It also provides several benefits:
- No hidden fees.
- No lock-in period, allowing you to leave at any time.
- Continued, personalized support from ad experts.
Overall, Snigel offers a more complete service for its price, giving you the peace of mind you need to focus on creating more valuable content.
AdSense vs Mediavine vs Snigel: Publisher Experience
AdSense follows a set-and-forget approach, Mediavine requires a hands-on approach during setup and optimization, while Snigel assigns an expert to do all the heavy lifting for you
Mediavine and AdSense are self-service platforms.
True to its nature, AdSense keeps things simple for the publisher.
You only need to add a code snippet to your website and enable “Auto Ads” for ads to start appearing on your website automatically. You can also select which ad categories you don’t want to display on your site, which lets you create a more personalized experience. AdSense lets you preview how ads look on your site and make some tweaks before it goes live but you don’t have any control over the ad type or position.
Also, people aren’t very happy with their experiences using AdSense’s customer support. I imagine new publishers appreciate its ease of use but AdSense doesn’t seem able to offer the same on the support front.
Meanwhile, Mediavine lets you customize every aspect of your ad strategy from its dashboard — including ad type, position, frequency, and ad categories. This gives you a lot more control over your strategy, ensuring it aligns with content and business goals.
The downside is that you’ll have to spend some time learning how to use the Mediavine dashboard and setting up your ad strategy if you don’t want to miss out on any optimization opportunities. But you do get access to their Facebook group, help center, and customer support.
Mediavine does offer more advanced technology than AdSense but it doesn't include fully-managed services like Snigel…
Snigel offers full-service ad management capabilities.
Snigel is a full-service ad management platform. Every publisher is assigned a dedicated ad management expert to manage the ad stack on their behalf. The expert will create and manage a custom ad setup that aligns with the publisher’s content, user base, and ad monetization strategy and gets the most out of their site.
After onboarding, the account manager will continue to work on optimizing ads on your site by running A/B tests to improve settings, formats, and features. They will also suggest new tactics to improve other aspects of your website, including monetization and Core Web Vitals.
This approach is useful if you are a busy content creator who doesn’t have the time to focus on managing the ad strategy and setup or you don’t have the knowledge to optimize your ads.
Snigel and Mediavine have dedicated video ad solutions, while AdSense doesn’t support video ads.
Snigel offers a separate solution called AdStream to monetize high-quality video ads on your site. It creates a completely new revenue stream for the publisher by displaying highly relevant ads that increase user engagement and reduce drop-offs.
You can customize the design of the AdStream video ad units to make them more visible to the user and drum up ad impressions. You can also decide where they’ll appear so that they don’t disrupt the user experience. But, you don’t have to do all this yourself as Snigel’s ad experts will work with you to create the perfect setup for both mobile and desktop.
Snigel offers two types of video ads. First is Instream which lets you monetize your existing YouTube content on your website by serving ads before, after, or in between your videos. If you don’t have any videos, you can work with a Snigel expert to create them using syndicated content.
Or, you can choose OutStream where video ads are embedded into your site content and play automatically as users scroll to the ad’s location. They’re easier to set up than Instream and will display ads as long as the unit is visible to the visitor and will fold away once there are no more ads to display.
Mediavine doesn’t let you monetize your YouTube content directly. Instead, it offers two video ad solutions:
- Mediavine Video Player to upload and monetize your own videos using the Mediavine ad network.
- Universal Video Player to play short out-stream video ads if you don’t have videos of your own.
You can also add video descriptions and timestamps to ensure your videos show up in Google’s rich search results, driving even more traffic to your site and ‘boost’ your highest-earning videos (shown below) to maximize revenue even further.
AdSense vs Mediavine vs Snigel: Analytics
Mediavine provides incomplete data, AdSense integrates with the Google ecosystem to provide powerful insights, while Snigel combines real-time updates with insights from an ad expert
Mediavine has a dedicated analytics dashboard, but it provides incomplete data.
Mediavine offers a simple dashboard with information on:
- Site Health showing how ads are affecting your website (1).
- Revenue per mille (RPM) per page to see how much revenue you’re generating by content (2).
You need to link your Mediavine account to your Google Analytics and Page Speed Insights accounts for more information. However, the data isn’t accurate for two reasons:
- Mediavine syncs with your Google Analytics only once a day at 12 PM ET. That means you’ll only see the impact of any major user metric changes a couple of days after they were implemented.
- When it syncs, Mediavine only pulls the top 100 posts. So if a page falls below the top 100 visited pages that day, it won’t count towards the total number of page views. So, you will be working with incomplete data.
AdSense provides powerful insights by combining its data with the rest of the Google ecosystem.
AdSense also offers a basic Performance Overview dashboard with data about the sites, countries, ad types, and pages.
You can link your AdSense account to your Google Analytics to compare your earnings with your page data, like pageviews, click-throughs, etc. That lets you see your user’s preferences and use them to create more relevant content.
Snigel offers real-time updates on its interactive AdVantage dashboard, with in-depth insights from your dedicated account manager.
Snigel offers two ways to gather your ad performance data.
You can use the AdVantage dashboard for real-time updates and tailored reports on your RPM, ad impressions, ad requests, and click-through rates (CTR). The user-friendly dashboard is also available on mobile so you have access to your data at all times.
You can also contact your dedicated ad expert for a detailed breakdown of how your ads are performing. This information is easy to procure since they handle your ad optimization strategy and have access to it anyway. Plus, they can offer actionable insights into improving your ad strategy.
Mediavine vs AdThrive vs Snigel: Pros & Cons
|✅ Links to Google ecosystem (GA, YouTube)||❌ No header bidding|
|✅ Easy-to-use, self-service platform||❌ Only uses Google’s DSPs and SSPs|
|✅ Set-and-forget system||❌ High revenue sharing percentages|
|✅ No minimum requirements to sign up||❌ No video ads|
|❌ Terrible customer support|
|✅ 75/25 revenue sharing model||❌ Three-month lock-in period when you join|
|✅ Header bidding||❌ Requires 100% exclusivity with publishers|
|✅ Guaranteed high RPMs||❌ Limited control over ad placement|
|✅ Incentives for growth and loyalty||❌ 30-day notice period to cancel|
|❌ Analytics data is unreliable|
|✅ AI ad optimization technology||❌ Minimum requirement of 100k+ monthly visits|
|✅ Full-service ad management||❌ Selective publisher approval process|
|✅ Real-time analytics and reporting||❌ Advanced analytics available only |
through your account manager
|✅ Dedicated ad monetization expert|
|✅ 80/20 revenue sharing model|
|✅ Low impact on page speed and Core Web Vitals|
|✅ No lock-in period. Cancel at any time.|
|✅ Advanced ad placement technology|
Final Verdict: AdSense vs Mediavine vs Snigel
AdSense is for ad monetization beginners, Mediavine is for niche-specific bloggers, while Snigel is for large publishers that want to maximize their ad revenue with a customized ad strategy and AI-driven optimization.
Small sites and beginners looking for an ad monetization platform that's easy to set up and master.
High-traffic publishers looking for a premium service with a dedicated ad tech expert and an ad strategy customized for their website.
Websites with high traffic in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches.
All three are ad management platforms but for specific audiences. AdSense is for the new content creator looking for a simple ad management platform to monetize their website content. Mediavine is for high-traffic websites specifically in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches. While Snigel is for publishers with high-traffic websites looking for a premium service to create and manage a custom ad strategy that maximizes their ad revenue.
Use AdSense if:
- You are just starting to monetize your site content.
- You don’t have a lot of technical knowledge about ad monetization.
- You want a simple set-and-forget platform that optimizes your ads for you.
Use Mediavine if:
- You only want to work with one ad management company for the long term.
- You receive at least 50,000 monthly sessions.
- You write in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches.
Use Snigel if:
- You are looking for a custom ad setup with a dedicated ad expert to handle the day-to-day on your behalf.
- You want to leverage advanced ad technology and AI-powered algorithms to maximize your ad revenue.
- Your website receives a minimum of 100k monthly page views and 20% of your traffic comes from tier 1 GEOs (US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc.).