AdSense and AdThrive are popular ad management platforms, both known for offering consistent ad revenue.
AdSense is great for beginners and small websites since it’s prerequisites to start monetizing content are easily achievable. It offers multiple ad types and customization tools, including the option to automate ad placements and optimization. However, it falls short with its ad revenue optimization technology, high cost, and sub-par support.
Meanwhile, AdThrive (now Raptive) provides bloggers in specific niches (food, home, parenting, and DIY) with a comprehensive solution to maximize their ad revenue with fewer but more lucrative ads. But, its tools impact your site speed negatively and its analytics dashboard doesn’t offer real-time data.
These solutions take different approaches to monetize your content but lack in key areas — including full-service ad management. Which is why I included Snigel in the comparison.
Experienced publishers with high-traffic websites benefit most from Snigel’s premium service. That’s because it combines AI-driven ad optimization technology with the experience of dedicated ad management experts that create, optimize, and manage a custom ad setup for your site. They also use proprietary ad tech to maximize your revenue and ensure fast page load & positive user experiences to encourage return visits.
In this article, I compare AdThrive vs AdSense vs Snigel on the following criteria:
- Ad Layout Technology
- Publisher Experience
- Pricing Structure
I also cover their website performance optimization, page speed impact, and traffic requirements in the comparison table below to give you a complete picture. So, let’s get into it!
⭐⭐⭐⭐75/25 revenue sharing model offering a dashboard, customer support, and learning resources. No lock-in period. Net-45 basis.
⭐⭐⭐32% and/or 49% of revenue share monthly for display and search ads respectively.
🏆80/20 revenue share model with free access to ad management services. No lock-in period. Net-30 payout.
|🤖 Ad Layout Technology|
⭐⭐⭐⭐Header bidding. Uses proprietary ad code to optimize ad placement. Strict 30% ad density policy.
⭐⭐Doesn’t support header bidding. Access to only Google DSPs. Optimize ad size, placement, and position.
🏆Header bidding. AI-driven ad setup optimization. Advanced optimization with adaptive ads, super adhesive, and flying carpet.
|🌞 Publisher Experience|
⭐⭐⭐⭐Self-service platform with auto-optimization option. Fully managed service only for high earners (>$250K per annum*).
⭐⭐⭐Self-service platform with option to automate ad placements. No fully-managed service.
🏆Dedicated ad expert to develop, manage, and update your ad monetization strategy for you.
|⚙ Website Performance|
⭐⭐⭐⭐Personalized recommendations to improve site and content performance.
⭐⭐⭐Ad Performance Review report to ensure compliance with Better Ads Standard.
🏆Actionable insights and regularly updated ad stack curated by dedicated ad experts to comply with SEO best practices.
🏆Dashboards with custom reports to track specific metrics, breaking down your revenue with respect to traffic, page, device, ad type, date, etc.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Powerful insights leveraging Google Analytics and Page Insights on site and content performance.
⭐⭐⭐⭐Intuitive dashboard with real-time reports. Detailed reports available with your account manager.
|👮♀️ Traffic Requirements||100K monthly pageviews||No traffic requirements||100K monthly pageviews|
|🏅 Best for||High-traffic sites in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches looking to balance user experience and ad density.||Small websites and beginners looking to optimize their ad strategy through trial and error.||Large publishers with lots of traffic that want a premium service to maximize ad earnings.|
|Contact To Get Started||Get started for free||Get Started For Free|
What is AdThrive?
“To create the best ad experience”🤩✨
In 2013, Andy Marzka and his wife Kelly were working on her blog when they realized many lifestyle bloggers needed a personalized and data-driven method to maximize their ad revenue. So they decided to create AdThrive (now Raptive) to help bloggers optimize their ad revenue strategy.
Note: AdThrive merged with CafeMedia to form Raptive in April 2023.
AdThrive offers only high-paying, relevant ads using two proprietary systems — Nucleus and Marmalade. Nucleus is their proprietary ad code that identifies ad spaces that’ll generate the most ad revenue while Marmalade fills those ad spaces with contextually relevant ads. Working together, publishers can confidently provide their visitors with an excellent online experience. As a publisher, you also get access to a range of analytics, customization, and video management tools accessible via the AdThrive dashboard.
AdThrive empowers lifestyle bloggers in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches with the tools and advice to improve their ad revenue using highly relevant, targeted ads.
What is AdSense?
“Friendly neighborhood ad superhero” 😊🏘️
AdSense is very easy to use because there's a lot of helpful information online. You can choose from different customizable ad types like display ads, text ads, and in-feed ads. You can even choose the ad categories you want to display so that you can ensure ads are relevant to your readers. AdSense also offers an overview of your ad earnings, which can be used to derive some powerful insights into your website performance when used in combination with Google Analytics and Page Insights data.
AdSense’s set-and-forget style is ideal for small websites and beginners. But if you want a platform that supports your growth, the tools and customer support might not be enough.
What is Snigel?
“Squeeze every dollar out of your ad inventory” 💰🤏
After realizing that some content creators were frustrated with their AdSense earnings, Chris Krischnig and Peter Gallagher started Snigel in 2012 with the goal of empowering publishers to achieve long-term sustainable growth from their websites.
Snigel approached the goal of helping publishers to sustainably grow their business. Their service includes AI-driven ad optimization tech and a dedicated account manager who creates and optimizes ad strategies that complement the publisher’s brand and goals. Snigel offers two products to bring the most out of the ad strategy: AdEngine (Snigel’s header bidding solution) and AdStream (its video ads solution). Publishers can also use AdVantage (an interactive analytics dashboard) for real-time insights.
Snigel is designed for web publishers and busy content creators with high-traffic sites looking for a trusted premium ad management service to maximize their ad revenue so that they can focus on creating engaging content, growing their audience, and developing the best user experience.
AdThrive vs AdSense vs Snigel: Ad Layout Technology
AdSense focuses on optimizing user experience, AdThrive focuses on ad density, while Snigel develops custom ad strategies using advanced ad placement and AI optimization.
AdThrive and Snigel offer header bidding capabilities, while AdSense doesn’t.
Header bidding allows publishers to offer their ad spaces to multiple ad providers (ad networks or exchanges) simultaneously. It takes milliseconds to complete and, as usual, the highest bidder wins the auction.
Allowing all advertisers to bid at the same time incentivizes them to place higher bids while increasing competition for each ad space. Apart from the increased revenue, it also offers better transparency and better control over displayed ads.
Of the three, only AdThrive and Snigel offer header bidding technology.
AdThrive uses header bidding technology but offers more value by leveraging its large pool of advertisers. You can choose which ad categories can be displayed on your site, giving you some control over who can bid on your ad inventory.
On the other hand, Snigel’s AI-powered bidding technology automatically uses bidders on the client-side or sever-side based on performance. This makes Snigel faster and enables them to generate more ad revenue since client-side and server-side can outperform each other. Snigel also creates a custom ad strategy for each website which covers how many ads to display on each page, the format of ads and the content category.
AdSense lets you optimize your ad layout but it must comply with Better Ads Standards.
AdSense doesn’t offer header bidding but you can customize the ad type, size, and position on your site. However, it needs to meet Better Ad Standards guidelines. Any non-compliance is flagged and you have 30 days to fix these issues before AdSense stops displaying ads on your site.
Something to keep in mind is that the review process is quite long. Also, AdSense themselves have stated that Fixed Size Ad units tend to earn less than their responsive counterparts because it limits the number of ads you can display in that space.
I would say AdSense is a great place to start if you want to learn about ad placements and experiment with different ad types but that alone doesn’t justify the amount of work required during optimization.
AdThrive focuses on maximizing your ad revenue with fewer but higher-earning, relevant ads.
AdThrive tries to maximize your ad revenue with different ad types like interstitial ads, mobile ads, native ads, and video ads. It automates ad placements using two proprietary systems:
- The in-house ad code Nucleus to identify and fill the highest earning ad spaces.
- The contextual ad targeting program Marmalade matches the most relevant and highest-earning ads for your ad spaces to maximize revenue.
It ensures your site isn’t crowded with ads using a strict ad density policy where ads are only allowed to occupy 30% of your page content. But it’s hard to know how accurate this is since it ignores specific ad types from its calculations like header ads, instream video ads, below post ads, and sidebar ads.
Snigel maximizes your RPM by using advanced ad placement and AI-powered ad setup optimization to display its proprietary ad types.
Snigel uses a proprietary algorithm powered by artificial intelligence to optimize its customized ad setups. For example, it adjusts the minimum price on an hourly basis to counter bid shading by looking at the user’s location, device type, and bandwidth.
It also uses advanced ad optimization techniques to maximize your RPM:
- AI bidder optimization regularly rotates SSPs and bidders based on their performance on the publisher’s site. Snigel minimizes the number of bidders on the client side to increase page load speeds and maximize revenue.
- Adaptive ads adjust your ad space dynamically to accommodate ads of different sizes in the same space. For example, consider two 300x250 ads with $0.8 CPM. Snigel will display two ads of this size in a 300x600 ad space of $1 CPM, earning you more ad revenue (2 x $0.8 = $1.6) compared to displaying just one 300x600 ad.
- Super adhesive ads place larger ads in smaller spaces. The ad moves along with the user’s scrolling, like parallax scrolling. Larger ads usually have a higher CPM, increasing revenue earned from smaller spaces.
Snigel’s publishing partners have reported great experiences with these ad formats because they get better opportunities to use the ad space.
AdThrive vs AdSense vs Snigel: Pricing Structure and Services
AdSense has a simple pricing structure but doesn’t offer any advanced ad tech, AdThrive follows a 75/25 split but only accepts niche-specific publishers, while Snigel offers premium services for a simple 80/20 revenue-sharing model.
AdSense takes the largest revenue share percentage but doesn’t justify it with any advanced ad technology.
AdSense has two different revenue-sharing models depending on the ad type:
- AdSense for content — displays ads on your website for a 32% share of your display ads revenue.
- AdSense for search — embeds Google search on your website for a 49% share of your search ads revenue.
AdSense is great for fledgling publishers because it has very simple payment terms and you can switch to something else once you’ve outgrown it. It's also very easy to predict your RPM after you use it for a while.
AdThrive follows a simple 75/25 revenue split with the option to add multiple websites.
AdThrive follows a 75/25 revenue-sharing model where the publisher takes home 75% of the total ad revenue. You need to fulfill the following criteria to become an AdThrive publisher:
- A minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews.
- Majority traffic from the US, CA, UK, AU, or NZ.
- Unique original content that engages the audience and is a great fit for their advertisers.
- Publishing in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches.
AdThrive lets its publishers add multiple websites. They will even consider websites with lower monthly pageviews as long as you own the site and meet the other requirements.
They also offer full-service ad management but only to the highest-earning publishers (more on that in the Publisher Experience section). So, they are not a full-service ad management company like Snigel.
Snigel uses a straightforward 80/20 revenue split for a fully-managed experience without any hidden fees or lock-in period.
Snigel offers a full-service ad management experience for a simple 80/20 revenue split, where the publisher takes home 80% of the total ad revenue. For this, you get to tap into the experience and knowledge of an ad monetization expert who works with you to create and optimize a custom ad strategy.
However, Snigel tries to maintain a group of high-quality publishers by ensuring they meet the following criteria:
- Minimal or no bot traffic.
- Daily earnings of at least $50 USD.
- High-quality content that’s original and free from copyright issues.
- At least 100k monthly pageviews, with over 20% from tier 1 GEOs.
Snigel tries to keep the publisher as a priority by maintaining a transparent fee structure and no lock-in period.
AdThrive vs AdSense vs Snigel: Publisher Experience
AdSense gives you complete control over your ad strategy, AdThrive helps with the initial setup before handing over the wheel, while Snigel’s ad experts are with you throughout your monetization journey.
AdSense is a self-service platform with a few auto-optimization options.
Publishers can optimize their ad strategy using two approaches: Auto Ads and Ad Units.
Auto Ads lets AdSense choose where your ads will be displayed. All you have to do is enable "Auto Ads" during setup and Google will start placing ads on your site automatically. You can choose your preferred ad formats and density so you still have some control over the visitor experience.
On the other hand, Ad Units give you full control over your ads, including ad types, position, and size. It's a completely manual process which means you need to paste the ad code to every page you want to display ads on. You also need to ensure that ads comply with AdSense’s requirements. If you don’t, AdSense reserves the right to remove the ads and even suspend your AdSense account.
To get the best results, AdSense users recommend using a combination of both Auto Ads and Ad Units. But they do mention that AdSense is a good place to start earning ad revenue but not for growing your online business or brand. So, if your goal is growth, consider AdThrive or Snigel instead.
AdThrive auto-optimizes the ad strategy while reserving full-service ad management for its highest-earning members.
When you first join, AdThrive creates a custom ad layout for you considering your traffic data, site design, preferences, viewability, and current ad performance. Once that’s implemented, you can go about optimizing your ad strategy in one of two ways:
- You can check the Auto-optimize option (1) which permits AdThrive’s experts to optimize your ad strategy on your behalf. The experts align your strategy with the recommended settings while keeping you informed of any major changes.
- You can make manual changes to your ad strategy from the Ad Preferences tab (2). It gives you complete control over every aspect of your ad strategy — from ad types to load speeds. You can also choose which ad categories can be displayed on your site.
AdThrive isn’t truly a full-service ad management company since it’s still your responsibility to ensure the changes made align with your brand and content.
However, it does offer full-service ad management exclusively to its highest-earning members through its AdThrive Premium plan (now Raptive Premium). Premium members get access to a dedicated team of experts and AdThrive’s advanced tools to grow their audience, revenue, and business.
Snigel offers full-service ad management with a dedicated ad expert for every publisher.
Snigel assigns an ad monetization expert during onboarding who will analyze your current ad setup (content, demographic, and ad strategy) and create a custom ad stack just for you.
After onboarding, your account manager will continue to monitor your website and run regular A/B tests with new ad settings, formats, and features to find the best ad strategy and setup for your website. By adding a human touch to its already powerful AI-powered bidding technology, Snigel ensures that only relevant ads are displayed while improving your site’s ad revenue and user experience.
You’ll get the most benefit from Snigel’s full-service ad management if you’re a busy content creator without the bandwidth or knowledge to manage your own ad strategy effectively.
AdSense and Snigel let you monetize your YouTube videos while AdThrive has its own video monetization tool.
AdSense doesn’t support video ads for your site since it discontinued new sign-ups on AdSense for Video. However, you can still monetize your videos on YouTube.
On the other hand, AdThrive doesn’t monetize YouTube or Vimeo content. Instead, it requires that you upload your videos on AdThrive’s platform to monetize them. If you don’t have any videos, you can choose from a variety of stock videos on the platform.
It offers three different media players to display video ads:
- The Related Player lets you embed videos related to the page content.
- The Playlist Player lets you play videos on any post or page of your site without considering the page content.
- The Sticky Outstream Player runs video ads at the bottom of the screen.
Meanwhile, Snigel’s AdStream creates a completely new revenue stream for publishers by displaying high-quality and relevant video ads on your site to increase user engagement and time on site. It also lets you import and montize your YouTube videos..
You can display video ads in two ways:
- You can upload your videos to AdStream and monetize them by serving ads before, during, or after the video content using the Instream player.
- You can use the Outstream player to display video ads in between your content. It automatically plays ads as long as the ad unit is visible on the user’s screen, and simply folds away when you’re out of ads. They are great for high-traffic websites and easier to set up compared to Instream units.
If you don’t have any videos, Snigel’s ad experts will help you create videos using your website content or provide syndicated videos you can monetize.
AdThrive vs AdSense vs Snigel: Analytics
AdSense uses the Google ecosystem to provide powerful insights, AdThrive breaks down ad performance data by earnings, traffic, and opportunities, while Snigel complements its real-time dashboard with support from a dedicated account manager.
AdThrive offers detailed breakdowns on your ad performance.
AdThrive shares insights into your earnings and your ad performance in a separate tab in the AdThrive dashboard called Ad Performances. It aggregates the data into three broad categories:
- Earnings breaks down your earnings by page, traffic source, device, ad unit, etc.
- Traffic uses your Google Analytics data to show you how your traffic and audience engagement affects your ad earnings.
- Site Opportunities provides personalized recommendations to improve your website experience and increase your earnings.
You should keep in mind that you’ll be working with insights that are a day old since the data isn’t updated in real-time. So, you won’t know how major changes are affecting your website until the next update.
AdSense leverages Google Analytics & Page Insights data to provide powerful insights.
AdSense has the Performance Overview tab with an overview of your earnings by sites, countries, ad types, and pages.
You can link your AdSense account to Google Analytics for a deeper understanding of your ad performance on your website. The only downside is that you won’t have all your information in the same place and you’ll have to keep switching between tools.
Snigel offers real-time updates on its intuitive dashboard while in-depth insights are available from your account manager.
Snigel provides access to the AdVantage dashboard with real-time insights and tailored reports on your RPM, impressions, ad requests, and CTR. It is also available as a mobile app so you can access this data on the go.
For more in-depth information, you can reach out to your dedicated ad tech expert for detailed breakdowns of your ad performance. This shouldn’t be too difficult since they manage your ad optimization strategy anyway. Moreover, they can also offer expert suggestions to improve your ad performance and implement them upon your approval, leaving you free to focus on content creation.
AdThrive vs AdSense vs Snigel: Pros & Cons
AdThrive (Raptive) Pros
AdThrive (Raptive) Cons
|✅ Header bidding||❌ Full-service management only for highest earners (>$250K)|
|✅ No lock-in period||❌ Significant impact on site speed|
|✅ Personalized site recommendations||❌ Minimum 100K monthly sessions|
|✅ Detailed breakdowns on ad revenue||❌ Difficult selection process|
|✅ Flexible payment options (direct deposit, PayPal, paper check, wire transfer…)||❌ Net-45 payout|
|✅ Links to Google ecosystem (GA, YouTube)||❌ No header bidding|
|✅ Easy-to-use, self-service platform||❌ Only uses Google’s DSPs and SSPs|
|✅ Low impact on page load speed||❌ High revenue sharing percentages|
|✅ Set-and-forget system||❌ Self-service platform requires constant monitoring|
|✅ AI ad optimization technology||❌ Minimum traffic of 100K monthly visits|
|✅ Full-service ad management solution||❌ Selective publisher approval process|
|✅ Real-time analytics dashboard with desktop and mobile compatibility||❌ Only account manager can provide advanced insights|
|✅ Dedicated ad expert for every publisher|
|✅ 80/20 revenue sharing model|
|✅ No hidden fees or lock-in period|
|✅ Low impact on page speed and core web vitals|
Final Verdict: AdThrive vs AdSense vs Snigel
AdSense is for beginners with small websites, AdThrive for sites in select niches, while Snigel is for large publishers looking for a premium service with dedicated ad experts and AI-based ad optimization.
High-traffic sites in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches looking to balance user experience and ad density.
Small websites and beginners looking to optimize their ad strategy through trial and error.
High-traffic publishers looking for a premium service with a dedicated ad tech expert and an ad strategy customized for their website.
All three ad management services use distinct approaches to ad monetization to address very different requirements.
AdSense is perfect for small website owners and new bloggers who want to learn about ad monetization and its best practices through trial and error. AdThrive is for high-traffic websites in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches looking to maximize their ad revenue potential with fewer but more lucrative ads. And finally, Snigel is for busy content creators with high-traffic websites looking for a premium service to create and manage every aspect of their ad monetization strategy.
Use AdSense if:
- You want full control over your ad monetization strategy.
- You are just starting out and don’t have much technical knowledge.
- You are looking for a simple set-and-forget platform that does all the heavy lifting.
Use AdThrive (Raptive) if:
- You are looking for detailed breakdowns of your ad and content performance.
- You have at least one blog with more than 100,000 monthly visitors.
- You’re creating blog content in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches.
Use Snigel if:
- You’re looking for dedicated ad experts to create and manage a customized ad setup for you.
- You want to maximize your ad inventory revenue using the latest in advanced AI ad technology.
- 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.).
Need more info before making a final decision? We compared Snigel, AdSense, and AdThrive to some of the best ad networks out there to help you find the one for your specific needs. Check them out: