Using display ads is probably the easiest way to monetize your website. But setting up and managing your own ad strategy can be time-consuming. That’s why most websites use an ad network to do all the heavy lifting — leaving you free to focus on content creation.
But not all ad networks are equal. There are a few important things to consider before choosing one:
- Typically ad networks follow a revenue-sharing model. It's important to make sure the revenue share expectations don't impact your financial goals.
- Ad networks tailor their tools and services based on expertise. So it's always a good idea to research if an ad network and its services are the right fit for you.
- They don’t work with just anybody. Every ad network has a selection process with strict criteria for publisher websites to meet. This is important because they design their services for the publishers they work with.
- You need to research the ad tech, optimization techniques and partners the ad network uses. These factors influence the kind of ads that get displayed on your site. If you display intrusive or irrelevant ads, you’ll lose visitors and, as a consequence, earnings.
Using our experience in the field, we’ve put together a list of the 5 best ad networks. We’ve based our research on four important parameters:
- Publisher Experience
- Ad Optimization Technology
- Site Speed Impact
So, let’s dive right in and explore the 5 best ad networks available in the market!
Best Ad Networks: Executive Summary
Best for Beginners
Best Self-Serve Toolset
|Best for high-traffic publishers looking for a premium service with a dedicated ad expert.||Best for beginners looking for a simple tool to start their ad monetization journey.||Best for experienced bloggers looking for a self-service toolset to scale their ad strategy.|
Need more details to make a decision between these three? Read our in-depth comparison of Snigel vs AdSense vs Ezoic.
Now let's walk through a mini-review of each:
|Best For||Best for large publishers with high-traffic sites looking for a premium ad management service that offers customized ad strategies managed by a dedicated ad expert.||Best for beginners and small website owners looking for a simple and trusted tool to begin their ad monetization journey.||Best for growing websites and experienced publishers looking for a self-service platform with all the tools to optimize their ad and website strategy.||Best for high-traffic bloggers in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches looking to maximize their ad revenue with high impact ad formats.||Best for content creators in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches looking to maximize their ad revenue while offering a great user experience.|
|Ad Optimization Tech|
|Site Load Speed|
1. Snigel — Best Full-Service Ad Management For Publishers
Ad Optimization Tech
Site Speed Impact
Every publisher is assigned a dedicated ad ops expert to create and manage their ad strategy using Snigel’s proprietary ad tech. Snigel also uses AI-powered ad bidding & optimization techniques to maximize your revenue. You can track ad performance using Singel’s real-time analytics dashboard or ask your dedicated expert for more in-depth insights.
Snigel’s premium ad network services are designed to maximize the revenue of high-traffic content creators and publishers enabling them to focus on the core of the business— producing more high quality content.
|✅ AI-powered ad optimization||❌ At least 100K monthly website visits required|
|✅ Full-service ad management||❌ Selective publisher approval process|
|✅ Real-time analytics dashboard with mobile app||❌ Only account manager can provide |
advanced analytics 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|
|✅ Anti-adblock solution included|
Full-service ad management: Dedicated experts to manage your ad strategy
Snigel assigns a dedicated ad monetization expert to analyze your current ad setup (content, demographic, and ad strategy) and create a custom ad strategy just for you. The account manager continues to monitor your ad campaigns’ performance and runs regular A/B tests to identify new ad settings, formats, and features.
Header bidding: Maximize ad revenue using server- & client-side bidding
Snigel uses header bidding technology, an advanced programmatic advertising technique, where multiple ad providers bid on an ad space simultaneously. Real-time bidding (RTB) allows publishers to sell ad spaces within milliseconds while bidders are incentivized to spend more on each ad space.
Snigel uses a hybrid header bidding setup to automatically switch between client- and server-side bidding based on performance. Using a hybrid setup minimizes page load times and processing power required by the browser.
Ad optimization technology: Improve page load speeds using AI
Snigel maximizes the publisher’s ad revenue using AI-powered ad bidding technology to identify the best-performing bidders. By rotating SSPs and bidders, you minimize the number of advertisers bidding on the client side, ensuring faster page load speeds.
Snigel has also put in place measures to counter bid shading. It uses AI to adjust the minimum floor price for your ad inventory on an hourly basis after considering different targeting options such as a user’s location, device type, and bandwidth. In this way, publishers (and advertisers) can rest assured knowing they’re getting the most out of each ad space.
Ad types: Provide the best user experience with proprietary ad types
Snigel squeezes the most out of each ad space by using a proprietary algorithm to curate your ad stack and the types of ads (ad formats) to maximize ad revenue:
- Adaptive ads adjusts your ad space dynamically to accommodate multiple ads of different sizes in the same space, effectively increasing your total earnings per space.
- Super adhesive places larger ads in smaller spaces without disrupting the user experience. You can boost your ad revenue using this ad type since larger ads usually have higher CPMs.
- Video ads, using Snigel’s AdStream displays high-quality, relevant native ads in a video format.
Analytics: Access a real-time dashboard offering tailored reports
Publishers get access to Snigel’s AdVantage dashboard which offers real-time insights and tailored reports for RPM, ad impressions, ad requests, and CTR. It is also available as a mobile app—something publishers appreciate about Snigel.
For more detailed breakdowns of ad performance, you need to reach out to your dedicated ad expert. This is more convenient sometimes since the ad expert manages your account and knows your strategy inside out. They can also offer expert advice on improving your ad and website performance.
Snigel offers its services for a simple 80/20 revenue-sharing model where the publisher takes home 80% of the total ad revenue. They also don't have a lock-in period and publishers are allowed to leave the program at any time.
However, Snigel only works with high-quality publishers that meet its strict selection 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.
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 AI ad optimization technology.
- Your website receives a minimum of 100k monthly page views.
2. AdSense — Best For Beginners & Small Websites
Ad Optimization Tech
Site Speed Impact
AdSense paved the way for publishers to monetize their content by offering:
- A self-service platform for full control over the ad strategy.
- Customizable ad types and serves contextual ads to improve the user experience.
- In-depth insights using Google Analytics and Page Insights.
AdSense is ideal for beginners and small website owners just starting out on their ad monetization journey.
|✅ Integrates with the Google ecosystem (GA, YouTube)||❌ No header bidding|
|✅ Easy-to-use, self-service platform||❌ Only uses Google’s DSPs (demand-side platforms) and |
SSPs (supply-side platforms)
|✅ Low impact on page load speed||❌ High revenue sharing percentages|
|✅ Set-and-forget system||❌ Requires constant monitoring|
|✅ High fill rate||❌ Minimum payout of $100|
AdSense offers an easy-to-use, self-service platform giving you full control over your ad strategy.
It offers basic customization options, including ad type, position, & categories. You can track your earnings on the AdSense dashboard and combine that data with Google Analytics and Page Insights for a more actionable understanding. However, AdSense doesn’t support header bidding or video ads, and its customer service is slow and leaves a lot to be desired.
AdSense is easy to get started with because publishers don’t have to meet any prerequisites to join the program. Depending on the ad type, you can choose from two revenue-sharing models:
- AdSense for content — displays ads on your website for a 32% share of your display ads revenue.
- AdSense for search — embeds Google search ads and shopping ads on your website for a 49% share of your search ads revenue.
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.
3. Ezoic — Best Self-Service Ad Management Solution
Ad Optimization Tech
Site Speed Impact
Since 2010, Ezoic has grown to become one of the most popular ad monetization platforms in the world because of its low traffic requirements and comprehensive toolset.
Its end-to-end advertising platform offers:
- Specialized tools to maximize content and video ad revenue.
- AI and machine learning to automatically optimize your ad strategy.
- A granular view into your ad performance by author, topic, etc.
Ezoic is designed for experienced bloggers looking for a self-service platform with all the tools required to scale their ad monetization strategy.
|✅ 30-day free trial||❌ Can only use tools in the Ezoic ecosystem|
|✅ Complete ecosystem for content monetization||❌ Performance-based tool & ad network access|
|✅ In-depth real-time analytics||❌ Complex pricing structure|
|✅ Multiple ad formats: vertical ads, banner ads,|
fullscreen mobile ads (interstitial)...
|❌ Lock-in contracts|
|✅ Header bidding||❌ Reports of too many ads on site|
Ezoic is a self-service platform with multiple functionalities to customize your ad monetization strategy and optimize ad revenue. It also offers in-depth overviews of your website, ad strategy, revenue, and user behavior with its analytics tools.
It’s worth noting there have been reports of the Ezoic Chrome extension slowing down websites and the Ad Tester displaying more ads than intended. Moreover, publishers have raised concerns regarding the ambiguity in data provided by Ezoic's analytics platform.
Ezoic has a very complex, tier-based pricing structure based on monthly traffic and revenue:
|<10.000 traffic, no revenue||>10.000 traffic >$50||>20.000 traffic >$200||>50.000 traffic >$500||>250.000 traffic >$2.500||>500.000 traffic >$10.000|
You can choose from two revenue sharing models depending on your level:
- Ezoic Standard: Available for all levels, it charges 10% of your monthly revenue.
- Ezoic Premium: Only for level 2 users and above with different revenue shares for each level.
Ezoic Premium has a lock-in period of one year and you have to pay 50% of the remaining yearly premium to switch to another ad management service.
Use Ezoic if:
- You are looking for a toolset that lets you optimize your ads.
- You have a growing site with more than 10,000 monthly visitors.
- You have the technical knowledge to set up and manage your ad stack.
4. AdThrive (Raptive) — Best For Bloggers
Ad Optimization Tech
Site Speed Impact
AdThrive improves ad earnings using:
- Proprietary code to improve ad placement and targeting.
- An analytics dashboard with detailed ad performance breakdowns.
- Auto-optimization option based on AdThrive’s best practices.
AdThrive is for bloggers in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches looking to maximize their ad revenue using highly relevant, targeted ads adapted for very specific audiences.
Note: AdThrive merged with CafeMedia to form Raptive in April 2023.
|✅ Header bidding||❌ Full-service management only for |
highest earners (>$250K)
|✅ No lock-in period||❌ Significant impact on site speed|
|✅ Personalized site recommendations||❌ Minimum traffic requirement of 100K monthly sessions|
|✅ In-app detailed breakdowns on ad revenue||❌ Difficult selection process|
|✅ Flexible payment options||❌ Net-45 payout|
|✅ SEO amplifier tool|
AdThrive focuses on maximizing your ad revenue with high impact ad formats.
You can manually adjust your ad strategy from the AdThrive dashboard and track its performance from the Ad Performance tab. Here, you’ll also find detailed breakdowns in three broad categories:
- and Site Opportunities.
However, the data isn’t updated in real-time so you won’t know how your updates are performing until the next data refresh. AdThrive also offers a fully-managed service called AdThrive Premium (now Raptive Premium) but only to publishers earning above $250K in ad revenue per year.
AdThrive follows a simple 75/25 revenue-sharing model for publishers who meet the following criteria:
- A minimum of 100,000 monthly pageviews.
- Majority traffic from the US, CA, UK, AU, or NZ.
- Unique original content that engages the target audience and is a great fit for their advertisers.
- Publishing in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches.
AdThrive will consider websites of existing publishers that have lower monthly pageviews as long as the other requirements are met.
Use AdThrive 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 lifestyle blog content in the food, home, parenting, and DIY niches.
5. Mediavine — Best For Minimal Site Speed Impact
Ad Optimization Tech
Site Speed Impact
Mediavine gets the most out of your ad monetization strategy by offering:
- Ad optimization tech for faster load speeds.
- Niche-specific advertising networks.
- Great customer support & online community.
Mediavine is ideal for online creatives in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches looking to maximize their ad revenue.
|✅ 75/25 revenue sharing model||❌ 90-day lock-in period for newcomers|
|✅ Good customer support||❌ Exclusivity clause in contract|
|✅ Vibrant online community||❌ Slow and selective approval process|
|✅ High RPMs||❌ Limited control over ad placement|
|✅ Incentives for growth and loyalty||❌ Very basic analytics options|
|✅ Various payment methods (PayPal, wire transfer, ACH…)|
Mediavine gives you control over your ad strategy from the Mediavine dashboard.
You can choose from common ad types to display niche-specific ads and track their performance on the dashboard. However, it only offers very basic insights like your RPMs and site health.
Mediavine is all about faster page load speeds. It optimizes your ads with lightweight solutions like Lazy Loading and a server-to-server header bidding approach. But during some recent testing, we found that Mediavine sites actually rely on a hybrid header bidding model like Snigel.
Mediavine offers a 75/25 revenue split to publishers meeting the following criteria:
- 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.
They offer a loyalty bonus of 1% every year, up to a maximum of 5%. That means you can increase your revenue share to 80% in five years.
They have a 90-day lock-in period for new publishers, after which your contract is renewed every 30 days. If you wish to leave the program, you have to provide notice 30 days before the extension date.
Use Mediavine if:
- You are looking for a long-term ad management partner.
- Your blog has at least 50,000 monthly sessions.
- You write in the food, parenting, travel, home, and lifestyle niches.
The Final Verdict
Every publisher is different, and ad networks have designed their services to address the specific needs of each. While compiling this list, we looked at all the factors that different publishers would consider before deciding on an ad network.
So here’s our verdict on the best ad networks for publishers:
- Snigel is best for high-traffic publishers looking for a premium service with a dedicated ad expert and AI-powered ad optimization technology.
- AdSense is ideal for beginners and small website owners looking for a self-service platform to learn about and test different ad monetization strategies.
- Ezoic is designed for experienced bloggers looking for a self-service platform with all the tools required to scale their overall ad & website strategy to maximize revenue.
Note: Some honorable mentions that we didn’t include in this article are: