AdSense is one of the most well-known ad monetization solutions. While many publishers can earn more revenue by switching to a header bidding solution, some publishers are better off staying with AdSense or using a combination of AdSense and header bidding.
In this guide, we cover how to know if you should actually look for an alternative and 12 options. But first, we cover how AdSense is different from other solutions such as ad exchanges and header bidding partners.
On average, publishers making at least $50 USD per day see an increase in revenue of 57% when switching from AdSense to Snigel. Snigel is a Google-certified header bidding partner with advanced ad tech and experienced ad strategy specialists who create, implement, and manage your ad strategy for you. Get in touch for a free assessment.
What Is AdSense?
Adsense is an ad network which means they gather ad inventory from multiple publishers, bundle it together, and sell it to advertisers on behalf of the publishers. This is different from other programmatic advertising platforms like ad exchanges and header bidding partners.
Ad exchanges (such as Google AdX) are platforms where publishers and advertisers buy and sell ad space directly to each other via real-time ad auctions (i.e., the ad unit goes to the advertiser who offers the highest bid). Ad exchanges are often called SSPs because the two platforms are typically integrated.
Header bidding partners (such as Snigel) connect publishers to multiple ad exchanges. This increases competition and lets publishers take advantage of the benefits of multiple SSPs. For example, some SSPs specialize in specific verticals and will be able to return higher cost-per-mille (CPM) in those verticals, while others specialize in open marketplaces that include a wider variety of advertisers.
Next, we cover six factors to consider when determining if AdSense or an alternative such as Snigel is a better fit for your website.
Reasons to Look for an Alternative (and When to Stick with AdSense)
Some publishers will be able to increase ad revenue by switching away from AdSense, but that’s not always the case. And, some publishers use a combination of AdSense and another solution.
Here are six factors to consider whether it’s worth the effort of finding another solution:
1. Impressions vs click through rate (CTR). With AdSense, you can earn revenue per impression or per click. However, AdSense typically performs better for ad units with a CTR of 2+%. If your ad units have a CTR of less than 2%, you’ll likely be able to earn more revenue with a header bidding partner like Snigel. If in doubt, Snigel can run A/B tests for each ad unit to determine which technology is best.
2. The GEOs your traffic is coming from. AdSense performs well in most Tier 3 GEOs (meaning higher fill rates and more revenue). If you have traffic from Tier 1 or 2 GEOs, you may be able to earn more revenue with an alternative that specializes in Tier 1 or 2 GEOs.
3. Control over your ad setup. As an ad network, AdSense handles your ad setup for you. You’ll have control over a few things such as the number of ads that appear on your website, but ultimately, you’ll end up with a cookie cutter ad strategy. Most header bidding partners will provide additional control over your ad formats, ad tech settings, etc. However, you’ll need advanced technical skills to properly optimize these platforms for maximum revenue. With Snigel, you get the best of both worlds. We handle the entire ad stack for you, but the ad tech can also be highly customized to fit your exact needs. (More on this later.)
4. Advertisement quality. By connecting to ad exchanges instead of working with an ad network like AdSense, you’ll get access to premium advertisers. Not only do these premium advertisers often pay more and provide higher quality ad content, but you’ll also be able to fill your ad space with highly targeted ads. All of this increases ad revenue and improves the user experience.
5. The percentage of ad revenue you get to keep. Depending on your ad setup, AdSense will take 32% or 49% of ad revenue earned. Header bidding partners typically take 15–30% of revenue earned.
6. Ad tech and ad formats available. AdSense only provides basic ad formats such as sticky ads and native ads. Some providers are able to provide more advanced ad formats that can be more effective. For example, Snigel offers interactive ad formats that increase viewability and time on page.
Finally, It’s also worth noting that most AdSense alternatives expect original, high-quality content on your site and valid traffic. If you’ve been denied an AdSense account because of content or traffic violations, you’ll need to remedy the issue.
If you’re still unsure about whether AdSense or another alternative (or a combination of the two) is the best solution for your website, get in touch for a free assessment. Snigel’s ad experts will evaluate your site and help point you in the right direction.
12 Best Google AdSense Alternatives
AI-Driven Header Bidding
Snigel is a Google-certified publishing partner for websites making $50 USD per day or more. Publishers see a 57% increase in revenue on average when switching from AdSense to Snigel.
Here’s an overview of how we do it.
What’s Included in Your AdStack
AdEngine is Snigel’s proprietary, AI-driven header bidding technology that connects publishers to all of the major SSPs including:
- Google AdX
- Amazon Publisher Services
- Index Exchange
- District M
- And many more
Plus, AdEngine comes with advanced ad tech and a variety of ad formats (some of which aren’t available with AdSense), including:
- AI bidder optimization, which is used to take advantage of client- and server-side header bidding in addition to matching users with the best bidders for their country, device, and browser.
- Dynamic floor pricing, which is used to increase your CPMs and prevent unfilled ad space by combatting bid shading.
- Smart refresh, which is used to display more ads within one ad space when certain event-based, time-based, or action-based triggers occur.
- Adaptive ads, which is used to fill ad space with whatever combination of ad sizes will return the highest revenue (e.g., one ad for $1.30 vs two smaller ads for $0.75 each).
- Super adhesive ads, which is used to display large ads in a smaller ad space (the ad moves within the ad space while the user scrolls).
- Interactive ad units, which is used to engage the user and increase the amount of time the user spends viewing the ad.
Publishers that work with Snigel also have access to AdStream, Snigel’s native video player, and AdConsent, Snigel’s Google-certified and IAB-registered consent platform that helps you comply with user privacy regulations.
The entire ad stack is fully customizable.
Done for You Ad Strategy
Like adsense, we handle your ad strategy for you. Unlike adsense, we customize your ad strategy based on the unique needs of your website. AdSense tends to apply the same cookie cutter strategy for all websites. If you want to increase revenue they’ll likely just pressure you to implement a more aggressive ad strategy.
Snigel’s ad strategy experts work with you to achieve your revenue and user experience goals. In the 10+ years we’ve spent helping publishers monetize their websites, we’ve found that a customized ad strategy and ad tech setup is the key to maximizing revenue while maintaining a great user experience.
For example, Snigel was outperforming AdSense using the same ad placements within the first week of Weatherspark switching from AdSense to our service. As our team introduced new features, types of ads, and customized Weatherspark’s ad strategy, they were able to increase ad revenue by 50+%. You can learn more by reading the case study.
Plus, unlike other header bidding solutions that use a set-it-and-forget-it approach, we monitor your ad setup on a regular basis. We also test new strategies and new technology as they become available and/or as your needs change to ensure your ad setup is fully optimized.
Because we take a highly customized approach to ad monetization, we can work with any vertical including technology, education, music, travel, forum, gaming, reference-style websites (e.g., dictionaries, weather reporting), and many more.
Keep More Revenue
While AdSense only lets you keep 51% to 68% of revenue earned, Snigel publishers keep 80%.
Many header bidding partners lock you into a monthly or year-long contract, which makes it difficult to switch if you’re unsatisfied with the service. With Snigel, there are no lock-in clauses. So you can test Snigel out on just 5–10% of your traffic risk-free.
Does Snigel Pay More than AdSense?
Typically, yes. When running display ads, most publishers working with Snigel earn 57% more on average than when they worked with AdSense. Publishers that also take advantage of Snigel’s AdStream and run video ads can earn up to 10x the amount they earned with AdSense.
However, if you have more traffic from Tier 3 GEOs or have a CTR higher than 2%, AdSense may be the better fit. Additionally, many of our publishers use Snigel for the majority of their ads but also use AdSense for select ad units.
We can assess your site and advise you on whether Snigel or AdSense is better for your site overall and for individual ad units. You can always ask Snigel to run an A/B test to find which performs better. Get in touch.
Ezoic is another popular header bidding partner that can fit small websites doing less than $10 per day. They make it easy for smaller publishers to join because they don’t have traffic requirements for their entry level package,and they offer several features that make it easy for beginners to get started:
- Tech support for the initial setup: Ezoic’s team will help you implement a basic ad setup when you first join.
- A self-serve platform, which you can use to adjust some of your ad format settings.
- A WordPress plugin to help you get started quickly.
This makes Ezoic a good option if you want to switch from AdSense to header bidding but are having trouble meeting the requirements of other header bidding partners. However, many publishers experience slow page load times because Ezoic runs everything through their DNS. Many publishers also feel that the ad setups are more aggressive than they want. Because of this, publishers often switch to another solution once they are large enough to qualify.
Does Ezoic pay more than AdSense?
Ezoic can likely pay more than AdSense for small publishers with traffic from Tier 1 GEOs. (Ezoic doesn’t typically work with predominantly eCommerce sites.)
You can learn more about the differences between AdSense vs Ezoic vs Snigel and which one pays more in this article: Ezoic vs AdSense vs Snigel: A Definitive Comparison
Media.net is the second-largest contextual advertising network in the world by revenue. It’s a direct competitor to AdSense with exclusive access to searches from Yahoo! and Bing. Major brands like CNN, Forbes, and Reuters use Media.net to monetize their content. Media.net helps publishers serve relevant ads for native, display, mobile, or video.
Does Media.net pay more than AdSense?
AdSense generally performs well on banners above the fold. Media.net usually performs better on advertising spaces within content or on sticky side-bars. While AdSense also performs better in product-light niches, Media.net performs better in product-heavy niches.
Outbrain is a recommendation platform geared towards advertisers, however, they do also support publishers.
For publishers, they use their recommendation technology to fill ad space with relevant ads to increase time on page and user interaction. They provide native search, display, programmatic, and video demand. They also offer a suite of automated content filtering tools to ensure high quality ads. Finally, Outbrain supports ads on websites or apps and desktop or mobile devices.
Does Outbrain pay more than AdSense?
Outbrain retains a similar revenue share to AdSense, however, you’ll need to contact their team for the specifics. Publishers with blog content will likely earn more with Outbrain from placements at the end of articles because the ads they provide are more targeted. For other ad placements, AdSense will likely perform better.
PropellerAds is one of the biggest alternative ad networks with 32K advertisers. They offer aggressive, high CPM ad formats such as interstitial ads, push notifications and in-page push ads. There is no minimum traffic requirement so PropellerAds is a good fit for small publishers looking to generate aggressive returns.
Does PropellerAds pay more than AdSense?
Generally, yes. The popup and push ads from PropellerAds are more aggressive. This leads to higher viewability and higher click-through rates (CTR). As a result, PropellerAds is able to generate more revenue than AdSense. However, Propeller Ads are less stringent from a product policy perspective than AdSense and as a result, the quality of ads shown is generally not as high as what one would see via AdSense.
ylliX is one of the best ad networks for aggressive ad formats. There is no restriction on website size or content and creating an account is free. As a result, ylliX is an option for publishers that are having problems getting their sites approved by mainstream providers like AdSense or Snigel.
ylliX offers banner, slider, anchor, tab-under, direct link, and more types of ad tags. They also let you choose between CPM, CPC, and CPA models.
Does ylliX pay more than AdSense?
ylliX is one of the high-paying AdSense alternatives. Some publishers have reported hitting CPMs of $3 for the USA and $0.25 for African countries. However, ylliX requires publishers to use aggressive ad formats such as popunder ads, mobile redirects, and full-page ads.
If you are frequently posting commerce-related content as a blogger or media publisher, it can be profitable to incorporate an affiliate marketing solution into your site. Skimlinks is ideal for publishers who want to monetize their text content without (or in addition to) display ads. They have a network of affiliate merchants and scan your content for mentions of registered partners. Whenever Skimlinks finds a mention, it will add an affiliate link to earn a commission. The benefit of using a solution like this is that you do not need to manage or seek partnerships and separate affiliate programs for your content. Instead, you can rely on the Skimlinks network.
Does Skimlinks pay more than AdSense?
AdSense and Skimlinks offer very different approaches to website monetization. Whether you can make more money with affiliate marketing depends entirely on the type of content you publish. That being said, Skimlinks takes a lower commission than AdSense (25% compared to AdSense’s 32% commission). If your visitors click through a Skimlinks affiliate link, you receive a 75% commission paid by the merchants. Therefore, Skimlinks pays publishers a higher commission rate than Google Adsense.
Additionally, you can earn more revenue if your users purchase the products through the affiliate link on your page. Therefore, it works particularly well for product review content. Skimlinks offers a low minimum payout of $10. However, it only sends payments every 90 days.
Like AdSense, Infolinks is an advertising network that supports both publishers and advertisers. They specialize in curated ads for individual users through contextual advertising. Infolinks ads come in various ad formats including in-text (in-text ads work well for long blog posts), in-fold, in-tag, in-frame, and graphic banner ads. Publishers can use their contact form to contact customer support or view their library of support videos.
Infolinks operates on a CPC basis. Their payment methods for payouts include PayPal, eCheck, and ACH (however, there are minimum payment thresholds for each one). As of May 2023, Payoneer is not an option for payouts.
Does Infolinks pay more than AdSense?
Infolinks often returns a higher CTR per ad unit because their ads are more targeted. However, AdSense has a wider reach of advertisers that they work with (Infolinks focuses mostly on the United States and Canada), which sometimes results in higher revenue overall.
Publishers only get to keep 65% of the revenue they earn with Infolinks.
RevContent is a native advertising platform that works with both publishers and advertisers. The native ads are integrated via RevContents ad widgets.
While they don’t have a minimum traffic requirement for joining, your website will have to go through a thorough quality check before joining. Additionally, RevContent operates on month-to-month contracts.
Does RevContent pay more than AdSense?
RevContent helps publishers monetize their website even when users have ad blockers enabled. AdSense ads on the other hand get blocked by adblockers. So, if adblockers are a concern, RevContent may be a good choice.
Note: Snigel switches between adblock compliant ads and higher paying ad formats based on the user’s settings so that you’re always earning the highest amount of revenue from each pageview. Learn more about Anti Adblock here.
RevContent’s revenue share is variable and depends on a variety of factors including traffic. They operate on the CPC rather than the CPM model.
BuySellAds is a publishing partner for websites, newsletters, and podcasts that want to monetize traffic through contextual ads. They connect publishers to high quality advertisers in the business, crypto, design, consumer, and developer niches.
As a premier partner, you’ll have an account manager, however, without premier access, you’ll need your own sales team to negotiate deals.
Does BuySellAds pay more than AdSense?
BuySellAds is better for large publishers, while AdSense is often a good option for beginners. Plus, you’ll also want to consider whether you have the time and resources to dedicate to negotiating deals with BuySellAds. Beyond that, you’ll want to consider the factors we mentioned such as CTR vs CPM, the GEOs your traffic is from, etc.
Monumetric provides publishers with a client-side header bidding wrapper and the opportunity for direct, private deals.
They offer varying levels of strategic support depending on the level of service you choose (their programs are tiered by monthly pageviews). With all of them, they’ll get you started with a standard setup and then you’ll have access to a self-serve platform to make adjustments as necessary. Additionally, for all members, they perform regular audits of your site and make suggestions for improvements without you having to ask, but you’ll be responsible for implementing those changes.
Does Monumetric pay more than AdSense?
Because Monumetric provides a header bidding wrapper and some strategic support beyond basic ad setups, publishers can typically earn more with Monumetric than AdSense.
Connatix is another great online video player that can run native video ads that are optimized for each website visitor. With an integrated ad exchange and ad server, they can help you monetize your content with their platform. Connatix’s technology minimizes the work for editorial teams. The tool automatically assigns categories and tags to video content and recognizes public figures. It also automatically identifies brands and companies. These contextual insights can be beneficial for publishers who want to leverage data to close direct deals.
Does Connatix pay more than AdSense?
Potentially, yes. It is no secret that marketers are investing a large portion of their budgets into native video advertising since 85% of the content we consumed online in 2021 was video. A well-placed video ad can deliver CPMs anywhere between $9 to $20. In general, we can say that a video ad will bring in more revenue than a display ad. However, of course, your actual income and the success of your ad setup are relevant to your geos, market, and audience.
Which websites work best with Google AdSense?
AdSense works best with small websites. It gives non-technical website owners a quick and easy way to monetize their site. As a website passes 10,000 sessions per month it's usually more profitable for the website owner to switch to header bidding.
Which is the best AdSense alternative?
Publishers see an increase of 57% in ad revenue on average when switching from AdSense to header bidding with Snigel. This is because AdSense limits you to one advertising provider — Google. But header bidding with Snigel allows you to access an unlimited number of advertising partners including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and much more. When you add more advertising partners, you increase the competition for the advertising space on your website. This means advertisers have to bid more to win which increases your revenue. Plus, Snigel provides advanced ad tech for maximizing revenue that you can’t get with AdSense. And our ad ops specialists build, implement, and maintain a custom ad optimization strategy for you.
Can I use other ads with AdSense?
Yes, you can use AdSense alongside alternative tools like Snigel, other header bidding providers, or Amazon affiliate links. The advantage of using a mixed approach is that you can increase and diversify your revenue. AdSense generally works best on advertising units above the fold with a CTR above 2%. Header bidding works best on advertising units below the fold or with a CTR of less than 2% and Amazon affiliate links work best on product or review pages. Get in touch for a free assessment of how to mix AdSense and header bidding with Snigel for maximum revenue.
Who is the highest paying AdSense alternative in 2024?
On average, Snigel helps publishers earn 57% more than they did with AdSense. Header bidding enables you to connect your advertising space to many advertising partners (not just Google). This increases competition and revenue.
If you’d like to find out about how you can use header bidding or Google Ad Exchange to increase your revenue contact us here.