Top 7 Ad Networks For Small To Medium Publishers

This article discusses ad networks and management platforms suitable for small and medium-sized websites and publishers.
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Whether you’re a small publisher or an established one, you’ve got plenty of monetization options. You can use ad networks, affiliate marketing, subscriptions, podcasts, services, and more, depending on your audience.

Nonetheless, most publishers continue to rely on ad networks. Yes, there are plenty of Google MCM partners with multiple bidding partners, but various factors will determine how much you make from ads.

Publishers can earn more from ads if their traffic is valuable. A page with more ads will earn more revenue – but can also mess up the user experience if the page contains too many ads.

Most websites and blogs use revenue optimization services compared to a single ad server because they’re better at ad quality, support, and payments.

In this article – you can read about ad networks and management platforms fit for small to mid-sized websites – I’ve already used all of them.

Ad Networks For Small To Medium-Sized Publishers

1. AdSense

Google AdSense Logo

Still, AdSense remains the most popular way of monetizing small and medium-sized websites. However, AdSense is outdated and gets worse each year.

Many small publishers are trying to stick with it despite its significant limitations. AdSense is a single ad network, meaning only Google serves ads – CPM rates are lower than those of other header bidding solutions.

An example of a Google AdSense ad
Google AdSense ad example

Traffic and clicks perform decently in some cases, especially in the US, UK, Middle East, and Australia – but not everywhere.

Nowadays, most publishers use revenue optimization platforms – for those who are just starting or want to start small, AdSense can be a suitable first monetization strategy.

And Google changed to the CPM revenue model for AdSense, which means you get paid based on ad impressions instead of clicks – as a result, publishers now get 80% of ad revenue.

It is generally acceptable; publishers should try it to gather some experience. There are, however, many other monetization methods that work better.

Getting started with AdSense

Most advertising networks usually ask for some criteria, especially about traffic. However, AdSense is one of the few ad networks still permitting publishers without traffic requirements. So, what are the requirements for AdSense?

Publishers first need a decent website with original content – They also accept helpful online tools, but content remains a crucial factor.

It’s enough to have a finished website with decent content in a relevant niche to get AdSense approval. Usually, people whine when AdSense declines them.

Scrap content, poor web design, inappropriate niches, and a lack of legal pages are the most common reasons for this concern, which I’ve never experienced. I’ve always been approved every time I’ve applied.

Pros:

  • No specific traffic requirements: this is a significant advantage of AdSense, which is why GA remains a popular monetization option among small and medium-sized sites. You can start from scratch.
  • All up to the publishers: As a publisher, you have complete control over AdSense without human interference. You can mess around and change anything you like, and there is no onboarding process to follow.
  • Useful statistics: AdSense’s stats dashboard seems more insightful than most others. Ezoic has the most comprehensive data analysis tool, and the AdSense statistics are also helpful.

Cons:

  • No human help: There’s no human support from AdSense, which is the biggest drawback. If you get banned without a valid reason, who’s to blame?
  • Outdated: Compared to modern ad networks, AdSense lacks many new features. It’s not enough, even though they try to keep up with new features like auto-ads.
  • A single ad server: AdSense only displays Google ads to visitors. In contrast, most other ad networks use header bidding, open bidding, and ad revenue optimization strategies. That is why AdSense’s CPM rates are such a low number.
  • Performance issues: All ad networks slow down websites with third-party codes, but AdSense’s is the worst. However, you can optimize the site using better caching plugins or techniques, like delaying Javascript.
  • Issues with payments: Firstly, AdSense’s minimum threshold is 100. There’s a small threshold, even for premium ad networks like Mediavine. The only way to get paid is by bank transfer. So, I think $100 is a high threshold for small publishers with low CPMs and CPCs.
AdSense verification to receive payments

AdSense asks for verification of the user’s ID or home address before paying out the first time. It also has other negative aspects, meaning the cons outweigh the pros. Try another one if you have a decent website with some traffic amount.

As I mentioned, the problem is that even if GA accepts small publishers without a page view limit, they have an increased minimum threshold. You’ll still have difficulty making money even if accepted to AdSense.

2. Ezoic

Ezoic For Small And Medium Publishers

Ezoic is one of the most famous revenue optimization platforms for small—to medium-sized publishers at any scale. It is also a Google certified publishing partner – has partnerships with many other header bidding platforms.

Ezoic is a beginner-friendly ad network that usually accepts publishers without page view limits – has a friendly payment process. However – it isn’t the first choice of severe publishers who care about the user experience – even on one page, it displays plenty of ad slots, which results in reasonable CPMs.

However, compared to other premium ad management platforms such as Mediavine, Raptive, SetupAd, etc., Ezoic doesn’t do well.

In addition, I wouldn’t recommend Ezoic for high-quality content-focused sites because Ezoic ads often lead to website layouts being messed up badly.

Ad examples from Ezoic
Ad examples from Ezoic

Publisher Requirements & Payments:

Ezoic reaches publishers in two ways.

  • Access Now: This monetization program is designed for small publishers with fewer than 10,000 monthly visitors.
  • Levels program: This strategy is for publishers with over 10,000 monthly visitors. In addition, it has five levels based on traffic.
There's no pageview requirement with EzoicAds
There’s no pageview requirement with Ezoic
Ezoic levels
Ezoic levels

Ezoic and other ad networks differ because Ezoic puts ads on all specific sites. However, you must follow Google’s and Ezoic’s regulations.

Ezoic follows stringent regulations regarding traffic sources; if a website receives a lot of questionable traffic, the website gets banned.

Getting paid – Publishers get paid every 30 days with Ezoic. Payoneer and PayPal are payment options, with a $20 payout minimum.

The Bottom Line

For small, medium, or large publishers, Ezoic is a fine monetization option. They have a lot of helpful features, including header bidding, personalized ads, and data analysis, but a lot of the other stuff is unnecessary. Also, they’re an AdSense partner, so publishers can connect their AdSense accounts to Ezoic.

Despite this, I’m not thrilled with Ezoic because they display many ads and utilize glitchy tools. Plus, the ezoic integration doesn’t work well for me – It’s still one of the best networks for new bloggers.

3. Media.Net

Media.Net For Small And Medium Publishers

Media.Net is the second most recognizable ad network after Google AdSense regarding a single ad server – the platform is also suitable for premium content publishers who have English-speaking viewers.

Media.net is a decent ad network for small or large publishers. Its eye-catching contextual ad design inspires people to click on the ads.

Media.Net contextual ad example
Media.Net contextual ad example

Requirement:

Ensure you have a suitable website with helpful content before applying to Media.net.

Publishers need quality traffic over 5K monthly visits from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and other English-speaking regions. The approval process is strict if publishers only get traffic from low-income countries.

Don’t use an existing ad network while you’re applying. There’s a real focus on publisher quality and criteria at Media.net.

Unlike other ad networks, they only work with reliable publishers who get traffic from reputable sources. Media.net doesn’t list any traffic requirements to apply but requires a quality website.

It’s also an invite-only ad network; you must go through an approval process. After you submit an application, the Media.net team will let you know if you’ve been accepted with follow-up instructions.

Payments for publishers:

  • Media.net offers a net 30-day payment process, and $100 is the minimum. Payoneer is the only payment option for global users, and US publishers can use bank transfers.
  • For quality traffic sources, Media.net offers high rates for ad views and hits. They’re best suited to specific fields because they attract advertisers related to expensive things.

Conclusion

Many publishers, big and small, use Media.net as an ad network for their websites. I like their ad designs because they look different from others.

Media.net doesn’t like crap content or low-quality traffic sources. You can achieve a better result with Media.net than with AdSense if you publish quality content. It is one of the most effective ad networks for monetizing blogs.

4. Monumetric

Monumetric For Small Publishers

Monumetric is an ad management platform for publishers of all sizes. This is a better monetization solution than Adsense, offering decent CPM rates comparable to Setupad, Raptive, etc. However – has some flaws.

There is a reason why I’ve included Monumetric on this list: they accept sites with over 10,000 monthly visitors. There are, however, a few limitations.

For publishers, Monumetric offers four tiers:

  • Propel: Websites with 10K to 80K page views qualify for this program. You’ll also have to pay $99 to set it up. It’s a complete monetization program for small publishers.
  • Ascend: It has all the tools you need to monetize effectively. Accepts websites with 80k to 500k monthly page views.
  • Stratos: Suitable for serious websites. Page views must range from 500k to 10 million per month for publishers. It has extra features like a dedicated Ad Operations team and premium advertisers.
  • Apollo: This program is intended for enterprise publishers with over ten million page views monthly. You get everything Monumetric has to offer for monetization.
Monumetric Monetization Programs
Monumetric Monetization Programs

Monumetric: What You Need to Know

  • Monu accepts publishers with over 10,000 PV but needs most web traffic from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and other top-tier nations. Mostly accepts English-language content-based websites.
  • The Propel program has some peculiar requirements, including only accepting WordPress or Blogger sites, a 300PX sidebar, six minimum ad slots, approval by major ad tech, and a $99 setup fee.
  • Monu has a 65-day payment schedule. PayPal’s minimum threshold is 10 USD. There’s a high minimum threshold for bank transfers.
  • This platform isn’t the best option if you’re a control freak because you must talk to your rep before making changes.
  • Their onboarding process isn’t great because it involves manual setups, video conferences, lengthy optimization processes, and stuff like that.
Ad examples from Monumetric
Ad examples from Monumetric

Still, Monumetric is an acceptable monetization option for web publishers with over 10,000 monthly visitors. It’s essential to have quality traffic and content. Plus, it’s an ideal alternative to Media.net, Ezoic, and AdSense – still one of the best CPM ad networks for small publishers.

5. FatChilli

FatChilli For Small And Medium Publishers

FatChilli is a programmatic ad management platform and a certified Google Ad Manager 360 partner. GAM 360 is intended for large publishers and is unreachable for small and medium websites.

And Fatchilli Media offers multiple ad formats, including banners, texts, videos – matched content, and more.

They use lazy loading to prevent CWV issues, but ads still slow down your site. Also, ads will load faster if you use a good hosting service with ad networks.

Ad examples from Fatchilli
Ad examples for Fatchilli

This ad network, however, offers content creators the opportunity to fetch ads from GAM 360, even if they are small publishers. Probably not the best option for small publishers looking for CPM ad networks.

But FatChilli provides a full range of programmatic advertising options – features like header bidding, price floors, revenue waterfalls, and custom ad types. Also, try Fatchilli instead of crypto ad networks.

I used FatChilli for a few months and got some decent results. However, they were less profitable than ad management platforms like Mediavine, Raptive, Monu, Ezoic, etc. Still, FatChilli offers a higher CPM rate than AdSense.

FatChilli Publisher Requirements & Payments:

It’s a programmatic monetization solution and a certified advertiser partner, so you need a website with well-crafted content or a useful online tool.

FatChilli Publisher Requirements

Plus, websites that get at least 10,000 monthly visitors. Comply with Google’s content policy and advertiser guidelines. With these requirements, they will contact you once you complete the application to discuss the paperwork.

  • NET30 is FatChilli’s payment policy.
  • The minimum payment amount is $100.
  • If this amount is not reached, it will be postponed to the following month, and they accept bank transfers and PayPal.

In a nutshell,

In my experience with them, the average CPM rates are much lower than expected from competitors like Ezoic, Monumetric, NitroPay, etc.

But Fatchilli is a Google AdX partner, so if you want to try out an AdX experience with an average-sized site, go for it. Still, publishers can get control over their ad revenue and optimize their long-term revenue strategy.

6. SHE Media

SHE Media ad management service Logo

SHE Media is an ad management platform for women-targeted content creators and – helps publishers monetize their content and get more people to see it.

They’re a programmatic ad management company with many advertisers – In addition to operating ads, they share insights to help your business expand. But I prefer not to use these ad networks that try to do too much.

With direct advertising and header bidding, they offer high CPM rates for publishers and are also a Google-certified publishing partner. In addition to display ads, they have video ads, auto ads, and content recommendations.

This is an example of a banner ad from SHE Media
SHE Media banner ad example

How do you get approval?

  • Publishers need at least 20k page views monthly and a high US traffic percentage (a substantial number for small publishers).
  • High-quality content for women’s target audiences or lifestyle niches.
  • Your website has to be at least 90 days old and have a solid history with Google ad inventories.
  • Besides affiliate links, publishers can use any ad network.
Criteria for small publishers at SheMedia

Publishers must fulfil the above requirements to join the SHE Media ad management service. In my opinion, this platform is suitable for medium-sized women’s content publishers who have 20k page views or more.

The onboarding process at SHE Media takes a while, and each application is reviewed individually. Also, this platform does most things manually; the support team sets it up, and you must tell them if you want to change ads.

When do you get paid?

The payment comes two months after the end of the month. For example, you’ll get paid in March for ad revenue earned in January. Direct Deposit is the payment method for U.S. publishers, and PayPal is for non-US publishers.

SHE Media agreement

The most annoying aspect of SHE Media’s ad management platform is that publishers must sign a year-long contract. Also, you must provide 60 days’ notice to leave this platform.

SHE Media is an ideal ad optimization service for small and mid-sized lifestyle bloggers. I especially recommend it for women, and it’s a solid platform with a lot of experience from someone who knows what they’re doing.

You need 20k page views to start, so SHE-Media is probably not suitable for small publishers. However, it may not be subtle for those who prefer to do things their way and don’t want agreement or follow advice.

7. CarbonAds

This is the CarbonAds logo

If you have a website, app, or tool related to web design, development, or technology and don’t want ads to mess up the UX, perhaps CarbonAds is the right solution. With this platform, you can be sure your readers will notice fewer relevant ads, meaning that CA allows one display ad per page.

Websites and tools like JS.org, KeyCDN tools, and CodingHorror.com use CarbonAds to monetize their websites.

Ad examples from CarbonAds
CarbonAds ad example

Most of Carbon’s clients are tech brands like web hosts, developers, online platforms, software, etc. But this isn’t the right option for anyone hoping to earn reasonable money through a development website or tool.

And CPM rates aren’t very impressive, so the average CPM can also be less than $1.00, depending on the audience and the demand for advertising.

You can expect reasonable rates if most traffic is coming from English-speaking countries. However, anyone can grasp the point because fewer ad impressions lead to less revenue.

Criteria and Payment Info:

This is an invite-only ad network, so it takes multiple factors to consider your application. Here are some of the factors I know; others may apply.

  • Firstly, you need a website or tool valuable to their advertisers, for example, a website about design, programming, open source projects, or any other topic they care about.
  • CarbonAds doesn’t specify traffic requirements, but you’ll need at least 10,000 monthly views. This is still a good amount for small publishers.
  • Moreover, your site, app, or tool should be authored in English, the most commonly used language, and should be kept up-to-date.
  • You cannot use other ad networks; however, affiliate links can be used.
CarbonAds Requirements for Publishers

BuySellAds is the parent company of CarbonAds. So, you’ll get the previous month’s ad revenue by the 15th of each month for the BuySellAds account.

Payment details for Carbonads.net

Minimum payouts change depending on the payout method. For example, PayPal requires a balance of $20. With the wire transfer, the minimum amount is $500, but it costs you.

CarbonAds is ideal for developers to earn some extra money with user-friendly ads. They’ve got cool ad designs that don’t slow down the page.

If you have helpful content on your WordPress documentation site, you can monetize it with CarbonAds.

But you will not be able to make decent money from them. This is because only one ad is displayed per page or post, so you will get a low CPM rate.

However, Carbon can still be one of the finer ad networks for small and independent publishers. Website needs quality content or useful tools.

Summed Up

Throughout this post, I have shown you some high-quality ad networks for small to medium publishers. You can find many blog posts about this, but the problem is that they don’t list ad networks based on their experience or their posts are invented for sponsors.

Monetization isn’t limited to ad networks; publishers can use other strategies, too. Generally, for established publishers, affiliate marketing, podcasts, consultants, and services are more profitable than ad networks.

Even though ads aren’t suitable for the user experience, they slow things down. Ad monetization is still well-known among all sizes of publishers, but today, some platforms are integrating modern technology for better revenue opportunities.

Read More: Copying text from restricted websites, FlyingCDN

Madushan Bandara
Madushan Bandara

I'm Madushan, a WordPress developer, and it has been over a decade since I became an online entrepreneur. On this website, I write about WordPress, web hosting, web tools, and digital marketing: Get to Know Me

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