Trying to decide between AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic to monetize your website with display ads?
If you want to make money with ads, these are four of the most popular options. In this post, I’ll help you choose the right one for your site.
In general, you can divide these services into a few tiers – AdThrive and Mediavine are at the top, Ezoic is in the middle, and AdSense is at the bottom.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, because this post is about highlighting where those differences come from. There are also lots of other important considerations such as requirements to join, payment terms, and more. For example, even if you want to join AdThrive, your site might not be ready yet. That means Ezoic could still be a better option for your current situation.
👉 Here’s everything that I’ll cover in this AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic comparison:
Let’s dig in…
👋 Basic introductions to each service
Before we get into the more hands-on AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic comparison, let’s quickly introduce these four networks.
AdThrive is a premium display ad network from CafeMedia. It’s especially popular with food bloggers, though it will accept any lifestyle publisher in niches such as home, travel, parenting, personal finance, and so on.
For example, Pinch of Yum, one of the most successful food blogs, uses AdThrive for monetization.
AdThrive is generally one of the highest-earning ad networks, which is why it’s highly sought after.
AdThrive is also an exclusive display ad network. So if you join AdThrive, you won’t be able to include display ads from any other network.
You’re still free to use other monetization methods such as affiliate marketing or sponsored posts, though – the exclusivity only applies to display ads.
Mediavine is another premium display ad network that fits in pretty much the same vein as AdThrive.
Like AdThrive, Mediavine is also especially popular with lifestyle publishers (though it will accept other niches). You’ll see it used by a lot of food bloggers, travel bloggers, personal finance bloggers, and so on.
It’s also one of the highest-earning networks out there – most people rate AdThrive and Mediavine as the two highest-earning ad management networks for bloggers and other content creators.
Also like AdThrive, Mediavine requires exclusivity for managing your display ads (though you’re still free to use affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and so on).
The Mediavine team actually got their start as content publishers, and Mediavine grew out of their need to create an ad management solution for their own sites. They own the popular Hollywood Gossip blog, along with other big properties.
This gives them a publisher-first perspective that’s pretty nice.
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AdSense really needs no introduction – it’s the display ad network from Google and it’s the “default” for a lot of sites.
It’s popular because pretty much anyone can join and there aren’t any real traffic requirements.
However, AdSense is generally the lowest-earning network, in part because it still focuses more on earning from ad clicks than ad impressions.
You can think of it kind of like the minimum wage job you had when you were young. Sure, it’s better than nothing when you’re just getting started, but there are a lot better options and you want to move up as soon as possible.
Ezoic is an ad network that puts more of a focus on using data and technology to improve your revenue.
For example, Ezoic will test different ad placements to find which performs the best and then use that one going forward.
Unlike AdThrive and Mediavine, Ezoic is not exclusive, so you can use other networks. Ezoic will even let you include those other networks in its testing framework so that you can compare how they earn vs Ezoic, which is pretty cool.
In general, Ezoic earns more than AdSense, but not as much as AdThrive or Mediavine. It’s a good intermediary network for growing sites that can’t quite meet the requirements for AdThrive or Mediavine yet (more on those later).
This is in large part because Ezoic recently got rid of all of its traffic requirements, so anyone is free to join.
💰 RPM comparison: Which ad network earns the most?
RPM is the amount you earn per one thousand page views, so it’s an important metric in choosing an ad network.
Some ad networks also don’t like reporting based on page views, as it encourages page view-boosting tactics like using slideshows. These networks might also report your earnings per 1,000 sessions or visitors, though they’ll still let you see the RPM for page views.
Comparing the RPM between AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic is difficult because there’s no single “RPM.”
I know most people come to these comparison posts looking for a specific RPM number. You want to see something like “AdThrive pays $35 RPM” and “Mediavine pays $30 RPM.”
I’m sorry, though – I just can’t do that because there are so many variables. There’s your site’s content, where your traffic comes from, your viewability, your fill rate, your CPM…it’s impossible to give a single number that accurately tells you what you’ll earn on each network.
However, what I can do is point out the trends. For example, I can say that Mediavine pays more than AdSense. I can’t tell you the specific RPMs that you earn on AdSense or Mediavine. But I can tell you that whatever your RPM was on AdSense, it will almost certainly be higher on Mediavine.
👉 So, to make this useful, I’m going to list the networks in the order of their RPM, from the highest to the lowest.
|Highest||AdThrive, Mediavine||I’m putting these together because they’re both very high. Some people say AdThrive is generally a bit higher, but Mediavine will perform better in some niches.|
|Middle||Ezoic||Ezoic earns more than AdSense but generally less than AdThrive and Mediavine.|
|Lowest||AdSense||AdSense is generally the bottom of the barrel when it comes to RPM.|
🚦 Traffic requirements/signup requirements: Who can join?
Next, let’s look at the requirements you’ll need to meet to join each network.
There are a few different requirements that you’ll encounter, though not all networks will use all of them:
- Traffic – some networks require you to have a certain number of monthly sessions/page views.
- Visitor geographic locations – some networks want the majority of your traffic to be from high-income English-speaking countries like the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia.
- Traffic source – some networks will value organic search traffic more than social traffic (because social traffic can be more erratic).
- Content – some networks won’t accept certain content or niches. For example, it’s usually hard for true crime blogs to get accepted by premium networks, and don’t even get me started on things like gambling.
- Content length – some networks will only accept you if you have long-form content (like 500+ words per post).
What’s more, there are two “types” of limits:
- Hard limits – E.g. you must absolutely have X page views per month or you can’t apply. Typically, visitor numbers are the only hard limits that you’ll encounter.
- Soft limits – these are decided on a case-by-case basis. E.g. networks might want “most” of your traffic to come from those English-speaking countries, but they don’t have a specific percentage that you must meet. It’s up to the discretion of the person reviewing your application.
👉 I’ll summarize the hard limits in a table, and then I’ll go through the additional soft limits for each network.
Traffic requirements at AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic
|Network||Minimum Traffic Per Month|
|AdThrive||100,000 page views|
|Mediavine||50,000 sessions (approx. 70,000 page views)|
|Ezoic||0 – no requirements|
|AdSense||0 – no requirements|
Make sure to note the difference between page views and sessions – AdThrive uses page views, while Mediavine uses sessions.
Additionally, these networks require that you verify your traffic with Google Analytics, so make sure you’re using Google Analytics on your site.
AdThrive other requirements
Beyond 100,000 page views per month, AdThrive also looks for the following details:
- Majority of traffic from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and/or New Zealand.
- Unique, advertiser-friendly content.
Mediavine other requirements
Beyond 50,000 sessions per month, Mediavine also looks for the following details:
- Generally, they want the majority of your traffic to be from the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and/or New Zealand. However, Mediavine has started accepting non-English sites in European markets. For example, if you have a German-language site targeting Germans, you might still be eligible for Mediavine if you meet the other requirements. I know someone who has a Swedish-language site and still got accepted.
- Unique advertiser-friendly content.
- Long-form content – aim for 500 words as the minimum for an average post.
There’s also a hard requirement that your site has good standing with Google AdSense. If your site has been banned from AdSense in the past, you can’t join Mediavine.
AdSense other requirements
AdSense has no traffic requirements, but there are a few basic requirements you must meet :
- Unique content.
- Advertiser-friendly content – e.g. no illegal stream sites.
- One of the 50+ AdSense-supported languages .
Ezoic other requirements
While Ezoic has gotten rid of its 10,000 minimum page view limit and now accepts sites with any traffic level, there are a few other requirements to consider :
- Unique, advertiser-friendly content.
- No shady tactics like automatically generated content, copying content from other sites, and so on.
- One of the 50+ AdSense-supported languages .
🏎️🐢 Effect on performance and UX: Will it make your site suck?
While you always want to earn as much as possible from your display ads, you don’t want to do it at the expense of your site’s user experience.
There are two main ways that a display ad network can hurt your site:
- They can slow down your load times, which will create a bad experience for visitors and can negatively affect your SEO efforts.
- They can fill your content with too many ads, which creates an annoying experience for your visitors.
All four networks give you options to control the number of ads that are displayed on your site. So, as long as you pay attention and make use of these options, you can always pull back the number of ads to avoid affecting users (though you might make less money as a result).
In terms of performance and load times, AdThrive and Mediavine are quite good and do a great job of making sure that your site’s ads don’t slow down its performance. For example, they typically use lazy loading to improve initial page load times and placeholders to avoid layout shift, which helps you still score well in Core Web Vitals.
On the other hand, AdSense and Ezoic don’t, and it’s pretty normal for both AdSense and Ezoic to have a noticeable negative effect on your site’s performance.
You can lessen the impact of Ezoic with some manual tweaking, though. Or, you can pay for Ezoic’s speed-boosting service. But still, AdThrive and Mediavine are definitely the best if you want to avoid hurting your site’s load times and user experience.
💸 Payment terms: How do you get your money?
If you’re in the USA, you probably remember those viral JG Wentworth commercials – “It’s my money and I need it now!”
Well, when you start dealing with the more exclusive ad networks, you might find yourself feeling like you’re in that commercial because some of them have pretty long payment terms.
While this isn’t an issue in the long term, it does mean that you might need to wait a few months to receive your first check, which might be an important consideration for some people.
Here are the terms:
|AdThrive||Net 45||Money earned in January is paid by March 15|
|Mediavine||Net 65||Money earned in January is paid by April 5|
|AdSense||Net 30||Money earned in January is paid by March 1|
|Ezoic||Net 30||Money earned in January is paid by March 1|
So with Mediavine, you’ll need to wait an extra month to get your money vs Ezoic. Once you get past the first few months, though, you’ll still have money rolling in each month.
Behind the payment timing, you also might have issues with minimum payouts. Here are the minimum payouts at each network.
*Minimum payouts will never be an issue at AdThrive or Mediavine. If you can meet the traffic requirements to join the network, you will absolutely be earning more than $25 per month. Even if you just barely meet the traffic requirements, you’ll probably be earning at least $750-$1,000 per month.
Finally, let’s look at the payment methods that each network supports:
|Network||Bank Transfer/ACH||PayPal||Wire Transfer||Paper Check|
Ezoic also offers payouts via a prepaid card powered by Payoneer.
🧐 Final thoughts on AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic
When it comes to AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic, the conclusions are pretty clear:
However, the problem is that AdThrive and Mediavine also have the strictest requirements to join, which means they might not be an option for you, especially if your site is still young and growing. Side note – here are some tips to increase your blog traffic.
So – what should you do if you can’t get into AdThrive or Mediavine yet?
Now that Ezoic has removed its 10,000 page view limit, there’s really no reason to ever go with AdSense. You can apply to Ezoic right away and, if you’re accepted, you’ll still earn a significantly higher RPM than you would with AdSense.
You can keep using Ezoic until you reach the requirements for AdThrive or Mediavine. If you can get accepted by those networks, I recommend switching to them as soon as possible because they offer higher RPMs and better performance.
👉 For some other ways to make money from your site beyond display ads, check out our post with five methods to monetize a blog.
👉 The ad networks covered in this article rely on tracking cookies to display relevant, targeted ads to visitors of your site. While highly effective, you may also want to consider cookieless tracking options as part of your site’s overall marketing and monetization strategy.
Do you still have any questions about choosing between AdThrive vs Mediavine vs AdSense vs Ezoic? Let us know in the comments!
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