A great side hustle that many people like to dabble with is creating a website or blog. And a common source of income you can create is through display ads with a platform like Google AdSense.
Google AdSense is one of the most popular ad networks online for those who own a website and are looking to monetize their web traffic in some way.
And you’ve definitely come across these ads on sites you’ve visited in the past, maybe without realizing that it was from AdSense!
While Google’s ad platform might be a solid start to making some passive income, there are many AdSense alternatives that are better.
Below I’ll get into the pros and cons of AdSense as well as the best alternatives to use for your website that will have you earning more money.
Pros and Cons of Google AdSense
If you are considering AdSense for your website, blog, or forum — it’s important you understand the pros and cons of this advertising network. But feel free to skip to the next section if want to drive right into the Google AdSense alternatives instead.
Pros of Google AdSense
- It’s free to join; which means that you don’t have to pay Google to have ads appearing on your site. Once you begin making money, nobody else takes a cut.
- AdSense is really easy to use, and you can customize how the ads show up on your site, how many ads will be on your website and even control categories of ads that appear on your website.
- Keep just one Google account and collect your ad revenue easily in one place, making money from blogging across every website you own.
Cons of Google AdSense
- If you opt for AdSense, you’re limited to only Google Ads and can’t integrate other ads from different platforms into your site. This also limits the ad network showing on your site and could affect the amount you make.
- Low traffic and search rankings will not get you what it takes to make a solid income stream from Google Ads.
- You are required to wait until you earn the minimum payout of $100 before you can take any money home from Google AdSense.
- Ad payouts are based on RPMs (Ad revenue per thousand impressions) and in Google AdSense, these are quite low. Meaning you’ll need a lot of web traffic to make any decent money.
Is AdSense really worth it?
For most people, AdSense is probably not worth utilizing. Most AdSense alternatives may have higher minimum requirements; but generally speaking these are better passive income ad platforms with higher RPMs, better ads, and more targeted and relevant ads to your audience.
Why You Should Look for Google AdSense Alternatives
- Other platforms offer much more detailed ROI so that you can accurately predict the kind of returns to expect.
- AdSense alternatives allow you to pick and choose the ads which appear on your site, including giving information on CPM so you can get the highest rates available.
- Other platforms have much smaller minimum payouts — some as low as just $10, which can be a more attractive option for smaller websites with low traffic just getting started.
Best AdSense Alternatives To Consider
For those running a blog, website, or forum — these AdSense alternatives will be solid options for monetization:
- SHE Media
- Vibrant Media
Highly rated platform Ezoic has a powerful AI system that uses the data to customize your ads to perfection. It’s technology continually learns over time in order to ensure ads shown are relevant to your audience.
Plus, the platform includes non-technical SEO tips, design layout features, and an infamous ad tester. Smaller sites are not turned away, and Ezoic offers all of this for free or a 10% cut of your ad revenues — it’s up to you.
Propel is the beginner plan within Monumetric, offering bloggers and small websites the chance to partner with just 10,000 site visitors per month. Not many AdSense alternatives start this low.
You can choose as little as 6 placements for display ads, and the company expects to pay you around $4- $6 per 1,000 page views on average. However, some reviews report payouts of less than $1 per 1,000 page views.
I’ve used Monumetric and averaged around $16 RPMs. So it can vary how you build your site, the traffic, and the category. But I enjoyed using their ad platform.
Media.net boasts of one of the largest range of ad networks, almost 100% powered by Yahoo and Bing. Reviewers stated that they are paid within the premium range for highly contextual ads; which are specifically chosen by the company.
In keeping with the theme of quality; there is a long list of requirements to become partnered with Medianet including:
- consistent original content
- Navigation-friendly design
- no parked pages, hidden text or software piracy
- Receive most traffic from US, Canada or UK
As a full-service program, you give Mediavine back-end access to your site in order to verify your analytics and make a few changes; including optimizing the ad placement.
The company also offers completely free SEO guides within their service area; which means that you’ll boost your earnings as your site gets more traffic. Many are totally raving about Mediavine, with reviewers stating that it offers the highest RPM and bonus loyalty income.
I’ve been using Mediavine for a few months now and recommend their platform. They focus a lot of their energy on the experience for bloggers and adding great product features.
AdThrive’s site makes a pretty strong case for using the program; with statistics comparing their own service to self-managed ads (like you’d find with AdSense) and a payment-guarantee in case advertisers pull their funding.
With high entry requirements (100,000 monthly pageviews minimum), making it into AdThrive’s network is an exclusive ordeal.
But once you’re in; you can experience their unique video and mobile ad optimization and receive high payouts from their premium ad campaigns.
This ad network is less exclusive in its entry requirements, even accepting non-English sites without a majority of US, Canada, or UK traffic (although payout will be lower).
But with a minimum payout of just $5, PropellerAds could be the ideal choice for low blog traffic sites that don’t meet the threshold elsewhere.
They also have a unique Adblock bypass; so that your site can continue to show ads even when visitors have the software installed.
7. SHE Media
One specifically for the ladies; She Media covers sites with an audience made up of at least 70% females. With its vision to build a collective voice for women, this publisher (and media outlet) aims to bridge cultural divides and use a unifying force for good.
Bloggers love that the ads don’t slow down your site unlike some others and that it pays much more than the “peanuts” offered by Adsense.
With a niche in presenting ads to those with Ad-blocking software installed; AdRecover is great AdSense alternative that measures and monetizes that portion of your audience.
This spans across EU countries as well as the US and Canada; with highly relevant ads to this sensitive section of your audience.
With this service, your daily adblocked pageviews should be greater than 10,000. That means you need A LOT of web traffic to utilize this platform.
Industry experts in tech marketing; BuySellAds pairs a network of publishers with SaaS, business and technology ads.
The company does present advertisements in a more traditional way, so if that won’t fit with your site then it may not be the best option.
But, if you’re looking to easily monetize your high-traffic site; this service allows you to pick out advertisers who bid for your space, making it highly personal.
Thea Adsterra ad network works directly with humans to accept, optimize and promote ads where others rely on tech and algorithms.
This means that the quality of the network, both ads and publishing sites, are generally much higher.
Their primary ad type is a pop-under, and for those who’s traffic isn’t made up of the majority of US / Canada / UK visitors, Adsterra could be a good choice.
The RevContent network publishes more than 250 billion “content recommendations” (aka, ads) every single month and is widely regarded as one of the fastest-growing services available.
A smaller network than some others, forget waiting months to hit an earnings threshold as reviewers report that the cash enters your bank quickly.
13. Vibrant Media
This company has been raved about for its large marketplace with professional ads that always included images and relevant descriptions.
Vibrant Media’s ads are also 3rd party certified, so website owners who discuss finances, alcohol, or other highly compliant industries need not fret.
With specialized “scrolling newsfeed” ads that can be integrated into your site; Taboola offers native features to get around adblockers and software.
Account reps have been commended for their speedy responsiveness, but Taboola has been criticized for not making it easy to reject certain ad-publisher partnerships where the fit is not great.
This platform stands out as it offers a complete monetization package; with ads being just one fraction of that process alongside affiliate links and other channels.
Therefore, for site owners and bloggers looking to generate multiple streams of passive income through their websites; Adcash makes sense.
Services include fully-managed and self-managed options, so you can control the level of involvement you have.
Extra: YouTube Monetization Alternatives
Google owns Youtube too and there are many publishers creating videos. Money is made on YouTube through a similar monetization strategy, payout, and requirements. Here are some of the best Youtube monetization alternatives
Finally, a platform that reverses the digital rights management of the music industry. Instead of being copyrighted for the use of music, AdRev pays YouTubers to include their music in videos. This works into the video; so means that you can set up ads and create multiple revenue streams from youtube videos.
In contrast to the above, Freedom partners with YouTubers to cover ads and affiliate marketing. Without capping their payouts (unlike Youtube), the platform also gives users access to royalty-free music, photos, and videos to use as b-roll within their footage.
This platform began it’s “million-dollar creator fund” in 2012, committing to giving more to partners who are affiliated with the platform.
Fullscreen is a total media company, promoting new media productions of its partners and giving out thousands worth of contracts to the hosts of its multi-channel network.
Which is the Best AdSense Alternative For You?
So with so many options, which AdSense alternative is best for your website or blog? It depends on many factors and everyone might have a different experience with each network.
But to truly maximize your earnings and have quality ads, I’d recommend Mediavine or AdThrive if you meet traffic thresholds.
Since those platforms have higher standards and minimum pageview or session requirements, it may take you time to be able to apply. But you’ll end up with better ads, better RPMs, and more features to maximize your ad income.