Before We Dive In…
Let me quickly introduce myself.
I’ve been building passive income sites for more than a decade and my business model depends hugely on revenue from ads!
I’ve been using Ezoic on 10 different sites. Two of the sites are sold now, two sites are moved to Adthrive and the remaining 6 sites are still running Ezoic ads.
I really like both platforms and I’m seeing great numbers with both ad networks!
In this article, I’ll share my numbers and also run you through the features and show you exactly what they backends look like. I’ll compare the features and explain what I like about each ad network.
Let’s get started!
Let’s Start With the Numbers!
When it all comes down to it, the numbers are what matters. Right?
So before we look at the interfaces etc. let’s take a deep dive into the numbers and see how Ezoic and Adthrive stack up.
Here are the numbers I’m seeing with the two ad networks.
My Earnings with Ezoic
My 6 current sites on Ezoic are earning between $10 and $33 per thousand page views.
This is a screenshot from the analytics inside Ezoic:
They calculate the numbers in “Earnings Per Thousand Visitors” so the numbers are a little higher than the EPM (Earning per Thousand Page Views) we normally use when talking about earnings with ad networks.
My Earnings with Adthrive
I have two sites with Adthrive and they make around $15 and $32 per 1,000 page views.
This is the dashboard for one of the sites:
As you can see, the site is earning around $7,000 per month with ads. That’s before the corona-virus hit and at the moment the numbers are down around 30-40% but they are stable at that level and don’t seem to get any lower.
At least for now.
With Adthrive you have a dashboard per site. This is the site I have on Adthrive with the highest earning per 1,000 page views.
With Adthrive you can run video ads (we’ll get back to that!) and the ads account for around 15% of the revenue on both sites. So, that’s a really neat feature that ads some extra money to the sites.
The cool thing is that you upload your videos to Adthrive and they host them for you. Then you create a playlist and you can have that playlist autoplay when the visitor scrolls past (let’s say) 25% of the content on the page.
That’s something we don’t have with Ezoic but they keep telling me that it’s on the way. So, we’ll probably have video ads and a native video player on Ezoic later this year as well.
A Quick Note About These Numbers
I suspect that the numbers would be pretty much the same if I switched the sites between the two networks. The reason is that all the ad networks (big and small) largely depend on the same ad inventory from Google.
Ad networks might go out and do exclusive deals but the vast majority of the ads are coming from Google.
There’s no doubt about that.
The first thing you do on all ad networks is to integrate or activate ads from Google Ad Exchange which basically means that people can run AdSense ads on your site.
So, it’s pretty much the same ads they have on the “shelves” and it’s really the technology they use to serve the ads that make all the difference.
That’s also why I think the numbers are pretty much alike. But I do see some better numbers with Ezoic on some niches that are pretty much the same – or at least very close. And I’ve worked closely with Ezoic to lift the earnings on my sites and I’ve seen how their technology (machine learning used to calculate how many ads and which ads to show on each page) can make a difference.
Adthrive Refused to Be Split-tested Against Ezoic
I have a site that I’d love to split-test by sending 50% of the traffic to Ezoic and the other 50% to Adthrive.
It would be the PERFECT case study. And I would LOVE to share that with you guys on my Youtube Channel.
I reached out to Adthrive to ask if they were willing to do so. They refused and were quick to let me know that if I decided to leave I would have to reapply and that I might not get back in.
I felt like they were trying to handcuff me!
It was actually Ezoic who propose to do the split test and I’m kinda disappointed that Adthrive turned it down just like that.
They sold me a long talk about how confident they were that they would beat the numbers from Ezoic but that they simply weren’t able to do it for technical reasons. But I don’t buy it. It’s pretty easy to wrap the ads from them and run the Ezoic ads alongside for 50% of the traffic. And Ezoic was offering to do the test and make sure it would run smoothly.
So, unfortunately, we will not know the outcome of that experiment.
Comparing the Features on Ezoic and Adthrive
This is where the two ad networks really differ.
Ezoic really stands out with their “Big Data Analytics” which REALLY is big!
These are some of the features with Ezoic:
- Top earning pages
- Best earning categories
- Earnings per writer (when set up properly)
- Earnings correlated with word count (!)
- Earnings correlated with content age (!)
- Earnings per traffic source
The list keeps going.
This is obviously REALLY cool and something you can really dig deep into in order to plan the best possible content for your site.
On Adthrive, the only data we have is this earnings per page. There’s not much else to look at aside from basic metrics we can find inside Google Analytics and even WordPress such as page views, time on site, bounce rate, traffic sources, etc.
But when that is said, I don’t really use much else than the data for earnings per page!
Here’s how they display that information on Ezoic:
Notice how I can sort by revenue.
I’ve disabled a lot of available columns here like:
- Average engage time
- Word count (!)
- page views per visit
I REALLY like to have the word count option here. It’s a cool feature that you don’t have inside either WordPress or Google Analytics. And it’s a very interesting metric to look at when we are looking at ad earnings!
Here’s how Adthrive report earnings per page:
It’s a little more basic. But at least the data is available now. It took a long time for Adthrive to surface these data for publishers and it shows that they don’t have the same focus on data as Ezoic.
And to me, that’s a big sign that they might be losing in the long run in this game as it’s a numbers game!
To me, the “earnings per page” data is BY FAR the most important data to look at for any publisher.
Adthrive only added this feature recently (I had requested it immediately when I joined!) and I was seriously considering shifting my sites with them over to Ezoic to get these data!
However, Adthrive did supply me with Excel sheets with these numbers. But they only recorded a small fraction of the traffic so the numbers were kinda useless. I’m glad they finally came around to including data on which blog posts make the most money as it’s a VERY fundamental feature if you ask me.
You have the option to export all the data on both platforms.
On Adthrive there’s a big “Export data” button you can see on the screenshot above. It will let you download these data on a per-date basis. And the format you get is an .XLSX file for Microsoft Excel.
Here are the export data you get with Adthrive:
- Avg. time on page
- RPM (Earning per 1,000 pageviews)
- RPS (Earnings per 1,000 sessions)
- Earnings per ad unit and device
- Video earnings
With Ezoic you can download any data view you want. You have this button visible at all time on the Big Analytics Dashboard:
As you can see, you can choose between Excel or .csv. That’s pretty sweet. I love being able to download my data and use them in any format I wish.
Differences between the two dashboards
The Dashboard over at Adthrive is clean and sleek.
It has enough white space to make it look really nice and I love how they have made the menu simple and the navigation fast.
The whole thing loads quickly and it feels light and sweet to work with.
This is a pretty good overview you have when you log in.
(Notice how the traffic is growing pretty good while the earnings are dropping – that’s due to the Corona virus…)
You can click on the “Earnings” tab to the left to dig into which specific articles are making the most money and you can also dig into ad preferences where you can disable specific ad categories such as gambling, politics etc.
Here you can see the new and updated dashboard from Ezoic. They recently launched a new interface and I really like it. The old one was really slow and a pain to work with. This new design is sleek and fast and you can quickly get to the data you need within a few clicks.
You choose which site you want to look at at the upper left corner of you can look across all your sites as I’m doing below.
This also gives you the quick overview you need on a weekly basis.
I do some pretty detailed reporting on all my sites on a monthly basis but I cannot stay out of this dashboard – it’s just too exciting to follow the numbers in real-time.
It’s REALLY addictive!
What About Customer Service?
I must say that both ad networks have absolute world class customer service!
I have been really impressed with how friendly and extremely quick they are to respond.
That being said, I have found Ezoic to be more proactive when it comes to suggesting features and changes on my sites that might increase my earnings.
I have two Ezoic folks on Skype chat and on email and I really like being able to shoot them a quick message on Skype when I have questions or when something seems odd on my end. They also reach out to me every month with optimization suggestions which is really cool.
With Adthrive, you have to create a ticket in their support system. That’s a bit more tedious and annoying but they are really quick to answer.
So it’s not a big deal.
The only thing that kinda annoys me with Adthrive is that it’s a new person answering my support tickets every time. I don’t have a key account assigned to my account and that means that some data obviously is getting lost from ticket to ticket as they don’t have an overview (unless the supporter reads over all of my support log files every time which doesn’t make sense).
It’s really nice to have that ongoing dialogue with my key account at Ezoic and it means that we can continue where we left off the last time we worked on one of my sites.
The Application Process
When you apply for Adthrive you just fill out a form on their website.
You normally get your answer within a week or two when they’ve had time to look over the site. I have a video about how to make your site as ready for the review as possible to make sure you have the best odds of getting in (watch it here).
PS: It’s the first video I did on my YouTube Channel so bear with me as I read the transcript for the video word for word 😀
With Ezoic you also signup on their site and after that, you get contacted by a sales rep. So, that process is kinda similar.
One difference to notice is that when you get turned down with Adthrive you normally don’t get a second chance. You need to make sure your site is staged perfectly before you apply and you also need to make sure not to have ANY content on the site that could offend an advertiser. We’re talking about politics, violence, etc. here.
With Ezoic they can typically just disable ads for a set of pages and you’re set to go.
What About Page Speed with Adthrive vs. Ezoic?
I’ve worked closely with both Adthrive and Ezoic to get my sites to run as fast and smooth as possible.
I’ve hit around numbers in the 80s with Google Page Speed Insight with both Ezoic and Adthrive. But as you probably know, it takes some work. Right out of the box you will NOT get these numbers with ANY ad network.
They both let the ads load after the content so the user doesn’t have to wait for the ads to load.
That works really well. It will lower the revenue form ads just a tiny bit but I haven’t found it to be more than a few percent. I’ll always sacrifice that for a much faster site as I know this is getting more and more important in Google’s algorithm.
With Ezoic I have enabled their site speed tool and with the flip of a switch, I jumped from 45 to 98 on Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.
But be aware that the speed tool with Ezoic does come with a price tag!
You need to pay $20-$100 per month (!) depending on your traffic numbers and whether you pay annually or monthly. $20 is for 50,000 page views per month and $100 is for 1,000,000 page views. Personally, I would not pay that much! (my sites with Ezoic don’t have that much traffic).
(personally, I never opt-in for any annual costs as things just move too fast for annual plans in my business).
So, What’s the Verdict?
I really like to use more than one platform so I probably won’t be switching over to one platform only anytime soon. I don’t like to marry one system. I like to keep things open and to know what’s going on across the industry.
I am actually thinking about joining Mediavine to be able to compare features and numbers there as well.
That being said, if I was to choose to go with only one platform I would choose Ezoic.
That’s based on a few things:
- Better reporting
- One constant point of contact
- A proactive key account manager
- A more transparent setup (they are willing to split test side by side with Adthrive!)
But I also believe that the ad sources and the ad inventory are very similar. Both networks rely heavily on ads from Google (and so do all the other ad networks for that matter). So, I don’t think there’s a ton of extra earnings to be made from switching around between the bigger networks.