Top 12 AdSense Alternatives That Can Increase Website Revenue (2021)

Updated 5 August 2021

Google AdSense is one of the most established ways for website owners to sell advertising space on their websites. Established by Google in 2003, it has the largest footprint of all ad networks and is a great option for smaller website owners who are starting to monetize their content. Larger websites can benefit from AdSense alternatives which increase and diversify revenue.

You may also want to explore AdSense alternatives if:

  • You’re having trouble getting your account approved
  • Google has banned your AdSense account
  • You want to access to more advertising formats

AdSense is a monetization program that lets publishers sell space on a website to advertisers. Website space can be sold on a per impression or per click basis. Advertisers buy the right to show their advertisements through Google Ads.  

The Best AdSense Alternatives

1. Ad Exchange (AdX)

Google’s Ad Exchange gives publishers access to advanced monetization tools like header bidding that can increase revenue (check out our what is header bidding guide for more). It’s used by many of the largest websites in the world including Forbes.com and NFL.com. Ad Exchange provides a great deal more control to publishers over their inventory in terms of pricing, inventory segmentation, and programmatic opportunities.

Advantages include:

  • Advanced filtering and blocking for ad categories
  • PMP and Private Auction compatibility
  • Flexible reporting based on criteria defined by the publisher
  • Access to vendor blocking
  • Increased revenue by providing access to more advertising demand

However, to access Ad Exchange you need to be classified as a preferred publisher with at least 5 million monthly pageviews. If you don’t meet this requirement, or you don’t want the trouble of setting up an account, you can access Ad Exchange through an advertising technology partner and header bidding company like Snigel. If you meet Snigel’s requirements, which are lower than Google’s, we will provide you with access to Ad Exchange and other advertising networks through our account. Contact us here to find out more.

Find out about the difference between AdSense and header bidding here.

2. Media.net

Image from media.net

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 gives you access to:

  • Native advertising
  • Display advertising
  • Mobile advertising
  • Video advertising
Media.net native advertising example (image from media.net)

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.

3. Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads

here the refresh is triggered by the user changing tabs (affiliate-program.amazon.com)

These native ads provide Amazon product recommendations to website visitors. Amazon will select product recommendations based on the user and the content of the website. Publishers can earn a referral fee based on the type of product sold or through “bounty events” such as a user signing for an Amazon Prime video trial. 

Do Amazon’s Native Shopping Ads pay more than AdSense?

It depends on the content of your website. If you are in a product-focused niche such as consumer electronics or fitness equipment, Amazon’s native ads can outperform AdSense. However, most website owners keep a mix of AdSense and Amazon native ads to provide a good user experience.

4. PropellerAds

image from propellerads.com

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.

5. ylliX

Image from yllix.com

ylliX is an ad network that specializes in 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.

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 Gos. However, ylliX requires publishers to use aggressive ad formats such as popunder ads, mobile redirects, and full-page ads. Most publishers have disapproved of these ad formats which has led to low ratings on Trustpilot.com.

6. Skimlinks

Screenshot of Skimlinks website
Image from skimlinks.com

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.

7. Taboola

Image from taboola.com

Taboola is one of the most popular content discovery networks. Publishers looking for a mobile web monetization platform should consider joining them. Publishers can use Taboola to provide ‘sponsored content,’ also known as native ads. Native ads help users discover content that is relevant to their interests. The network puts a focus on content quality and brand recognition. You can also gain access to advanced audience segmentation, targeting, and remarketing tools. However, to join Taboola, you will need to have a minimum of 500,000 page views per month.

Does Taboola pay more than AdSense?

Taboola issues payments through Payoneer 45 days after the end of the month that you started with them. They claim to have a fill rate of 100% for all ad units. The average Cost Per Click (CPC) for a Taboola ad fluctuates between 2 and 5 cents; however, it is often lower for Asian traffic. Depending on traffic quality and geo, a website’s RPM might range from $1 to $2. Additionally, if you have traffic from the United States, Taboola video advertisements can help you earn more money. Depending on your website’s size and the market you are targeting, you can make more money with Taboola than you would with AdSense.

8. Carbon

Screenshot of Carbon Website
Image from carbonads.net

Carbon is an invite-only ad network for publishers with tech industry related content. Nonetheless, you can visit their website and request to be considered to join their network if you believe that your website fulfills Carbon’s criteria. Carbon aims to use non-intrusive, native display ads that deliver a positive user experience.

Does Carbon pay more than AdSense?

Carbon’s network of advertisers targets a niche audience. Carbon requires exclusivity from its publishers. Depending on your website and expectations, this exclusivity agreement can be beneficial and increase the quality of your page. However, this also means if you join their network, you can not run other ads such as AdSense.

As with all ad networks, your income will entirely depend on the setup of your ad units and how many impressions your ad network serves. One thing to note here is that Carbon places only a single display ad per page, which in some cases might mean that you could miss out on revenue. You receive a payout in the middle of each month that covers your income for the previous month. 

9. Blockthrough

Screenshot of Blockthrough Website
Image from blockthrough.com

While Blockthrough is not necessarily an alternative to using AdSense, it is a way to recover ad revenue if your users have adblockers enabled. Many publishers miss out on income by failing to use an anti-adblock tool. Blockthrough can help publishers recover revenue from direct-sold and programmatic ads. However, it is not compatible with AdSense. That being said, some solutions combine ad-block revenue recovery with header bidding to maximize ad revenue. l Snigel’s header bidding solution AdEngine, for example, has a built-in ad-block recovery tool.

Does Blockthrough pay more than AdSense?

As previously explained, it’s not possible to directly compare income from Blockthrough and Adsense. Nonetheless, if you are experiencing high losses due to adblockers, Blockthrough can help you recover some of your income. They operate on a revenue share model and keep a portion of the recovered revenue as their service fee.

native video ads

AdStream is the market-leading native video solution from Snigel. In A/B tests AdStream produced the highest CPMs and the most ad revenue compared to other leading solutions. AdStream provides customizable video units that can be placed on a publisher’s website to meet size, prominence, and viewability goals. AdStream is directly plugged into all major SSPs and ad exchanges to ensure you get the most out of every impression. With Instream, AdStream lets you monetize your existing video content. In addition, you can promote your YouTube channel by allowing users to click through from your website. Snigel can also generate videos from your website’s resources or supply syndicated content if you don’t have any video content on your page. Outstream, on the other hand, allows you to go straight for more revenue.

Does AdStream pay more than AdSense?

In short: yes. On average, CPMs when using AdStream are up to 10x higher than when using display ads only. Native video increases time-on-site and user engagement, as the content is more immersive than a display ad. Additionally, the video units allow you to promote your video or YouTube content and grow your audience across different platforms.

11. Primis

Screenshot of Primis Website
Image from primis.tech

Primis is a widely used option for incorporating native video advertising. They offer a variety of player formats to provide a good fit for your pages. Primis delivers relevant advertising based on your website’s content using an AI discovery mechanism, audience targeting, and contextual targeting. It is possible to add native video advertising units without requiring you to own video content. We have a complete guide on Instream vs. Outstream video ads and how you can increase your revenue with either option.

12. Connatix

Image from connatix.com

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 native video pay more than AdSense?

It is no secret that marketers are investing a large portion of their budgets into native video advertising since 85% of the content we consume online in 2021 is 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.

FAQ

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. AdSense pays out per click or per impression. If users browse through many pages on your site you with gather a lot of impressions

Which is the best AdSense alternative?

The best alternative to AdSense is header bidding. Websites typically see a revenue increase of 27% – 77% when they switch to header bidding. AdSense limits you to one advertising provider – Google. Header bidding allows you to access an unlimited number of advertising partners. 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. 

Can I use other ads with AdSense?

Yes, you can use AdSense alongside alternative tools like header bidding 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 about the old. Header bidding works best on advertising units below the fold and Amazon affiliate links work best on product or review pages.

Who pays more than AdSense?

Header bidding pays more than 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 AdX to increase your revenue contact us here.

About the Author

Ben Rycroft

Ben is Snigel's Head of Publisher Success. He works on business development and marketing - spreading the word about how Snigel can help publishers supercharge their ad revenue.

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