Top Google AdSense Alternatives: Media.net Review

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This is going to be my first post in a series of posts about different Google AdSense alternatives.  I don’t have any set schedule for writing about each one…basically, once I’ve had a chance to try it out and gather an initial opinion, I’ll write about it!

Media.net is one of the first places I applied after losing my AdSense account, and so far, it’s been an interesting experience.  It’s going to be very difficult to fully replace AdSense, however I already believe Media.net will be one of my top alternatives.  Here’s my in-depth review.

What Is Media.net?

Like AdSense, Media.net is a contextual advertising company – what this means is that the ads displayed on your website are influenced by the actual content on the page, so that visitors will see relevant advertisements.

Also, like AdSense, Media.net pays you for each click, and the amount is based on the bidding of the advertisers (so as you would expect, more competitive niches will yield higher earnings per click).

Different Types of Ads

Just as AdSense has its regular ad units and its link units, Media.net offers a few different types of ad styles.  Note:  Media.net only allows you one of each ad type per page.

  • Content Ads – These are your standard contextual block ads, and you can choose from a variety of sizes.  They don’t have as many size choices as AdSense, but all of the more popular sizes are there.  This is the type of ad that I have implemented on all of my niche sites that currently utilize Media.net, and from what I’ve heard, this type pays better than the others.
  • Search Targeting Ads – These ads actually look the same as the content ads, with one big exception: they are shown to search engine traffic only, and the content of the ad is tied directly to the visitor’s search query.  As you can see, this allows very relevant ads to be displayed to organic traffic, although I’ve heard these ads don’t pay as well as the content ads.  I don’t have enough data personally yet to confirm or deny this.

media-net-search-targeting-ads

Web Bar – This is an ad unit similar to AdSense’s horizontal link units, except that it’s placed at the bottom of the screen and is “sticky” to remain above the fold as the user scrolls down the page.  I’ve never been a fan of these types of ads since I think they look too spammy, so I have yet to try this one.

  • Mobile Ads  – These ads are simply optimized for mobile viewing.  To be honest, I have yet to jump on the “mobile” bandwagon (no pun intended) when it comes to internet marketing.  I know it’s where the future is trending, but for right now, it’s not a focus of mine.

What I Like About Media.net

In some ways, I actually like Media.net more than AdSense, although that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t gladly give up my Media.net account if it meant getting back AdSense.   Here’s what I like, specifically:

1) Decent earnings per click

This is obviously going to vary by niche, but in my past month of testing Media.net on a small handful of sites, Media.net’s CPC seems to be very similar to AdSense’s.  This is probably the biggest reason why Media.net stands out among many other contextual advertising alternatives.  Obviously, there are many I haven’t tried yet, but this is my early impression.

2) Ads appear to be very “clickable”  

Media.net’s algorithm for determining relevant ads with your content seems to be very strong, and the design of the ads are such that they look like part of your site’s navigation.

I think the average internet user is so used to seeing AdSense-style ads that many have become blind to them.  Media.net’s ad style, while nothing spectacular, is somewhat refreshing after seeing a million different AdSense ads.  Here’s an example from the sidebar of one of my sites in the pet niche (I’ve blocked out any identifying information from the site).

As you can see, the ads aren’t “in your face” advertisements.  There is a small snippet of text (which isn’t visible in this screen shot) at the bottom which indicates that this is an ad block, however it’s not very intrusive.

3) Friendly support

This is absolutely unheard of with Google, so I found this to be a huge positive with Media.net.  When you create an account, you’re assigned an account manager.

I had one instance where one of my niche sites was denied for Media.net ads (more on this below).  I contacted the account manager to find out why, and what I can do to get the site approved, and he replied fairly quickly with some helpful information.  He told me once I make the necessary changes, I can re-submit the site for approval.

Do you think anyone at Google would ever take the time to help with something like this? I highly doubt it.

What I Don’t Like About Media.net

This is a very honest and unbiased review, so I’m of course going to be very open about what I don’t like about Media.net.

1) Each individual site requires manual approval. 

Unlike Google AdSense (which you can place on any website once your account is initially approved), you must add each site individually to Media.net and it must be approved.  This usually doesn’t take long (within 24 hours), but it’s an extra step, and it means that you have to essentially fully build a site without knowing if you’ll be able to put Media.net ads on it.

2) Media.net is somewhat strict about the sites they approve.

I’m actually fine with this because it  improves the integrity of Media.net for its advertisers (which means, over time, advertisers will pay more on Media.net than they might on other ad platforms).  However, I have had several sites declined already.

Certain thinner micro-niche sites that might have been fine for AdSense may not work for Media.net.  Specifically, sites that have only 3-5 pages of content, like many of mine do.  I do, however, believe that this is subjective on Media.net’s side of things.  I had one site with 5 pages of content declined, but a site with 3 pages of content accepted.

It may have to do with the individual person who is manually approving the site, or maybe they like certain niches more than others.   It may also depend on word count (and not just # of pages) – I’m not sure.

Either way, this is a significant hurdle. For my sites that are currently too thin for Media.net (which unfortunately may be the vast majority of my micro-niche sites), it may be awhile before I take the time to beef up the content on all sites.

3) Media.net may not work for every niche.  

When you submit one of your sites for approval, you have to select a category for the site.  I think this step is in place so that your site can be matched up with the pool of advertisers for that particular category.  Although they have a lot of categories, I’ve had a couple instances where a site didn’t really fit perfectly in any of the available categories.

That’s All!

Hopefully if you’re in the same boat as me (i.e. no AdSense account), this review will help you determine if Media.net is a good option.  In most cases, I think it’s a great alternative.  I’m very far from replacing my AdSense income, but this is more due to the fact that right now I only have Media.net on 6 of my 80 sites.

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