Premium platforms such as Google AdSense are among the most frequently cited ad networks for publishers today. While it is one of the top options for larger entities, AdSense’s strict requirements are often too high for a small or medium-sized publisher to meet.
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Fortunately, many viable and high-paying alternatives are available. Learn about the top ad networks suitable for smaller publishers and what ad formats, features, and services they offer.
Why Small Publishers Need Ad Networks
Even if you operate a smaller website, app, or niche digital property, partnering with an ad network remains one of the best ways to monetize your content and make the most out of your ad spaces.
As a smaller publisher, manually finding and partnering with individual advertisers is a significant expense of time and effort that would be better spent maintaining your digital property. The role of an ad network is to serve as an intermediary platform that automatically connects publishers and advertisers.
Quality networks have brand safety systems and controls to ensure your ad spaces are filled with high-quality, high-relevancy ad creatives. While publishers of any size benefit from these features, they are especially vital for smaller properties, as they may not yet have other monetization avenues.
Best Ad Network Features to Look For as a Small Publisher
If you are a small publisher, you must ensure the network you partner with has the elements and services you need to grow and focus on your business. Some of the most critical features to look for are the following:
Fast approval process
Premium networks primarily intended for large publishers often subject new applicants to a lengthy approval process.
While owners of larger digital properties often have the resources to wait until this process ends, smaller publishers cannot earn as long as they are stuck in the “pending approval” stage.
For these reasons, partnering with an ad network with fast or instant approval processes is crucial to many publishers. Joining these networks ensures you minimize the time it takes from signing up to earning.
Accessible minimum traffic requirements
Premium ad networks are well-known for requiring new members to meet specific minimum requirements, most often in the form of minimum traffic. While these measures exist to ensure profitability for both sides, they are also prohibitive for smaller publishers, who haven’t yet grown to drive such traffic.
An ad network with low or no minimum traffic requirements is ideal for a smaller publisher because it eliminates one of the most significant entry barriers, allowing them to start monetizing as soon as possible.
Diverse ad inventory
The ad network you partner with must have access to a sufficiently large pool of advertisers to guarantee a diverse selection of high-quality ads.
While no publisher wants to serve low-quality ads, smaller publishers are especially at risk of the consequences. Low-quality ads can drive traffic down and significantly harm the monetization potential of smaller websites and applications.
Good UI and UX
A publisher may eventually stop using an ad network if it is challenging to work with or inconvenient to use, even if they offer high-quality ads and a fast approval process.
The primary factors behind a network’s ease of use are the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Quality ad networks should offer easily navigable interfaces, no hidden or obscured features, and sufficient documentation and resources to make the most out of the platform.
Advantageous payment options and frequency
Most networks generally make it easy to configure your ad spaces and start the monetization process of your digital property. However, you may end up unable to earn money with this network if the ad network’s payment terms impose too many conditions, pay too infrequently, or don’t let you withdraw using your preferred payment processors.
Review the network’s payment process and conditions and ensure they can pay you at your preferred frequencies and using your favorite platforms or methods. Quality ad networks should offer multiple options to suit the needs of any publisher.
For example, if you expect to receive your earnings on a biweekly or monthly basis, ad networks that only provide NET-60 payment (bimonthly) may not be suitable.
Smaller publishers should also ensure the minimum payout value isn’t too high, as ad networks will not send any money to your account until the amount is met.
Top 5 Ad Networks for Small Publishers
Here are the top 5 ad networks small publishers should consider partnering with to monetize their digital properties.
Media.Net is not only among the best ad networks for small publishers, but it is also one of the highest-performing ad networks available today and one of the best alternatives to traditional options, such as Google AdSense. Numerous premium international publishers have partnered with Media.Net, including CNN, Forbes, Reuters, and Kiplinger
Media.Net is a contextual ad network that uses advanced technologies to adapt and match the ads served on each ad space to the digital property’s context.
Contextual advertising technologies ensure the ads viewed by website visitors or app users are as relevant as possible, keeping the overall ad quality high.
For example, a contextual ad network serving ads on a sports-themed blog may attempt to serve ads about sportswear or sporting equipment, ensuring maximum relevance to the blog’s readers.
Media.Net also offers many features advantageous to small publishers, such as an easy-to-use interface, real-time analytics and reporting, fast payment processing, and 24/7 customer support.
Media.Net’s Features in a Nutshell
Real-time ad campaign reporting,
24/7 customer support
Display to Search (D2S)
PropellerAds is one of the older players in the advertising network industry, with over 11 years of experience providing small publishers and bloggers with a way to monetize their digital properties conveniently.
PropellerAds guarantees the safety and quality of all ads served with a manual checking and review process of all partner advertisers to ensure no dubious or low-quality ad creatives are displayed on your digital properties.
The network processes over 1 billion impressions monthly from worldwide traffic, making it an excellent option for reaching new audiences. It also employs anti-ad blocking technology, enabling the highest number of viewers to see ads and the best possible payout rates for publishers.
Additionally, PropellerAds is well-known for being one of the most convenient networks regarding payment, offering publishers a lightning-quick NET-7 payment frequency, a wide selection of payment methods, and low starting payout thresholds.
The network also provides dedicated, experienced campaign managers to assist publishers with less experience in the industry, ensuring their campaigns are correctly configured and providing assistance interpreting analytics reports.
PropellerAds’s Features in a Nutshell
Robust anti-ad blocking technologies
Convenient payment options
Dedicated campaign managers
In-page push notifications
Each site must pass an approval process
Wire transfers: $500
Smaller publishers operating newer or niche websites may find BidVertiser a more attractive ad network than other options. Founded in 2003 as a pay-per-click advertising network, it became a modern ad network favored by over 80,000 partners worldwide.
BidVertiser’s monetization model combines a wide selection of ad formats, low minimum payout thresholds, and a 100% transparent process connecting advertisers and publishers.
Best of all, signing up and getting started on BidVertiser is very quick.
All a new publisher needs to do after creating an account is provide the network with their website details for review. BidVertiser’s automated approval system verifies your site conforms to the terms of services, then lets you configure your ads immediately.
The network features a highly detailed, cookie-based audience targeting feature, allowing publishers to configure ads by well-defined and precise audience segments: age groups, geographic regions, website usage rates, and many other data points found in visitor cookies.
In addition to the in-house features, BidVertiser is also compatible with Google AdSense. Publishers with an AdSense account can use both simultaneously to benefit from the Google system’s contextual advertising alongside BidVertiser’s comprehensive ad formats and layouts.
BidVertiser’s Features in a Nutshell
Fast, automated approval process
Compatible with AdSense
In-page push ads
Desktop push notifications
Auto-approval verifies your site meets the network’s TOS
Wire transfers: $500
Founded in 2010, AdMaven is an Israeli-based ad network processing over 2 billion ad impressions daily for over 25,000 publishers and sell-side partners.
AdMaven is renowned as one of the best ad networks for publishers primarily interested in implementing pop-under ads. However, the platform also offers a large selection of other ad formats, making it easy to diversify your digital platform’s monetization.
AdMaven supports desktop interstitials, in-page push ads, push notification ads, and an ad format exclusive to the network: native push notifications. The latter appears as a cross between a standard native ad and a push notification, allowing greater flexibility and creative control. AdMaven states this new ad format results in higher conversion rates and increased payouts for publishers.
While AdMaven has a minimum traffic requirement of 2,500 daily visitors, this number is much lower than ad networks imposing similar entry barriers. Your digital property must also not feature a free top-level domain, such as .tk or .ga.
However, the network’s verification process is automatic, meaning that as long as your blog or website meets the listed requirements, you will receive approval.
Once the approval process is complete, AdMaven provides all publishers with a dedicated account manager. The manager’s role is to provide assistance and suggestions on ad placement and ad format optimization, helping publishers use AdMaven’s dashboard efficiently and increase their earnings.
AdMaven’s Features in a Nutshell
Automatic approval process
Access to a dedicated account manager
Native push notifications
Site must not have a free top-level domain
Although AdsTerra has been part of the advertising network industry for less than ten years, it offers many attractive features that small publishers should not overlook.
The ad network processes over 1 billion impressions daily for 40,000 partners, including 12,000 buy-side entities: advertisers, media agencies, and other affiliates.
While AdsTerra offers classic CPC, CPI, and CPM ad campaigns and multiple ad formats, the network specializes in campaigns on the CPA model with fully customizable pop-unders. The network claims a near-constant 100% fill rate, ensuring maximum monetization efficiency.
AdsTerra also operates a fully automated self-serve platform (SSP), giving publishers full control over their ad campaigns, statistics, analytics, reporting, and configuration options. Publishers also have access to a 24/7 support service and help resources available in multiple languages, ensuring accessibility for worldwide users.
While the network requires each website submitted by publishers to pass an approval process, AdsTerra’s system is notable for its speed.
Most publishers receive approval and can start monetizing within 10 minutes as long as the website conforms to the platform’s terms of service.
AdsTerra’s Features in a Nutshell
Near-100% fill rates
24/7 support services in multiple languages
In-page push notifications
VAST pre-roll video ads
Each site must pass an approval process
Cryptocurrency (BTC, Tether/USDT)
Paxum and WebMoney: $5
PayPal and crypto: $100
Wire transfers: $1,000
Optimize Your Earnings and Grow As a Publisher with CodeFuel
As a smaller publisher, utilizing all of the tools and monetization avenues at your disposal is crucial to ensure you earn as much as you can. However, finding what works best for your digital property on your own can be a challenging ordeal.
Fortunately, CodeFuel is here to help. Our team is here to help you assess your situation, find the best monetization options for your website, app, or property, and help you make the most out of it. Get started with CodeFuel today.