Google Adsense alternatives (for those of you with larger forums)

PumpinIron

Well-known member
I'm curious to hear from those of you with larger forums.

My forum currently sees around 2,000,000 page views per month and generates a considerable amount of money via a combination of monetization methods I've put in place.

My second largest revenue stream from monetization is Google Adsense. However, as my site has grown I've had problems with it. At one point I was generating roughly $3000 a month from automatically placed Google Adsense ad units (this is the option where Google places ads where they best see fit). However, in recent months Google Adsense has been giving me warning messages saying that "ad serving is limited due to invalid traffic concerns".

Well, I've investigated this high and low and not been able to find a reasonable answer to why this is. 98% of my traffic is coming from the U.S., there are no shady or questionable traffic sources, etc. Of course when I try to get ahold of Google they are no help and simply won't tell me anything beyond that I should "look into it".

Every so often this message will go away and then ad serving will be back to full force. However, it's happening so frequently now that I have determined I need to get away from Google Adsense as it is unreliable, problematic, and real people aren't willing to help or tell me what the issue might be.

That being said, I'm looking for a display network that would be similar to Adsense, allow me to let them automatically place responsive ads (ones that work on all devices), and limit or exclude ads from showing on certain pages.

I have to believe there is an Adsense alternative when it comes to banner / display ads, but maybe there isn't anything good?

So to those of you with larger forums who are running display ads, who are you using besides Google Adsense?
 

drastic

Well-known member
I'll inbox ya the people we use. Adsense is amazing on one of my sites, but terrible on another, so I had to find alternatives too. Found one that I've been with for a few years now.
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
I'll inbox ya the people we use. Adsense is amazing on one of my sites, but terrible on another, so I had to find alternatives too. Found one that I've been with for a few years now.
@drastic

Can you not post it here? I know of at least two forums that are searching for a good alternative.

If you can't post it here, can you please DM me with the information as well?
 
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sdchan

Member
I'll inbox ya the people we use. Adsense is amazing on one of my sites, but terrible on another, so I had to find alternatives too. Found one that I've been with for a few years now.

Very interested in this as well. We've got over 800k pageviews a month. Would love to explore alternatives to adsense. Mediavine already says they do not monetize forum sites. Could you DM me as well?
 

Kleazy

Active member
Digitalthrottle

We use them for a few years now.
if your niche is automotive with an aftermarket angle to it then they will had ads for you.
Its a smaller outlet (I see that as a plus) based here in the USA and they have a phone number a real human picks up.
Never missed a payment and when the USPS lost a check they instantly re-issued payment.

We server banner ads via google admanager and let Digitalthrottle bit compete against adsense, house ads and ads we sell directly.
 

051119

Member
I'll inbox ya the people we use. Adsense is amazing on one of my sites, but terrible on another, so I had to find alternatives too. Found one that I've been with for a few years now.
Would you be able to do the same for me please? I’ve a big forum that was previously earning several thousand per month which has now been reduced to less than 300.
 

rdn

Well-known member
I'll inbox ya the people we use. Adsense is amazing on one of my sites, but terrible on another, so I had to find alternatives too. Found one that I've been with for a few years now.
Interested as well.
Thanks.
 

V3NTUS

Well-known member
@PumpinIron I'm in a similar situation and I'm glad to see I'm not alone. It's been around a year Google Adsense periodically placed ad serving limit onto my account for invalid activity and as soon as the limit disappeared, within a week or so they applied it again, so I ended up earning close to nothing because of that. My community now has almost a million registered users and around 100k views every day (around 3kk views per month) but still, due to this, I'm unable to monetize it efficiently. I'm using an Ad Partner of Google Adsense which guarantees I don't get any penalties but, at the same time, compared to Adsense they pay less, and they also take 20% of share which I'm not comfortable with, so I'm looking for good alternatives.

Similarly to you, I adopted other ways to monetize the forum in the meantime such as User Upgrades and the ability to Buy Virtual items. I'm recently trying affiliation but doesn't give the desired results. I'm curious to know about your monetization methods. Did they involve partnerships/affiliates? Or something else?

Also, did you finally find a better alternative to Adsense? Maybe the one @drastic suggested you?
 
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V3NTUS

Well-known member
A practical example is my main domain (a blog not using xenforo) Vs subdomain (using xenforo). Both having the same niche.

While using adsense on both:

MAIN DOMAIN
Views on main domain: 30k/day
CPC on main domain: €0,35
RPM: €3,20


SUBDOMAIN
Views on subdomain: 100k/day
CPC on xenforo subdomain: €0,08
RPM: €0,22


You can easily guess the outcome.
 
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Radio Gunk

Member
@drastic I would be very interested as well. I have a forum with about 4500 members with about 500K views per month, and 1.3mm impressions. AdSense keeps moving the bar for what is suitable content and what is not, and it's getting super frustrating. anything else I should consider, please PM me!
thanks
Mo
 

Mr. Jinx

Well-known member
Heard some good things about Mediavine, but it is not really a Google Adsense alternative as they use Adsense also.

If you are looking for something not related to Adsense, then there is Media.net:

My sites didn't qualify for these advertisers, so no personal experience.

I also looked at ezoic.com, but this is also a Google Adsense reseller with very intrusive ads. All reviews looked great but they seem to have some kind of interesting affiliate program to write those reviews, so not very objective.

I don't think there are any real good alternatives for regular sites.
 
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V3NTUS

Well-known member
They're just Adsense resellers, like every other Ad Network you'll find out there.. They promise you'll earn more but they just take another percentage from your Adsense earnings instead (generally 20-30%) with the excuse of providing suggestions on where to place ads with the fake promise you'll earn more.

The only advantage you have is they generally don't limit your ad placement for invalid clicks, but if you don't have such problems (like those who get their ad serving limited every month because of this) and you don't want to gift another 20-30% of your revenue for YOUR OWN hard work, I'd say to stick with Adsense instead. Always.

I'm excluding crappier Ad Networks like adsterra or similar, which are even worse services, who use a personal inventory and give like 0,50$ per 10000 impressions, injecting pop-ups and randomly redirecting your website even if you just place one of their 300x250 banner ad.

We're in 2021 and yet nobody comes even close to what Adsense offers, which is already a legalized scam nowadays considering what they do to steal money from both advertisers and publishers... what a shame.


Talking by experience, been online since 2013 and worked with Adsense, Adinplay, Playwire, Adsterra, Increaserev, Adgeyser, Pubgalaxy and I could keep typing names all the day.


PS: Thanks @Mr. Jinx for updating your post :)
 
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Oldengine

Active member
We are all in the same boat with big tech being holier than the rest of us having no concern on their part about being helpful. Instead, they want our readers to come directly to them and they will do anything in their power to make that happen. Over a ten year period, I watched revenues decline dramatically for these reasons. Fortunately, I was making my own banners for sellers directly related to my readers' needs and that still works.
 

woody

Well-known member
They're just Adsense resellers, like every other Ad Network you'll find out there..
Actually, the big/quality networks use AdExchange. This is the "enterprise" version of AdSense, and far more powerful. You develop Pricing Rules for each ad slot, and do granularity for countries, mobile/tablet/desktop, browsers, operating system, etc....setting floor prices or target CPM's for each. You can compete against your own direct ad sales AND with other networks, and use a complex layout of passbacks or prebid coding to maximize your revenues. It is 100x more difficult to learn than the "plug and play" of AdSense. I found myself with a AdX account when it was in beta (late 2008 I believe, just after Google acquired AdX from DoubleClick), and I've maintained my account activity. I've also got a few years of experience with prebid.org, both developing my own setup as well as working with a 3rd party for a year (took that long to realize I knew more than they did....)

I have about 40 pricing rules in my GAM setup, and I do daily reporting to track trends and make adjustments each week to help maximize fill rates and rpm numbers for my inventory.

At the end of it all, 80+% of my ad inventory is handled by one of the major ad networks, and I gladly let them take their 40% cut for their expertise and the additional revenues they have brought to my account. My extensive history with AdX/GAM and prebid helped me get the ad network contract I have now.


If you want to have a successful revenue stream, you should be spending your day reading Slack/AdOps, prebid.org, and everything else you can related to those. Running a test page and learning prebid is critical to understanding how ads bid/compete and become profitable. I easily killed 5-6 hours daily on this stuff for years. If you aren't...start.
 
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bzcomputers

Well-known member
Actually, the big/quality networks use AdExchange. This is the "enterprise" version of AdSense, and far more powerful...

Be aware most users here will not qualify for their own Google AdX account. Although Google does not publish all the exact specifics on what will make you eligible for Google AdX account (when you have a monopoly on ad serving things like this happen).

What is required is you must first become a "preferred publisher" and either get invited or make a request after meeting the minimum qualifications.

To be invited you must have no blemishes on your record with Google and your site(s) must have family-friendly content. If you fit those two criteria then you must also be a "large online publisher".

To qualify as a "large online publisher" these other two qualifications must be met:
  1. Your site(s) must have a total of at least 5 million page views per month
  2. Your site(s) must have a minimum of 10 million ad impressions per month running through Google AdSense for at least 6 consecutive months.
An alternative to your own Google AdX account is to partner through a third-party and become a reseller through their Google AdX account, of coarse before you get paid they will be taking another bite of the profits (typically 10-20% of the ad revenue) right after Google gets their share (typically 40%+ of the ad revenue).
 
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